Cantonment Affairs:the Colonel was Gay
Shamsher Singh was a Subedar of the famous Skinner’s Horse, a horse regiment of the British Indian army. In days gone by, the Skinner’s Horse was a cavalry arm of the British Indian army but now it is equipped with T-55 tanks, but the regiment still caters to a few horses as a memory of an older golden age. The chronicles of the Indian army history are filled with tales of bravery of the horsemen of Skinners Horse. Many Indians have been a part of this famous unit and Shamsher Singh was one of them.
The Subedar was a bachelor, the urge of being a domesticated man having never overtaken him. He was powerfully built with a spectacular turban that gave him a regal bearing. He was the specialist of horses and the stables were his exclusive preserve. He was a Sikh, but he neatly trimmed his beard and this gave him a regal look. The regiment had a new Commanding Officer. The earlier commandant Colonel Bush having retired and decided to go back to England. The new CO was Colonel Blunt an Anglo-Indian and he had a lovely wife. Mrs. Blunt was an avid rider and every evening she would take one of the horses for a ride. A strange thing was noticed by Shamsher, whenever the horse which she had taken for a ride returned there were vicious cuts on the beasts back and neck.
He could make out that someone was using the riding crop to slash the horse. He was perturbed and wanted to report it to the Unit adjutant, but he thought let me be sure first who is the culprit. He would tend to the cuts of the beast, but he was very much troubled. He decided to find out who the culprit was. One day as usual Mrs. Blunt came to the stable and in her most regal manner and thundered, “Shamsher, get my horse ready, I want to go for a ride.” Shamsher looked at the lady firmly and answered,” Madam there is no horse today, as most of the horses have cuts and I am afraid to let you ride the black roan as it is ridden by the OC.”
“What nonsense! Get the horse ready.”
“Ok Madam, but would you let me ride with you today?”
“Why? I can handle a horse very well.”
“Madam somebody is cutting the horses with a crop and I want to find out who that person is.” Mrs. Blunt suddenly smiled, “Ok she said, maybe you will find out something.”
The horses were saddled and Shamsher and the lady rode out into the woods. After about 15 minutes of riding and jumping over small styles, they halted near a brook. Mrs. Blunt dismounted and swished her crop in the air and landed a vicious lash to her horse.
“Stop it, Madam,” shouted Shamsher, “I will not allow this.”
She raised the whip again to lash the horse who had been tethered to a stump and thus could not getaway. The beast neighed in agony, but Mrs. Blunt was unconcerned. She lifted her hand to flail the horse again but the tall Sardar now moved like lightening and caught the hand of the lady. He held her hand in a vice-like grip and perforce Mrs. Blunt had to drop her crop. “Madam, what has come over you? Why are you beating a horse, who is man’s best friend?”
Shamsher stepped forward and picked up the crop and handed it back to Mrs. Blunt. This was a mistake as Mrs. Blunt lifted the crop and let it fly and it landed squarely on the back of the Sardar. The color of the shirt began to change and turned reddish as the blood seeped out. It angered Shamsher and he stepped forward and caught Mrs. Blunt’s hand but ended up catching her blouse. He held it firmly and the cloth began to tear. Shamsher was witness to the breasts covered with a brazier and when he looked at her back, he saw welt marks. It was obvious somebody was whipping Mrs. Blunt. He was more than surprised and wondered what to do. Mrs. Blunt also stopped and did not attempt to cover herself. “Madam,” Shamsher whispered hoarsely, “Who has whipped you"
“Now you have seen the marks, it is Col Blunt himself.”
“Why?” he asked inadvertently.
“He loves a stable boy, who works under you and that boy gives him no lift and he is infuriated and beats me.” Shamsher was bewildered and he just looked at Mrs. Blunt. He wondered the CO must be mad to beat such a beautiful lady. Before he could think of anything else a sobbing Mrs. Blunt gasping for breath and trembling just stepped forward and buried her face in the nook of his shoulder. Mrs. Blunt's lips opened and she looked at the massive Sikh and Shamsher overwhelmed with the tale and the situation kissed Mrs. Blunt.
Suddenly as if on cue, the heavens opened up and rain began to fall. Shamsher lifted Mrs. Blunt and carried her to a clump of trees and overwhelmed with desire he mated with her. It was something spontaneous and as time stood still, he knew in the back of his mind that Mrs. Blunt was a very unhappy woman. It was twilight soon and Mrs. Blunt got up and repaired her blouse. She mounted her horse and dug in her spikes and as the horse lurched forward, she shouted to Shamsher “thank you my man, but meet me tomorrow again.” The beatings of the horses stopped as Mrs. Blunt and Shamsher spent many hours in idyllic lovemaking. She would also avoid her husband.
Colonel is gay
One day Colonel Blunt came down to have breakfast, “are you happy?” She was taken aback at the question and looked at her husband quizzically. “Why? what's the matter?” Colonel Blunt looked at her in the eye, “my dear everything is the matter. You sleep with Havildar Shamsher and I get nothing!” “How silly, whatever makes you think like this?” Colonel Blunt got up and said “Look, my wife, I can get Havildar Shamsher court-martialled for rape, molestation, or anything. But I will let it pass in case you tell Shamsher to ask that boy who works in the stables to come to me tonight and every night.”
Her legs felt rubbery and a sick feeling churned her stomach “This is preposterous. How can Shamsher ask that boy to sleep with you?”
“Yes, he can and if you want to continue your idyllic love and enjoy then I give you no choice. It’s either prison for Shamsher or he sends the boy to me.”
“I will ask Shamsher. But give me some time.”
“No.” That afternoon Mrs. Blunt drove down to the stables in her car. Parked the car outside and was entering inside when a young boy not yet eighteen accosted her. She guessed this was the boy her husband had desired. She smiled at the boy who was overwhelmed and gushed, “thank you Madam.” She walked to the far end of the stable and saw Shamsher saddling a horse. He was delighted and as she approached, he said, “Madam, I am saddling the horse for a ride out into the mountains.”
“Shamsher, I have something important to relate to you.”
“What is it?” She related to Shamsher all that her husband had told her and warned the Subedar,” don’t, take him lightly Shamsher, he means every word of what he says.” Shamsher thought for a moment, “OK, madam. I shall send the boy to the OC’s residence tonight on some pretext. Rest it is up to the OC.” Both of them mounted their steeds and rode out into the distant mountains of the Western Ghats. They paused by a brook that had so many of their trysts and there Shamsher made ferocious love to Mrs. Blunt. It was almost hedonistic as they reached the acme of salvation. Later she ran into the brook naked with the cold water splashing around her. Shamsher followed her into the water and soon pinned her in the shallow water. They were a lot freer as they both realized that in case of the OC getting his wish, their relationship would have some permanence and above all would remain secret.
That evening Shamsher called the boy Denzel to his billet. “Listen,” he said, “There is some work in the house of the OC today, so you go there tonight and help out.”
“What is work?”
“Ah! you will get to know when you reach there but remember that you will be well rewarded.”
“When you reach there, make it a point to go to the OC’s room. Ok?”
Denzel’s heartbeats quickened. He wondered what the job was but what excited him more than anything was a chance to see Mrs. Blunt at close quarters. It so happened that the boy had long dreamed of Mrs. Blunt. She was his dream.
Denzel walked to the bungalow at night. He saw that the time by his watch was 11.00 h. He reached the house and went inside as the door was left unlatched. He had been given directions to Colonel Blunt’s room but as he walked slowly inside, he saw the door of another room open and his heartbeats fluttered as he espied Mrs. Blunt sleeping soundly.
The boy was all aflutter at the sight of the beautiful lady sleeping with her hair all tussled around. He went inside more by reflex than anything knelt down by the side of the bed. This was his dream goddess and he had long wanted to worship her. Now he just knelt beside as she slept and had his fill of her. He was content to see Mrs. Blunt sleeping. To him, she was akin to a goddess.
Colonel Blunt waited in his room and he soon began to lose his temper. He drank two large pegs of scotch and wondered why the boy had not come to his room. After about an hour he drew his service revolver and loaded it. He was in an angry mood and he vowed to shoot Mrs. Blunt for not keeping her promise of sending the boy to him. He went out and was moving towards Mrs. Blunt’s room. He entered inside and was aghast as he saw the boy kneeling beside the bed in an act of prayer. Colonel Blunt lost his cool: he could not fathom why the boy preferred his wife to him, especially when he was likely to get a fat packet of money as well.
Anger took control of him and he fired a shot at Denzel. The bullet made a big bang but he was drunk and the bullet missed the boy. Mrs. Blunt got up screaming. Colonel Blunt now had come to his senses and realized what he had done. Mrs. Blunt rang up the Military police and even as Colonel Blunt entered his bedroom the military cops were there. It was all over. Colonel Blunt was suspended. Later he was tried by a GCM and dismissed.
Mrs. Blunt never went back to Shamsher as she silently left the unit for Shimla where her parents lived. As she reached home a sense of relief overtook her and she thanked God that she was alive.
What if Blunt had pulled the gun on her? Shamsher? Well he was transferred out and later he asked for retirement and went home to his village in Hoshiarpur. It was all over and even now many talks of this incident in the cantonment. The boy? He was happy to be alive.