One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 14 Jun 2018, 10:20

“Tell us what?” asked Biggles sharply, catching this.

The stalwart youth replied deprecatingly, “He says he saw a marble slab in the wall with English writing on it, next to the ventilator behind the creeper. That’s why he went so far up. He couldn’t read it.”

Both Bertie and Mirza Murtaza sprang up and spoke excitedly together.

“What! He saw it too! What did it say?! Where is it! We have never seen it!”

Bertie turned to the SHO. “You see, old lad, I was trying to read that little marble plaque set in the wall, above the gate and quite near the ventilator grille. That’s when the lady went for us with that umbrella”

“What did it say?” asked the Mirza eagerly. He turned to his companions, “A plaque with English letters on it! Brother, our humble house could be connected with history!”

“I couldn’t make it all out, there was too much of that thorny creeper,” said Bertie apologetically, “but I did make out the letters –O-R-D and the numbers -57. So it looks as if it might be something to do with the Mutiny, doesn’t it!”

The Mirza said, “Such plaques were put up as memorials to the English who lived on Chandni Chowk and were killed during the Ghadr (Mutiny).” Hesighed ecstatically, “Our house, a heritage building, how wonderful, I am sure some English must have been killed there, rivers of blood must have flowed…”
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 14 Jun 2018, 10:22

“Absolutely, my dear chap, absolutely” interjected Bertie hastily. “Matter of fact, I was hoping to trace where my mother’s ancestor, Captain Douglas might have lived, if he did, around here.”

Checked in his flight of fancy, the Mirza considered this. “Douglas?” he queried, “the Qiladar commander at the court of Zafar? You are a descendant?”

“Only on my mother’s side,” clarified Bertie.

“Amazing! My dear sir, that would make you almost one of us, local connections are to be respected!”

“It’s been a long time, “began Bertie, a trifle sheepishly, “I wouldn’t say…”

He was overridden by the Mirza, “Sir! Memories run long in Delhi! The Mutiny was just a few decades ago, no?”

“More than a century, you know!”

“What does that matter?” asked the Mirza loftily. “In our way of thinking, a couple of centuries is but a drop in time!”

Observing that the SHO had once more sought inspiration from the ceiling fan, and his staff were enjoying the historical turn of the conversation, Biggles judged it was time to call attention to the more pressing matters at hand. Addressing the room at large and the Mirza in particular, he asked a pertinent question. “I take it my friends are no longer suspected of trying to break into anybody’s house?”
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 14 Jun 2018, 10:24

His query was answered by a chorus of denials in three languages. Of course not! The laat-saheb was a friend who was trying to locate an ancestor who would have been a tenant or neighbor of the Mirza’s family ancestors, it would be a pleasure to help him find more details, he was welcome to come and see the plaque in daylight, any time, share a meal with them.

A small disruption occurred as the veiled nemesis imposed her portly self on the room once more. Bertie and Ginger eyed her warily, but it was apparent at once that she had been following events through the grapevine on the verandah. The eyes that were her only visible and discernible features, no longer glittered with hostility. Instead, they held a benign glow as she uttered a few sentences and withdrew as hastily as she had entered.

The Mirza smiled. “My sister apologizes for her mistake. And says to tell you that she makes excellent chicken kebabs and biryani rice. She hopes you will forgive her and come sample her cooking some time.”

“Oh absolutely!” agreed Bertie enthusiastically. He cocked a monocle at the SHO who was conferring with Biggles in a low voice. “I take it, old lad, that we’re off the hook and free to go now!”

A minor upheaval occurred at the other end of the big desk. The SHO sighed and signaled to the two patriarchal parties ensconced there to speak and unburden themselves. They proceeded to do so at some length, bringing a scowl to the SHO’s gloomy visage as a concerned frown darkened Biggles’s face.

“What about the dishonor caused to the two young ladies?” translated the Mirza.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby StoneRoad » 14 Jun 2018, 11:09

Thanks for these updates, ICS, much appreciated ! :lol:
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby kylie_koyote » 14 Jun 2018, 11:14

Splendid work, ICS :claphappy: I await further developments with an eager eye.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 14 Jun 2018, 12:06

What about the dishonour, indeed? This is so enjoyable, ICS.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Fairblue » 14 Jun 2018, 12:18

Kismet wrote:What about the dishonour, indeed? This is so enjoyable, ICS.

Yes, that bit does give me some concern, ICS.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 14 Jun 2018, 22:11

Such a delight to read these updates, ICS.
What about the dishonour, indeed?

Eagerly anticipating the answer to that question :claphappy:
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 23 Jun 2018, 11:16

[Continuing...]

Ginger rose hotly to his feet and, ignoring the automatic withdrawal of those nearest to him, advanced to the big desk.

“Listen to me, you all! I did not dishonor anybody!” he banged his fist on the desk to emphasize each word.

While the two patriarchs fanned their faces to dispel Ginger’s aromatic aura, the Mirza, who had by now established himself as chief interlocutor, spoke soothingly. “Of course not, my dear sir! We can see that it was a genuine accident, what happened back there.”

“So, why do you keep blaming me?” demanded Ginger belligerently. He rather diluted the effect of his wild-eyed appearance by adding somewhat lamely, “And I am NOT drunk! It’s just that my clothes soaked up the beer from those broken bottles!”

“Of course,” interjected Algy encouragingly, “just soaking up the stuff, weren’t you!” He earned a glare from Ginger as the Mirza made clucking noises in the background while communicating with the patriarchs.

“We are not blaming you gentlemen now that we know what happened,” said the Mirza, as the patriarchs and their cohorts nodded reluctantly. “It is just that…” he tailed off, looking appealingly at Biggles. “Sir, you can understand how things are.”

Biggles nodded, not unsympathetically. “These poor kids will have a lot to face when they get home tonight,” he told the fulminating Ginger.

“So what’s it to do with me and Bertie?” demanded Ginger.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 23 Jun 2018, 11:19

“Not much, other than rolling about on the pavement in a public place clutching that poor kid,” returned Biggles unfeelingly. “And pulling the other kid’s covering scarf right off her.”

“Both those incidents were an accident! Haven’t we explained enough?” Bertie rose to his feet in his indignation and came to stand beside Ginger before retreating hastily.

Biggles shrugged. “You’ve been explaining your point of view. Try seeing it from theirs.”

As Ginger gaped at him and Bertie frowned, the SHO deemed it time to abandon his scrutiny of the ceiling fan and intervene.

“You see and hear those people outside?” he asked Ginger briefly.

“I’ve been seeing and hearing them for hours now!” retorted Ginger flippantly.

“Gossips, every one of them!” pronounced the SHO.

The Mirza nodded sadly. “Big gossips! And some of the men are worse than the women! They will delight in tearing up these families and the girls’ reputations.”

“It gets worse,” said the SHO heavily. “You see, both the families are highly respected and … well…wealthy, to put it simply.”

“Go on,” said Bertie intently, prodding Ginger away as he too leaned forward to listen.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 23 Jun 2018, 11:21

“Plenty of people in their communities would want to arrange a marriage of their sons with these two girls. They both want to study, they are the first in their families to go to college and they want to do jobs after they graduate. Now, with the gossips making a big scandal about their public behavior with two foreigners—"

The SHO held up a restraining hand as Ginger started forward angrily, “please listen, sir, and try to understand their situation. Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk is a tight-knit community. They will find it impossible to step out of their homes without those worthless young men outside passing remarks about them. Any of those louts will be happy to marry into these families. Normally they would not have a chance, but now, if the gossips have their way, the good families will hesitate to propose a marriage with these young ladies.”

The SHO shot a look at Ginger and Bertie under his heavy brows. Both airmen were frowning. Algy was no longer smiling and Biggles had a particularly inscrutable expression on his face.

“No matter what action I take now, “then SHO continued, “one or the other of their communities will howl discrimination and I could have a riot on my hands tonight.”

Ginger groped for the nearest chair. It was hastily vacated by the Mirza, politely covering up the coughing fit brought on by Ginger’s pungent proximity.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 23 Jun 2018, 11:24

“I can see your drift, old lad,” said Bertie slowly. “But what’s to be done?”

The SHO’s habitual gloom deepened, “It’s hard to see what can be done. Apart from the damage to these poor girls’ reputations, you too could be attacked by those louts outside if I let you go free now.”

“All in the name of honor and justice,” said Ginger bitterly. “So-called.”

“Honor and justice are very real, young sir, and very valuable," said the Mirza reprovingly. “For no fault of theirs, these girls and their fathers, Syed sahib and Thakur sahib, will have to listen to a lot of taunts and perhaps give their girls to husbands who do not deserve such jewels! They would have to pay big dowries. Ah, how these daughters would suffer—“

“True,” broke in Biggles hastily, forestalling the Mirza’s impending emotional outbreak. “The question is how can we fix this so we can all go back to normal?”

The SHO and his deputy, the Mirza and his patriarchal adherents all scowled in concentration.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 23 Jun 2018, 11:26

“How could this situation be set right?” Algy wondered aloud. “Could Ginger and Bertie make amends of some sort?”

The Thakur rose up and spoke fiercely before being shushed down by the Mirza. The SHO translated glumly, “Don’t even mention money to them sir! He is furious that you would put a price on their daughters!”

“No, no,” Algy exclaimed in consternation, “I didn’t mean that!” He went on confidentially, “You see, I’ve often heard m’ mother and sisters indulging in just the kind of gossip you’re afraid of. I just wondered if the damage could be fixed socially somehow.”

“Socially!” asked the SHO skeptically, “How? Is your friend going to make amends like they do in the Bombay movies? Offer to marry them himself? And do you think that will be acceptable?”

Bertie, listening closely, had nothing to say. Ginger turned an ashen face towards Biggles.

“M-m-m-m-…?” Ginger could not bring himself to say the dreaded word.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Foolscap » 23 Jun 2018, 14:19

Oh, goodness!
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Fairblue » 23 Jun 2018, 17:26

Foolscap wrote:Oh, goodness!

Indeed.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 23 Jun 2018, 18:40

Well, this really is turning a drama into a crisis!
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 01 Jul 2018, 22:31

I am absolutely dying to see how you are going to resolve this one, ICS!!!
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 11 Sep 2018, 07:23

(Apologies for the delay...new job, new town, new rental apartment...share my pain and joy moving with three large and finicky K9s ..)


Nobody had noticed Dipu the diminutive interpreter confer quietly with his sister and slip out of the room. Now he snuck back in with an ostentatious invisibility that simply begged to be noticed. However, amid the uproar of the arguments, ably refereed by the SHO and the Mirza, now being batted around the hapless Ginger, his elaborately nonchalant re-entry was largely ignored. No-one paid any attention to the two girls putting their heads together either, gently pushing away their male bodyguards who tried to eavesdrop. A small paper package was passed by Dipu to the girl-

Ginger cast an appealing look at Biggles. “I-I’d like to fix things,” he got out with difficulty,” but, really, do I have to m-m-m-m-…” the words stuck in his throat again.

Algy said helpfully, “Marry, I think, is the word you’re looking for.” Turning to Biggles he went on, a trifle worriedly, “Would he have to –er – take on both of them? Could the flat and Mrs Symes handle it?”
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby kylie_koyote » 11 Sep 2018, 11:12

Oh dear. hahahahaha.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 11 Sep 2018, 11:18

Turning to Biggles he went on, a trifle worriedly, “Would he have to –er – take on both of them? Could the flat and Mrs Symes handle it?”


Priceless!

Congratulations on your moves.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Fairblue » 11 Sep 2018, 11:52

I hope you've settled in and thank you for this instalment.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby alderaanian » 11 Sep 2018, 16:44

Haha!!!! Indeed I was wondering if the M- word was about to make an appearance and it has been done in style!
This is such a rollicking story! Love what has been written so far. :claphappy:
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 17 Sep 2018, 16:26

(Next bit...)

Ginger muttered something distinctly uncomplimentary to Algy, the flat and Mrs Symes in that order. He was beginning to feel a dreadful sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach and he did think Biggles could have been more helpful, instead of nattering cosily like that in the corner with the two girls.

"Probably discussing living arrangements," thought Ginger sourly, for once feeling quite at outs with his chief.

Biggles was not discussing living arrangements with the girls. He had, in fact, responded to a gentle but persistent tugging on his sleeve. Turning, he had come face-to-face with young Dipu pulling on his sleeve while producing facial contortions indicative of extreme urgency.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 17 Sep 2018, 16:51

This is such a good story, ICS, that I don't want it to end!
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 17 Sep 2018, 16:59

Kismet wrote:This is such a good story, ICS, that I don't want it to end!


Thanks! Me neither, it's just spinning out itself, so to speak.
Apologies for the breaks in posting. I've just started as Prof and Dean of Liberal Arts, setting up a whole new department, and it's been pretty hectic. Settling down a bit now.
We're 20 km from Mussoorie, what the Brits called Queen of the Hills, on the western edges of the Terai. As the crow flies, Garhwal is quite near.
Want to play the travel bingo but not sure what I can spot up here, being mostly stuck in office 9-6...
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 17 Sep 2018, 18:34

Many congratulations. I hope it is a very successful move for you.

Play the travel bingo. After all, you might stand more chance of spotting a tiger than the rest of us!
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby kylie_koyote » 17 Sep 2018, 18:35

Print out one of them and keep it in your desk drawer (I did). You never know what you might see!
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 17 Sep 2018, 19:17

Kismet wrote:Many congratulations. I hope it is a very successful move for you.

Play the travel bingo. After all, you might stand more chance of spotting a tiger than the rest of us!


@KK: good thinking...the Dehradun zoo is just down the highway from us and apparently it's quite ok to have leopards etc in the woods. The humans of the parents of my baby Tibetan Mastiff (originals of the Bhotiya dogs Biggles mentions in Goes Home) warned me not to leave the dogs loose in wooded areas. On the plus side there's a posse of Bhotiya mixes squatting on the road and I have to negotiate them driving down to campus every day...for some odd reason the doofuses like to sleep in the middle of the highway...if there's gonna be Bhotiyas in the bingo cards, I'm a winner for sure :lol:
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Indian Civil Service » 17 Sep 2018, 19:20

And of course, while we're here, anyone keen on venturing into Goes Home territory is most welcome.
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Re: One Last Scene from "Goes Home"

Postby Kismet » 17 Sep 2018, 19:54

Indian Civil Service wrote:@KK: good thinking...the Dehradun zoo is just down the highway from us and apparently it's quite ok to have leopards etc in the woods. The humans of the parents of my baby Tibetan Mastiff (originals of the Bhotiya dogs Biggles mentions in Goes Home) warned me not to leave the dogs loose in wooded areas. On the plus side there's a posse of Bhotiya mixes squatting on the road and I have to negotiate them driving down to campus every day...for some odd reason the doofuses like to sleep in the middle of the highway...if there's gonna be Bhotiyas in the bingo cards, I'm a winner for sure :lol:


Will your Tibetan Mastiff protect you from leopards? And are the leopards supposed to be in the woods or are they taking an occasional leave of absence from the zoo? I hope you have a good view from your window of the spectacular scenery if you are going to be deskbound all day.

Sheep like to sleep in the middle of a road. They have to be negotiated when driving the fell roads. Roads are warmer than the surrounding moorland, apparently.
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