Shekhar ran his fingers through his hair, carefully measuring the situation of the gory terror laden scene unfolding on the screen in front of his tensed bespectacled eyes. His little one was adhering to every intricate guideline he had ever furnished her with, to face almost all kinds of adversities. His paternal pride rose several notches higher today, observing the brave front Roohi was putting up even after being singled out as the sacrificial target. Any other kid in her place would have bawled her heart out in the current situation. But not his brave-heart, Roohi. Damn those bastards! His blood boiled but he had to be objective. Time was running out. But wait a minute – what did he just spot there in the background? Was this some kind of a joke that god was playing with him? In the same frame where he saw his daughter along with the armed terrorists, he saw his dear wife sneaking up calculatedly towards them, tip-toeing on her mighty high heels. Was she out of her mind? She would easily be discovered in no time and hacked immediately!
Meanwhile, at the Continental hotel, Cyrus watched the couple hug, weep, whisper into each other’s ears, all at once, which made him shake his curly mopped head in disgust and disbelief. Hell, was this for real? How could they romance in midst of all this chaos and bloodshed? Jennifer and her long lost boyfriend Kareem had reunited after a long spell and were oblivious to the happenings around them in that moment of reunion. A few years back, she had broken all ties with him after getting a whiff of his shady underworld activities. But only recently they had reconnected over social media and old sparks had triggered off again. They had lengthy discussions and arguments before they actually came to a mutual understanding – an understanding that did not really agree with Jennifer. But well, as goes the belief, “Love is always blind, deaf at most times, sometimes dumb and in worse case scenarios – insane.”
Shekhar’s mind was now racing. He was left with no choice but to randomly follow his instincts. Although he had all the authority to barge into the place with his comrades, it would only lead to further bloodshed and chaos. He barked a few orders on the mouthpiece. Soon the strategy was put in place. Offbeat and perilous – but that was Shekhar’s style.
So there was this little opening along the farthest end of the railway tracks, just a little further from where the platforms ended. Shekhar’s hawk eyed observation had figured out various escape routes to dodge the heavy security. In the swiftest of the movements he had covered the length of the tracks to reach the station. Now, he had to mingle with the crowd. Dressed in the tattered robes of a fakir that hung rather loosely on his thin frame, his head wrapped with a headgear – the likes that Muslim ascetics covered their heads with. He had blackened his face and his unshaven stubble helped camouflage his french beard for added effect. After all, a fakir with a french beard would have attracted a lot of suspicion! A ‘jhola’ slung on one shoulder and a ‘dhoop’ incense holder in his hand he joined the chaos on the station. He inched his way through the frenzy of the panic-stricken crowd, chanting verses from the sacred Koran under his breath, loud enough to be heard by people around him. He just hoped his strategy of nailing the offenders by kindling their religious sentiments would work; hence the guise of a fakir was the closest he could get to break through their solid thick jihadi skin.
From a distance he saw the sight he had been dreading. Tara was nabbed by them and was now huddled close to Roohi. There was some contemplation happening between ISISI commander Ibrahim Rehman and his men. Shekhar did not waste a moment. He fished out from his jhola, tiny cubes of what looked like sambrani dhoop. These cubes were his ‘Ram Baan.’ He had to be careful though, that he did not get close to the wrong people when he lit those cubes on his dhoop holder. He raised his voice to quote one of the most god fearing quote from the Koran as he walked closer to them.
His booming voice drew the attention of the robed men and also the crouching terror-stricken crowd around them who watched on with interest having no clue on what to expect next. For a moment there was complete hush, as the terrorists seemed confused, weighing in their minds if they should be their reverent self to the fakir or to not let down their guard. But they finally gave into their first instinct and bowed their heads in reverence, as Shekhar brushed a fan made from peacock feathers on their heads as a mark of bestowing blessings. In the next moment, he brought the lit dhoop holder right under their noses causing them to deeply inhale the smoke. The chemicals in the cubes acted instantly. Ibrahim Rehman was the first one to collapse and soon the rest of the members of his armed troop around him also dropped to the floor in deep state of unconsciousness.
|Source: Google Images|
Meanwhile Shekhar’s comrades had trickled into the station in their camouflaged attires and had fortunately been able to nab another set of terrorists who were patrolling on the other end of the station. The situation was under control. The security barged in and took over the whole lot of them. There was an air of relief and jubilation in the air. People were rejoicing, praying and hugging each other with tears in their eyes. Tara had not let go off Roohi from her embrace. Shekhar, still in his fakir disguise, watched them from the corner of his eyes choked with emotion. But little Roohi turned out to be smarter than he had imagined. Her cute bouncing ponytails and frilled girly frocks often deceived people in fathoming how sharp the brat actually was! Just before he was about to turn his eyes away from her, his girl of nine years winked at him. Gosh! But of course, she had recognized him!
Suddenly a mobile phone started ringing somewhere near him. It was lying abandoned right on the bench he stood close to. It did not take him much time to register that it was Tara’s phone. As usual, she had dropped it in all the commotion and was blissfully unaware of its ringing while she got busy buying a bottle of water and some refreshments for Roohi. Shekhar picked up the ringing phone. What he saw on the phone froze him to the spot. Flashing on the screen of Tara’s smart phone was a call from someone called ‘Jennifer’ but the picture that accompanied the call was of the hauntingly beautiful Ahana. The same deceitful Ahana who had come under the disguise of a responsible citizen to give him the information that she had happened to overhear about some fishy plans being hatched for an attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the cat was out of the bag when Ahana had dropped her pen drive as she left in a hurry. When Shekhar accessed the pen drive, it revealed detailed information on Ahana’s involvement with the attacks planned for the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
Holy Lord! The day had only begun; He had lots ahead of him.
Read the next part of the story here