While the celebrations of first 'lohri' and some other rituals after the birth of our first son, born in October 1985, were continuing, Jeet gave me the news of having conceived again. Though it did not come as a surprise to me because i had always fancied having twins and God was going to bless us with the birth of a second child within a year's span, but at the same time the news rang warning bells in my mind. I would not be present at the birthplace at the time of delivery of the child. It was not to be just one or two day's absence from Jalandhar Cantt like it had happened during the birth of my elder son when i had been deputed to go out of station for a duty leaving my wife hale and hearty in the morning and when i came back in the evening the newborn was waiting for me in the labour room of Military Hospital. I have written about that earlier which you can read by clicking here. This time the absence would be at least three months because I had been deputed for undergoing approximately 90 days Junior Command Course at College of Combat (rechristened as Army War College), Mhow, M.P., from 26th August to 22nd November 1986. As per doctors' calculations, the D Day for the birth of the second child was expected to be somewhere in the end of October or first week of November 1986.
I fully understood that once my name had been selected by Army Headquarters for deputation on a course like Junior Command, there was no way to opt out of it. Moreover, i had volunteered to undergo this prestigious course.
I left for Mhow on 23rd August 1986 to reach the training institute as per the schedule. The training regimen was very tight and i realized that we were kept so busy that there was no scope of missing the family members left back home. While we the Infantry officers used to call the thirty five days long Commando course, done earlier as 'physical rape', this ninety days long Junior Command Course was akin to 'mental rape'. An officer was expected to study a large number of books (precis in Army parlance) even before leaving for the course and during the conduct of the course the midnight oil would have to be burnt if an officer did not want to cut a sorry figure in the class room the next day. In addition to the group discussions in the class rooms or over the indoor maps and sand models, the outdoor exercises would also be conducted where the officers were expected to demonstrate good knowledge and clear comprehension of pattern of battle at the Battalion level.
The course was progressing well and i was getting good feedback from the instructors about my grading. However, towards the end of October while we would come back after long days of the strenuous class room discussions or day long outdoor exercises, i would look at the calender hung in my room to count the days left for the D-Day ie, for the birth of my second child. The days kept passing in the wait for the good news. One fine evening (5th November to be precise), when i was about to proceed to the officers mess for the dinner, i got a call from the administrative wing of the college that there was a telegram for me with the duty clerk. I rushed and collected the telegram which i reproduce below and which is self explanatory. It was from my sister Harpreet Kaur, lovingly called Happy. I was blessed with another son, exactly one year and fifteen days after the birth of my first son.
I broke the good news to my training mates and threw a small instant party in the officers mess. There were still twenty more days left for the course to finish. When i came back to Jalandhar Cantt on 26th November 1986 to rejoin my unit and my family, the new born was almost a month old.
This post also forms part of a series of posts on my life journey. To read all the posts in that series please click here.