Thursday, February 16, 2006

Laddoos at 5 p.m.

October 1985- Our battalion was located at Jalandhar cantt. General (Bulbul) Brar, the hero of operation Blue Star, was to visit our station. I was deputed to provide him security cover during his visit. I had to receive him and escort him from Doraha to Jalandhar. Doraha, about two hours drive from Jalandhar, is a small town near Ludhiana on the bank of a canal where the General was to watch the watermanship demonstration by some units. I drove from Jalandhar in the morning and reached Doraha at 11 a.m. I reported to the General and told him that I had come to take him to Jalandhar. The demonstration was over by lunch time and after having lunch we started for Jalandhar. We went straight to the Inspection bungalow where the General would be lodged. He was to address a Sainik Sammelan in the evening and then attend a party in the officers' mess, so he told me that I could take a break and come back after an hour or so. I drove straight home and to my surprise found the house locked. I rang the door bell of our immediate neighbours, Major KG Chatterjee. Mrs Chatterjee came out, gave me a wide smile and told me to rush to the Military Hospital because Jeet had been taken there. On reaching the hospital I found my younger sister Harpreet ( Happy ) waiting in front of the maternity section. She told me that Jeet had just been taken to labour room. She was crying out of anxiety. After some time a nurse came out and gave the good news. "It is a boy".

It was time for me to get back and report to the General. So I left Jeet in the care of my sister and the hospital staff and rushed back. On the way I collected a packet of laddoos from a sweet shop. In Punjab no celebration is complete without laddoos. I reported at the guest house at the designated time and waited in the ante room. When General Brar came out he eyed the sweet packet in my hand questioningly. I offered him the sweets. He looked at his watch and said " laddoos at five p.m.?" I told him that I had just been blessed with a son. " What do you mean by just been blessed" his look turned into a frown. I said, "just about fifteen minutes back, sir". He gave me a stern look and asked me that who had deputed me for that duty when my wife was in such a state. I explained to him that it was no one's fault and that I had left Jeet hale and hearty when I left for Doraha at about 9 a.m. I told him that the date of delivery given by the doctors was still fifteen days away. "Oh! does that happen so ? " he exclaimed and showed quite a bit of interest in the progress of the pregnancy and care to be taken etc. Later I came to know that he had married late and that his wife was also in a family way. On the day of his departure he stood in the door of the train compartment and waved at all who had come to see him off. When he looked at me he paused for a while, fumbled for some words and said " take care of the baby boy, young man".

 The baby boy Sartaj Singh enjoying a bath at our residence in 1985


Happy said...

Great Writings keep it up. It was so nice to remmeber Sunny's bunny's birth and lovely time we had all together.

Balli said...

Thanks Happy, great memories of Jalandhar Cantt. Do you remember when you were learning cycling and you had hit a Police havaldar standing in the middle of the road when your cycle went out of control.

Indyeah said...

reading this made me smile:)a lot:)
Though having been an army brat(rather than an army wife) I have no idea of exactly the conversations between officers and their superiors..or of any other formalities..
but every story of yours touches a chord..:)
Congratulations Sir!a belated one for the day you both were blessed!:)

Balvinder Singh said...

Abhilasha, so you got into the archives. Fearing that no one will read my earlier posts, i gave them all some lebels for easy access. Thanks for the compliments on my stories. In fact here i am writing only the true accounts of my life as well as some thoughts. I have done some serious story writing and poetry in my other blog "Kalpana Ki Udaan" displayed under links.

Thanks once again for your wishes.

Anonymous said...

nostalia is such an awesome, awesome thing.

i'm an avid diary writer and the saddest thing is that i stopped writing after i met the love of my life... there was just to much to put down in words... but whatever bits i do hav in writing are more valuable than diamonds and gold.

and he is always so surpised when i reminisce and i can recall detail that even i didnt know i remembered! its lik goin back in time and living that moment of joy all over again...

thanx for sharing such an intimate memory sir... it made me wanna read the diaries i have stored away all over again!!!