T he Indian army is abundant with stories of the peculiar demands Generals present to aides, junior officers et al. These stories usually come out and are exchanged during the Commanders’ Conferences, when all the brasshats get together in Delhi and the junior/middle-rung officers at Delhi Cantonment are left bemused at the requests(orders) they have to accommodate.
One story that goes around is that of a General who insisted on eggplant juice in the mornings. The first day, while the catering staff had put out Tomato, Orange, Carrot etc, they had failed to prepare for the contingency of an officer of General rank demanding eggplant juice. There was a mad scramble, but they managed.
Another story is about a General who didn’t like to see people. So no sentry/staff was allowed to be in any position where he could be seen by the General from the terrace or the windows of the guesthouse where he was staying.
Another General insisted on having carried in his entourage six large pots containing organic cereal wherever he went.
Another story, earlier thought apocryphal but now confirmed, relates to the requirement of an assisting soldier in the bathroom in cold environs. Fully clothed, the soldier would sit on the commode and literally warm the seat for his General Saab, before he would deign to use it.
But besides the ludicrous, there are also tales of un-officer-like behaviour. One, really, really senior General ignored his electricity bill, which amounted in the lakhs, when he temporarily moved into accommodation provided by the army after he retired.