I used to have a holier than apostle St OM’s attitude, that I did not steal anything while in uniformed service, I was wrong. Court Marshall of a friend brought back forgotten memories of another day, of stealing a Cycle, that too in France !!
Another week passed by. And then thunder struck.
Around 3 O’Clock one afternoon, I was called to a room in which I found four Frenchmen TP colleagues in uniform, sitting around a table. I was made to stand at the foot of the table, there were no extra chairs. I realised that something was wrong, it looked like a ‘Court Of Enquiry’ back in India. I started to feel shitty, and the shit started travelling upwards towards my head (a phenomenon called ‘Hicum Foocum’, very common amongst combat pilots).
All four of them pushed their chairs back and got up. Robert and Patreek grabbed my biceps and marched me through a side door.
All my 29 TP course-mates, staff of the TP school began singing, ‘He is a jolly good fellow, so say all of us’. I suddenly remembered that it was my 33rd birthday.
It was the most elaborate prank ever played on me in my life.
After an hour of the Poe, when I was quite drunk with Champaign, Capt Bernard Berthod of L‘Arrme De L’Air caught my biceps and steered me out of the party, through the front door and out to the parking lot, to a new looking Duex Chevo (literally means two horses), a two cylinder Citroen car, much like the Tata Nano, but looked more like the Volkswagen Beatle. He gave me a Key ring. ‘All yours, have a ball’, he said to me in French.
I looked around and saw a small mound of sand left over from some construction. So I reversed the car to about 200 feet, accelerated, and hit the mount at a top speed of about 65-70 kmph. The car climbed over the mount, rolled over, hit the ground in a 90 deg dive and finally fell on it’s back, completely crushing it. Bernard immediately rang for the police and an ambulance. While I was being removed from the scene on a stretcher, I heard Bernard telling the Cop, ‘These f***ing Indians, they are bloody crazy’.
I got a cut lip and Bernard got his insurance.