Planning a Wedding (tag Lakshmi, Indra, Jack, Corporal)
Bronwyn, sorry I'm so late with this. I'll get my reply up, tonight, and get it out, tomorrow. - Kim
Private Harpreet is cleaning muskets, as an extra duty punishment. Harpreet looked at the remaining muskets; he would never get them clean in an hour.
The Corporal was back all too soon. Harpreet, in his haste to get the muskets clean, had not realized one unclean musket had been dumped into the clean pile. To Harpreet's dismay, the heavy musket was thrown back at him.
"This is not up to standards, Private."
"I thought I had at least done all the ones in that pile!" He cleaned it under the Corporal's stern gaze and handed it back
"That's better, Private."
"Now what?" he asked
Corporal Iskandar suppressed a desire to punish him further for the insolent reply. He should have said, "Yes, Sergeant."
"You are dismissed back to the barracks, for the night. Tomorrow is Sunday; I will have more details for you, then."
Harpreet grimaced behind the Corporal's back. When he caught the tone of the Corporal's voice, he realized he was lucky not to be punshied further that night. He was brought a meal; then he got into bed.
It was lonely in the barracks. It seemed like no time before morning come and the Corporal arrived to get him up for his extra duties for the day. He wondered what he would be doing. The rest of the men would be back in the afternoon, and they would be excited about seeing their families. Still it was his own fault; his bad behavior had cost him his weekend leave. The Corporal came back.
"I am ready, Corporal."
((A week, or so, later))
A few days after the general's visit, they were in the Company office, and a large commotion was heard.
"I best go see what it is, Jack."
Patrick went outside to find his mother had arrived with the dispatches. "Hello, mother," he said.
"Oh, the name," he said. "I am being punished for a prank. Now, come meet your son in law to be."
They both went in. "No need to call out the guard, Jack. Say hello to your mother in law to be."
Jack smiled. "Welcome to our remote corner of the world, ma'am. It was so good of you to come all the way out here. I know Emily will be thrilled." At least, I hope Emily will be thrilled, he thought to himself.
"Patrick just what have you been up to this time? You're not too big for a spanking you know." She winked in Jack's direction.
Jack smiled. "Our mothers never think we are too big for a swat, if need be. I know my mother is that way."
Emily arrived and greeted her mummy.
"Mummy, right this way." Emily got some soldiers to put her mother's bags and trunk in a cart, and they drove over to the bungalow. Miriam and Saya, with Lhasa , were waiting at the front gate.
"Mummy, these are our daughters, Miriam and Sayankala."
They both looked at the new lady and said, "You are our new grandma?"
"Yes, children; there will be presents later when I have unpacked. I hope you will be good till then."
"Oh, of course," they both chorused at once.
Lhasa gave them a look but could hardly refrain from a fond smile. They were like her own children. She had been a more permanent presence in their lives than their respective mothers or stepmothers. As a result, they could speak Tibetan as well as English and Hindi.
"And, that lady is Lhasa , who lives with us and is a nanny for the children."
Lhasa nodded, smiled and said, "It is a pleasure to meet you, ma'am."
"Thank you," replied Mrs. Tindall.
Emily glanced over at the next door bungalow and saw Lakshmi, holding the twins (how did she do that so easily?) and with Indra in tow, looking at them. “Oh, mother, you must meet your daughter-in-law and your other grandchildren.”
"I will be happy to." The mother was just glad her children had met and married partners that they loved. She could see that in both.
“Very well.” Emily went to the fence separating the two yards and gestured for Lakshmi to come over, with her brood. “Lakshmi,” she said, nodding to Mrs. Tindall, “that lady is your mother-in-law.”
“Oh, how nice.” Lakshmi hoped she would be introduced but didn’t know if Pahtreck’s mother had racial prejudices against Indians. Emily sensed this and turned to her mother. “Mother, come here and meet them.” Mrs. Tindall, smiling, came over.
"I have heard all about you, and it's all good, dear," she said as she took Lakshmi's hand in welcome.
Lakshmi smiled, relieved that her mother-in-law didn’t seem to have racial prejudices. “It is a pleasure to meet you, ma’am, at last. Pahtreck is the most wonderful husband. I am a very lucky woman.” Lakshmi was thankful that she had practiced speaking English. She had an accent, of course, but her grammar was near perfect. She gestured to Indra. “This little girl is our daughter, Indra. Indra, say hello to your grandmother. This is Dahdee’s mother.”
Indra smiled, stepped forward and said, “Hello, grandmother. I hope we will be friends and that you can stay with us for a little while.”
"Yes; after the wedding, if your dahdee and mummy have room for me."
"I know we will." The thought didn't bother Lakshmi at all. To have one's mother-in-law living with one was quite the normal thing in Indian culture.
Lakshmi smiled, very proud of her daughter’s correct English. “Ma’am, these two twins are Ranjit William and Victoria Sita. Would you like to hold one?”
"Yes, Lakshmi, please give me one of my grandchildren. There will be presents later when I unpack. I brought over a few things for each grandchild."
"Mrs. Tindall, you are most generous." Lakshmi smiled as she saw Indra's reaction, one of happiness. Lakshmi hoped Mrs. Tindall wouldn't spoil the children.
"Mother, that’s very kind."
“Veree good.” She handed Vicky over to the grandmother. Vicky looked up at Mrs. Tindall with some curiosity. She cooed and waved her arms.
Mother took her granddaughter in her arms. She noticed the look on Indra's face and thought 'she needs to learn to share.' Mother sat down in a chair with Vicky.
But then Indra spoke up. “Ma’am, the other day, I helped mummy cook muffins for Dahdee, and I served him muffins and lemonade, mostly all by myself!” She smiled; she was proud of that.
The grandmother smiled back at her grand daughter. "That's a good girl for mummy."
"Yes, I will be a good girl for Mummy and learn to cook and keep house for Dahdee."
"Maybe you will meet a nice young man of your own. What do you think of that idea, Indra?" She winked at Lakshmi
Emily smiled. “Why don’t we all go in and sit down and have tea? Indra, you can go play with Miriam and Saya.”
“Oh, veree good!” Indra ran off to play with Miriam and Saya.
Lakshmi excused herself to go clean up a bit, then came over and joined Emily and Mrs. Tindall in their sitting room. Emily served the tea. “So, mother, how was your trip?”
"We had no problems on the way here. Everyone was very helpful. Now, can you tell me what Patrick has been up to?"
Emily grimaced. "I suppose you saw the name tag, mother?"
"Yes, I did."
"He pulled one of his pranks; he let off some rockets and nearly frightened half the village in the process. Jack was furious."
"The bad boy, as usual, Emily," mother said, shaking her head.
"Jack and the Colonel decided to punish him with a name tag that says 'Rocket Man' and a wooden rocket. It comes off just before the wedding day. I warned him- any more trouble and he stays in camp. He will not want to be left out of the wedding party. The punishment is more of an embarrassing nature for Patrick. The other option was jail time, as he did steal the rockets, and the paying of a rather large fine."
"You're right on that, dear. Now, tell me about your plans, Emily."
"Lakshmi can help me. She's my matron of honour."
"Indeed, Mrs. Tindall. We have been planning things, including the wedding gown, which I think you will like. Jeck hasn't seen it, yet."
"Very wise, dear; it’s a tradition that the husband-to-be does not see the dress before the wedding. You will have to try it on for me, Emily."
"I will mother, when the men are at work."
Lakshmi continued, discussing the arrangements she had been making. "Mrs. Tindall, we would like your approval of everything."
"It sounds lovely to me; now what are you doing about the wedding cake?"
At that point, Jack came in, along with Patrick. Looking at the women, he said, "What are you women talking about?"
"Wedding plans. And your surprise, Jack. I am sure you will like taking it off."
"And Patrick, I want your word you will be good. You know the penalty if you get any more mad ideas. I will ask Jack to keep you on guard duty."
"Do you agree Jack?"
"Mother, Jack you would not leave me behind, would you?"
"Emily, Lakshmi, how about a nice family tea seeing we are all here?"
CPT James "Jack" de Montfort, CO
B Company, 1st Battalion
5th Khyber Rifles
LT. Patrick Tindall, XO
B Company, 1st Battalion
5th Khyber Rifles
Fiancée, Ali Masjed
Miriam & Saya de Montfort
Family members, Ali Masjed
wife, Ali Masjed
family member, Ali Masjed
Family member, Ali Masjed
Mother of Emily and Patrick