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The Dark Conversation

There is a darkness in me,
Throbbing, loyal and alive.
Brother of the glowing light,
The vastness in which I dive
What does it want?
Why is it there?
Should I embrace it?
Or should I fear?
It whispers in my head,
Reminding time and again.
I am your mentor and a friend,
Don’t you see I keep you sane?
Light cons you with hopeless fantasy,
optimism and magic.
I offer you the pragmatic realism,
Clarity and logic.
Your generosity and niceness,
Used as emotional weakness.
Who tells that thumping fool,
Brain is also a tool?
Light moulds your face, that mask, that image,
Serve not self, it says, serve world serve all.
Be a provider, Say I, not a saint nor a sage,
Serve self and family, it’s good, not your fall.
When they throw words like knives and swords,
That thumping fool cries and quivers.
I provide that cold steel, that shield, that spear,
Making you confident, strong,  make others shiver.
I offer you smartness, an instinct, an edge,
In any antagonistic time and place.
You refuse those weapons, don’t step on that stage,
Suppress them, submitting, for loss of face.
I am loyal to you, think about none but you,
Serving self is not bad, it’s not a sin.
You dispute my words and ignore too,
Is loving self so bad, you don’t let me in?
I understand you, I tell the dark, my friend,
But am an organism of shared consciousness.
You are just the balance to the light, the guide,
I respect you, but never your selfishness.
You provide me strength but not the direction,
Not every action I face, requires a reaction.
Letting go of words, which you abhor and berate,
Liberates people more than the hate, do you get?
Stay in the shadows, below the light, stay low,
Make it your sanctuary, your home.
Standing at my death bed, when my tears flow,
Will be only those who the thumping fool has won.

 

  • Chetan Pai
  • Sanpada, India – 9 February 2019

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Fitness – My constant struggle…..

At the onset, I want to say, this blog is about my personal struggle with fitness and I am no expert in workout or exercises, so please consult professionals before taking up any workout.

It’s been 5 months now that I have started my workout, which I follow almost daily.  Now that I have got the rhythm of it, I feel it’s the right time to blog about this. Blogging about it earlier would have been premature and arrogant, blogging later would lose it meaning (for me).

Imagine a government company in a socialist era. Workers and employees at their slowest pace, avoiding work and responsibilities and striking work if forced. The top management, once with all the vigor to bring about a change, has given up all the hopes of any change and comfortable where it is. Did you picture it? Are those images flashing through?

But wait, what’s this image have to do with my workout you ask?

Well, I wanted to draw parallel with that government company to my body and mind; the state I was in when I started this workout journey. Almost 18 years of sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits and almost no inclination to do any workout. My mind was like the top management, comfortable where it was and my body was like those workers which went on strike, at the slightest discomfort.

Now with all this against me, and with history of no success in past 18 years, I started my journey.

Let me tell you how.

I would once again draw a parallel with government agencies. No matter what we think of government machinery, we would arguably agree that they work efficiently in times of crisis. I mean they are all hands on deck.

Now that was the first thing I did, I created a crisis, for my mind and body, all this was couple of weeks into Covid lockdown. I would constantly speak with myself (rhetorically) stating clearly this:-

Chances of survival are high for those who have better respiratory health, physical health and are lean (I added this).

Important to note that, I did not look down upon my body, but constantly fed my mind those words until it panicked.  Remember mind evaluates the body and voila in a matter of few days, mind was on my side. Fantastic! (though it was only for a few days).

So now I get all pumped up and do couple of stretching exercises and begin with two basic exercises, high knees and jumping jacks. Boy!! did my body protest and how!! Cramps and pain in my knees and shoulders and overall breathlessness. And I did those two exercises for just 30 seconds. Such a bad state of health.

To draw yet again government parallel, imagine all these government workers (body) has been taken over a ruthless corporate who makes them work all the time. Imagine the reaction of the workers! My body reacted the same way. But as any corporate would do, I decided that I would be considerate, but not lenient with my body.

So I went to the drawing board and made a plan, incremental but consistent progress. Example:  Week 1- Three exercises 30 seconds and planks. Week 2- Three exercises 45 seconds and planks. Week 3 – Four exercises 45 seconds and planks and so on. Idea was to ensure that once I reach the next exercise, I would maintain same reps or time as my earlier habituated exercises. And it worked! I started making progress, getting leaner, less protests from body and mind. Ofcourse I had not challenged them yet.

Sometime in May, almost 5-6 weeks in with exercises, I decided to push the cardio aspect of my workout. I Included skipping and spot jogging and made that the highlight of my workout. Trust me, when I say this, weight training is much easier than cardio, especially running. And when I focused on cardio, something weird happened and this was my biggest test so far. My mind and body protested severely. Every single jump and every single step I would take, my mind would scream. Give up it said,  just give up, you are not made for this, look at your age, you don’t need to do this, you can’t do this and would scream at me to stop. It would bring up images of how weak I was, recalled my previous failures. Body supported the mind and I would start feeling dizzy, my legs would start shivering, every ounce of my body was about to stop and never start workout again. However by that time I had found a new friend, my heart. Not the organ, but the passion element of it. And that friend would become my driving force and still is. Every single jump where my mind mocked at me, heart would say prove it wrong, and I would jump and jump again and jump again. I would stand in pool of sweat, burning from the workout, but happy about not giving up. I had given up at precisely this stage in all my fitness plans in last 18 years, not anymore. And I am conscious of the fact that this is a constant struggle, may be for a long time ahead, I don’t know.

From June I started my weight training, slowly progressed from full body weight plus cardio to focused body weight training and cardio.

Even today and I mean every single day, when it’s time to start my workout, my arm or leg sends signals in form of ache or pain. My mind says why not take a rest day today, weather is so good. Just rest today, come on you deserve it. It tempts you to not workout all the time. Mind and body hate physical exertion.

But by now I realized it, when it comes to fitness, whatever makes you comfortable does not necessarily make you healthy. So I just ignore all that mind says, shirk off those lame body aches, put on my music, get in the groove, pick up that dumbbell and start my workout.

And I will be honest, there are days when even the heart is opposing you, which means everything is opposing you. But you have to stand alone sometimes and just do what you need to do. Your fitness is your fight with yourself, always has been sometimes you may have allies and sometimes none. I hope when you undertake this journey, may you emerge victorious.

I will end by saying, IT IS NOT EASY, Rewards are far and few and it’s a long journey. But you need to carry on. You have to.

I sincerely hope, this blog helps you. Please feel free to share your thoughts and your experiences. Also any other topic you would need me to blog.

  • Chetan Pai (Sanpada, 31 August 2020)

 

 

 

The Tenant (Part I)

Search for the perfect house:

House was on 10th floor in a very modern looking building on Palm Beach Road in the eastern suburb of Navi Mumbai. She followed the agent into the house and was matching his steps. That was her old habit, whenever there was a person walking in front of her, she would match their pace and most of the times try to step on same spot which the person in front had. It was a game, which she played, one over which she had no control. Many a times, she would get so lost in this, that she would reach their homes instead of hers. And as it had happened in a few instances, she had been asked by the people she was following, if she was stalking them, which has caused her embarrassing moments of few occasions.

 

She snapped back to reality and thought, God, I need to get rid of this habit. She started paying attention to what the agent was saying.

 

See madam, this is it, said the agent walking toward the huge French Window in the gorgeous living room with some of the finest décor. This is the view I was talking about, in front of her was a beautiful view of the creek and a sun set. Look at the sun set, said the agent, beautiful isn’t it?

 

Indeed! so beautiful! she thought and got lost in her thoughts again. Born and raised in a village on the foothills of Himalayan mountain, she had always dreamt about watching  sun sets at the sea.

Infact that was infact the first thing that she did when she landed in Mumbai. Took a taxi and went to Girgaum Chowpatty. Standing on that gleaming golden beach, she watched the Sun, taking its golden and amber glow into the depths of the peaceful sea and just like that, in a moments time, the darkness arrived and water became just that tad colder. Ahh, such a magical feel, she did not want to leave that beach, that moment.

 

She suddenly snapped back to reality again, and tried to catch what the agent was saying.

 

So madam, the agent continued, as I told you, this entire building has the finest security that you can have, as you yourself have seen when we walked in, so your safety and security is guaranteed. It is centrally air-conditioned, but you can control it from the switch here, but cant switch it off, he said with a smile.

You can see that the entire flat is fully furnished with finest decor, and comes with television, refrigerator, oven, washing machine, dishwasher and what have you. You don’t have to spend a single paisa on any of this and the owner undertakes it’s maintenance.  And while it’s little far from your work location, it’s worth every rupee you pay as monthly rent. So what do you say? Do you like it?

 

She was again starting at the sunset , which was now gasping on the last strokes of light, before drowning into the sea. She had felt warmth in the house the minute she stepped in, like it was already her home. Added to that was the security of the building and cherry on top was that it was fully furnished, with such beautiful furniture and art work and this view, this beautiful view. It’s an unbelievable deal for 35K a month. While she would still be spending 5K more that the 30K limit that her company had set and required a long commute to & fro Andheri, but still it was worth it.

 

Still she thought to negotiate and said, I really like this house, but I can’t do more than 30K. If you agree, we can sign the papers tomorrow, she said with a smile. The agent gave her a thoughtful look, OK I can do 30K, but with two conditions, I will not give you the maid service, which otherwise was included in the service agreement, and you would have to water these plants every single day without fail.

 

She immediately turned and looked at the plants on the sitting area near the French window; three plants, which looked like white lily plants.

 

Hey wait a minute, she thought, were these plants here?  I watched the entire sun set, but do not recall seeing them.  May be I was so engrossed in watching the sun set , that I may have missed it, she thought. Well not a problem, I had a garden at my home and did all house hold work, if it reduces 5K nothing like it.

 

OK Deal! She said with a smile.

 

Fantastic! And Congratulations! said the agent.

 

Tomorrow morning you can fill your paper work, pay your deposit and rent for 3 months and then I will hand over your keys to you; and absolutely you can move in tomorrow. Also we need to file your details with security here as well, but I will help you with it. They left the room, almost the same time the darkness befell the room.

 

Following day, after completing all the paper work and security formalities, she and the agent entered the house.  Ah the same feeling of warmth, just like home, she thought.

 

Both of them sat and when she asked about the owner. He is a hot shot broker, who stays in the upscale Prabhadevi and is too busy to cross the creek and come to palm beach road area of Navi Mumbai said the agent with a laugh.

 

They were sipping their pepsi, when the agent said something, which she found odd.

 

Madam, see I gave you a 5K discount on the rent, which is like few thousand loss for me too since I take 20% of the rent amount for a year as my commission. She whistled and said wow seriously? You must be minting money.

 

Agent laughed and said nothing like that madam, but in case of this house, you must know a couple of things.

 

First you will water the plants daily and I mean daily without fail.  The measuring cups are near the plants, two cups of tap water for each of the plants. She stared at the agent and said, Ok. But don’t you think he is making a big deal out of it? What’s special about it anyway?

 

These were planted by Sir’s mother and he has a special feeling about them. We don’t want them to die, do we? He smiled.

 

Ok fine, she said and what’s the other thing that you wanted to tell?

 

Second, whenever sir comes he will always call a day in advance, that day, you cannot be in this house. I will come in morning, collect key from you so that sir can enter and only once he leaves, you can come back. Typically he comes in by 9 AM and leaves by 2 PM. He spend some time here with his memories. Be assured that he wont touch anything.

 

Hey look, this is something that I am not really OK with, she said. I know he is the owner and all, but why am I being kicked out?  She asked.

 

Not kicked out madam, what are you saying? See Sir has a special connection with this house, his mother passed away here. So whenever he feels a little nostalgic, he comes by, that too once in every 1.5 months or two months. Is that such a big deal for you madam?

 

Yes it is. Not that he will visit, but the part that I should not be here during the visit. Also why was this not told to me earlier?

 

The agent suddenly had a serious look on this face. Ok madam, in that case, we may need to cancel our deal. Papers have yet to be notarized, they are just filed today with me. I will return your money to you tomorrow.

 

Hey, what are you talking about? Seriously?? This is not done at all.

 

Sorry madam. But that’s how it’s going to be. See to tell you the truth, Sir only gives this house to single women, and that too at 50% less rate than market, considering they need to have quality living at affordable prices. He lost his sister early, who was a career woman and in that sorrow his mother passed away too. That’s why he has reserved this house for single career women. When he feels nostalgic, If he can’t spend a few hours alone, once in like two months, then it does not work for him.

 

Hey c’mon. I am not saying he can’t come, but not when am not there. He should come when am there. Atleast I will also meet him.

 

The agent got up, sorry madam, that won’t work. I will return your papers and money tomorrow. You can stay here for today, but tomorrow, you would need to leave the house. Good Luck madam…. To find a new house this good.

 

No No No, she said loudly. Are you serious? Ok Fine. He can come but don’t tell me a day earlier, give me atleast couple of day’s notice and please don’t plan on a weekend. I would not know what I can do with my free time, atleast this benefit you give me.

 

It’s a big city madam, plenty of spaces and places to see. So what should I tell sir?

 

Ok fine, say yes. I agree to both the conditions.

 

Fantastic madam, sir will be happy. Here you go, he said as he handed over the keys and security card, this house is yours, for atleast next 11 months, chuckled the agent and wished her good evening and left.

 

Once he left, she jumped in joy and screamed yesssss. I have done it, I have got a room with a sun set view and a creek view and that too in upscale locality as I have always dreamed off.  She just dropped on the sofa and closed her yes, enjoying the feel of the soft sofa and fragrance of a new home.

 

She suddenly woke up. It was dark outside and in the room. What? What happened? What time is it? She checked time on her mobile phone, it was 7:45 PM. Wait, did I just sleep 4 hours straight? How is it possible? She had not slept like this in years. In some ways she felt happy about it, so good and fresh. She looked around and she had bags to unpack.

Nah not today she thought, I will quickly take shower and then order some food. Will do all the unpacking tomorrow, it’s Saturday anyways. Thinking this she went for shower.

 

Chirayushi Bungalow, Carter Road, Bandra – 7:30 PM:

 

Sir, here is the cash and these are the documents, said the agent handing over the paperwork to a man sitting in the dark. And ofcourse she has agreed to our terms and conditions. The man in front grunted, which by now, the agent had realized was sound the man makes when he acknowledges.

The man in dark extended his hand to the agent and said, and?

 

The agent smiled and handed over another pair of document to the man, which was the real purpose of visiting his home. The man in dark collected the document and grunted again. He extended the hand again and placed 50K on the table, which the agent gleefully accepted.

 

LEAVE NOW! Said the man in the dark, in a devilish voice.

 

Agent bowed his head and hurriedly left the place. His car was waiting outside to take him to his home. He really liked this man, whose name he still didn’t know, while the name on all the documents were of some man, he still doubted if it’s the same person. But he paid handsomely, lived in opulence and always paid for his rides. God should bless me with more customers like him, he thought, as his car sped away.

 

Man watched his car leave through window. He smiled to himself, thinking how some people do anything asked, just for few more rupees. He then left for his study, holding only the final set of papers which the agent had provided.

 

Money and house paper work were left on the table untouched. He didn’t bother about it.

 

Sleeping time:

 

She finished her dinner and licked her fingers. This was the first time she had tasted the fiery misal, that too from Mamledaar, which was highly recommended on the food ordering app. This is so tasty she said, I should order some more tomorrow she thought. Prior to this she had a bowl of packaged soup, sweet corn, her favourite.

 

Gosh it is already 10 pm, she said, how time flies when you are having a good time. At that moment she thought of calling her parents, and show them this house; but she didn’t. They were not on good terms with her, especially from the time she had refused to marry the man they had decided for her, and recently, with her decision to move to Mumbai, that too unmarried.  They didn’t like it one bit.

 

It’s OK, I will call them tomorrow she thought. Let me now listen to the music and sleep. It was 10:50 PM, when she slept, this was her regular time, just that today, she slept almost immediately.

 

During the night…….

 

Digital clock next to the bed is now reflecting 1:15 AM and it’s blinking slowly, as if it doesn’t want to change. Room is dark and it seems as if there is a gentle breeze flowing through the room, which is strange as there is no window open in this house. The breeze is ruffling the girl’s hair, who currently is in deep sleep. But instead of the pillow on which she had placed her head, it is currently on lap of a woman, who is staring at her, with a smile, which is nothing short of evil. That smiling woman is softly patting the girls head and humming a soft tune, which has a hypnotic effect to it. May be it’s this tune, which is making her sleep so deep. May be, we don’t know. But the girl is in deep sleep.

 

Outside in the living room, all the lights are on, and there are 3 women, who are humming the same tune and are unpacking her luggage and neatly arranging her clothes in the closet in bedroom. They are also cleaning the room, ensuring there is not a speck of dust anywhere.

 

Digital clock now reflects 2:30 AM. Front door of the house swings open, and someone enters the house. One can only see a shadowy image, but it is surely a man. One can hear the footsteps entering the house, hard and sinister. The 3 women in the living room suddenly stop their work, and stand with heads bowed, as if they are frozen in fear. Footsteps enter the bedroom and stop near the bed where the girl is sleeping.

The woman on whose lap the girls head lie, stops patting the girls head and slowly looks up with a slow growling noise, her eyes are now gleaming in anger and hatred. She is looking at the shadow in front of her with bloodthirsty eyes. The shadow slowly bends towards the woman, as if it’s unafraid of the woman and is staring into her eyes, and one can hear a devilish giggle coming from the shadow.

 

 

Wake Up Call:

 

She woke up with a yawn and glanced at the clock near her bed; it was already 8:30 AM. It was bright outside and breeze from the creek was making the French windows shudder a bit. She loved that feel and that moment and got out of her bed, dragging her feet into the living room. She sat on the couch and yawned again, apparently she was still feeling a little sleepy.

 

She suddenly remembered, I have to unpack the bags. Please god, nooo, she groaned, not today, am not in mood.

 

But she had no option, so she got up and walked towards the shelf in which she had kept the bags. She pulled the big bag out, and it easily came out. What the hell,  why is it so light? She thought. She opened the bag and it was empty.

She panicked and pulled out the other bag, and that was empty too. Frantically she pulled out the third bag and it was no different. She felt like crying and didn’t know what to do. She then saw and envelope above the drawer in the shelf, it was addressed to her.

 

Scared now, she thought, who would leave an envelope for me like this? She opened the envelope and started reading the note that was inside. She felt a chill back her spine, note mentioned:

 

Hello Dear,

 

Have unpacked your bags and arranged it in closet. Have set up bathroom with all the required things.

Tea is ready for you, just as you like it with cardamom. And yes, have made poha, eat it.

 

And Welcome to the house.

 

Before she realised it she was soaking in sweat. At that moment she again felt a chill down her spine, she was almost sure that someone was standing behind her. She turned around, but there was no one there, except those plants had bloomed white lilies, and which for a very strange reason were looking like a face and were staring at her.

 

Every cell in her body was fighting with her, prodding her to run away, as if they had sensed the danger; but her mind didn’t want to. She ran inside the bedroom and dialed the agents number.

 

The Agent:

 

The agent woke up with an irritated face, who the hell is calling so early in the morning. He picked up the phone and saw incoming call from her number. His facial expression changed, he didn’t know how to react, confused  between the feeling of surprise and terror. With all his professional fakeness, he gathered enough strength to greet her enthusiastically.

 

Good Morning Madammmmm!! Happy Saturday. How was your first night in your home?

 

Please! Please come here something is not right, she was pleading.

 

What happened madam? Are you alright?

 

No nothing’s alright, I had left my bags packed last night and when I woke up this morning, it was all unpacked and I found a note for me. Someone was in my room, I am feeling so scared. Please urgently come here.

 

Think! Think! The agents mind was working at frantic pace to come up with a lie. And it found one.

 

Ha Ha ha, Madam, you had scared me.

 

What do you mean? She asked sternly.

 

It was the maid madam. I had forgot to inform her that you have not taken the maid service, she normally comes in at 7 AM and has keys to the house.  They are a very professional service, so she would have arranged your clothes and made you some breakfast and tea.

 

He could also hear a huge sigh of relief on the phone.

 

Ohhhh, it was the maid. My god, I was so scared, I thought someone had entered the home and worse I thought it was a ghost, she chuckled. You are a saviour, I feel so relieved.

 

What madam? You are so easily scared. Don’t worry, I will inform the agency about the maid service. Call me if you need any help. Good Day madam.

 

She disconnected the call and almost giggled, thinking how stupid she was, to imagining things and getting so scared. She first went into the bedroom to see if the clothes were there, and they were perfectly folded. Then went into the bathroom, humming….. Humming the same tune as woman from the night. She turned on the shower, oblivious to the woman standing in her living room right now.

 

At that very moment, the agent called the bungalow in Bandra. Sir are you there? To this he was greeted with an angry, YES – SPEAK.

 

Sir, this time, it happened on first night?

 

There was silence on the phone, but the agent could almost see a devilish grin appearing on the face of the man on the phone.  DON’T GET INVOLVED…screamed the man on the phone and line disconnected.

 

Agent was tensed at this time and called up her number.

 

At The House:

 

The girl is having her morning shower and still humming that tune.  In the living room that woman picked up the phone and screamed at the agent in that mans voice.

 

I TOLD YOU DON’T GET INVOLVED…. And the line disconnects.

 

Agent’s  hands are shivering. The man has to be informed of this…… right now.

 

He picks up his car keys and rushes outside the door. He had to reach Bandra as soon as possible, the man has switched off his phone and something terrible is waiting for the girl.

 

 

To be continued……..

 

 

Chetan Pai

13 July 2020 – Sanpada, Navi Mumbai.

The Unknown (Part 3) – The Experiment – A Dangerous Step Forward

First two parts of the story are listed below>>?

Part 1>> https://wordpress.com/post/kafkanietworld.wordpress.com/68

Part 2 >> https://wordpress.com/post/kafkanietworld.wordpress.com/72


 

“All warfare is based on deception. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”

– Sun Tzu (Chinese general and a military startegist).


 

12 December 1999:  2 AM, Training Camp, Northern Areas (Present Day Gilgit Baltistan)

Husyen Souleimanov, Ruslan Tajik and Farhad Shah were sitting on a huge boulder on the cliff, a short climb down from their camp; overlooking the beautiful snow capped peak of Spantik. During day time, this spot was a heaven on earth, with a view of snow capped peaks of the mighty himalayas, and the beautiful Hunza valley passing through it. In the biting cold of dawn, they would have their hot cup of tea and cigarettes. However at this time, at the darkest hours of the night, it had a deathly presence, only aggravated by the scary howling of moutain breeze.

None of this seemed to bother them, the two bearded fighers in their fur cap. Husyen, an Uzbek and Ruslan, a Tajik were speaking, rather complaining in Russian, a language Farhad didn’t understand. And ofcourse, they did not want him to understand, lest he complains to his Pakistani masters.

Husyen, a veteran fighter, who had spent a decade fighting Russians in Afghanistan, lit up a cigarette and offered one to Ruslan, another veteran who had fought against Russians in Chechnya as well as Afghanistan.

Husyen: This is so insulting eh Ruslan? We are put here in training camp along with these young novices? Do these Pakistanis not know, whom we have fought? The mighty Russians and we won. Now we are being trained to fight the weak and tired Afghan forces? …he spit out in disgust. He had taken affront on this.

Ruslan: You said it Husyen. I have silently taken a vow to avenge this insult. When we enter Afghanistan again, I swear am going to kill atleast one of these trainers who treat us with disrespect.

Husyen (Laughing): You are still the same Ruslan. You and your vows, I think it’s the 100th one by now and you haven’t fulfilled a single one. (Laughing loudly now)

Ruslan (Irritated tone): Don’t laugh, I forgave the earlier ones, but this time I won’t. These people treat us like slaves.

Husyen: But they do pay well, don’t they? We have our families to feed and this helps. So what if we have to train with this new crop of kids, who are in dreamland most of the time. We beat them hands down even at this age, dont we Ruslan?

Both give each other a High-Five and take a deep puff from their cigarettes.

While they were still talking, sitting next to them was Farhad. Just 17 years of age, he was reminiscing about his life in beautiful city of Mingora, in Swat district of Pakistan. He and his friends would play cricket, cycle on the streets, oh and that delicious Shinwari Lamb Karahi at the corner restaurant, to which he would go once a month along with his father and siblings. Also how could he forget the delicious Chapli kebab that his mom used to make. How he wished he could go back home and he felt a pinch. He closed his eyes and started imagining the scenes from his home, his mother is cooking, the plate is set with Kebabs and rice, his father and siblings all surround the plate and pray before they start the delicious meal. Ahh that meat and rice, his mouth started salivating. He felt happy at that moment, and a smile caught hold of his face.

At that precise moment, something from the dark, pierced through back of his head and exited his forehead and his young body dropped dead; he was still carrying that smile.

Ruslan and Husyen spit out their cigarettes and picked up their Kalashnikov’s (AK-47) and started peering at the dark ahead of them, a mount upwards to their camp. Their breaths were frantic. They could not see anything, just sounds of guns firing up at that camp and loud screams. The sound of the bullets was echoing through mountain range in the deathly silence of the night.  They rushed towards the camp, but bullets were whizzing past them, it felt like the fighters in the camp were shooting in all directions.

Ruslan shouted to Husyen in Russian, are we surrounded? I don’t see a thing. Husyen shouted back, me neither, I think camp is under attack. That’s when a bullet hit Ruslan on his right hand, and the rifle slipped from his hand. Husyen hurried and helped him to hide behind the boulder, just at the entrance of the camp. Ruslan listen, you are hit said Husyen, you can’t fight like this, you stay here and alert me if you see anyone coming up. Also, handing him his pistol, Husyen said, if you see anyone other than me or our boys, just shoot, don’t think.

Leaving Ruslan, Husyen rushed upwards to the camp, which was half ablaze by now. But something didn’t feel right, running among the scattered bodies, were the few remaining figher’s. They were looking scared, turning around in all the directions trying to find something and shoot. If this had been the new inexperienced boys at the camp, he would have not bothered much, but the fine professional soldiers of the Pakistani army were doing the same. What in the God Almighty’s name is this? he thought.

He had barely finished that thought, when he saw something approaching him in fast pace. Was it something or someone? It appeared like a man, but a man who was ablaze. Or was it? No, No.. it was something else, a fiery blaze in form of a man. Is it the same or different? He was thoroughly confused and scared. What was he seeing?

The fighter in him didn’t wait for an answer, he pulled up his gun in aiming position and started firing at that thing. He fired blindly and his AK47 spewed 30 bullets in few seconds time. When he emptied his magazine, he stopped, and looked ahead of him. He did not refill his magazine, but just started at the blaze, which was now standing right in front of him. Not a single bullet had hit that thing, it was moving in a zig zag form, faster than the bullet he had shot and had dodged every single one. The blaze made a movement, looked like it had a gun which it had picked up, Husyen closed his eyes, he knew his time was over, he started his prayer, when a lightning pierced his forehead.

 

12 December 1999, 2:05 AM, Jaisalmer Sector, Thar Desert.

It had been 5 minutes, since Maj Alwin was exposed to the phenomenon. He was still in same position since beginning as if he had frozen in time. His facial expression indicated stress.

Dr Buckshey: Dr Sherwin what’s the status?

Dr Sherwin: Something strange is going on, his vitals are indicating elevated hearbeats, and his muscles are stressed and stretched as if he is working out and sprinting at the same time. In short he appears to be fighting.

Dr Buckshey stared at Maj Alwin’s frozen image few meters away on screen and muttered, fascinating.

12 December 1999, 2 AM, Kongka La (India-China border Aksai Chin).

Lt Bahadur Kumar was in a bunker, in a sniping position at Indian Army outpost at hot springs, Ladakh. This barren stretch of land was the Line of Actual Control between India which claimed the land ahead as part of Ladakh and China, which claimed the land as part of Tibet. He loved his Barett Model 98B, even though IMI Galil 7.62 was considered better by his compatriots. During his night sentry duties, his favorite pass time was to aim at the Chinese outpost, just 3 Kms away at Kongka La, from his long range night vision mounted on his Barett. Though the camp was not in range for the rifle, it was in range for night vision goggles and it was good fun to see people in green light; an entertainment for this otherwise boring border.

He had been posted here after 2 years in Kargil. After the action packed two years, he felt as if he came in middle of nowhere and one could not blame him as nothing happened here. Not only him and his fellow soldiers, even the Chinese were bored; just eating, drinking tea and walking the whole day. The only time any little skirmish happened, is when Indian and Chinese official planned to meet either in Delhi or Beijing or somewhere else. That was the time when the Chinese would decide to come to hot springs carrying some red flag and Indian soldiers would do kung fu karate with them and push them back. All this was so childish, he chuckled, and thought if he were to tell this to his family, they would laugh at him.

Shrugging that thought, he again concentrated on the Chinese post. He saw a whiz of light entering the camp. He pulled his head back and rubbed his eyes, thinking some dust entered his eyes. He again peered through the night vision lens, and to his horror, entire camp was glowing and he could see short lightning bursts coming from some tiny dot of light.

He shouted, Major Saab, come quickly see what is happening at the Chinese post.

 

December 1999, 2:10 AM, Jaisalmer Sector, Thar Desert.

The lead door covering the light came down and Maj Alwin just collapsed on the ground. As the surrounding lead doors opened, a team of army doctors and Dr Buckshey rushed in to rescue Maj Alwin.

Dr Buckshey: How is he?

Doctor: We need to take him for treatment immediately, he possibly is having Vasovagal syncope episode.

Dr Buckshey: What? How?

Doctor: We will find out, now move.

Doctor and his assistants moved Maj Alwin on a stretcher to the infirmary.

2:15 AM – Debriefing : Inside the Sand Dune Room

Dr Joshi: So Gentlemen and Lady ofcourse, what do you think?

Dr Khan: Whatever we witnessed on the screen, did it happen in real? or was it just some dream or his thought in some kind of visual mode? Can we get confirmation?

Dr Nayak: I agree with Khan, unless we know it did happen, it is just some fantasy that we witnessed.

Dr Buckshey: I concur.

Dr Joshi was staring at the screen and smiled a bit.

 

12 December 1999 2:15 AMNew Delhi, India –  Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) Director receives a message, operation successful, confirmation awaited, feelers enroute.

12 December 2:30 AM – Islamabad, Pakistan – Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) – Joint Intelligence North Division. A phone call is received by chief of operations. “Camp 42 destroyed” and call ends.

12 December 2:30 AM – Beijing, China – Ministry of State Security (MSS) – Confidential Communication Division. A Phone call is received by assistant communication director on duty. “Kongka La lost” and call ends.


 

12 December 5:00 PM – New Delhi, India – Special Briefing – R&AW Headquarters.

Dr Joshi lit up his Navy Cut and inhaled the nicotine laced smoke, comforting his lungs. He was staring at the R&AW Director’s chair and then looked around the room. He loved this room. The old school teak wood furniture, polished so well that you could use it as a mirror; the wall to the right, with it’s priceless collection of historical books, maps and literature. Owl and mug shaped bottles filled with Rum and Scotch and that quaint cigar box next to it. On the desk in front of him were files, pens, a computer and next to it was the Indian constitution and Indian flag. Apart from his work, there were very few things in the world that interested him, and this room was one of them.

At that time, R&AW director entered the room. Dr Joshi stood up and greeted him, and received a stare in response.

Director (lighting up his cigar): You sneaky bastard. What did you do?

Dr Joshi (with most stoic face): What did I do?

Director: For god’s sake Joshi, do I look like a fool?

Dr Joshi: No Sir.

Director: Then tell me how did the incidents occur?

Dr Joshi: Which incidents sir?

Director: Gilgit and Aksai Chin.

Dr Joshi (appearing surprised): Which incidents sir?

Director: Stop the bullshit Joshi. I know you ordered the hits. I also know no one else has the depth of influence to do this apart from you. So tell me, what did you do and why?

Dr Joshi (lightining second Navy Cut): Sir, I thought you called me to ask about status of our experiments with the phenomenon. I am not aware of any incidents you are referring to.

Director (raising his hands as if he is giving up): Joshi, tell me what should I be prepared for?

Dr Joshi: Prepare for thanks from the Afghan government. Taking your leave sir.

Director: Wait! About the phenomenon, what did you want to share?

Dr Joshi: Officially Sir, its a failure and project is closed. Unofficially Sir, complete success, project moves to phase 3.

Director: I need to see the file Joshi.

Dr Joshi: File is at your desk sir. As I said, project is a failure and it’s closed.

Director stared at the file at his desk with pages filled with gibberish and recommendation of project to be closed. That bastard, he sneaked out again, he thought.


 

Debriefing

13 December 1999, 12:00 Noon, Jaisalmer Sector, Thar Desert.

The mood of the room tensed as soon as Maj Alwin entered. The sentry closed the door and Maj Alwin took seat. He look relaxed and content and appeared to be hiding a smile, complete contrast from the first experience he had with the phenomenon.

He was facing Dr Khan to his left, sitting next to him was Dr Nayak, third seat was empty, but he could see one person standing in the shadow, Dr Joshi he chuckled, how Sherlock Holmesy like and last but not the least, Dr Buckshey.

Dr Buckshey: How are you feeling Major?

Maj Alwin: Ma’am, I have never felt this better. There was elation in his voice.

Dr Buckshey: Elaborate please.

Maj Alwin: Ma’am, I can’t explain it but I feel great, like I have achieved something. And I am feeling strong like I can move a mountain. He clutched his fist and stared at it while he said those words.

Dr Khan (keenly observing Maj Alwin): What happened yesterday major, can you tell us?

Maj Alwin: Sir, I think that thing is a portal, like a gate. When it started I got a strange feeling as if I am passing through something. When I exited the portal, I entered camp 42 inside the enemy territory. He paused and looked at the shadow standing in the background, which Dr Joshi has told me about. And I am sure it was camp 42, because it was exactly like the pictures he had shown me.

Dr Khan: Hmmm, so the camp matched with the pictures that Dr Joshi showed you.

Maj Alwin: Yes Sir.

Dr Khan: And then what happened?

Maj Alwin: Well Sir, my instructions were to engage with the enemy, human or otherwise and so I did.

Dr Khan: I see, did you know how many terrorists were in the camp?

Maj Alwin: Yes Sir, around 50-60 operatives all fully armed.

Dr Khan: And you killed all of them? Alone? How?

Maj Alwin: Sir, surprisingly they were were frozen still or making extremely slow movements. And I mean like slowest of the action replays if I may say so sir. They were such an easy targets that would put dodos to shame.

Dr Khan: Did you miss to kill any terrorist?

Maj Alwin: No Sir, the last one I killed, who almost escaped me was hiding behind a boulder just below the camp.

Dr Nayak: And how did you return?

Maj Alwin: Sir, once I killed all the terrorists, I saw the door opening again.

Dr Nayak: Hold On. Open again? You mean once you exited the gate the first time, it had closed?

Maj Alwin: Yes sir.

Dr Nayak: How much time were you there? Do you know?

Maj Alwin: Operating time was 10 minutes sir, target was achieved.

Dr Nayak: Ok, so you entered the gate again. Then what happened?

Maj Alwin: Sir once, I entered the gate, I again came back to this site. Somehow my head had become heavy, was feeling short of breath and I felt there was no strength left in my legs. I woke up in hospital.

Dr Buckshey: Are you sure you did not go anywhere else? Let’s say like Ladakh?

Maj Alwin: No Ma’am, I only had one target and objective assigned, I returned once I accomplished that.

Room went quite. Dr Khan looked at the figure in the shadow, who slightly nodded.

Dr Khan: Maj Alwin, thank you for your inputs and great work soldier. Dismissed.

Maj Alwin stood up and left the room.

Dr Buckshey chuckled, they would not salute us civilians.

Dr Khan looked that figure in the shadow and said, his accounts of the event are accurate. The camera fitted on his helmet has captured exactly what he shared.

Dr Nayak: But this doesn’t make sense, does it Khan. I mean major doesn’t know that he never went anywhere. He has experienced that he had gone to camp 42, but in reality he never left his base, isn’t it?

Dr Buckshey: Atleast physically.

At that moment the figure in the shadow said, we need to find Dr Joshi. We still don’t know what happened in China. And more importantly, who did that? and why?


 

15 December: 9 PM, a US Apache helicopter lands in Diego Garcia, the secretive US Naval base in Indian Ocean. An island just 17 square kilometers. But this is that tiny base from which US controlled mighty nations of Asia, Africa and Australia. Helicopter charts its journey back to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was on a journey from Maldives.

Deputy Director Paul Bishop, walked on the deck towards the Helicopter to receive the special man, who was not only a legend in intelligence circles but also extremely vital asset to US interests in the region. That man had just alighted from the chopper and was walking towards him.

Deputy Director: Greetings Dr Joshi, pleasure to have you on board.

Dr Joshi: Pleasure is all mine Paul. (Signaling to the papers in his hand) Hindu Kush is now firmly in your control, hostiles were eliminated before they could enter. Also, to add cherry on top, 10 US operatives have been successfully been extracted from Tibet.

Deputy Director: I was told you are bringing some special news. But not this.

Dr Joshi (With a smile): I know Paul. You need to know how we did it? Isnt it?

Deputy Director: Knowing you, a might price tag is attached to it?

Dr Joshi: let’s talk.

The two men walk towards deputy director’s office on the deck.


 

15 December 1999, 9:00 PM, New Delhi, India. R&AW Director receives a message, MSS and ISI planning joint operation, Assam and West Bengal. Project compromised.

18 December 1999, 09:15 PM, Jaisalmer, Thar Desert.

Dr Khan: Any news on Joshi? Why isn’t he here?

Dr Nayak: No, last seen near Kanyakumari.

Dr Buckshey: Shit, am sure he knows what’s happening.

The person in the shadow: Am convinced he is the one doing it.

All the other 3 look at the person in disbelief.

In front of them there are reports of attacks on Indian outposts in Kashmir, Ladakh, Assam, West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. All 100 soldiers reportedly killed by man like object on fire, with lightning.

 

Contd in Part 4… The Unknown – Consequences.

 

Chetan Pai,

18 May 2020,

Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, India.

The Crown’s Perspective

Is this a wondrous calamity,

Or a disastrous spectacle we see.

The space conquering superhuman,

Brought down on his knees.

 

Clap for the lifeless microbe’s,

Yet another crowning feat.

Scared the entire world,

Made them quiver in their feet.

 

This invisible terror has been around,

For ages and ages, it is no mystery.

It’s us, the intelligent sans wisdom,

Who allow to repeat the history.

 

Laughed the little guy,

It is fun to see humans in fear.

You are so weak, greedy and divided,

You will perish before you find a cure.

 

Don’t mock and patronize us,

The humans scream in fluster.

So many killed and bedridden,

You sly murderous monster

 

Smiled the little guy and said,

Am I not your twisted creation?

Know that your ego will deny it,

Instead will call me God’s abomination.

 

Don’t be so negative, remember,

You are the host and me a guest.

You talk of killing and murder,

Things for which you are known the best.

 

Now watch your tongue and temper,

And don’t call me destructive.

Listen with an open mind and heart,

My humble perspective.

 

I did not spread around the world, you did,

From airports and hotels to humble fruit mart.

All I did was play my role, my part,

Making a home in your cold heart.

 

Not listening to reason and wisdom,

Is your age old habit, not mine,

So busy to accuse me, you don’t see,

How you caught yourself in this bind.

 

I saw the rich and privileged scramble,

Tons of food and luxuries to hoard.

Sitting in the comfort of their homes,

They yawn and say they are bored.

 

They don’t spare a thought for them,

The have not’s,  the poor, the hungry

Not having a high or an entertainment,

Is making them restless and angry.

 

Countries un-diplomatically politicking,

And making accusations.

No one wants to take blame for failure,

In front of their innocent nations.

 

I saw the doctors toil, the nurses shedding  tear,

For those who lost their life and couldn’t scream.

Cops braving the hours, the sun and the hostility,

The sweepers who keep our society clean.

 

Do your care about them? Ofcourse not.

Being locked at home is your only fear.

I blessed you and made socially distant,

But Isn’t it good, I brought personal ones near?

 

Why don’t you spend time with them,

Talk, laugh and sing till it’s dawn.

You will eventually realize, I don’t like heat,

I will go away when your heart is warm.

 

So come together, share and collaborate,

Help the have not’s and ones in need.

I know the hearts are warming,

I see so many hands waiting to feed.

 

Don’t fear, my current form is temporary,

And I will eventually disappear.

But I will be watching you always,

Perennially lurking near.

 

For now, you have to fight me,

Find a cure, which will make me vanish.

Or see for yourself, in your life time,

How the humanity will perish.

 

Chetan Pai

Sanpada, Navi Mumbai

03 April 2020

 

The Unknown – (Part 2) – The Reveal

Link to Part 1 of the story – Click here


“Nothing in life is to be feared,

It is only to understand,

Now is the time to understand more,

So that we may be fearless.” – Marie Curie


December 1999, Jaisalmer Sector, Thar Desert, Rajasthan.

As the night falls, the desert dons an eerie calm. When moon is in it’s full circle, it gifts a white satin robe to the desert, multiplying the eerie effect. While it’s haunting beauty terrifies many, it does inspires a few.

Like a bride waiting for her kill, thought the Dr.Joshi with a sombre expression, peering at the desert on a full moon in his military Jeep. The bulletproof Jeep carried three of the best minds of R&AW special unit, all still deciphering the events seen on the video. The Jeep was escorted by special unit of the lethal squad of “Garud” commandos.

Dr.Khan was staring at Dr.Joshi.

Dr.Joshi: Khan, your stare has burnt my hair, he chuckled.

Dr.Khan: Joshi, what is it that you are not telling us? You know a lot more isn’t it?

It was rumored that Dr.Joshi knew more than even the R&AW director and there was a legend that ISI did not believe it’s own agency report when contradicted by Dr.Joshi during a back channel conversation.

Dr.Joshi: ** Silence **

Dr.Khan: For god’s sake Joshi, tell us.

Dr.Joshi: Khan, everything has it’s time of reveal, yours and yours (pointing at Dr.Nayak) will be in next 10 minutes, till then, enjoy the scenery my friends.

Dr.Khan: You are still the same Joshi, still the same.

As if the events had to take it’s turn, so did their vehicle, a sudden detour from the highway that goes to Tanot (a town near Pakistan border), to sand dunes of the Thar desert. The driver was maneuvering the Jeep on the peaks and troughs of the sand dunes like a child jumping on a trampoline. That’s when Dr.Nayak saw a ray of light peering back at him couple of miles ahead. As the Jeep approached the light, a structure began to emerge. Dr.Khan could not believe it.

Dr.Khan: Joshi, isn’t that similar to the Chatris of Bada Bagh or Vyas Chatris?

Chatris (Cenotaphs) are hallmark of Rajasthani architectural beauty. The famous of them being Bada Bagh and Vyas Chatri near Jaisalmer.

Dr.Khan..contd: I think we are in middle of nowhere and In my career I have not known of this structure being around here.

Dr.Joshi: [Lighting up his Wills Navy Cut] You are right Khan and wrong. We are in middle of nowhere and yes those are chatris, but this cluster of chatris was always here. Just that we never documented it anywhere, nor allowed anyone to come this way.

Dr.Khan: And?

Dr.Joshi: And we have reached.

The trio alighted from the Jeep and the Garud Squad surrounded them, fully alert. Dr.Nayak marveled at the structure, gleaming under the powerful light beams from military focus lights. The chatris had beautiful carvings and shlokas on them and being a history buff, this was nothing short of a pleasurable moment for him. This moment of happiness was interrupted by a person walking towards them.

Ah Dr.Buckshey, greeted Dr.Joshi walking towards her, good to see that we are ready. Let me do the introductions.

Dr.Buckshey is our special wing operations commander; she is a doctor, ofcourse, in neuropsychology, her work is seen in how our commando efficiency has significantly increased over past 5 years, especially their supreme psychological health.

Dr.Buckshey: Greetings Gentlemen. Dr.Joshi is too generous with his words, while being a miser with information, isn’t he?

Dr.Khan: [laughing his heart out] Hear Hear. And I thought I was the only complainant. Greetings Dr.Buckshey, your work is well know, pleasure to meet you today.

Dr.Nayak: Greetings!

Dr.Buckshey: Am sure Joshi would not have told you why you are here?

Dr.Nayak: We believe that there is another source similar to what we found in Mizoram forest here. But looking at this set up, am thinking there is a lot more.

Dr.Joshi: [Smiling] All yours Dr.Buckshey.

Dr.Buckshey: Gentlemen, what you have been told is just a fraction of the information. Ofcourse Joshi has his reasons and that’s why he called his killing machine with him, pointing to the Garud Sqaud.

Dr.Khan: [Surprised] I thought they were to protect us.

Dr.Buckshey: No, they are here to kill something or may be even us, if something goes wrong.

Dr.Joshi: [smiling] And that’s how you start on a wrong foot. Guys, what am about to tell you is off the books. Am sure you know officially you both are in Kargil today and am in Mizoram. Dr.Buckshey has officially died couple of years back.

Dr.Khan & Nayak: What?

Dr.Joshi: Good you agree. Now let’s walk into the chamber, we can talk.

The room which they walked into was soundproof, bullet and missile proof structure, which was camouflaged as sand dune. So that no one knows we are here, said Dr.Buckshey.

Dr.Nayak: What about all the lights outside, any satellite passing above will see it.

Dr.Joshi: They won’t, its camoflauged, we opened it so that we can enter, now take a look outside.

True enough, there was nothing visible outside, just a moon lit sand dune staring back at Dr.Nayak.

Dr.Buckshey: Gentlemen, shall we? [Pointing to the projector].

While they settled, Dr.Joshi lit up his Will Navy Cut, Dr.Khan his Rollies, Dr.Nayak made his scotch peg and lit up his Goldflake. Ah, splendid to be in company of smokers, chuckled Dr.Buckshey, as she lit up her Virginia Slims.

Dr.Buckshey: We have been experimenting with this phenomenon since last four years. However the first documented occurrence was 6 years ago, in Siberia, Russia. Around 100 civilians from two fishing villages near arctic circle, went into catatonic state in a week’s time. Thanks to Dr.Joshi’s contacts with our KGB friends, we could access the files. [Scene of the ghostly villages and catatonic villagers appeared on screen]. They could not figure out why this happened. After few days, all the 100 villages died due to physiological injuries, like a bullet wound, sword strike, chucks of body eaten by something [images spluttered on screen].

Dr.Nayak: Hold on. If the villagers were in catatonic state, under continued observation from doctors and vigilance by KGB, how were they attacked?

Dr.Buckshey: And this is where it gets interesting. They were not attacked. The wounds and injuries suddenly appeared on the body. And they suffered trauma and death in that state.

Dr.Khan: Impossible!

Dr.Joshi: Why don’t we take a look at this. [Screen buzzes to life, and classified KGB video depicts bodies shivering and shaking as if being hit by something. The video zooms, puncture marks appear on a man’s chest and blood spurts out, the video moves to next bed, a woman’s hand just splits in two and falls down].

Dr.Khan: What the hell!

Dr.Nayak [refilling his scotch]: Ok Stop it Joshi. It’s enough.

Dr.Buckshey: The next documented event was in congo, wherein an entire tribe went into same state as seen in Russia. This time, all of them were cut in half in their catotonic state. The phenomenon was first reported in India at this location four years back. You must be aware that till a few years back this was an active route of trafficking drugs from Pakistan to India and then it suddenly stopped. Ofcourse the Government, the BSF and Army took credit for effective border monitoring and encounters of drug mafia, the reality is something else. Our field office at Rawalpindi had been picking up distress signals from traffickers to ISI office about some attack and none of the call’s lasted not more than 30 seconds.

Dr.Joshi: We believe that the spread of this “phenomena” increases at geometric rate and effect is within seconds.

Dr.Buckshey: Our agents started doing recce of this area where we came across this structure covered in sand dunes. Apparently the traffickers were using this abandoned structure as their stopover. All the calls to ISI office were during night. Our agents were instructed to only observe and report, not attempt to enter the premises. However one of the trainees attempted to enter. Result was we found him with his head burst open.

Dr.Khan: Hold On! So if you attempted to rescue him, how did it not impact the rescuers.

Dr.Joshi: He never loses a catch a point does he?

Dr.Buckshey: We used team of four people to rescue, two men were to run down to the complex and hook our agents jacket and run back, time allocated 15 seconds, other two to rush down and hook agents legs and rush back, 15 seconds again. A Jeep was used to pull the agent out.

Dr.Nayak: Assuming it was successful?

Dr.Buckshey: Yes, it was partially. The second set of agents who rushed back collapsed mid way and we had to pull them out.

Dr.Khan: Why just the second set of runners.

Dr.Buckshey: We did not know the reason then, but after four years of observation and experimenting, what we know is, this phenomenon, is some kind of a primordial organism. It can lie in dormant state for thousands of years and activate at the sense of any living organism with a brain around it. Apparently animals and birds can sense this, and they abandon the place, but we don’t have that sensory capability. So they got activated when first set of runners came, and our calculation suggests that devoid of human contact, the organism are slow to spread and take around 25-30 seconds from the sanctum santorum of the main Chattri below which it lies, to the outer circle where the body was lying. That’s how the second set of runners was impacted. However the impact was minimal, they were hallucinating when they we rescued.

Dr.Khan and Dr.Nayak remembered the dead forest of Mizoram and stories of the soldiers.

Dr.Buckshey: That’s not all, these organisms are capable of doing something spectacular. We did multiple experiments ofcourse, and you can understand live data is crucial, so we used captured terrorists and sent them here. Initial year, we could not understand anything, all of them were getting impacted even when they were covered in Hazmat suits. The breakthrough happened when we laced our suits with lead and sent people in, and voila, the bio-organism could not attack nor did it sense any human presence. We used this to build lead based structure around it. That’s why you all are safe without any protective gear.

Dr Khan: That’s impressive. Am sure CIA and KGB would be trying desperately to infiltrate to get the information.

Dr.Nayak: Am sure, but let’s come to the point. How are these organisms capable of doing the things we saw in Russia.

Dr.Buckshey: Currently we have two theory’s, mine and Dr Joshi’s. While we both agree on how the organism enters the body, we seem to differ on what happens next.

Dr.Nayak: Continue please.

Dr.Buckshey: When I said the organism activates at any human presence, the question is, how? The answer is Dust, or specifically dead skins which surrounds us. It alerts the organism which traces the dust back to the origin, which is human skin, and it enters the human body. Dr.Nayak what may interest you significantly, is the organisms enters the “Neocortex” from skin and first attack is on “Hippocampus” to access human memory. Which then spreads to “Thalamus” to control the human consciousness, and then to “Amygdala” and “Basal Gangula” at the same time, to lock down human body, hence catatonic state, and yet heightens the emotional response to the most traumatic memory which is being played. Fascinating isn’t it?

Dr.Nayak: Incredible! So a human being is seeing his own memory as a dream, is living the dream as real, is suffering the trauma of the terrible memories and fears, both psychologically and physically yet, body is unable to stop anything nor wake up. That may explain some of the things we saw on the KGB files.

Dr.Buckshey: Some of the things yes. What is required is continued exposure to the organism, which is why the light keeps on emitting periodically.

Dr.Khan: Truly fascinating. However [staring at Dr.Joshi, who was smiling], I still don’t understand, how did we see that on a video camera on the soldiers helmet, I mean their memories. What you are describing is something invisible, which happens in a human brain and body. What’s your theory on this?

Dr.Buckshey: [Smiling] You are right Joshi, he never misses a thing. That’s why Mizoram was important Dr.Khan, we experimented live camera for the first time and my theory is that this organism is also able to detect any sensory instrument and transmit the memories on it. But that’s where Dr Joshi has a spectacular theory, which you should listen to first.

All staring at Dr.Joshi, who lit yet another cigarette.

Dr.Joshi: Before I share my theory, which I rather call as finding, let’s watch the Mizoram video once again. [As the video is running, Dr.Joshi points to date and time on the screen, video rolls on and when the commandos are near the hut, Dr.Joshi pauses the video].

Dr.Khan: What happened?

Dr.Joshi: Let me tell my theory now. I truly believe that this organism is primordial. But I don’t think its a biological organism. Rather what we are witnessing on our screen is some type of cosmic or a dark matter emission consisting of these tiny particles. Yes, they do enter human skin and impact human brain as told by Dr.Buckshey, but I don’t believe that what we see is a dream. I believe we are transported to that event in a different realm alive and we live through those moments in that realm.

Dr.Nayak: [Chuckles] Joshi, come on, are you serious? Listen to yourself. This is like some science fiction.

Dr.Joshi: Let me play the video now, watch the sky in first ten seconds and tell me if you feel something looks odd. [Video plays, Maj Alwins camera is pointing at trees and sky above it, and for a second, there is a some type of static electric charge see in sky and sky turns normal]. My finding is, when these organisms sense a human presence, it emits the first rays of whatever they are made up of, to open some portal to a realm.  When the attack happens, people are transported from earth to the other realm through that portal, while body remains here. People continue to stay there till the time the light or whatever they are made up of continues to feed the human brain. The minute the connection is lost, people are transported back here. Now I also think that when any human is being transported he is transported with the current self, including clothes and they continue to function as they should. That’s why the video will continue to record the event and we continue to watch it, till either that person is rescued or they die.

Dr.Khan: Joshi, in all these years I have never heard you talk something unsubstantiated and this frankly, is quite surprising. Agree with Dr.Nayak here, your theory seems ludicrous.

Dr.Joshi: I respect both of you, but I did mention, its not my theory. It’s my finding. [Starts the video again and forwards to the point where both the agents are escaping, the date and time are two days from the date of the event, Dr.Joshi pauses the video]. How do you explain this. The video has recording of two days, whereas we rescued both the commandos in just 20 minutes from impact.

Silence in the room.

Dr.Buckshey [Lighting up the slims]: Gentlemen, he does have a point. And that’s why we are here.

Dr.Joshi: What Dr.Buckshey is trying to say is, we will be conducting a live experiment today. Let’s walk.

Dr.Joshi and Dr.Buckshey leads them through a narrow corridor towards a lift. They all enter the lift, and Dr.Buckshey gives order, section 3A, Unit 45. Lift starts moving the downward journey, but it stops and also takes right and left turn.

Dr.Buckshey: This is all Dr.Joshi’s idea. One never knows the true location of the source as the location codes keep changing daily. Today it’s section 3A, tomorrow, who knows, she says with a smile.

Dr.Khan: Cynical & crazy, this bugger.

They all laugh.

The lift comes to a halt. They enter a huge room with a concave shape, covered entirely by a screen. Room had few scientists monitoring the source, surrounded by lead and Garud commandos in postion, ready to kill.

Dr.Buckshey: What’s the status Sherwin?

Sherwin [Scientist]: Dormant, no movement.

Dr.Joshi: Let’s begin Buckshey.

Dr.Buckshey: Initiate experiment 23, subject to be brought to the entry dock.

Screen flickers to life, on screen, they see a man in military fatigue and covered with two camera sets, one on his helmet and one on his goggles.

Dr.Nayak: Hey, isn’t that Major Alwin?

Dr.Joshi: Yes, he volunteered, time for revenge he said.

Dr.Khan: You must have brain washed him. I know you Joshi.

Dr.Joshi [Speaking into the microphone]: Major Alwin, You are surrounded by lead covered walls, and will be exposed to the light shortly. You are sufficiently armed. Your orders are to engage and shoot everything which is not human or considered enemy at sight. Your rescue will be done in 10 minutes or in the even of your ammunition getting exhausted. Good Luck Soldier.

On screen, Major Alwin gives Ok sign.

Dr.Buckshey: Open the gate.

On screen, a small cavity opens on the lead wall, on top right screen, a small static is seen on the night sky, and the cavity buzzes to life.

Dr Joshi: [Mutters] Here we go.

At the same time, a message reaches R&AW director. It has begun.

To be continued…… Part 3, The experiment.

 

Chetan Pai,

Sanpada, Navi Mumbai.

29 December 2019.

 

 

The Unknown – Prologue

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.” – Wikipedia.

 

Do you fear something? Anything? Let’s say you are staying alone in a big house may be, when suddenly power goes off and you feel something lurking  behind you, hear a soft whisper in pin drop silence. Your brain tells you it’s a ghost and immediately you jump up or freeze, isnt it? Am sure most would and that’s precisely the definition. Your brain conjures up a threat which may not even be real, and you respond to that threat in a helpless way.

But what if you were trained in a way since childhood or may be born in a way, wherein your brain doesn’t understand danger or threat? What would happen then?

That’s precisely what the scientists and psychologists at unit 99 of R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) had thought of in December of 1999.

Prologue:

November 1999:

Mizoram – Deep Forest Area 12.

Two commandos of SG (Special Group) quietly move towards a mud house in middle of the forest. Special Group commandos are the killing machines of R&AW. They neutralize anything or anyone which is deemed as threat by R&AW with surgeon like precision. The two commandos (Maj Arvind and Maj Alvin) in the forest were the first among equals in SG.

Intelligence reports had suggested that this mud house in middle of the forest was abandoned and there were no terrorists operatives around. Unusually all the terrorists had abandoned this place overnight, the entire area was abandoned and they even left their weapons behind and vanished without a trace; and R&AW wanted to what happened.

100 meters from the mud house, both the commandoes proceeded with caution in their X forward motion with precision. Old habits die hard they say or so it seemed. But there was something else, something which was unknown which was bothering them. And that uneasy feeling was growing with each forward step.

Special Desk – Army Camp: Outside Deep Forest Area 12

Staring at the computer screen was Dr Joshi, his eyes, cold as ever, face emotionless and yet if you were to peer inside his mind it would be buzzing with speed and power of super computer. Camera on Maj Alvin and Maj Arvind’s headgear gave him eyes to the event that was about to unfold. They had maintained radio silence to prevent Army to hear and understand their mission. Needless to say, this mission was classified, with only level 6 clearance. Which meant apart from R&AW director and Dr Joshi, no one was aware of the mission. Dr Joshi had already observed things which were highly unusual, but he would have to wait for the commandos to return to ask questions that had been bugging him.

Deep Forest Area 12 – 100 meters from Mud House

Commandos stopped behind trees, to check for any enemy operative hiding and they didn’t find any. But more than the enemy operative or a terrorist, something else was making them highly tensed. Forest didn’t sound like forest at all. It was dead silent, there were no birds chirping, no insects buzzing, no animal sounds, no breeze, not a single leaf ruffled, there was no movement of any sorts. It was silent as if it was dead. Couple of minutes later, Maj Alvin signaled Maj Arvind to move forward. Maj Arvind stepped forward and Maj Alvin covered him. They quickly jumped up the steps and barged in the only room of the house. What they saw surprised them.

 

Special Desk – Army Camp: Outside Deep Forest Area 12

Interesting! That’s the only thought that came in Dr Joshi’s mind. He was looking at the phenomenon for the first time.

Deep Forest Area 12 – Inside the Mud House

Commandos stopped in their tracks. Inside of the house was dark and still. There wasn’t an iota of movement from anywhere. But they didn’t seem to care about this, what they were staring at was in front of them on floor.

There was a huge and black hole in the ground, around 3 feet in circumference; a perfect circle as if it was done by  a machine. What was even more interesting was that circle was emitting a black light to the ceiling, which seemed to be  absorbing it and spreading it to the walls. What the hell is this thought Maj Arvind; he looked at Maj Alvin and was sure he was thinking the same. It was like someone had planted a huge torch of black light inside the ground turning it off and on every now and then.

Special Desk – Army Camp: Outside Deep Forest Area 12

41 Seconds – Pause. 13 Seconds Light. Consistent for 3 minutes. Dr Joshi noted this in his diary.

Deep Forest Area 12 – Inside the Mud House

Commandos didn’t know what to do next. Because of the radio silence, there were no instructions coming from Dr Joshi. Should they return back, surely Dr Joshi is watching all this via the video transmitter. But their curiosity didn’t allow it. They wanted to see down the hole, the source of the light may be. Maj Alvin stepped forward, turned on his helmet torch, cautiously stepped forward and peered down the hole. Maj Arvind is watching this and also that Maj Alvin is not moving, he is just staring down the hole. He couldn’t see his face clearly. What is he seeing? What is happening? Maj Arvind could not understand. He whistled, their secret code to move or alert. No response. Maj Arvind whistled again; nothing no movement from Alvin and now he had to do something. Maj Arvind turned on his

Helmet torch and stepped forward and touched Maj Alvin and looked down the hole.

Special Desk – Army Camp: Outside Deep Forest Area 12

What the hell is happening? Dr Joshi was watching everything on screen and what he saw didn’t make any sense. There were two monitors one linked to Maj Arvind’s video camera and other to Maj Alvin’s, both peering down the hole. On Maj Arvind’s screen he was seeing rays of blue coming out of the hole in full force, as if it will pierce the monitor any minute. On Maj Alvin’s screen, he was seeing fluid of red, like a lava, coming out of the hole. He shut down his monitor, and jumped off his seat and ran out towards his Jeep. He had to save them both.

 

December 1999:

Thar Desert: Rajasthan Sector 34 – Deep Sand.

Deep Sand is a special R&AW office built 2 storey’s below an abandoned settlement in middle of the desert, 5 kms inside exclusive Army zone. It was only used for highly classified missions and not even top R&AW operatives and directors knew of this place.

Inside the room, 4 people were watching a video of Maj Arvind and Maj Alvin explaining the mud house events to R&AW psychologist.

Video 1 playing on screen:

Psychologist: Alvin, what made you look inside that cavity or that hole in the ground emitting the light?

Maj Alvin: I don’t know the answer to it Doctor. I think I wanted to check the source of that black light. I had never seen anything like it in my career.

Psychologist: What did you see?

Maj Alvin:  When I first looked inside, I just saw darkness. But then I saw something glowing inside like a little dot, which slowly started coming up, coming outside that hole. It was extremely hot, like lava coming out of volcano.

Psychologist: Is that all?

Maj Alvin:  No!! Slowly that lava covered all over the floor, I jumped outside the mud house and lava started spilling out of the house. Then I heard a rumble, entire ground started shaking, like an earthquake. I thought now volcano will erupt from ground. But that was not so, that rumble was from inside the house. I tried to reach my assault rifle, but that was nowhere to be found. I didn’t know what to do. That’s when mud house burst open, and from it emerged that man made of lava, angry and staring at me with those blood red eyes.

Psychologist: Are you sure it was a man made of lava? Not just your imagination?

Maj Alvin: Doctor, I know this sounds impossible and I also know am a Major, who shouldn’t say these things. I don’t know if it was real or my imagination. I am telling you what I went through.

Psychologist: Ok. Let’s proceed. What happened next?

Maj Alvin:  I started running deeper inside the forest. Lava was spreading across me with equal speed burning down trees. That Man was gliding that lava and coming towards me. I ran and ran ,don’t know for how much time, I just ran till the time I reached that river and waterfall and jumped in it. I swam for sometime before reaching the shore and then reached the cave. I survived there for I think 2 days. Third day, I decided I cant just sit like this and I stepped out to do recee of nearby area. I climbed that mountain, the one with waterfall and reached the forest on the other side. That’s where I heard my name being called and Dr Joshi found me.

Dr Joshi stopped the video and looked around the room. Three pair of eyes were still trying to understand and digest what they just heard. People inside the room were part of the team created by Dr Joshi.

Dr Khan: Extremely talented criminal psychologist and hypnotist. He had 100% strike rate in psychologically breaking down spies.

Dr Nayak: Neuroscientist. Doing research in brain activity and involved in classified and dangerous experiments on illegally captured criminals and spies.

Maj Ashwin: One of the deadliest spies ever, moved from Army Intelligence to R&AW. Led and successfully executed key clandestine operations in Baluchistan, Kashmir, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

No one said anything. Maj Ashwin picked up his cigar and took a deep puff.

Dr Joshi, played the second video.

Psychologist: Arvind, what made you look inside that cavity or that hole in the ground emitting the light?

Maj Arvind: **Staring at the psychologist** What did Dr. Joshi say?

Psychologist: Why don’t you tell me?

Maj Arvind: We entered the mud house and Alvin looked inside the hole first. He was just staring at that light and not responding to my signal. So I stepped forward to pull him back. So when I tried to pull him, he was still staring at that light and didn’t even look at me.

Psychologist: Did Alvin looked scared?

Maj Arvind: No. He was just still and staring at the light emitting from the hole.

Psychologist: Then?

Maj Arvind: Then I looked inside the hole to see what is Alvin staring at.

Psychologist: What did you see?

Maj Arvind: First all I saw was darkness. Then slowly I heard some rumbling and saw something glowing coming out.

Psychologist: What was it?

Maj Arvind: It was water, but water that was glowing in bright blue light. Initially it was oozing out slowly, but then all of a sudden water shot out like a powerful fountain, like a dam has burst. Such was it’s force that the roof of the house blasted away. I just jumped outside the house and ran out.

Psychologist: Where was Maj Alvin that time?

Maj Arvind: He was sucked inside the fountain at the same time the water burst out with force.

Psychologist: Didn’t you try to save him? Isn’t that why you had stepped forward.

Maj Arvind: **Silent**

Psychologist: Major?

Maj Arvind: I should have for sure I have never left a man behind on field before. But you should have seen what I saw.; there was no chance I could save him.  He was just sucked up inside and water just jumped on me. I ran outside and water was surrounding me. While running I looked back and slowly the forest was disappearing in waves of water. Water was catching up with me.

Psychologist: Just water?

Maj Arvind: No, there was something in it. Rather many things, like men with white eyes swimming like dolphins. Every time there head came up, there were loud shrieks. I had never seen anything like it. I ran and ran as I have never in my life, till I reached a part where there was a steep cliff. I climbed down that cliff and water and those men started falling over me…like I was standing under a waterfall. Luckily, just a few steps below, I found a cave and I stayed there, I think for two days. Third day, the water stopped falling and I started my alight down the cliff, that’s where I heard my name being called and it was Dr Joshi who found me.

Dr Joshi stopped the video. He lit up his cigarette and looked around the room. All were quite, when Maj Ashwin broke the silence.

Maj Ashwin: All of this looks, I don’t know interesting. Where exactly did you find them?

Dr Joshi didn’t say anything and started the third video. It was the footage from their cameras from the time Maj Alvin looked inside the hole. Dr Joshi pointed to the date / time: 15:12 Hours, 10/11/ 99. Then they see Maj Arvinds camera footage when he looks inside the hole, again Dr Joshi points out the date / time 15:15 Hours, 10/11/ 99. Then there is a lull, which Dr Joshi forwards and stops at the time when both cameras show they are being pulled back by force, date / time 15:37 hours, 10/11/99 and Dr Joshi pauses the video.

Dr Khan: What the hell? Do you mean to say, you found them after just 20 minutes and they are describing events of more than two days?

Dr Joshi: Precisely. Now look close at two cameras (rewinding the footage), when Maj Alwin is looking inside the hole, you can see the red light. And when Maj Arvind is looking, you can see blue light.

Stunned silence in the room.

Dr Khan: Do you mean to say, both are looking at that light source at same time and both see different light and we have captured this strange phenomenon on camera?

Maj Ashwin: What is it? Do we know?

Dr Joshi: No gentlemen, that’s what we need to find out. All we know is, it somehow caused deep fear in two of our most brave and deadliest officers.

Again silence in the room.

Dr Joshi: That’s not all gentlemen. What we see on the screen is the first time the phenomenon is captured on camera. But we have documented evidence of these phenomenon in 4 different locations, area of which has now become dead.

Dr Nayak: Joshi, are you saying. This is a pattern and somehow this phenomenon kills the area it appears? And induces fear psychosis in people?

Dr Joshi: Yes, and that’s precisely why we are meeting here. The first documented location is just 20 miles from this place.

 

To be continued……

 

Chetan Pai – 20 June 2019

Ode to Origin

In the far away abyss, the unforgiving hollow,

They say it’s the darkest black, the eternal unholy.

It’s there that something flickers, something rebels,

A sonic rhythm, a glare, a fire in devil’s belly.

 

They call it the word,  the start, the Sound,

That omnipresent mysterious god’s creation.

They call it the boom, the origin, the big bang,

That ever present matter’s chemical reaction.

 

Oblivious, it emerges from the eye, speeding like Hermes,

ripping the abyss, it breaks gravity’s grip.

Into the free and unforgiving  netherworld it travels,

It’s the atom’s first step in the perpetual cosmic trip.

 

The cosmic nomad’s journey gives it bristling energy,

Anticipating  a thousand worlds to visit or millions.

It bends everything to it’s will, gravity and time,

Whizzing past the stars and galaxies in billions.

 

In the active stillness of cosmos spread infinite,

It’s journey continues untiring, for eon.

Predestined or chaos, theories are indefinite,

It enters the system of a glow we call sun.

 

Passing through turning balls of gas, fire and stones,

Its hops on a passing meteor, rebelling an orbit.

It hits like a missile to the violent sun’s third rock,

Its glowing lively self, drowning in ocean torrid.

 

Immersed in the turbulent ocean, it waits hoping,

Time on it’s hands for evolving and wonder.

Planet spins slower and it’s violence dropping,

Atom now starts it watery journey down under.

 

It settles to underwater depth, at rocks docile,

It takes it’s first step in a multibillion year plan.

Unnatural symbiosis transforms the rock to fossil.

It breathes life for the first time with elan.

 

Began the journey of life on this watery rock,

Much before it was blue and virgin.

From a micro-organism to dinosaur and man,

I bow to that Atom and sing ode to origin.

 

 

  • Chetan Pai
  • 14 June 2019