The Army life is a unique experience full of thrills in addition to shrills.
While in service our unit was posted at Tenga Valley of Arunachal Pradesh,which was known as N.E.F.A at that time.
One day myself and my colleague Capt JSK were marched in to the adjutant's office. We both marched in with a certain misgivings in our hearts silently looking at each other accusingly, thinking that other one had done some mischief. We both were known to be very mischievous in the regiment.
Our adjutant Capt.PKM was a strict discplinarian, and no one ever came out of his office with a light punishment.
Well this time we were in for a surprise. He made us sit and began in his deep husky voice , ''Well, you both eat chillies a lot.
''Yes sir.'' we replied still stiff with anxiety.
''Take this jonga and hunt for the tangiest chillies in the valley.'' he thundered. We saluted and sped out.. Once out of his office JSK burst out laughing. He could never control his laughter. We were called back to PKM's office.
''Be serious,you...(looking at JSK) better understand!''
''Yes sir!''and JSK started giggling. PKM gave him a nasty look.
We were puzzled by the strange order trying to guess as to what could be the reason.
We merrily went around from one field to another tasting the chillies and selecting the tangiest ones. We had a jolly good time and roamed around doing a lot of masti..
On the way we met our previous C.O. who had been recently posted as Brigade commander. His jonga screeched to a halt on seeing us. He came down from his jonga and enquired.
''What is happening boys.''
We were like truant young children caught redhanded.
''Sir,we were ordered to collect tangiest chillies.''
''Hmmm,come and visit me sometimes.!''
''Yes sir.'' we clicked our heels. He was amused but didn't show his emotions.
We came back to the unit in the afternoon with a bag full of chillies.
In the unit we were met by Capt RPS and we asked him the reason. 'Wait till evening
you will come to know.' he replied with a puckish smile. Butterflies stil flutterig in our stomachs.
In the evening we had an elaborate supper laid out for all of us. The mess boys were dressed in their well pressed uniforms. The brass was well polished and displayed at appropriate places.
We all were waiting for the General who had come visiting his old adjutant on a private visit. Our Commanding Officer, Lt Col SKT, had been once his adjutant and knew his idiosyncracies well. This General was fond of having XXX Rum on the rocks with Popcorn and Chillies.
After a peg or two he was on a high and started humming some oldies loudly. Thereafter he met each one of us with a handshake and we gathered around him informally. He advised us all to consume more and more of chillies, because it sharpened the brains.
After sometime he ordered us to go ahead with our food and he continued with his drinks. JSK and myself heaved a sigh of relief and shouted three hurrahs to the 'great' Popcorn chilli snacking General.