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Free Dinner in 5 Star Hotel - A True Life Story

It was the end of Dec 1987. This is a hilarious true story from my life that unfolded the character of an Officer, who had a child inside him. He has played many games with people a few times and I have no idea why he used to pick on me everytime as a witness to these pranks he played on others. Here is one such real life prank story.

I was staying in the Officers Mess on the 4th floor. I was doing a naval basic course those days. Being a Cadet, the moment I see an officer coming, I would immediately run for cover. Because the hard life at the naval academy from where we had come a couple of weeks ago, was still fresh in my mind.

Any Officer seeing a cadet inside the academy means that day is going to be tough as these Officers get some sadistic pleasure putting the cadets through hard physical torture for anywhere from a few minutes to hours at a stretch, for having done nothing wrong. The aim was to train and harden the Cadets to go through War.

I was still a Cadet when I came to this new place and forgot that I was out of the academy and that no one is going to do anything to me. But, none of us took the risk of being seen by an Officer for almost a month, till we realized that it is safe.

It was a Sunday. I heard a knock at the door. There were three of us Cadets staying in that room. We relaxed in our beds. Whenever anyone knocks on the door, we had a roster running as to who will open the doors each day. My turn came every third day and that day, it was my turn to get up and open the door.

I got up from my bed, reluctantly opened the door, and found a tall Sub Lieutenant standing at the door with a smile on his face which looked as if it was pre-programmed. I have seen him before and I knew he stayed on the 3rd floor of the same building right under our cabin.

I started thinking, “Did we make any sound that might have disturbed him or something? Otherwise why should be here after sunset?”

I saluted the Officer. Before I finished my thinking process, the Sub-Lieutenant thundered, "Come".

The Sub-Lieutenant looked at me as I stood dumb stuck and completely terrorized. Then he turned around and started walking away. The training at the Naval Academy is so tough that the Cadets get fully converted to zombies within those 06 months and are fully programmed and ready to obey any order.

I followed the Sub-Lieutenant like a Zombie thinking about my bad luck and the torture I am going to be put through. The tough academy days started flashing through my mind which I never wanted to endure again.

He looked back and realized that I was following him in my pajamas and T-Shirt and shouted, “You idiot. Go and change to something worthy. I am taking you to a 5-star hotel for a free dinner tonight.”

I stopped, not understanding what for is he taking me to a 5-star hotel. There was nothing to celebrate on that day. I was pretty sure that this is a new form of physical torture that hardens the Cadets even more, for enduring the War in later life if we do end up in one.

Then came the thundering a second time, “Your 30 seconds start now! Run.”

I turned and ran into my cabin and quickly changed into my civies, went down to the 3rd floor to the cabin which I thought he was staying in. I did not even bother to tell what was happening to my two roommates who saw me changing, but did not ask a single question. They had also heard the thunders.

I ran for my life to the third floor before the clock stopped after 30 seconds. The Sub-Lieutenant was standing outside his cabin and smoking.

The Sub-Lieutenant said, “Do you need an invitation to come in?”

But, I presumed it was safer to stand outside the cabin and politely requested his permission, “Sir, request permission to stay and wait”.

The Sub-Lieutenant said, “As you wish”.

Over an hour went past and I realized my mistake. I should have gone and sat inside rather than stand for so long.

The Sub-Lieutenant came out, picked up his Lambretta Scooter keys, locked his room, and started walking down the stairs with me in tow. No words were spoken between us. He kick-started his high decibel noise making Lambretta. He nodded his head and jumped onto the rear seat of his scooter and Off he went thundering, I did not know where to.

We exited the base, crossed the road, and were inside a residential area. The Lambretta thundered down houses, trees, playgrounds, shopping complex, milk booths, etc. Everyone with at least one year came out to see the source of the thunder. I was embarrassed by the looks of the people who passed us.

I was happy that he gave me a full-face riding helmet that covered my face, exposing only my eyes. For the first time in my life, I was inside this paradise called the Married Officer accommodation area. The area is out of bounds for Cadets. But, today I was lucky to see it thanks to this gentleman.

I was happily enjoying the beauty of this place, full of people, especially the scantily dressed ladies and girls on an evening walk and suddenly the Lambretta engine went silent. For a moment I thought I have gone deaf.

Sometime later, the Lambretta sounded as if it is idle throttle for a while. About 100 yards from a bungalow of a senior Officer and the world became so quiet and calm for me, when the Sub-Lieutenant switched off his Lambretta engine and the scooter started gliding on the road and slowly losing speed.

Then, he turned and we entered the gate of that bungalow. It was huge. The Scooter was automatically slowing down all the while and I did not see him use the brakes or feel any deceleration. The Scooter came to a stop right in front of the main door of the bungalow.

I was impressed and as I was getting off the Scooter, I said, “Sir, you are a master of your Scooter. You cut the engine at the exact time and the Scooter stopped exactly in front of the door without even touching the brakes.”

The Sub-Lieutenant seemed to be happy to hear that and said, “Oh that. This is how I have been stopping for a couple of months now.”

I asked in surprise, “But Sir, is it not safer to use the brake?”

The Sub-Lieutenant said, “I wouldn’t have told, had you not asked me. I cannot use the brakes even if I want to, because both my Lambretta brake cables broke one after the other, two months ago.”

My first thought was I am doomed. I also felt that this Officer is a psycho. But I did not answer him anything. The Sub-Lieutenant and I got off the Scooter and parked the Scooter there. Then, he went straight into the house in front of which we had stopped and rang the bell.

I stood near the Lambretta and looked at my wristwatch. The time was around 1900 hours. The door opened and there were loud greetings and laughter exchanged.

Then the senior Officer said looking at me, “Both of you come in. It is our marriage anniversary. Share this cake. We wanted to celebrate silently. But, you have dropped in and made the occasion memorable.”

But the Sub-Lieutenant refused to go into the house and said, “Sir, we have come to take you to for a Free Dinner a 5-Star Hotel. It is on me. Please do not refuse. We are waiting outside. Please change quickly and let us go.”

The Senior Officer said, “No, No. We want to celebrate our marriage anniversary silently at home. Please don’t force us.”

But the Sub-Lieutenant kept arguing adamantly for almost a minute and the couple had no choice but to oblige. They got ready for the occasion and came out after 15 minutes or so. I could see the excitement on the lady’s face.

I said, “A very happy anniversary to you ma'am, and you Sir. Can I take a lift with you in the car Sir?”

The Senior Officer said, “Oh why not? In fact, both of you hop in. You can take your Scooter after we return back here.”

The Sub-Lieutenant said, “Sir, that won’t be required. The two of us will be ahead of you. I have already reserved a table for the four of us. I want you to get the surprise. You just follow us. This is going to be the most memorable anniversary of your life.”

I wondered, “How is the Sub-Lieutenant going to ensure that the couple remembers this free 5-star dinner all their life?”

The Senior Officer said, “What if we lose sight of you. It is getting dark and vehicles' lights look the same. At least tell the address of the place we are going.”

The Sub-Lieutenant said, “Sir, you just don’t worry. Your eyes might miss my two-wheeler, but your ears just cannot miss my Lambretta.”

Since we had glided to the Senior Officer’s house, he probably had not heard the high decibel cracker-like engine sound of the Sub-Lieutenant’s Lambretta. So he stood there looking at us. When the Sub-Lieutenant started up the engine and drove the Lambretta off with me sitting behind, the Senior Officer understood the ear part of the dialogue.

The Lambretta entered the base once again and it was my turn to be confused. I thought, “Are we going back to the Officer’s Mess? The Mess Dinner is not 5 start hotel standard in any manner.” Two minutes later, we exited the naval base once again and this time it was from the other end.

I was new to all these places. But, I was getting an idea of where we were going. I was enjoying the free ride. We entered a beautifully lit-up place with a palace-like appearance. It was surely a 5 Star hotel. I had heard about this place before. I was sure the couple too had already guessed it right before we reached there.

The Sub-Lieutenant very respectfully ushered the couple into the restaurant area and we all settled on a 4-seater reserved table. Then the Sub-Lieutenant ordered almost all major items on the menu card for four people. As we waited for the food to arrive all four of us kept chatting.

The food was yet to arrive which I was very eagerly waiting in anticipation. But the ambiance of that place and the smell of food being served around doubled my appetite. I sat eagerly awaiting the food we had ordered.

The lady showed a lot of interest in knowing me. And I, like a fool obliged and answered all her questions in as much detail as she wanted to know. Within the first 10 minutes, she already knew which unit I was posted to, who was my Commanding Officer, which course I was doing, which cabin was I staying and my full identity. After about 15 minutes the 5-star hotel staff in immaculate attire started serving the dinner items one by one.

Immediately, the Sub-Lieutenant said aloud, “Sir, I forgot to take my Wallet.”

The Senior Officer’s lady said, “Oh, that is OK. Enjoy your free 5-star dinner first. Don’t worry about the payment. Come on, now don't spoil the fun.”

The Sub-Lieutenant gave me his scooter keys and said, “Hey Cadet, go to my Lambretta, open the scooter Dicky, and fetch my wallet.”

I got up and went to the scooter. But, I did not find his wallet inside there. I came back and reported it to the Sub-Lieutenant, “Sir, the Wallet is not there.”

The moment I reported that the wallet is not there in his scooter, he said to the Senior Officer, "Sir, we will just go back to the cabin to pick up my wallet. We will be back in 10 minutes. Wait for us and don't polish off all the food before we come back, please."

Since the Sub-Lieutenant had used the word "we" and not "I", I did not have a choice but to follow him. We left the place with the entire 5-star hotel crowd looking at us thanks to the scooter. The Lambretta entered the naval base again and instead of turning right into the living block, he turned the scooter towards the Officer’s Mess.

My confusion was resolved in a few seconds as the scooter entered the Officers Mess parking area and its engine went dead relieving my ears once again. I followed the Sub-Lieutenant into the dining hall like a zombie which I had become from the time this gentleman had knocked our cabin door.

I had so many questions popping up in my mind. I wanted to find out what was going on (exactly like your mind is also doing right now). But, Zombies don’t talk. We had the no-star Officer’s Mess dinner in silence. In my sad and confused state of having missed a nice 5-star hotel dinner, I hardly could eat ate anything.

I just sat there brooding over my lost Dinner at the 5 Star hotel, till he got up after having had a seemingly very satisfying dinner and started walking out with a happy expression on his face. I followed him, sat on his scooter, and rode back as his pillion to the Arjun block. We dispersed in silence back to our own cabins.

Even though I didn't want to, I still said, "Good Night, Sir", and walked up the stairs to my cabin.

Even today when I am writing this true life story, I am yet to find an answer to a questing haunting me for decades, “Why did that Sub-Lieutenant take me along to witness this mischief? Did he somehow know that I would pen it down for the world to read, a few decades later? There is probably a Child living in all of us.”

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