MADRAS: CHAPTER FIVE
Chandru had often heard his father talk of Kishore, “An honourable man with a mighty love for our nation” he’d always said.
Ram had been quite upset, like a scorned little child by the events of the morning but what with the new sights of the city and the rooms and an inspection of the training places, he was even more disheartened and said repeatedly he wished he’d not come.
It had been a day full of excitement indeed but now night had fallen and Chandru felt the longing for home return.
“Oh, I trust you boys have had breakfast” asked the officer from before, Ashok.
When they replied in the positive, he said. “Once again, welcome” and slipped a neatly folded paper into Chandru’s hand with a confidential nod and whispering, “read this when you are alone”. It had greatly mystified him and now, he reached out with trembling hands to read the letter by the dull light of the nightlamp. It was a short and terse message from the Colonel that said:
I shall have left when you read this. Chandru, I am going to tell you just what your own father would have told you in his stead. You are the only son in your family and you gravely depend on your job for your livelihood and your family’s. Keep that in mind despite the nature of your job or the noble tendencies of my dear friend and your father, Raja that I know, you inherit from him. We have enough fools in this country for bravado and gallantry, me being one of them and see what happens to me, I am going away to Kanpur, the very line of fire but it won’t stub my valour or pursuits, neither will it stub that of those around you and I want to tell you to keep away from any negative endeavours that you see going on around you. You shall understand as time goes by and I suggest you behave rationally and bear your family in mind. Wishing you the very best in life.
Chandru pondered on the contents of the letter he’d received early that morning. They brought a tinge of sadness by the memories of his father. It had been a busy day. They had been given a tour of the grounds and left to settle their belongings and were instructed on the routines of the day and introduced to the other people. Some of them, he’d known as being mentioned by their fathers, they had been aloof and stern but seemed kind to him. The next day he would have a brief interview with Major Sharpe, he was told, which made him terse and nervous. The thought of the Major was enough to wipe out any other thought he may have in mind and in a fit or unease, he decided to retire for the night.