Patrick discusses things with Ranjit and at home (tag Ranjit, Lakshmi)
((Ali Masjed, B Co.))
Patrick went in to Jack office, his face still a bit pale.
“Sir,” said Patrick, “am I still on paper work?”
"Ah, no, you're on full duty. Ah, why are you so pale?"
“I just heard what's in store for me after I get back from the honeymoon. It’s going to be a long month.”
He sighed. “It's going to be embarrassing but I know I deserve it. I caused a lot of trouble with that prank. But sir, if it had gone to a court martial, it would have been far more serious than wearing a sign for a month. That’s why I accepted the Colonel’s punishment. And, I report to him when I return from my leave.”
"I see. Well, it'll be memorable, if nothing else." To hide a smile, Jack looked out a window. It might get Patrick the permanent nickname of "Rocketman," but Jack doubted it would suppress Patrick's habit of pranks for very long.
"Well, back to work, then. Let's get with the First Sergeant and take a look at these training schedules."
Patrick had a quiet word with Ranjit. “Sir,” he asked, can you and Indra look after the kids for us, for our honeymoon? It will be for a week.”
“I have booked a hotel room for us. I have a feeling we will not see much of the town, this trip. It’s the closest thing they have to a honeymoon suite. It’s alright since I saved the money. Lakshmi does not know anything about it. I know she has been very good, not complaining about the lack of funds, thanks to the fine. I can not give her much as a wedding present. But I thought she might like the luxury.”
"I suppose you know what command has in store for me. Still I suppose it beats being locked up. And, there were other charges that could have been brought against me. One of the perks of being an officer is that at least I will not be flogged.”
Patrick was exhausted when he got home. “Lakshmi, I need to talk to you, first. Come, little one. You need to know as well."
Lakshmi could see that Pahtreck was not happy, and Indra, young though she was, could see that Dahdee was upset about something.
"What is it, Babuji?
"Dahdee," said Indra, "you are not happy."
“The Colonel will be coming to the wedding, and we have a week leave. I will ask Ranjit if the family can stay with them. You will be good?” he asked Indra.
"Dahdee, I will be good! You and Mummy are going away?"
"Sorry, little one. This is a special time for mummy and daddy.”
“Lakshmi,” he said, “the Colonel gave me a choice today. I am to be punished for the rocket prank. It start the day we get back from honeymoon, and, it will last a month. I have to wear a name tag that reads, in capital letters, “rocket man,” and instead of a sword or pistol on ceremonies or parades, I carry a wooden rocket instead.”
Lakshmi didn't know whether to laugh or be sympathetic! But, she saw the look on Pahtreck's face, so she was sympathetic.
"Oh, Babuji, it will be embarrassing, but we will get through it together! Don't worry." She gave him a hug.
“I have officially accepted the punishment. It would have been far worse if I had been charged. I know it will be embarrassing. The sign stays on for a month.”
"We will manage; I know we will."
“That’s why I asked for it to be deferred; otherwise it would have had to stay on during the wedding.”
"I'm happy that you don't have to wear it during the wedding. It would be most embarrassing."
“Indra, do you understand, now, what happens if we do bad things? Your daddy did it at work, and now, there’s a price to pay for my actions.”
"Dahdee, I am a good girl."
Lakshmi gave her daughter a look. The girl was as good as one could expect. She wasn't an angel.
Patrick saw Lakshmi’s look. “I am sure she will be good dear,” but in an undertone to Lakshmi, he said, “Leave her to me if she not. She won’t like my displeasure if she cross that line
Indra looked up at her Dahdee and said, “Indra will be good.”
“I know you will try, little one.”
"Babuji, please come in and relax. You look exhausted. I have dinner ready. It's warming on the stove. We can sit for a few minutes and relax. The twins are crawling around on the rug. They are growing, you know. And, Indra wants to show you what she learned, today. She wants to read to us, from her books. Come, come; come and sit down, and relax. What would you like for a snack?"
"Yes, Dahdee," said Indra, "I will read to you from my book! Mummy did teach me, today."
“Yes, let us do that.” He went into the room where the twins were crawling around.
“Gosh,” he said, “they are getting big.”
He gave Lakshmi a wink and said, “You know how about some more after the wedding? There’s a rather smart hotel in Peshawar waiting for us.”
“Alright, little one, that’s enough adult talk.” He could see she was getting impatient.
“Come read to me while mummy gets us some lemonade and how about a few nuts?”
Indra started reading out loud to Dahdee.
Patrick knew she was trying and gently encouraged her when she was starting to sound out the words.
“Thanks, love,” he said.
These were special times for Patrick with his family around him.
“Not long till Christmas eve,” he said. I know the reverend has everything ready for us. And, the camp kitchen preparing a feast. They know what every one likes.”
“Dahdee,” Indra asked, “what’s Christmas?” Dahdee explained to her the story of Christmas. “And, if children are good, they can expect a surprise from Father Christmas. And, the evening before, you will be our flower girl.”
Lakshmi and Patrick had been gathering up little surprises for all three children.
“Have you thought about bridesmaids? Jack will need a partner. How about Emily?”
“Lakshmi, it would be funny if Jack becomes my brother in law, one day. I have seen the way he looks at Emily. He will have to ask my permission, though. I am head of the family in India . I’ve no idea where father is at any given time. Some where on the ocean is my best guess.”
Lt. Patrick Tindall, XO
B Company, 1st Battalion
5th Khyber Rifles