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Archive for September 14th, 2011

Many moons ago, Dad was posted in Pune. It was a quaint Army establishment, about 20 km away from the main city, near the famous Khadakwasla lake and under the veritable shadow of NDA. The place was called Institute of Armament Technology, now called the Defense Institute of Advanced Technology.

DIAT

Dad was posted as the Chief Administration Officer, a profile which in common terms would be classified as Jack-Of-All-Trades. So apart from managing the infrastructure of IAT, dad was also much involved in settling squabbles, rehabilitating retired servicemen, touring the premises umpteen times a day and in general, getting on everyone’s nerves!! (hehe, just kidding Dad 😀 )

The weekend before Eid, me and the BF got an opportunity to drive down to Khadakwasla village. There is a quaint little Masjid there, the maulana of which used to teach us the Holy Quran. Every year, it is a ritual to visit the Masjid and hand over some Hadiya(gift) to the Maulana. Usually, we used to visit the place in the early days of Ramzan…alas , this time we were caught up with many other things and couldn’t make it until the last minute.

Now Khadakwasla is a good 20+ km from my place. A distance, which I usually never think of covering myself unless the BF is with me 🙂 . We did think of taking the kids along, but what with them being cranky the whole day and then dropping off to sleep just when we were planning on leaving, there was no option but to leave them behind. Also, since it was raining cats and dogs and their mamas and chachas, we thought it prudent to leave the kids back home (though we were travelling by car, the road to Khadakwasla is not known to be in the best of conditions…more so in the rains  !!).

It was a lovely drive….after simply ages, me and the BF were together without the noisy presence of the kids 😀 . We sang out loud, gossiped, called each other names and in general, had much more fun in that one hour than in the last 6 months !! Once we reached our destination, we met up with the maulana, handed over the Hadiya and then prepared for the long trip back since we wanted to get home before Iftaar time. Coming out of the tiny village, I had a whim and asked the BF if we could just take a short trip to IAT which was barely 500 metres away from where we had stopped. The BF obliged and we made the turn.

Now, IAT has two gates, one is the main gate which was a kilometer away and the other one was the smaller gate usually taken by residents of the bungalows in that section of IAT. When we used to live here, this gate was our regular route. So me and the BF made straight for the smaller gate. There were two security guards standing there, who on seeing us, instead of opening the gate, yelled at us to go back.

I was a little stunned at this reaction…but then realized that this was a defense establishment and given the current scenario, the security would be pumped up high. The older of the two guards, a man around 60 came up to us and sternly told us not to breach security. We were a bit indignant , because frankly, the way he said it , made it sound as though we were planning on running right through the gate !!

Anyhow, the old man came up to my window and this is how our conversation went :-

Old Guard (OG) : Gaadi peechhe lo. Gate ke itne paas mat aao. Aapko pata nahin hai kya, yeh defense establishment hai.

Me : (in all politeness) Haan pata hai. Hum yahan rehte the pehle.

OG : (looking even more guarded than before) Kahan??

Me : Yahin. P-9 bungalow mein. Mai Colonel Yasin ki beti hoon. Aap jaante hain unko?

OG : (looking suspiciously at me) Haan ….mai jaanta hoon unko….lekin unki beti to… (here he wags his index finger , a sign generally used to denote the slimmer side of things)

Me :  (smiling politely while jabbing my elbow into the BF’s ribs to stop his mirthful giggling) Haan..unki teen betiyaan hai. Mai sabse chhoti hoon. Aap meri behen ko jaante hai….

OG : (breaking into a smile finally ) Arre haan…unki yahan shaadi hui thi na?! Hum aaye the. Sahab ne bulaya tha.

Me :  (totally amazed) Aapko shaadi yaad hai?!

OG :  (grinning happily) Ji haan. Hum logoen ko sir ne khud invite kiya tha. Aisa kijiye, waise to yahan se andar jaana allowed nahin hai….par aapko andar kaam kya hai??

Me : Mujhe apne husband ko hamara purana ghar dikhana hai. Bas 2 minute lagenge.

OG : Achcha theek hai. Lekin please aap jaldi aao.

Me : Zaroor. Thank you.

The OG opened the gate for us and we cruised in. A couple of minutes of silence later, during which we were busy absorbing the beauty of the place, the BF finally piped, “He remembers your dad!!”. I just smiled on smugly 🙂

We made a small trip around  the place…..went to the bungalow where I used to live and where the BF used to drop by once in a while for group study during college days 🙂 . Okay, so we weren’t really truthful when we told the guard that I wanted to show the BF my house. The husband had been to this place ages ago and loved it just as much as I did. That’s the reason we planned to drop by again. Those were wonderful days and it was great to relive it once again.

While on the way back, the OG rushed to open the gates for us once more. I rolled down the window to thank him. He just saluted us with a big grin and told me, “Sahab ko bolna, hum unko abhi bhi yaad karte hain. Kabhi Pune aaye, toh IAT zaroor aane bolna”.

I replied back in the affirmative and we made our way back home.

For a long while, we were silent, both of us ruminating over the past 15 minutes.

After a while, the BF broke the silence, “You know….I’ve been in this company for 5 years. Tomorrow if I leave this place and then come back after a year or so, probably no one will ever remember me”.

“Same here “, I replied glumly.

“You dad was here for only 3 years, yet 11 years later, people still remember him”.

“Hmmm”.

“That is some reputation, I say”.

“Truly”.

*Silence*

“We’ve got a long way to go”, says the BF.

And I realized he wasn’t just talking about the way back home 😐



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