For all my new friends who have recently started following this blog.....please start at the very is a good place to start to get the full impact of this fascinating tale.

Friday, 30 March 2012


I thought Sud would be a bit miffed by Jules sudden marriage, but he was completely nonchalant about the unexpected turn of events. I mentioned to him that it would be nice to see him around, even though my sister was not there, and that he should keep coming over if he felt so inclined. It slowly became routine for him to drive over on Saturday evening, spend time with me, then go over to Jerry for some serious drinking and an overnight stay.
I was feeling more strongly towards him and knew he was attracted to me as well, but he never committed to anything or made any dramatic lovey-dovey statements. It was nerve wracking for me, so one evening I decided to lay it all on the line and told him exactly how I felt. He was affectionate and warm but did not say "Oh I feel the same way" or "I love you too" so I did begin to think I was making a bit of a fool of myself.
The parents were also quite unsettled by the relationship. They knew I was getting too deeply involved, but whenever they asked me what was happening or what his intentions were I had to honestly tell them I had no idea. They feared he would take me for a ride and then move out on a posting, leaving me nursing a broken heart.
I was still not allowed to attend parties at the air force station. Sud had a Yezdi bike and this form of transport was taboo in the Egan household. In exasperation he finally asked his flight commander Squadron Leader Harish Masand, if he could pick me up for a party and then drop me back after. Harish happily agreed until he realised that he would have to drive seventeen kilometres to fetch me,  then seventeen kilometres back to the party, then another seventeen to drop me and still another seventeen before he finally got home. He did it gamely a couple of times with his wife Malini sitting up front for company, before telling his young officer to just borrow his car and do the needful because the whole up down travel was too much of a pain.
My father eventually decided to have a chat with my man and ask him what his intentions were. I was listening with my ear glued to the door while they were talking, and my heart sank when I heard Sud say " I need some time to think". I was furiously indignant since I thought that should have been my line to use and promptly went back to fretfully chewing my nails.
When recounting this story my husband rubs his hands with glee and says that it was fun to have me chasing him for nearly two years. I smile wisely and reply that I have ensured that he do the same for the next twenty eight!

Friday, 23 March 2012


Jules had joined college in Lucknow and we would drive up every couple of months to meet her. It was on one of these trips that I was spotted by Dr SV, who thought I would make a good match for her son M. The lady contacted my parents to set up a meeting, and I promptly threw a hysterical fit when I heard this, as I was totally disinterested in any sort of alliance with anyone. Mother convinced me to at least meet the individual concerned without any strings attached, to which proposal I most reluctantly agreed.
I felt an instant disinterest bordering on dislike for  the young man when he and his mother came down from Lucknow to spend a morning with us, and told mother as much. I also noticed a flicker of interest spark between him and my sister, which I chose to ignore at that point of time. Jules went back to college and M returned to Lucknow where he promptly got in touch with her. A romance blossomed and within a few months she had accepted his proposal to spend a life time together.
The parents were quite happy with these developments, since the family was a decent one and M was studying to be a doctor, which was a plus in father's eyes. Jules was only eighteen and it was decided they could get engaged in October and then wait a couple of years before getting married. She would finish her graduation and he his internship at a Lucknow medical college.
M's relatives from all parts of the world  had gathered for another family wedding in Kanpur before they arrived in Saraya for the engagement ceremony. SV suddenly came up with the suggestion that the children should get married instead of engaged since they were so besotted with each other, all kith and kin were present and there seemed to be no point in waiting. Mum and Dad were completely taken aback since no arrangements had been made for a wedding, but when Gurpreet Majithia assured them she would handle everything, they agreed, albeit with some reservation. I found myself making frantic phone calls to everyone to inform them the engagement was off but a wedding was on!
M and Jules tied the knot at the local 'gurudwara' on 15th Oct 1982. She was wearing jewellery and a heavy 'dupatta' borrowed from Gurpreet, who had organised everything in a matter of hours. At the end of a surreal day my little sis was a married woman and we were left in a happy daze that she had found herself a good man and a loving family.
Unfortunately this union ended in bitter divorce nine years and a little girl later but that is not my story to tell.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Summer Fun

The tangled webs being woven

The summer of 1982 passed in a whirlwind of fun. The highlights were weekends, when Jerry would ask the bachelors of 1 Squadron to come over for an evening of drinking and relaxation. He would set up his barbecue by the pool side and unlimited amounts of beer would flow amidst much light hearted revelry.

This was the recipe Jerry gave me for his super delicious chicken but it never tasted the same when I tried it so I don't know if he was withholding some secret ingredient.
Jerry's BBQ chicken
Marinade chicken in honey, lemon juice, chili, soy sauce and salt for six hours. Half an hour before putting on grill add one bottle Limca.

I found I was getting more and more attracted to Sud but he seemed quite disinterested, which irritated my ego greatly. He would turn on his charm for Jules, but was always pleasantly polite with me so I had to hatch many a devious plot to get his attention.
I would wander around casually in a pair of teeny tiny shorts hoping his eyes would pop out which they never did, or so I thought at the time. I  hovered around the pool like a damsel in distress, loudly exclaiming how I hated to be pushed in, which was an open invitation for Sud to do just that. I would cling to him screeching like a banshee while he mercilessly ducked me under water. In the next ten minutes I would be innocently hanging around the edge again, trying not to notice him creeping up on me to fling me in again. Oh what tangled webs we are driven to weave.....
On one occasion two of the bachelors pushed their vehicle back seventeen kilometres, because they ran out of fuel and were too nervous to come back and ask us to help out. On another evening someone got very drunk and broke an antique dinner set and minutes later an over excited youngster backed into a centre table and smashed it to smithereens. I don't know what explanations Jerry gave to auntie Rupi whose house he lived in, for all these unforeseen damages.
Unfortunately the parents did not let us go to parties at the air force since 'the accident' was too fresh in their minds, and no amount of begging and pleading could get them to relent. They were in any case disapproving of irresponsible men on two wheelers after drinks, so we gave up trying to convince them otherwise. We  just looked forward to the exciting sound of motorbikes rumbling in the distance, which always heralded an evening of gaiety and laughter.
Those were carefree times and we were quite bereft when the squadron would be out on a detachment and we had to spend a quiet weekend on our own.

Friday, 9 March 2012


The Thunderbolts - Ben Brar in the middle and VP last on the right
I woke up the next morning in agony though Jules seemed none the worse for wear. I could only hobble around painfully and my ankle felt as if had been through a meat grinder.
What upset me more was that the  aerobatic team of the Indian air force known as The Thunderbolts,   were putting up a much anticipated show in Gorakhpur that morning, which I would now perforce have to miss. We had really been looking forward to this event and I felt extremely disappointed that I could not be a witness to the spectacular display.
There was a party being hosted for the team the same evening and I stubbornly decided that I must attend so I would get to meet the dare devils if nothing else. I huffed and puffed until the parents agreed to let Jules and me go with Surjit Singh Majithia, who was the guest of honor at the celebration. He solemnly swore to keep an eye on us and reassured father that he would ensure I sat quietly in a corner to rest my mangled limb.
I had to cut open the bottom seam of my trouser in order to slip my leg through, since the bandage was thick and my foot very swollen. It was in this fragile condition that I limped into the party on Uncle Surjit's arm to meet the thirteen glamorous pilots led by Wing Commander PS (Ben) Brar.
Even though there was a lot of pain I thoroughly enjoyed the evening since I immediately became the centre of attention. All were impressed that I had made the effort to come, in spite of having stitches from my ankle to  my knee ( I never bothered to correct the exaggerated size of my injury!)
Drinks were followed by a  sit down dinner where the squadron silver was on display on each formally laid table. We had the youngest and handsomest member of the Thunderbolts, Flight Lieutenant VP Singh, sitting across from us and during the course of the meal, with a naughty twinkle in his eye, he twisted the propeller off a model aircraft between us and told us to keep it as a souvenir of the evening. Jules and I were naturally very excited and thrilled but when we got home and proudly told father what we had been gifted, he was furious and disapproving and not at all impressed by such an irresponsible gesture. 
Sud was not at this event as the whole squadron had flown out early that morning on a detachment, so he had no idea that we had been involved in an accident or would be at the party. A couple of weeks later when he returned, he called on us and was grimly handed over the offending memento to be returned to the squadron collection. How and with what explanation he did this I never did ask.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Accident

Jules and me

It was the 29th of April 1982.
The car must have flipped over four or five times before it came to rest upside down, in a dry lake bed. I felt instant relief that I was alive and looked across at Jerry who seemed to be stunned but safe. I called out to Jules in the back seat but there was no response, which caused an instant icy prickle of fear.
Jerry and I crawled through the smashed windscreen since the doors seemed to be jammed shut. My sister was lying at an awkward angle, with her foot trapped under the open rear window.  Jerry had to lift the car so I could reach in and clumsily drag out her unconscious form.
We sat in a state of numbed shock at the side of the road when we noticed some men on cycles emerging out of the dark, who turned out to be factory workers coming off the late shift. They immediately recognised us and rushed to help. They righted the vehicle and carried it up to the road, where surprisingly even though the framework looked more like an accordion than a car and the headlights were lighting up the sky instead of the road it started up with the first turn of the ignition key. We slowly clanked our way  home with Jules still unresponsive in my arms.
I woke up the parents to tell them we had been in a 'slight accident' and when father sleepily staggered out and saw the state of the car he was horrified. It actually looked like one of those wrecks you see on the side of the road and think "No one could have survived that".
He immediately asked if I was alright and then worriedly turned his attention to Jules, who had a big lump burgeoning out of her forehead. He carried her into the bedroom and within a few minutes she began to come to her senses and started to talk so seemed to be alright. I sat down for a minute, while he grilled me over what exactly had happened, and it was then that I found I could not stand up again. I glanced down at my foot and noticed I was bleeding profusely and had left a trail of gory footprints all over the floor. On closer examination it was discovered that I had cut the artery in my ankle, so  father immediately rushed me to the hospital where he put in a few very painful stitches.
Except for the car which was a write off, we were all fine and  thankful  for the narrow escape. Poor Jerry was completely shaken up but we loved him too much to hold anything against him and at the end of the day it really was the stupid 'cycle-wallahs' fault.
On the other hand it took months for father to forgive him for his rash driving, and no explanation that we gave of the sequence of events that led to the unfortunate mishap seemed to satisfy him. He was even heard muttering to a neighbour " Jerry tried to call my daughters!"