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I was duty medical officer in the Military Hospital at Wellington that day.The sick report OPD was going on and I was rubbing the stethoscope over an old man's back when a medical orderly came and said,

"Sir,there is a phone call for you."

"Whose phone is it?"

"Sir I don't know,he said he was some field major and wants to speak to the duty medical officer.I couldn't catch his name."

I pushed my chair back and got up and walked to the MI Room phone.

"Duty Medical Officer Captain Wahi speaking."I said.

"Captain this is Field Marshall Maneckshaw.My daughter is quite unwell and I am soon getting her to the hospital ,she is running high fever,hope you will put her all right."

I said ,"Sir we will do our best."

I had just come on posting to Military Hospital Wellington where the Defence Services Staff College is located and I had heard that the nation's greatest hero,Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw stayed somewhere near but I had never expected to hear the unforgettable voice myself one of these days.I informed the commandant of the hospital and the medical specialist was asked tobe on standby.Then came flurry of activity of getting a good room aired,linen changed and freshened up for the field Marshall's daughter in the officer's family ward.We only had half an hours notice.I raced to the ward to see the room and to brief the ward sister on duty about the important patient we were about to receive.

As soon as I came back to my OPD room,I saw a gray Sunbeam Rapier car come and park in the hospital"s common parking.The Field Marshall and his Gorkha batman were assisting a young  lady out of the car and we put her on a wheeled stretcher trolley and got her to the OPD room and helped her lie down on the bed.I noticed that the Field Marshall was nattily dressed in a jacket and a tie and his thinning silver hair were brilliantined and groomed backwards from his forehead.But his daughter had a much simpler dress sense and whereas the Field Marshall was slim and elegant,his daughter was shorter in height.To put the patient at ease we doctors often carry out small talk with our patients.I felt the pulse of the young lady and noticed that she had strong thick wrists and short fingers.The Field Marshall stood behind,watching me for sometime and then he went out.I felt a relieved man,because who can be absolutely at ease in the presence of the great Sam Maneckshaw.The young lady was burning with high fever.She was well behaved and silent all the while and I admired the way the field Marshall had groomed his daughter in such an admirable and stoic manner.

Now I also started feeling the heat of professional responsibility.I had tobe absolutely spot on about my diagnosis.There was no margin for error.I myself wanted to do the best for my patient and especially when the patient was a pretty young lady who happened to be the daughter of the one and only Sam Maneckshaw.The field marshalls' batman surprisingly was acting very possesive about the young lady.He wouldn't leave her side and that was a hindrance to me.I told him curtly,

"Aye,tum udhar door Jaa ke khada ho-Hey you, go afar and stand there." 

The man sullenly  withdrew to a corner but kept staring at the Field Marshall's daughter.I found this most odd and made a mental note about quietly slipping in my opinion about his batman to the field Marshall.Frankly I found it rather ridiculous that a batman should have the gall to stare at an officer's daughter like this.He needed tobe changed and I would certainly inform the Field Marshall my opinion about his batman.He must send that lecherous chap straight back to his battalion.

I turned back to my fair patient and asked her,

"Good morning maam,I am Captain Wahi.May I know your name please."

The young lady gave me a blank look.It happens many a times in a doctor's life that a patient is disoriented by illness and fever.I smiled softly at her and again asked her very politely,

"Good evening maam,how are you feeling,what is your name." The field Marshall's daughter again refused to reply and turned her head slightly and looked at the batman.Now there was something in the young lady's look that raised a niggling doubt in my mind.

"Could the Field Marshall's daughter be having an affair with his batman." God forbid me for thinking such a thought but at that time a strong doubt of possibility crossed my mind.My resolve to report the batman as an evil snake stealing the affection of the Field Marshall's daughter became stronger and stronger.

I again asked her politely,

"Good morning maam,I am captain Wahi.May I know your name please."

And suddenly the young lady  shouted,

"Thaa chai Naa,tha chai Naa."

I couldn't catch her name properly.It sounded like Taa and China.Again the young lady and the batman were looking at each other and the Field Marshalls batman came forward towards me and said,

"Sir my wife does not understand English,if you dont mind,I will interpret for you ,her name is Dhan Maya."

Oh my God I thought,I had been such an utter idiot.Off course the young lady was all mongoloid looking.How could she be the Field Marshall's daughter.I started laughed laughing and then I thought,

"Oh hell,a bed needs to be readied in the PBOR family ward and it had better be good for the Field Marshall was sure to come to see his daughter when she was recovering from her illness.

Such was India's Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw.

Xxx Xxx


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