After several days of fighting in the Saidpur region, I ask the army to escort me back to Dacca so that I can send my films to my agency Sipa in Paris. I have a scoop. I am the only foreign photographer in the field, while my colleagues are all stuck in the capital. The army takes me by night to a makeshift landing zone.
Just like in a film, the moonlight picks on the silhouette of a general and his escort scanning the sky, anxiously awaiting the helicopter which would ferry us over the surrounding Indian lines. Again, just like in a film, the helicopter does not appear.
The general then decides to cross the enemy lines by road—he has to be at his HQ by the morning—and invites me to go with him. Are my films worth such a risk?
I speculate that a general does not take as many risks as a lieutenant and accept his invitation. What I did not know—and one look at his face in the morning revealed this—is that I am dealing with one of those firebrand generals. A “Mad General”. The sort who leads his troops into assaults himself. Since then I have never accepted an invitation from anyone whose face I cannot see in the dark.