CALLING ON AND THAT WAS THE LADY
The Air Force had its share of quaint formalities and the one that took the cake was called the “OFFICIAL CALLING ON”. The officers had to get themselves Calling Cards printed with only the rank and name on them. You had the first rank for one year, the second rank for four years and the third rank for six years. This meant a lot of left over cards with no value. Many an officer lamented the fact that they could not add their qualifications on the card as it was not correct protocol. So the Casanovas, Hot Rods and Ace Aviators were disappointed that they were the unsung heroes.
The average age of a Pilot Officer was 19-20. The average age of a STATION MASTER was unknown. The speculation was that the Station Master was in the age bracket of the Pilot Officer’s Father /Grand Father. When you are a teen ager this older generation is from the Fossil category and so you try to avoid them like the plague unless absolutely essential.
During the time of this Kahani “Deep Selection” was not in play and so “One number senior was bloody senior and one number junior was freaking junior”.
A new Station Master was at the helm of the station and he had a unique career. His Indian Air Force had a prefix ”R” to it and his early six plus years were spent in England and in Europe. When he did come down to DESI LAND he had the pleasure of serving ten of them in a civilian manufacturing outfit in the southern part of the country.
In due course of time he was involved with the Wind God or the winged spirit. He was then sent forth on a mission to seek out and bring back a propulsion system that was fit for the Wind God. He embarked on a five-year trip to the Valley of The Kings on the west bank of the river NILE near LUXOR.
Somewhere down the line of experimental/proto type and production the art of translation was lost and the Station Master convinced himself that he was to seek out in the hidden Mausoleums of Tutankhamun, Seti 1 and Ramses 11 for the propulsion system that was used to transport these Kings in their journey into the after life.
Five years later he was not close to the real find and so came and took over as our Station Master. He was now in a new environment of fighter squadrons and flying officer fighter pilots were like the mythical beasts to him. He had his palace way behind the swimming pool and far from the madding crowd.
Senior flying officer Kalathil Payyan orders the two junior flying officers Bobcat and Cheetah that they have been selected to call on the new Station Master. He hands over his calling card and tells Bobcat to slip it in during his visit. The duo call up the Yard Master(Adjutant) and make reservations for the coming Friday.
At the appointed time the two approach the palace and find a table with a visitors book in the foyer. They sign in and Bobcat slips in Sree Boos card and name. On pressing the door bell a young girl opens the door and Bobcat communicates to her that the two Mythical Beasts have come to perform the ritual of calling. She vanishes indoors and soon the station master greets them and invites them in.
As indicated earlier due to the difference in rank and age the conversation though polite, is excruciatingly slow and painful. It is also marked by many a pregnant pause. When asked for their choice of beverage both ask for a glass of milk each. This throws the station master for a loop. Soon the duo take their leave and exit like bats out of hell.
On their way back Cheetah tells Bobcat “Fella you made a mistake with the young girl as she was a young lady.” Bobcat tell him “No I don’t think so as the station master is not a C.S.”
We close the calling on chapter here.
The next day being Saturday the duo set out after dark to visit a couple of friends. The weather being slightly nippy Bobcat has a shawl draped around him. Halfway through the drive Bobcat tells Cheetah they forgot to pick up the partridges from the pantry. Those who have been with Cheetah in his Green Hornet(Fiat) will vouch for his deft handling of the buggy.
Cheetah does a hard left of a “U” turn and speeds back to the mess. He enters the Mess gates at a good clip and the cattle trap at the gates makes a sound like two rifle shots being fired. He does an immediate right with a quick left and a hard right. He now spots a couple in his headlights and the two are holding on to each other for dear life as if they are going to be run over. Cheetah deftly cuts left through the trees avoiding the couple by a good margin of yards.
A quick pit stop at the rear doors of the Mess and a honk of the horn has a waiter scurrying out with the cooked partridges. The dishes are loaded and Cheetah does a 0 to 40 quick acceleration. Bobcat tell Cheetah “Fella that looked like the Station Master and his kid and I think he was coming towards the car “ Cheetah tells him no chance. The duo have a pleasant evening.
Monday morning after Met Briefing the Boss Man is taking his time for the sortie briefing. He soon appears with a big grin on his face and tells Bobcat and Cheetah “I have some bad news and some good news.”
He tells Bobcat that when the Station Master’s daughter, no I mean wife, opened the door you told her and I quote “Hey kiddoo go tell your Pops that two Tiger Cats have come a calling.”
Bobcat tells him that the light in the foyer was very dim. He is told tough luck – one extra base ops.
He turns to Cheetah and tells him the station master says you gave him and his daughter, correction wife, the fright of their lives with your driving. He claims you nearly ran them over and zig zagged through the trees and came to a screeching halt at the back of the mess. When the Station Master having recovered from his frightful experience was coming to admonish you, you took off .
“One extra base ops please.”
The Bossman says Okay guys lets brief.
Cheetah asks him Sir what about the Good News.
The Boss pumps his hand and says congratulations, the Station Master says you had a lady/girl friend in the car.
Chetah tells the Boss “Sir the Station Master needs glasses and that was no lady It was Kalia and points to Bobcat.
Note: CS = Cradle Snatcher.
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