Mr. Gold Spot and Me
One early morning, you are out jay walking on a road with no particular destination in mind. Suddenly a little boy of around ten years stops and asks you, “Sir, is Prince William, the fourth or fifth in the line of accession as the King of England? Please tell, Sir. I am appearing for a Quiz test in a TV channel this morning?” While I was thinking about his question, he happened to remark, “You are a Professor in which college, Sir?”
The young student had taken for granted that I was very familiar with the British Royalty and next that I was a Professor of sorts in some college.
Naturally I felt puffed up. Didn’t want to confess that I didn’t know if Prince William will ever become a King at all nor was I inclined to refuse the title of a Professor, a great honour.
“Well, well, let me think ….,” I said and put on my thinking cap. The youngster was obviously in a hurry and couldn’t wait. So he left me and approached another gentleman of my age.
This has been the trouble with me – of not admitting my ignorance and pretending to know everything. My mind went back to some fifty odd years.
My first posting as a Second lieutenant in the Indian Army was to a Brigade head quarters in peace area. Just as I entered the Officers Mess one evening in my games attire, Captain Gurcharan Singh stopped me and said, “Here is Gold Spot. Take him for a ride. OK?” Gurcharan didn’t even ask me if I knew horse riding or if I was fond of it at all but had assumed that I would have been trained in it in the Military Academy. And I, like a fool, silently admitted that I was perfectly at home with a horse.
The Captain helped me mount on the horse and said, “Gold spot understands English and you can give all your command in English. Off you go…” he said and gave a light pat on the horse’s hindquarters.
Meantime, GS turned his massive head at me as if saying “Hi, up there.”
Moved by the horse’s greeting, I too said “Hi,Gold spot.” Even though I hadn’t ridden a horse before, I knew all about riding, theoretically, I mean. The veteran horse moved majestically out of the Mess compound, touched the main road, moved over to the left side and walked leisurely. “Good road sense,” I complimented him. After about hundred yards or so, I gave the command, “Trot.” And I got into the trotting motion myself. I felt glorious. A minute later I noticed that the person trotting was me and not the horse, who was now slouching and not even walking. “TROT” I repeated. At this GS, stopped smelt the ground here and there and then resumed walking at his own will..
I felt insulted. “Look here Mister Gold Spot, you are an Army horse. You have to obey an officer’s orders. Don’t you know I am a commissioned officer. Now trot, will you?”
This time he shook his whole body somewhat angrily nearly throwing me overboard. I managed to stay afloat and thanked God for it. It was obvious that GS had developed a sudden aversion for me. Turning wild, I had nearly shouted, “Don’t be an ass Gold spot” but suddenly checked my tongue. Suppose, the English knowing horse, took offence and behaved indeed like a donkey !
I even felt like telling him that I would report to Captain Gurcharan about his unhorse like behaviour. A better sense dawned on me instantly. “Shall we go home, friend?”
GS appeared to be in agreement. He turned around and headed home-wards.
Gurcharan was standing at the gate. “Ah, there you are Lieutenant. Hope Gold spot didn’t give you any trouble. He is a sort of mischievous fellow, you know?”
With a mountain like effort I had to control my temper from showering a volley of curses at the Captain.