Patrick at home (tag Patrick)
The Colonel had just told Patrick what would happen if he missed his reporting time, adding that Jack would probably not be pleased, when he returned.
”No, sir,” said Patrick, “I don’t think he would be pleased.”
At day’s end, Patrick went home. Indra was the first to see him and went to fetch her mama after seeing her dahdee was hurt, with cuts on the face.
Lakshmi had come out and had, also, become upset, thinking that some accident had befallen her hero.
“Come with me and I will explain.”
Indra would not let him out of her sight.
”Sit on my knee, little one,” he said. “Lakshmi, let her bathe my face; it will give her something to do.”
Lakshmi handed Indra a little bath cloth and showed her how to gently dab dahdee’s cuts.
”I wash dahdee’s cuts,” said Indra.
Patrick scowled and started. “Lakshmi,” he said, “I got into a fight at work. A Lt Watford called the Indians in our company a very bad word. I am not repeating it, not in front of the children. Needless to say, I gave him a thrashing for it. The Colonel gave us both a lecture about fighting but he transferred Watford out of the battalion, not for fighting but racism. We have a very wise Colonel.”
”Oh, I am sorry, Pahtreck. Perhaps you should stay home, tomorrow, babuji. Oh, my darling, I am so sorry. I am happee that the Colonel told that man to leave.”
“But dear, the Colonel said I have to report to him at 630 every morning. If I miss the reporting time even once he will send me a personal bugler to sound reveille every morning at 5.30. I doubt that would make me popular with neighbours, including Jack.”
”Babuji, I will wake you in the morning. Oh, babuji, I am causing you a lot of trouble, of grief.”
“I love you dear. And, I am not backing down on my promise of marriage. Even if I do get racial slurs because of it. As the Colonel said, Watford won’t be the last. You and the children are very important.”
“Thank you,” he said to Indra. “Shall we go and get cleaned up for supper?”
”Yes, I washed dahdee’s cuts. You are welcome, dahdee.”
“Yes, my darling; let us get ready for supper. It is made; it is warming, now, in the kitchen.”
”Pahtreck, you are my hero, for standing up to that man. Let us console each other, tonight.”
”Please go and sit at the table. Indra and I will get the food from the kitchen.” Lakshmi went in the kitchen and gave Indra something she could handle. “Indra, take that into the dining room area for dahdee. We will serve your dahdee.”
”We serve dahdee!” She took the dish, a bowl of vegetables, into the dining area.
Lakshmi brought in the rest of the food, brought the twins into the area and put Indra in her high chair.
Indra watched her dahdee. She would eat when dahdee ate. She imitated her dahdee. Lakshmi smiled at seeing this; if girls could be soldiers, she thought, Indra would be an officer, like her dahdee.
”Pahtreck, we have mild chicken curry on rice, with mixed vegetables, and I got a potato and baked it for you.”
Lakshmi Singh, Native Wife
Indra Tindall, Family Member