It was all in her mind
Bakhat Singh Dhingra
Beep! Beep! Beep! The time is 9 am in the morning. I am almost ready for the office. My home phone rings. By the time I reach there the rings stop. The phone rings again and I respond at the first beep itself. Displaying a full show of warmth I tell the caller, “Yes, I recognise your voice, Col Buxi !”
I ask his present whereabouts and I am informed that he is in town with his family for admission of his son to an NDA examination preparatory coaching academy and he would like to visit me the following day in the evening. Maintaining the same level of fervour I say, “Sure. That suits me as well. Tomorrow is a public holiday. ” And, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, I hang up.
Last time I had met Col Buxi in a small hilly town, Bhimtal, known for a small picturesque lake in the Himalayas’ Kumaon Hills.
I had hired a two-bed suite of a rest house. After breakfast in the morning I was having a lax stroll when I saw the colonel with a baton either rushing past or trailing him, as his body frame briskly moved forward and backward.
After recognising each other we hugged. The embrace was spontaneously followed by a warm handshake. He kept shaking my hand with a firm grip. When my weak hand had` enough of it, I had to make some timid but spontaneous efforts to liberate myself from his tight grip. I was told that he is in the hills as commandant of an NCC camp of 500 youth comprising almost equal number of boys and girls.
He was staying in an improvised tented accommodation. Close by was a huge cluster of tents inhabited by young NCC cadets. Seeing a familiar face in the wild surroundings was a real joy. I had seen him after a long time but recognising him was not difficult.