Prologue The two pairs of soldiers, walking on the pavement, came face to face about fifty yards away from each other. The Indian soldiers were from a local Infantry Battalion of the Sikh Regiment. The British Soldiers were from the CMP (short for Corps of Military Police), commonly called the MPs. The Indians looked at each other and realized that the situation was of one pair being on the right-side or the wrong-side of the road. They made up their minds individually. Said the first one to his friend, qThe bloody Goras (the Whiteman is called a Gora) are on the wrong-side! Why should we get down to the road from the pavement?q His friend replied with emphasis, qThat's right. Why should we?q After a pause, he added with more conviction, qWe shall see today! The Firangies (foreigners) don't enforce the same rule with British troops.q qLet's see them today. We can bear the consequences later, q said the first one with emphasis. Both the Indians braced up. Raising their heads they walked as though fully prepared for the confrontation which was by then just thirty yards away and approaching fast. The MPs also raised their chins. Without looking at each other, they exchanged words. Said the taller one to his slim friend, q Those damn Indians are right in our way. I think we ought to give them a good dressing-down if they don't get down from the pavement.q qBloody right, mate. They should not have been here in the first place, q said the slim one while transferring his right-hand to the grip of his cane and removing it from under his left armpit. Instinctively, his left-hand went to his right pocket and unbuttoned the flap so that he could pull out the whistle quickly. That was like a routine drill movement for any MP when he realized the need to blow the whistle-mainly as a warning to a defaulter and also to alert others of his profession. By then both the pairs were about ten yards apart. The Indians showed no sign of relenting and the MPs thought they had a duty to perform. Seeing the cane being transferred to the right-hand, the second Indian muttered to his friend, qHe may hit one of us. That is my gut feeling.q qIf he dares! This puny fellow had it, today. I'll cut him to pieces, qsaid the first one in the same low tone muttered through his clenched teeth.Punjabi language can be very forceful when it comes to emphasising a point, as was the Pushtu language of the local Pathans tribals, since they were neighbors. As the distance between the pairs became less, their speed of paces slowed down. The Indians had made up their mind to confront the MPs. Since a Sikh never starts a fight, they were waiting for action from the Goras.The two MPs were slightly taken aback at the audacity of the Sikh soldiers. By then they were just a yard apart. The pavement at that point was slightly wide. Both the Sikhs tried to stay on the pavement and made way for the Policemen by edging closer to the hedge. The first one was on the right of second one and thus closer to the British. The MPs reluctantly edged towards the road while definitely staying on the pavement. The aim was to stay on the pavement. The slim one was on the right of the tall one and thus closer to the first Indian. As he came next to them, his face turned red with disdain seeing the damn Indians conveniently edging towards the hedge thus taking up a slightly higher and superior position, rather than give way to the British masters by stepping down on to the low road. That was a challenge to the self respect ofway of speech rather funny. ... He began to imitate them as a joke. ... Later, when his father was posted out of Bana galore, Gurpreet Singh joined as a boarding student in the same school. ... When he became a House Captain as a Senior Prefect in the sixth year, only his close friends dared to call him by his nickname.
|Title||:||The Bold Brave and Fearless|
|Publisher||:||Trafford Publishing - 2003|