The place where this tale took place was Kiel in Germany. Kiel is the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein and has a long ship-building and naval tradition. A group of Indian submariners were deputed there to get trained and be involved with the assembling of some submarines that India was buying from Germany. The navy men could take their families also with them and it happened that a lot of the accompanying wives were pregnant. It is with one such family that Mr P stayed to save on boarding charges on a trip to Germany.
As his host officer could not take a day off from work, Mr P volunteered to escort the wife who had reached full term to the hospital for a scheduled check up. Three other pregnant ladies also then tagged along for check ups as their husbands could not leave work as well. So Mr P drove all four ladies to the hospital and after reporting at the reception they all sat on chairs waiting for their names to be called for the doctor to see them. While Mr P sat down, the four fully pregnant ladies sat on either side. Can you imagine the spectacle it would have made in that German city? No wonder the local people who walked in and went through the reception area looked stunned, stared and kept giving furtive looks at the four women and Mr P sitting in the middle. After getting a lot of these strange looks, Mr P realised what was happening. He understood that people thought all four fully pregnant ladies were his resposibility and he was to be blamed for their condition. Mr P felt embarrassed. He started to sweat and turned red. Somehow he got up and distanced himself from the ladies till all their check ups were finished and it was time to go home.
He had to go back to the hospital again a few days later as his hostess was going into labour and the husband was not at home to take her. After he phoned and the husband reached the hospital, Mr P planned to make a speedy exit. However a couple more ladies in labour were also admitted into the hospital at the same time and Mr P’s friend arrived with the other two husbands. The usual routine in the hospital was that these ladies would have to get out of their clothes and get into hospital gowns. They would also have to remove their jewelry and hand them to someone for safekeeping.
From one of the rooms a nurse came out and asked for the husband. Mr P immediately understood that it was probably for taking care of the jewelry. He also understood that only the husband could go in as the lady would be without any clothes. He rushed and summoned his host officer who was just coming in and took him to the room and hurried him in to see his wife. Mr P wisely stayed back.
Mr P’s friend who went in saw the lady and she certainly did not have any clothes on. But then she was surely wife,…………………………………………….. only to somebody else!!!