Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Red Medal

Lightning rips open the heart of the sky and rain falls like dark blood on the deserted streets… A lonely figure walks on nonchalantly, in a trance… in a blurry of visions and memories… in an illusion of fate!! Rain seems like hot bullets fired from the rifle, searing through his senses… blinding him…burdening him with those memories he longed to forget…

He opened a bottle of Jack Daniels, and poured himself a large peg of scotch, his sole companion for the night. Partly because of his training as a NSG commando and partly because of all the time he spent on his various missions he was more comfortable with darkness than the day light… Day light leaves no room for cover; he was out in open … exposed! He stood there at the verandah of the hotel room overlooking the sea. Out in front he could see some distant lights in the sea, but he wasn’t sure what they were because of the distance. The tempest raged with all its might, as if showing off how powerful it was. He switched off the lights and sat out there in darkness, watching the city scuttling away in the storm like those little bastards he gunned down from the chopper during his missions.

“…Major Avasthi led the team in this mission…and thanks to his and his team’s valor today we have slain one of the most wanted terrorist of the last two decades…Abu Hamaz! They hunted him down in his own lair at an undisclosed location on the western borders. Of a team of seven, three lost their lives and three were seriously wounded. We lament on the loss of the three brave….” And the flashes of light! Major Avasthi stood there, tensed, nervous, alert, depressed.... Journalist and camera men surrounded him and his team mates… “How do you feel Major Avasthi being hailed as the hero of the nation?”… “Major Avasthi…Are you going to retire after this?”… “Major Avasthi… Are you going to act in the next movie by Ram Gopal Verma based on your mission? Are you considering any brands to endorse?”… “Major Avasthi…Do you believe Abu Hamaz deserved to die? Do you think…?”

He checked his gears as they approached the drop point… he was ready! “All right boys… keep your eyes open… stick to the plan… don’t shoot each other… by the way a bottle of Jack Daniels to whoever kills that son of a bitch”… they clapped their hands together…gave out a medieval war cry and sat back as the pilot started a countdown before they were clear to jump...

They had lost their cover… the guard over the post wasn’t dead completely and rang the alarm… From a distance Avasthi and his men could see the flurry of activities inside the house… they didn’t have much time… there were at least 20 well trained assassins in the house…bravo team called in first…they needed back up from alpha and Charlie… they were going in! Avasthi knew it was a suicidal move…but then … it was war… It was madness!

Sounds of automatic rifles filled the night… bravo was down… and Charlie was just managing to hold up against the guys from the roof…he needed to move in.. he needed to move in real fast…

There was a deadly silence across that deserted field…you could very barely make out the humming of choppers at 10000 feets… there was one last room in front of Avasthi…there was 1 door and few bullets between Abu Hamaz and his death… the intelligence had been right about Abu Hamaz, but it was wrong about the number of dogs he had kept to guard him…and it had already cost him 2 men…may be more… he took out the pin of the grenade and with one swift movement pushed the door and threw it inside…. the flash grenade blinded everyone inside…there was a white light and lot of smoke… Avasthi charged in with Lieutenant Singh…firing…cursing…

Just after the press conference, Minister of defense invited him and his team to a dinner he had throw at his place in their honor. He told them how much he revered their courage, their sacrifice to this country and how this young generation needed to take lessons from him and his men... they should be the role model s of new India- fearless, strong and keepers of peace! In truth, he just wanted few snaps clicked with them, so that he can appear on the front page of next day’s newspaper. Elections were just round the corner, publicity never hurts…good publicity…well that’s God sent! He moved around the party like a zombie, smiling at everyone, posing for snaps, drinking to his friends who had lost their lives… drinking to their fate and a life or whatever was left of it… even answering some of the stupid question of various guests- were you scared? How did you feel when you killed him..?... How did he feel?

He changed the magazine of the rifle. He couldn’t believe that he was really there… the most wanted…feared terrorist was in the next room, with probably a dozen of other terrorists, with their Kalashnikovs trained at the very door he was going to push in…death was inevitable…this was a failed mission…he came so close…but!

Lieutenant Karan was breathing heavily next to him… they looked at each other…they recognized the fear in each other’s eye…and then he smiled! Their lives didn’t matter if they can’t kill him today… their death will not save Abu Hamaz today…his team mates are not going to die in vain…it will probably kill him…but he wasn’t afraid…

In the white flash they rolled in two grenades…blinded by the light terrorist fired at random… they didn’t see the two hand grenades which were thrown in. It was like a orchestra at work…just when the rifles had reached a crescendo, the two bombs went off in sync…and a second later two INSAS rifles joined the choir from the door…

Avasthi didn’t miss…he was born for this… for this day… to avenge the man for his guilt… to punish him…to kill him!

The boy was standing in the corner…his mother at his feet holding a Kalashnikov,bleeding to death….Abu Hamaz, dead on the other corner…couple of other … here and there…the boy was scared…but he didn’t cry…he was looking at him in the eye… he was memorizing the face he would hunt down when he was old enough…he wasn’t crying he was laughing…mocking …. Avasthi shot him in the head!

The boy lay on the ground; his cheeks were wet with tears…his last words were, in broken English, - please don’t kill me!

He filled another drink! Rain hadn’t stopped for last 3 hours… it’s all been so silent except for the rain…like that night on their way back…the silence was unbroken except for the sound of the chopper blades. The boy’s face kept coming back to him…his tear soaked face…those alive eyes. He took out his medal and held it out in his hand…that glistening silver medal looked so beautiful. There was another glimmer of metal in the rain…of the berretta in his other hand…and a final shot!

But when all this is over…wars won…heroes returned…villains newly found…who cares for those medals…those medals soaked in blood! 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Of Darkness and Liberation

A dark night… a lonely road… a fast car… and a shot of madness in his head…. He drove! In the short sighted visibility of the car head lights, he rested his faith and luck…anything beyond was darkness and unknown… anything beyond was approaching him at 120 kmph speed but he didn’t know if it was an open road or wall of stone… but he drove!

It was a dark night… no stars in the sky…a lonely moon giving shapes and forms to the expanding darkness that surrounded him. He was scared. He shot furtive glances towards those shapes… he didn’t know what they were and he didn’t know what to expect….There was a constant sound… a snarl… a giggle… a playful demeanor….someone was there …someone watching him…. Someone toying with him and his fate… a much mightier force …and he was his object of play for that night. He was scared!

A pair of brilliant balls of fire fast approached him from the opposite direction…some company at last! Starved of any company... unconsciously he drove towards them…positioning himself almost on the collision course. As if even the brief moment for which that truck will pass right next to him he will feel some level of companionship… which he will store…savor for the rest of the journey. As the those pair of lights came nearer, he realized that that they were just too bright for him to handle… he couldn’t be on his own anymore… he lost his view of the road… he lost control...he was going for a head on collision…and for all those long micro seconds … he knew.. but he couldn’t move…he had accepted that collision as a collateral for that companionship…. He had given up!

 Truck swerved at the last second… sparing his life! And for those seconds … and many more following them, blinded as he sat...he was lost in his dreams. He dreamt of himself as a child… his parents… his friends… his home… of the mango tree in the courtyard…and the fields beyond … and the hills and river beyond them all… he felt so small…. He felt so much at home… he was at peace! Another car honked and whizzed past him… he was awake!

A soul burdened with failures… expectations un-met… promises un- kept…and all those things it hadn’t come to terms with… felt too heavy for him to carry…but then in that instant… in that sudden flash of light …when he thought he was dying he met another him… the unburdened him… where he wasn’t the centre of the world… when he had hopes and dreams bigger than those hills beyond… when his mind was as open as those huge fields… when his life was more than an appraisal report... when he was alive!

A hint of light filled up the sky… a warm glow of a distant hope… and suddenly the darkness surrounding him was washed with muted colors… revealing their identity...he wasn't scared anymore! He could see, on his right, the river now… beautiful pristine blue… it twisted and turned playfully around the bends… jumping with joy and energy...and he felt.. his life wasn’t such a waste after all… he wasn’t so lonely after all… there was more to him than he has made out to be….than what people expect of him. There was so much more to do... there are so many dreams to chase... there were so many more lives to live and then in that instant... he was liberated! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

D' Shining....

This is a tale of a certain young gentleman, unlikely of his age, who revelled in his wisdom and charm, while his hairs rebelled having to stay so close to the absolute source of “sheer awesomeness” (next only to the great Kung Fu Panda). Tales of his exploits are travelled far and wide, and has amazed from stud-most to dud-most. For the sake of your safety and mine, we will here after refer to him as ‘The D’ (people have turned blind-reading, deaf-hearing, dumb-saying his name, apart from other awesome-active reactions)

These were the times, when The D after having left the hallowed portals of XLRI, had joined a certain extremely well reputed FMCG company of US origin [US economic crisis was a caused when The D walked into Walls Street during one of his afternoon extra-body time travels… and the financial markets collapsed by coming so close to him]. These were the days when he wasn’t the magnificent…the ultimate…‘The D’...he was just an ordinary…nice…kind hearted…sweet… ‘D’. He hadn’t come in terms with entirety of awesomeness in him, and was in the process of self discovery like the time travel. On a Wednesday, when D decided to give his laptop for platform up-gradation, and having stayed till 10 pm on the last 2 days, decided to take an early leave from office, at 4 pm. So D bid his colleagues goodbye, while their hearts burned, he embraced the warmth of the sun on his face. There was a certain change in the surroundings… he knew…but couldn’t see.

As he reached Grant Road Station, he met a certain ASM of Mumbai Metro, who was quite taken aback by our hero’s early departure…but the most benevolent D explained- “Arre, laptop to ISD ko dediya upgrade karne ko…abhi bina laptop ke main kaam kaise karunga [an evil grin, sheepishly ran across his face, hoping not to disturb the rest of the face]…so leaving early…..”. D noticed the certain change in the faces of people standing nearby, but engulfed by the joy of leaving early, he paid no heed to them and continued in the his flow…till he turned his head and saw him….new MD of his company was standing right next to him!!!!!

D was torn apart in the flurry of emotions…sorrow… pain…regret…distress…. “How could I do it..?” he asked himself…and like the dying Neo in The Matrix, he refused to believe that he has been shot- point blank! And just when it seemed all hope were lost…hearts nearly broken (…Trinity about to kiss)…D entered a barber shop- he decided to free his hairs of the mortal bondage forever… he decided to get a clean shave… on his head! And when he emerged … the world for a second had 2 suns…one in sky…one in Mulund! People fell down on their knees…guarding their eyes from D’s awesome-emitting new look… he was unveiled…he was reborn…he became… ‘The D’

Several cases of blinded by awesomeness have been reported since in Mumbai… those were the times when ‘The D’ was distracted for nano’eth of nano second. Valentine’s Day have been renamed as ‘I wanna be with The D’ by girls…and ‘We seek your permission to hate you The D’ by certain underground guy’s group. There are other changes underway…but while that happens our very own ‘The D’ still chills out in that company (humble isn’t he)… while the company has issued special ray-ban glasses and awesome-resistant suits to all its employees.

We would have liked to conclude this blog…but as per special guidelines issued by Supreme Court… like ‘The D’…his tales are never to be concluded…they just stop when ‘The D’ wants it to….