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postheadericon Passage to India Part 9 - My Father's Flight to India in 1934

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Copyright (c) 2010 Michael Ogden

My father continues the story:

Later on we discovered that his name was Abdul Hassain, one of the most notorious and most feared bandits of the countryside. A few years ago when the Shah had issued an order for the disarming of some of the more powerful of the peasant heads-men, our friend Abdul had preferred to exile himself rather than give up his guns, and had taken himself and a few faithful followers off to live in the mountains, outlawed for life, and feared by all his neighbours. To us he was one of the most charming characters that we met -also quite the most picturesque, a man of about 40 - 45, tall, and with the good looks of an Arab he made an imposing figure in his flowing robes, belt full of daggers and bright blue and white spotted handkerchief tied round his head. The outlaw-pirate, of one's childhood's imagination, come to life!

We also heard afterwards that the villagers never ceased to wonder at our success with the outlaw, they having quite decided that he would kill us or kidnap us at the very least, and that after this we rose considerably in their estimation.

The next day was Wednesday, and this was the day when we had quite made up our minds that we were to be rescued, so when at about 9 a.m. we saw a soldier cantering towards us on a small rough pony we naturally thought our troubles were at an end. Very quickly we were disillusioned, as this man (a sergeant) had neither oil nor food for us and had not even come from Bushire at all, but from some out-post barracks somewhere in the mountains.

The party who followed him consisted of this sergeant and eight soldiers, and also a nondescript little man in more or less European clothes who thought he could talk English. In reality it was almost more difficult to make him understand anything by word of mouth than it was the natives by signs, at which art, by now, we had got rather proficient!

At first we couldn't make out at all what the position was and whether we were prisoners or not, or what they wanted us to do. Eventually we made out that the soldiers had been sent (on rather doubtful authority to guard us and our machine) and that the little civilian had two motors "across the river" and was prepared to take, not us, but any message we liked to send to Bushire. My father reported that his "across the river" was a good forty miles away, as we discovered much later, and that the message we sent by him was never delivered!

The little civilian left us after a time and the sergeant took charge of us, and rather over-bearingly ordered us to accompany him to the village. This we simply wouldn't contemplate as it meant leaving the machine to the tender mercies of the natives, and as it was not insured in any way, we simply had to stay and guard it even before ourselves. In the end we made the sergeant understand this and he promised to leave some of his soldiers with it night and day. After trying to show him that no one was to be allowed to touch anything and pinch or pick it in any way, we reluctantly left it and followed him off with our belongings across the sandy plain to the village we could see about four or five miles away. Like a fool, Lady Blanche kept her shoes and stockings on and after all these days of' inactivity her feet very soon started to give out owing to the hard walking through the loose sand, and the pace at which the soldiers and natives took us along.

Long before we got to the village Lady Blanche's feet were raw, and so they remained for many weeks to come owing to the flies and dirt which it was quite impossible to keep out under the circumstances in which we were living at the time. When we arrived at the village we were taken to the largest house and found our host was to be the tall man called Rais Mochtar who had brought us food when we wanted it most.

Michael is a Distributor with Kleeneze, a UK Multi-Level Marketing Company, promoting household products via a catalogue. If you would like to have your heirs write details of your fantastic achievements in life, which is something money cannot buy, please look at our website for further information

Article Source: Passage to India Part 9 - My Father's Flight to India in 1934

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