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Mishal Raheja as Major Dutta Patil
Painful Rapture ~ Chapter: 28
"there is a tide in the affairs of men"Shakespeare
Naku walked down the corridors of the Dera hospital, to obtain a wheel chair for a patient. She checked her watch, she might as well tackle the chore now while on her brief tea break , rather than later. She arrived at her destination. It was a huge stock room ,in the basement of the hospital that attached itself to the backdoor exit and heavy duty vehicle access. She stopped as she heard voices engaged in surreptitious conversation "tum meri baat suno meri zammadar hai mera name aye ga ,tumhe kya karna hai bola hai na tumhe" convinced Harshad, "saab ji dekho ,mere chotte chotte bachee hain ,apni rozzi roti ka sawal hai"the driver pleaded, "kya hoya Harshad" ,said the stock room in charge ,"yaar ye salle driver bawa kha raha hai", "oye chaal ye la aur paisa ,salle! thuje cash in karna hai haise mein tu ye le paker aur kama ker, zayaadat ekhar dekhai tu waise bhi teri report lagaa doon ga ,aur naukari tu teri waise bhi jaye gi ,aur agar humain phaisia to tera bbeechoon ki jin ke duhai de raha hai ,un ker khair nehi"!,threatened the stock room in charge. Harshad looked on with his hands on his waist .The three men got on with the job,"ye load karo, aur ye wali peeche rekho, kahan rukna hai main bataoon ga tumhe", said Harshad.Naku withdrew, she admitted she was at the wrong place at the wrong time . Harshad saw the subtle movement of the shadow, in the corridor florescent light against the slightly ajar door. He sped towards the door with a quick wave of his hand and desperate command "jao yehan se jaldi". He saw Naku as she receded and retraced her steps down the corridor towards the main wards ,"Nakusha! he called "you ok ?did you want something". Naku stopped contained and withheld herself, "oh yes Harshad ,yes I am ,I needed a new wheel chair we are one short in the wards ,patient number 5 is ready for one so"..,she stopped. A relieved Harshad replied "sure Nakusha you go ahead, I'll sort one out for you and the porter will deliver it to the wards shortly" . Naku, smiled and mouthed a thank you and thumbs up at him. Harshad, shook though continued with the task at hand. Once finished, he went with the flow and met Nakusha's demand, and eventually headed for the cafe to douche a coffee down his throat. He cupped his coffee in his hand and his eyes looked vacantly in space. The question prevailed, how much did she hear? , or rather as luck would have it , perchance, she had not heard anything. He needed to consider both sides and then most definitely work out defence if any danger is deemed. He took another sip of the warm coffee , and his body relaxed with the warm liquid ,just as well , as relaxation of the mind he needed most, to prompt a clear thought process. Now if she had no awareness of his conversation with the driver ,stock room controller ,then there would be no action on his part ,he would let sleeping dogs lie ,and just accept that lady luck is smiling at him, his face twisted into a smile as his hands fondled the cup in the palm of his hand. However ,he thought if she has heard ,and has knowledge of what she should not have heard ,then he squared up his shoulders ,before she becomes a bad omen for him ,he would have to consider how he would use his defensive mechanisms to thwart her assault!. But on second thought, he judged that she could be dangerous and therefore he might need to act ,sooner than later, for nothing should be left to chance he reckoned as he gently placed his empty coffee cup in the saucer, his eyes keen with some discreet act of self defence ,which only he knew..
He made his way towards the wards and found her occupied in applying massage gel to one of her female patients .She looked up at him as she felt him near he, smiled, the same smile he had given her many a times in the campus years ,caring, loving and friendly she responded back in similar fashion. "Look lady ,I need to brief you on my patients, kab mile sakte hain ,we need to meet as I want to show you their history ,but looking at your schedule you are busy all day ,but Nakusha we have to meet as from tomorrow teri duty will also be to act as locum for my lot as well", he said matter of factly ,tu bol 9.00-9.30 after my last medicine rounds ke bad milen in the records office? he suggested. "Yes, Harshad she nodded I think you are right I need to meet with you, and between 9 and 9.30 pm tonight seems fine, I'll be there at the office"..confirmed Nakusha.
Naku administered the last of the before bedtime medication and straighted up ,she felt as she was coming down with something there was a groggy heavy headedness ,and a upon swallowing rasping pain in her throat ,hum, she thought at a place like a hospital infections are rife every where and therefore to catch something was as normal as day after night. Her body felt a distant ache and she was pulled down even further by the fact that she had to meet Harshad as well, the meeting was unavoidable and imperative so she moved towards the pharmacy section and consulted staff on duty on what could relieve pain, the staff suggested a painkiller with fast pain relief, a preparation that contained codeine to relax. Naku took two some with a cup of tea and shortly had her dinner. She eventually had a quick look in at the in patients in both wards and dimmed the lights for them. She glanced at her watch and thought it was 9.00, may be if she went now then she could see Harshad earlier and then finally retire earlier s she felt poorly as well.
Naku entered the office and looked at a pile of filed records already sitting on the desk .she rested her hand on the office desk pulled a chair and sat down. Harshad looked at her and, "oye are you sure you are up this? ,you look like the face of death" he remarked "no I am fine Harshad, let's just get on with it" she replied slightly out of sync as she reached for the list of patients. She ran her finger down the alphabetical list of the patients and Harshad opened each patient's file and glanced through key note worthy details like medicines and therapies and Naku took on board the details Harshad shared with her. The pair continued diligently and then paused briefly "I have to say these records are extremely useful Harshad , and you making time to brief me is much appreciated" she smiled, "na re he said with a brush of his hand "I am only doing my job Nakusha ,it's required as you are taking over, you do remember or did I not tell you I am involved in transportation of wheel chairs , Nakusha nodded ,"ohh" sorry she quelled a yawn and drawled "let's get on with it the last couple left", and both started again till they almost got to the last one and Harshad peered at her closely as her hand started to go limp ,and her pupils appeared dilated "umhhann yes" she spoke, and a second later she just seemed loose and was about to fall sideways off her chair .Harshad sprang up his chair and tapped her "Nakusha are you alright? he checked, she feebly lifted her hand ,and Harshad smiled this was too good to be true! he dived to get his phone and selected it on camera ready for instruction , she began to slump again , Harshad quick speed went to her side put his arm around her shoulder and just in time caught her droopy neck on his shoulder close to his cheek he picked up his BB camera and in a quick click captured the shot! .Naku got up by the flash and brushed her face with her hands and widened her doe eyes, and slurred, apologetically "oh I am must have dozed off Harssshhad, soo tired she slurred. he put his hand on her shoulder ."chaal Nakusha that's it bas that's it! only one left I'll leave it on the top you go through it tomorrow, come on get up" and he helped her to feet while ,she yawned , a bit more with it, "ok Harshad better go now need to crash" she said drowsily. "Are you sure you're ok to make it to your room?" Harshad questioned slyly. Naku nodded and walked off nimbly from the office towards her room . Harshad saw her leave and smiled well the gods are certainly smiling at him ,what transpired was unbelievable ! he had nothing to do with her condition, he wondered though what had happened to her ,poor girl he thought as he turned to lock the records and once done he ,checked his handiwork , hey what's this Nakusha in his one arm embrace her head on his shoulder ,real close to his cheek. and her green eyes, those doe eyes closed in dreamy ecstasy !pot luck.!! he thought and saved the image...
Dutta walked his combat metal helmet cradled in the loop of his muscular right forearm, in hard sounding combat boot clatter, his muscular tall physic stood out in his multi terrain combat clothing, that took into consideration the range of environments the officers were likely to come across in the exercise, the camouflage pattern of woodland/jungle, compounds,crops grassland and arid stone colors! and like wise clad were his officers ,whom he received ready and alert with carriers on their back helmets slung by straps and hung on the back of their necks . Each stared at Dutta as he slowly walked a few paces one hand behind his back his eyes searched for perfection among his men and women , ready was the impression he desired. He ,held high his head and his squared jaw ,stubble and deep dimpled chin and eyes that pierced into the inner most of a person! showed enough to his OUTs he was ready as the word go and expected the same from his officers! his legs parted and his jaw dropped a wee bit "this course will test your mental and physical abilities to the limit, you will be faced with adrenalin fuelled obstacles such as tunnels, rope swings, high walls, water obstacles and barbed wire. You will be spilt into two teams officers, and working together is key to this event, you will need to encourage your team as you tackle each obstacles have you understood!? he bellowed.The officers responded by erected bodies and clicked heels and the rise and slam of one kneed leg.
He pulled his lips in and stood centre point before the line, "team leaders of the two platoons" he commanded, Sir! rang out and Bhatnager ,first marched away from the line and stood to attention by Dutta's right . Dutta watched as after a split second marched up Singh and stood at his left . Dutta stepped forward and paced with his head only just a little to one side, "identity your group officers! he bellowed with authority. A slightly unnerved Bhatnagar responded with clicked heel "yes Sir! ,Bannerjee, Bose, Chauhan , Gavde, Kadam, Kapur ,Khan Sir! confirmed Bhatnager , while her group thrust their chests forward to show compliance. Dutta gradually sided his head and narrowed his eyes towards Singh who then ,shouted, Sir! Rao, Singh, Sinha, Subramanium ,Tiwari, Venkatesan, Yadav, Sir! ,and his team clicked. "Right stand to line again"! headed Dutta to the two leaders and fired questions at them. He stood his chest broad his feet slightly apart "final check, Pesonal clothing", he bellowed his eyes cold and waiting ,"yes Sir, personal role radio, for quick ,reaction, aggressively and efficiently to rapidly changing situations ,including contact with the enemy"filled in Bhatnagar ,Dutta questioned with a raised palm what else do you need? ,Sir Singh responded, "personal load carrying equipment a tough ,modular system, of camouflaged belt.yok and pouches. "Correct officer!, Dutta lauded and final inclusion gear any one? Dutta enquired yes Sir answered Khan it's Personal armour! CBA combat body armour, which can be further reinforced with ceramic armour plates EBA, Enhanced Body Armour!, Dutta looked at her face and bowed his head a little once "good Khan for reminding us and I trust you have all got yours,it's imperative to carry it even in assimilated conditions he commanded as he looked at them with a rigid face. "Load" !shouted Dutta as the two military people and goods carrier camouflaged trucks complete with green mock vegetation camouflage netting arrived in a puff of dust they parked alongside in the ground and the officers all ran across to collect their bales of prerequisites covered in and bound with thick ropes ,the officers hauled them on their backs and lugged and chucked it in the back of one of the trucks ,Dutta stood at a distance and watched at the speed, dexterity and stamina of his soldiers, some tottered under the weight of the bales of tents ,utensils and other necessary needs for survival, food, first aid , and scaffolding and structural material, Dutta hollered "hurry up get a move on! you're are not at your local airport lugging your trolleys he bellowed "Yadav looks like you really want to stay back! put some muscle power in those limbs of yours!!, "Rao give the bloke a hand before he topples over with the bale of tents! barked Dutta his face screwed , Yadav dug his feet and with some struggle and helped by Rao managed to end up near the backend truck flap, turned away, faced Dutta and heaved off the load on his back! "there Yadav that wasn't so bad was it? said Dutta with a twinkle in his eye . Kapur tottered past Dutta and Dutta shouted "make sure you deliver it carefully that's got all our pots and pans it's interesting how you picked up the clang bang! bale! yes Sir smiled Sinha as he looked at Kapur dutta glared at Sinha and yelled "that'll be enough lads stop acting like school boys and get on with it!! .Dutta looked up and noticed that the girls showed good stamina and strength in loading the vehicle ,he was well pleased , good effort or rather an equal match for the men he thought as he ran his finger over his fore head ."All done Sir" ,said a voice he turned it was Khan her nose screwed up a little with the sun in her slight oriental eyes showing, she had a faint smile that revealed her attractive chipped top tooth as moist curls stuck to her rosy flushed face , he went humm and head signalled her back to her team ,"right load your selves in now"! he yelled and with his helmet still cradled in his looped arm ,walked towards his camo grassed and netted jeep, placed his helmet on the seat put on his ray bans ran his fingers through his hair and walked over to administer a final inspection of his cargo human and supplies .He looked at the officers huddled next to each other, their thigh and shoulder edges in close proximity with the person they were flanked by some holding their helmets, while others parked it between their heels on the truck floor. They had better get used to squashed seating conditions he mused for this was not a jolly they were going for . . he looked at them reflectively "everything ship shape? he questioned "yes Sir"!! the officers now as soldiers chorused. He nodded once, his mouth totally compressed I trust the team leaders have head counted their team members ,Bhatnagar and Singh, replied "yes Sir"!, further he questioned the appointed supplies coordinators ,"have you checked the count of your bales and the security of your goods? he interrogated "we have Sir! answered Tiwari and Chauhan, Dautta hummmhed and took a few paces and checked the truck with the supplies he gave a visual count , six bulky bales and poles and ropes ,he nodded and with his mouth pulled to one side retraced his steps towards the seated officers , Tiwari or Chauhan how many bales ?he questioned as he took off his ray bans for a split second and pierced challengingly into their eyes ,"Sir , umh ah 7 I think apologised Tiwari red in her face ,you Chauhan how many bales? demanded menacingly Dutta, as he shoved his head up and down, "well Sir" ,dutta raised his hand up for all to see "ok get down now you two! and get over to the supplies truck and find out now!!! ,he commanded while the rest sat still in fear ,they had never seen him angry before ,he moved his head as he saw the officers clamour in and then jumped of the truck they came and stood before their commander in attention posture, "well?he questioned his eye brow raised "6 Sir! they said their necks stiff, he nudged his neck "get in please"he said with forced composure ,they sneaked under his eyes back to their seats in the truck "now officers this no laughing matter that you umm and arhh , you need to know your stuff at your finger tips as in wake of combat you need took avert hard the enemy,who is not there to make friends so make sure you know your inventory of all supplies! keep a tab! and keep the team leader informed". The officers looked wide eyed and appeared unaware of what hit them as he almost grunted and walked off towards his jeep slid in, clicked his seat belt, and fitted his metal helmet on his head, adjusted the chin strap with his immaculate fingers, started the engine and moved off in a puff of dust. Gradually in second gear his jeep moved forward in front of the truck with the human cargo ,he paused briefly and signalled with his hand ahead, checked his rear mirror as the trucks in a cordon followed him out of the Military College out on to the road .They headed towards a designated military obstacle and assault course territorial site for the initial first time exercise . He checked his rear mirror and was pleased to note that the vehicles drove in the slow lanes and maintained the required speed. This was his life and he responded well to it , more so now after the lull of injury that had disabled him for an instance in life , but he smiled as he gripped the steering wheel now, It was an episode of the past, he cranked his helmeted head ,now the future lay before him like the clear road ahead! he sucked his lower lip and let one hand go of the steering and opened and closed his fist and repeated the action with the other hand as well, he checked the rear mirror all seemed well ..
The officers sat huddled and squirmed there bottoms on the hard side metal seats of the truck every now and then road bumps gave them a jolt and prompted knocking of shoulders and bouncing of bottoms bringing with it a degree of discomfort . Kapur stole a look at Khan at opportune instances ,"hummm so make sure you get your act together Bhatnagar" snided Singh ,"oh definitely there is no debate on the issue amongst both the teams, snapped Bhatnagar, "Oye let's not be so serious where is the spirit of adventure? gosh this is like going on an geography expedition trip! exclaimed Rao , "wish it was those were these days my friend we thought they'd never end we'd sing and dance! said Rao and Singh got up and started we'd sing and dance again those were the days yesss those were the days!, there was a jolt and he very nearly feel on the dames oops!! pardon ladies ,the driver yelled "oye sit down Sir we are on a gradient besides you shouldn't be standing its dangerousl! ,"yeah grow up" sneered Bhatanagar ,act your age and your profession, remember we represent he Indian army so respect for uniform at all times! chipped in a well behaved Subramanium . "so Khan are you looking forward to the exercise then? asked a smitten Kapur, she looked up her innocent eyes had a matter of fact relay "no more or less than anyone else ,it's a requirement to help us obtain promotion so all in a matter of course" she replied dryly and Singh pulled a mouth at a crest fallen Kapur. The journey continued and a few officers tapped at the drivers partition "nature's call please" .The convoy stopped as Dutta saw the beam being blinked at him through the rear mirror . He indicated and parked his jeep at the hard shoulder of the motorway. He jumped out of his jeep took his helmet off and walked over to his officers "yes what seems to be the issue? He asked Sir!!, a few of the male officers tried to raise their little fingers and he glared at them and Khan said innocently "natures call" ,he lowered his eyes and went "ahem! ok you lot get out and do your business in two minutes and then back in the truck"! he ordered as he moved aside.The team leaders undid the latches on both sides of the shut board of the truck and officers scrambled out ,Kapur got out and turned around just in time to offer his hand to Khan who looked at Dutta , who looked the other way as he tweaked his tash and she rejected and fitted her foot in the safety step at the back of the truck and got off confidently .Dutta kept his back to the officers but decided to give a glance for safety reasons and his eyes twinkled as he saw the gender divide, the females dived and disappeared in thick vegetation for isolation and shrubbery, while the males found the nearest spot unconcerned with privacy ! Dutta smiled and somewhat shook his head , he heard the pitter patter of feet as a few of the lads scrambled back into the truck .The girls all emerged looking flushed and a bit flustered and he looked at them and headed towards the truck. Once they had nearly boarded he ran towards an opening of thick vegetation and discreetly did his business and resurfaced, feeling a lot lighter than before. The girls all sniggered and pinched each other "well nice to know he's human like us! they tittilated, "oh he is very human" blurted Khan innocently and immediately bit her lip . Singh, Sinha and Kapur moaned "yaar till this missile man is around apna koi chance nehi hai!" . Khan chided herself for her stupidity and vowed to herself she needed to think before she spoke as far he was concerned.
The assault and obstacle finally approached and the trucks ,Dutta's jeep pulled up in at the ear marked space. In the one instance, it was a ruddy terrain ,muddy soil without cracks free of large stones ,the land told the tale that much rain had not quenched its thirst and as such appeared fairly hard but not rock solid .It was flanked by tall trees and thick foliage .The officers breathed a sigh of relief and hurriedly grabbed their helmets and the team leaders lowered the back flap of the truck for all to disembark . Dutta sauntered over and viewed his officers and saw sights of some stretching their legs and joints . The team leaders called their teams to attention and Dutta inspected the OUTs who stood to attention "well this it officers military school assault course, team leaders get on with the next step you have an hour to get your shelters erected, may I remind you that team leaders need to ensure that tasks are distributed evenly and you will need to ensure within the given time , remember you are not here on vacation, every second is counted for" Dutta ordered as he stood with his muscular legs slightly apart and his fingers rested on his hips .The OUTS unloaded the bales ,and under Dutta's watchful eyes ,bales were lossened ,tents were unfurled and straightened ,poles were malleted in soft points in the soil ,poles were hoisted for cloths lines ,and tents were pitched to corner requirements .He smiled at the swiftness , concentration shared ownership and team worK ,"officers!! he shouted "you have another 10 minutes to get your sleeping bags ,personal belongings, tent pitched and supplies unloaded and deposited to the supplies tent , the meals preparation party needs to give the evening meal a thought"! Dutta pointed out "Sir! said Venkatesan fuel needs to be collected , "correct!! confirmed Dutta in a loud voice "and two officers from both teams need to gather the fuel, and I repeat enough fuel to last you at least 3meals! , he ordered, as he saw them still busily hammering carrying supplies to the supply tent and collecting all the handy tools and securing them in a safety place for recurrent use .He whistled and every came and stood in a vertical file adjacent to him , "stand at ease officers he commanded, while he gazed at them with fierce eyes. Rao raised her hand "Sir! are we allowed to use are mobiles ? Dutta rasied his head and squared his shoulders and continued in his guttural voice "yes you may, as confirmed once before, I repeat we encourage officers to maintain contact with their families and friends but this priviledge is allowed right the end of the day for half an hour ,before your bed time he said firmly .
Once the fuel was collected and dumped in the supply room ,he watched with interest as Kadam Khan and Bose poke about and the fire was ignited by rubbing two stones together he sauntered over and bent his knees and smiled at the officers "I am impressed at your bush camp skills officers of lighting a fire the primitive way" .Khan who watched Dutta 's interest came carrying the metal tea kettle full of water ,ready to be placed on the licking and dancing flames. "Sir today will you have tea?she asked anticipating, he looked up from his bent postion straight into her eye fully for he first time and his mouth curved in a mini smile, "well wouldn't mind today officer" ,a few more gathered and suggested to Khan "make it in the style you make it at your home,Khan"! "yes" said Tiwari and she went and brought a pot and Khan emptied the water from the metal kettle into the pot and Yadav said I know my mum makes it like this ,she adds in the tea leaves, "no not yet" corrected Khan "you need to let the water boil first then add in your milk, sugar and tea leaves" ,Dutta moved back a little and felt his cheek as he held one arm up while the other lay folded against his abs, he smiled "is that how Naku makes tea in PN every time she brought tea to his room", he pondered in fondness . He walked away in solitude and sucked air as he gave a deeply imbedded heart rendered sigh, "here you are Sir" he turned, as she held Dutta's metal mug ,he deftly took it from her hand and said "thank you officer" ,he could see loose black ant like tea leaves swirling at the top of his tea ,he blew at his mug for it to cool off ,he must say, he considered... Naku! how come her tea never had any ants swimming in it? .He smiled as he walked away from the rest and bent his knees and sat on a chopped tree trunk , the wind blew his hair and teased a few wisps onto his forehead in a loop the rest of the officers collected their tea and some lay on their side with one hand holding their head and others just sat on the edge greenery their knees apart a bit .There was a certain calm and quiet about, as before a storm...
Dutta heaved himself up held his empty mug and commanded "right officers 5 minutes to clear up stub the fire out ,wash the mugs and on parade please!! .He saw a fast forward of his command as uniformed figures dashed about and eventually there was a stop with all in front of him in section form . He folded his arms and yanked his head a little right ,"yes! refreshments over now to get down to business ,since it's is still late am, there will be activity right away"!. He moved his head towards the right and returned it to centre position as he continued to address them. "Stand at ease"! he shouted and they did and moved their eyes to the right where he had indicated before he loosened his muscular arms and let them fall by his sides and with great authority he spoke "teams now here you will be working as part of a team ! so team building exercises are pivotal to line infantry combat!, commanded Dutta as all stood in awe of him and he continued , "your individual gut has to used to propel and motor the larger gut of the team! all individual excelling has to be geared towards joint win , personal differences need to be set aside all, as there is no room for it, for you do compete against the enemy the other side , the other team! so officers the need of the hour is to think fast! play hard! and your team will conquer the assaults! Right ! Dutta shouted get set teams for the Dive tubes!" "Remember the enemy has challenged you"! he yelled "show the foe that's it' true you accept the dare and who dares wins "! He barked as the two teams ran and took their places one by one .
Singh's team lined all poised and reared to go as they looked at the huge concrete tube with a thick tug rope running through one end of the tube, the task was for each person to pull themselves through with the help of the rope tunnel tube as fast as they can and out the other end! Dutta would keep a watch full eye on responses with stop watch and note pad ... they stood ready with their combat helmets on go! Go! go Dutta yelled Bhatnagar crawled in and moved pull the rope! move your self! move up! move up !pull up the rope Dutta yelled as the first one got out "come on Bose what the hell are you waiting for? pull up! move yourself up by pulling the rope! yes good your doing well nearly there"!!! Dutta encouraged the slow ones, next Chauhan panted and pulled and Dutta shouted "put some muscle in the pull and grab the rope and pull!! pull the rope ! come on Gavde you are doing well! yes push your self up!! use your knees if you have to move up! Up! up !up Dutta shouted good khan tighten the grip on the rope and pull as hard as you can ! Dutta shouted ok!!!! ..next team and Singh 's team repeated the process and Dutta continued to shout commands and make notes .. "ok good all take a breather and then chargeee !towards the next obstacle! the net crawl remember what counts is the last person over the net obstacle and not the first one! for the team to win. He saw them scramble and grope over the net speckled with black tyres as well .He watched and bellowed "for heaven's sake shove your foot in the netting! ,put your foot in the tyre to haul you over the pole come on you don't have all day keep going up towards the pole Rao! you listen up! this is not a damn circus trapeze that you swing around!!! stiffen your leg and knee up I want to see some good going over the pole at the top!! swing your damn leg over Sinha before the enemy bullet gets your leg come on over!! over over!!!" . "ok file up in your teams ,.he walked over lazily and looked them up, "seems to me you guys are in a fun fair mood!! ..let's see if you can swing yourself over this pool on muddy water! especially prepared to give you a nice mud bath its waiting for your get set! you have one rope to swing you from one bank to the other! so make sure you swing the rope back for the next in line in your team to catch and swing over he instructed ...ok Singh your go!!, who grabbed the rope and swung to the other side and swung the rope back for the next person , "Yadav keep your knees up! and don't look so lovingly towards the muddy pool unless you want to end in it! keep the eyes on the other side" ,Dutta shouted , he saw tiwari crash land on the bank " oh my Tiwari not a good landing what did you think your out on a trampoline bounce at he fair! aim your legs with slight bend of the knees ready to land on the other side ...yelled Dutta.
Dutta felt he ouht to give them more of an endurance test "Right the last activity of the day! hopefully should cool you off!, he jogged into the greenery and the two teams jogged behind him, his chest heaved and his body moved in a paced tempo as also did all his soldiers, he veered off deeper into the thick vegetation till he got to the mucky bank of the of muddy water ,ok he stood at the bank and faced his officesr , there you go officers river crossing, walk the current!.. surprise! surprise" he peered into their face ,"only a bit ofgrubby water your job is to follow the river, the running waters! their let's see how you do it! he challenged with a slight shake of his head as his eyes dared, they stood around him with screwed up faces "make sure the water gets all of you a everything soaked! , he turned to note the semi circle of his officers and caught off guard a few of them in excited mode perform a duck wade , he gave them a frozen look and reprimanded "which way you move wade or waddle! the flow will show you but come on don't act like a bunch of hippos! he growled and a few of them giggled especially Khan and Tiwari so he yelled "this is not entertainment officers!! this is exercise enemies are watching you!! as such how you fare in the exercise is your guess as mine? he said dryly and glared at them and blew the whistle "321 go"! he shouted , in two's and three's, they thumped their bottoms on the slippery gradient bank and slid down the bank and splashed into the water, great whopping lunged dives! and while their bottoms slid, he shouted from the bank go ! go! Go! Now ! and they ran in stampede! running ahead!, "follow the river right round move! moveit! and keep going don't let the torrent stop you move faster!, he shouted they ran quicker and faster as they splattered and splashed their bodies across the tide , knees in action! feet in clash against the water !. The first few tumbled against a wooden log and jumped over the log and carried on the run "good good!! Dutta shouted as he moved his postion along the river bank with the flow they trudged on, and he kept a watchful eye on them, they ran and came cross another beam, "jump over the beam!!, he shouted "then carry on"! and most of them performed the jump and continued the run around the river flow the water soaking and stopping their moves forward, onwards ,but he carried on till the finish line and finally "come out now!! he yelled and saw his officers give a hand to those who struggled, those who needed a hand "good! he said "remember it's the last person of your team that makes up the winning point .. that's where your count stops your time stops"!! Dutta yelled "the last person in your team at the finishing line not first",he repeated. He moved back as the last persons from both teams slithered out of the running water!
He ordered them to sit on the ground "ok feedback, so fire" he commanded as he loomed over them and scanned with near satisfaction his slimy mud saturated combat suited officers, he thought now this should bring them back to the real taste of the terrain in combat! "well is any one going to say something ? he questioned irritated ,he felt they were in a rest mode so he said "ok the two team leaders comments," "Sir! the river task was a bit of a shock I don't think we realized it would be a splash ,we envisaged a slow slide where we just lowered our selves in water" admitted Bhatnagar, Dutta listened as he bit his lip ,and replied "slow slide did you reckon you were on a waterslide in a recreational theme park officers? well not quite" he said with a bow of his head as his lion like eyes started at them. "Sir for me the biggest shock was to be almost thrown into the running waters,it was like we didn't know not what to expect, and suddenly he log appeared but we had to carry on" said Khan, "well yes that's the point you just go, no time sometimes is given at the outset to think in combat ,but still thinking needs to be done ,your main objective is to get over the obstacle! the hurdle! and you do it as a team!, there is plenty of time to out shine your self but when it comes to team work you think as one! replied Dutta as he raised his palm at them in all earnestness.
He put his hands behind his back and continued his feedback, "however during the exercise I did note that Subramanium pulled Singh over, as his foot struggled to maintain a grip during the hauls out of the river, so for next time a word for you officer and all else steady your foot on the slime of the bank, ,but I could seein consequence of Singh's foot, some good team effort, few more hands officers dragged your team person over the edge of the bank so good work! Dutta remarked positively, and allowed his lips to part and continued with almost a softened glance over his officers "I should hope you, yourselves, were also able to note some tremendous teamwork and fitness work! , so he paused "getting there but continue to work at perfection levels! he remarked with a slight crank of his neck , "ok that was jolly good going officers, we call it a day now" ... he nearly threw back his head and chuckled and said sincerely "hope you have something to change into when we get back to our camp other wise" ...the officers relaxed bit Kapur said "we have sir tee and track bottoms!" ... "huumm" Dutta mumbled and ordered "ok then we'd better jog back to camp and I trust you will be nearly in a dry when we get back, right lets go! and resumed the jogging cadence back to their camp these military might in wet uniforms phased out but not quite finished...
Once they got back, he commanded "right organise dinner! and personal organisation time now, occupy your selves, get changed or whatever"! he saw some happy faces and killed their joy by adding "before that the two team leaders report the rest of the day and synopsis of following day proceedings "Dutta continued. The two team leaders marched up and stood and addressed "ok officers your time till bedtime now is as follows, dinner between 6or 7.00pm, lights out ! between 9-10pm",stated Singh, while Dutta nodded, and he glanced at Bhatnagar who continued "first rise tomorrow 5.30 am, ready for drill, dressed, breakfast 7.00 and assault continued from 8am till lunch at 12.00 and then from 1.00pm till dinner time at 6.00pm the final obstacles and round off day with dinner at 7.00pm. 7~9, own time for personal organisation", she finished as she glanced at Dutta for approval. Dutta folded his arms he compressed his mouth to one side ,"yes thank you officers that was loud and clear", tommorrow's exercises will be based more climbing walls, on balance beams, under and over bars! so hopefully there should be some more fine examples of your agility ,fitness, and quick thinking, he informed and now your at ease" he commanded and finished.
He sat on the tree stump ,his note pad lodged against his propped up knee ,pen between his fore finger and thumb ,the wind again caressed his hair and he gradually shifted his head towards the camp deep in thought .He looked at his officers as each emerged engrossed in a mix of activities, some changed into camouflaged tee shirts and olive green track bottoms ,others pegged their mud caked combat uniforms on speedily erected washing lines behind their tents. He made a note, good thinking as they cut time ,the mud would dry and a few good hand scrunches of the garments followed by a couple of hard muscular shrugs would do the dry! for here the call was not clean but dry garments ,he smiled as he ran his finger across his upper corner of his lip. He continued with his pupil assessment notes as he ran his hand loosely through his hair ,he looked like a resting lion all calm ,bar his shifting narrow eyes that forever stayed on his cubs! "shall we unload your baggage from the jeep", they offered. ,Dutta looked up with narrow eyes at his officers it was Khan ,with her innocent eyes and Subramanium ,the well behaved compliant officer . In response, Dutta stood up held his clip board and replied with a hint of an almost smile, "thanks for offering but each to himself and he looked at Khan very briefly, "or herself here" and he stalked off towards his jeep .Khan watched his tall back and was nearly a victim of a swoon as she noted much to her delight that not only did he look at her but referred to her ,and she sailed with a light foot towards the fire and her task of preparing rice and vegetable curry for the evening meal .She bent over and uncovered the two hearths one which held water near to the boil and the other , final simmer of the vegetables. She lifted the lid to check the boil of water as she moved her curls back from her face ,"there you go" said Kapur as he bent close to her I'eve washed and drained the rice for you", he offered, she turned her head and looked at him "why thanks per abhi nehi ,pani abhi boil nehi hoya" she informed ,Kapur, but he continued, "Khan may I help you in the preparation? ,she looked up Kapur "hum I guess you can perhaps, you can drain the rice for me" she suggested Kapur straighted up I'd love to do that declared Kapur ",and than shall I help you serve the food as well? he asked keenly "there's no need for that ,Kapur"! intercepted Bhatnagar , Bose and Venkatesan are doing that ,"oye! tu washing up ker lena, Kapur! guffawed Singh, "chup ker main team leader hoon defended Kapur I was being helpful" ,he defended himself ,"yes I know that you're helping yourself!!, they joked ...
Dutta walked towards his jeep his nose delighted as he inhaled the aroma of an under preparation curry, mixed with the smell of burning tinder. He licked his lips and his eyes twinkled as he pondered there was no way in hell he would have allowed his gear to be part of the cargo carrier, he yanked his head for his baggage contained classified information, yes his baggage was labelled but he could not risk it being swapped with someone else's personal belongings ,especially so as the sleeping bags were all the definitive uniformed camouflaged roll. He grabbed his sleeping bag pouch and swung the string over his shoulder, lifted his ruck sack and slugged it on the other shoulder ,and with bold steps walked towards his tent ,lifted the flap, walked in and hurled his load on the enclosed grassy space of his tent . The gong for dinner sounded and he ducked his head and rolled his sleeves up a bit and saw the scene of the camp fire, two dancing hearths spurting sparks, his offers sitting on their hinds waiting for their commander to arrive so that dinner could commence. He came and sat in a gap already provided from him ,he looked sat the servers and jut his chin as signal to start and said "tuck in ladies and gentleman" . The serves started and metal bowls filled to the brim with steaming rice and vegetable curry was passed around as eager hands grasped and hungry mouths tucked in with approving nods, Dutta's food was brought to him he took it and put it on the ground for a few minutes for it to cool off, Khan did the same as she gazed at him ,in wait for him to start .Dutta finally cupped the bowl in his broad palm and started on his food, he moved the food in his mouth and was lost in thought Naku tera haat ka khane lagata hai ,he smiled as he carried on eating, chewing swallowing and occasionally stopping to wipe the grain of rice from the corner of his mouth ,he felt a stare and noted it was Khan and he lowered his eyes, as he continued eating in silence, but moved his face the other way .Khan's eyes cried out for a compliment finally it came "complements to the chef ,ghar ke khana jaise hai" he remarked . Khan nearly chocked ,but Dutta was unaware as he had finished and took his bowl over to rinse it clean .All eyes followed his action as did the team leaders ,and Bhatnagar said in a loud voice "I guess that answers your question about who's going to do washing up , everyone does their own! she commanded .Dutta heard and smiled, good on you Bhatnagar he mulled ,fast learner you are .. Once dinner finished and the hearths were wetted and put out ,Dutta announced "ok now you can use your phones and occupy yourselves in whichever activity you deem fit remember, however no wondering off ,keep your team leaders informed even if it needs to be for natures call ,also allocate your night vigil ,a quick word also no food scraps strewn around as it may attract un welcome furry visitors to the camp, and make sure you crash at the right time .right that'll be all" he ordered and was amused to note that most of all, whipped out their mobiles!. He lifted the flap of his tent and checked out his sleeping bag he sighed kicked it up with his boot and caught it in his arms gave a sniff and finally pulled off its sleeve ,his jaw twitched, his brow creased as he felt the zip, propped the bag against the grass floor and gradually unrolled the sleeping bag he placed his palms to smooth it as he kneeled near it ,his heart bounced again his rib cage as he unzipped it completely and he eyes saw her purple chunni! against the quilted back ground of camouflage! he sucked his lower lip and literally jumped on it and squashed it under his full stretched muscular body weight, his long booted legs poked awkwardly out of the unfurled sleeping bag! He kissed the top end of the chunni madly, the shining bits grazed his flushed soft stubble cheeks he nosed it and clutched it with an all consuming fire, buried his face in it "ooohhh baby missed you baabby" ... but he stopped and lifted his red face "tera saab tera se gussa hai Naku and he mouthed a bit of her chunni and pulled it savagely with his teeth ,he buried his face in it again and smelt and kissed it "haan mein naraaz hoon thujhe se Naku" he said as his hands brutally scrunched it up from the corners of his fingers digging into ,it he muffled "you stupid woman you bloody have people as your pet moles, aur woh bhi meri student" he gave a buried yelled in the chunni, "trust kahan hai tera pagal aurat!! ooon! he pushed his weight on the chunni , and after he had his moan he pulled his legs up and sat haunch kneed and finally smoothed the chunni with his broad slender shapely palms and placed his palms flat and pushed him up to stand up tall and walked to the tent flap. He liftedthe flap and gave a quick visual, checkedthe sentinels posted near each of the six tents. Once satisfied, he receded back to the sleeping bag and lifted the chunni, laid on his back in full uniform including his boots and spread the chunni over him ,and spoke to the chunni's end, near his mouth "baby teri yaad ah rehe hai dil tu hai thujse se baat na karoon ,but Dutta is going balmy ,so lump my bloody ego,Naku".. he moaned he held and activated his phone the ring went, and before he could bat an eye lid, her voice washed his soul "Saab,sssaab",she sniffed ,"hummm Naku this has to be you teri roona he tu hai tera hello hi for me" he said dryly ,"Saab" she sounded of like an annoyed child ,"baat sun ek daffa aur aagar tune Saab bolo tu mein tera gala daba doon ga!! he roared ,"tu ye lau dabba doon na Saab kis ne rok hai , acha hai Naku ke jaan na reha gi Na ap ki yaad aye gi use,aur na he woh Saab !saab!ker gi" ,she cried he pulled her chunni to his face and storked his cheek with it ,"neha Naku I can think of better punishments for your neck ,how about if I give a slowww draggyyy kisss with my mouth",he drawled dreamily ,she gasped a little and he quipped "so I take it you responded well to that action" ,she fell silent "bolo ab kuch baat ker ,ke abhi bhi naraz hai mujhe se ,I put down the phone on you last time we spoke" he recapped ,"no why should I be angry? I know I wasn't spying on you I was just concerned about your welfare" she carried on ,"and as far as Khan is concerned we both are professionals not daffy ducks!! that we would discuss are jobs"! retorted Naku ,"ok point taken" Naku accepted Dutta , "so aren't you going to ask me if I have eaten?, what? and how much? he teased ,"nope" she replied not interested Saab",she hissed ,"why thank you so Dutta has finally come of age his mamma will quit her mothering yeah!! he went ,"oh absolutely Saab you are free!!,she replied , "free hai Naku thanks very much tune tu mujhe ghoole chutti de de hai!! girls here I come! feed me! he said in a raised vice ,"nehi mein na aise nehi kha Saab ap apna pas se na baatien banien"! she complained. Naku could hear chirp of crickets in the back ground, "Saab where are you?, are you in your apartment at the college" or.., he stopped her "you were told not to quizz me about my job were you not? he rudely interrupted ready to blow a fuse, "I was acknowledged Naku but surely families of armed personnel are granted the permission by the army to have access about where their loved ones are? of course without disclosing location information! she argued "haaa he laughed "tu ye baat hai!! oi hoi! ,bahut taeez ho giya hai tu Naku ,well have to admit I am a bit balled out here!! Sniggered, "what's so funny Saab stop being so condescending! She snapped back "oye pooch phir ju poochna hai" he teased ,"where are you then? she repeated ,"main on exercise Naku, not jiving around with hot birdies in the local jollyjoint! my baaaby he jested, "oh I thought so Saab so you are out in the open then"she prodded , "hummm" he said as he stroked the chunni with his fingers "ab don't ask any more baby ,choor is baat ko", he brushed aside "nehi Saab fikar ho rehi ap ke" ,she goaded him "kyun? he went "ise liya wahan khoole mein keera bhi hoon ge" ,she said "hummm,he replied "thujhe dar hai ke mujhe kahte kahanien ga haina Naku? he asked softely ,nehein Saab ap ke fikar nehi karoon ge, fikar hai keeroon ka , chinta hai ap ko katne ke baad tu woh khud he mar jayenga! she giggled "oye jahaal aurat mazaaq ker ti hai apna devta ka", he roared "devta tu hain Saab per khabhi kabhi tu khoon ke jaga ap mein zaher bhar jata hai, she taunted , he heard and yelled "listen woman put a lid on that gob of yours! yaking too much! may be I need to fly down to your dera and shuttt your delicious mouth with a deep kisss ,humm shall I"? he said "uhomnok" she declined ,"kyon haq hai mera tera per , har waqat dor se he tarsai gi kya Naku? he ,she giggled ,"challo Saab tell me how is Khan? she asked silently changing the topic ,for a second he paused and tweaked his mouth and flashed his eyes and gushed out "you thick headed woman mujhe kya pata?! ,woh kio meri dost hai kiya? , am I her bloody keeper? ,he paused "yes I am her bloody tutor but Naku not!!! I clearly say not her mate"! he said cantankerously, "Saab please calm down why do you twist everything! I asked because since she stayed at our home we kind of bonded", she explained , "haan mujhe pata hai Naku aur to tu apne bloody bonding! mein ye bhool giyaye hai ke use officer ka mera se kya link hai ,is there some sort of a gap in your brain Naku! that you can't see that"! he hollered ,"look Saab all I can say is Iam sorry I asked I guess it was short sighted of me" ,she said apologetically ",your bloody right Naku" he retorted and she chipped in, "never mind Saab I'll phone her myself to chat ,just wondering you don't mind do you?" she asked quietly ,"why would I Naku , do I care I don't think not me!! grunted call "choor why the hell are we discussing her tu apni baat ker kaise hai tu?,and oh by the way sorry for yelling at you" ,he said eventually realizing his pig headedness ,well I have a bit of a cold Saab she sniffed ,"humm actually teri awazz stuffy aur nasal sound ker rehi the , oye lardki! don't give me your germs door reha mujhe se"! he teased , "well the way you talk to me Saab I want to give you my germs I really do"! she sulked, "oye shut up! aur choop ker ke close your eyes" he drawled ,"nehi" she declined "nehi matlab tu meri bahoon mein nehi aye gi? chaal phir mein jata hoon, aur tub hi ja mera kamre se! he said in a bruised tone ,"ye lao Saab mein ah gaye ap ke bahoon mein she whispered "hummm he went "you smell delicious baaby ,do you know where you are my Naku? he asked "no Saab where?, she whispered back softely, "arrrhmmmhh baby you are sprawled on the chest of a soldier!! "hain Saab? she went "haan Naku your are in bed with a soldier tonite , woh bhi in full uniform! god help this soldier if it's found out that he his woman beside him hummm" he went as he buried his nose in the chunni and slowly turned to his side, the purple chunni clutched pasionately against his warm uniformed body, "you there baaaby?" he whispered hoarsely ,"humm Saab"she replied ,"Naku ja tu ab so ja love you baaabby nite nite" he closed his eyes in quiet contentment, the purple chunni part covered his stubble face, while her eyes shed tears...and the call ended... to be continued Hamlet 19.11.11
Precap: "I am gutted Harshad , so what is the truth then?tell me I am listening said Naku"...
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