Those days, while we were on a mission, my colleague Ajay and I, were staying in a bungalow outside the city. A cook named Sunita would come in the afternoons and cook both lunch and dinner at one go. She and the maid, Rama, who did the washing and cleaning, had both been appointed there by Karkare Sir himself. We were acquainted only with Karkare Sir. He had entrusted us with carrying out the mission.
As a young man, I had been filled with the ardour of patriotism. I had joined the Army and worked in their Military Intelligence Wing. Although, later on, I had left that job, Karkare Sir had known me since that time. I owed a lot to him. So , when he asked me to join the mission and partnered me with Ajay, I could not refuse him. Ajay’s story was also similar to mine. He had been a commando and what not in the army. Anyway, the political leader we had been asked to assassinate was extremely corrupt and suspected to be in cahoots with traitors. In the absence of admissible evidence, a legal recourse was not possible. My job was just to drive the car. Shooting the target was Ajay’s task. We were to be paid handsomely for this mission.
There was a stray bitch, who often roamed around the bungalow, where we were staying. I loved animals. In the beginning, I would throw her the scraps from our table. One day, her pitiful gaze and madly wagging tail melted my heart and I decided to bring her inside. I put her up in the garage. I made a bed for her out of old rugs and mattresses. I would feed her properly three times a day. The gratitude in her eyes made me feel good.
We had been staying in the bungalow for just a few days. One day, I went to give her food and was astonished to discover six small eggs on the bed where she lay. Where did the eggs come from? I had never heard of a bitch laying eggs! When I tried to remove them, she started to growl menacingly, as if I was taking away her new born puppies. In the end, I had to leave the eggs there.
When I told my colleague Ajay about the canine eggs, he started to laugh madly. Dogs don’t hatch from eggs. It must be somebody’s mischief, he said. When I asked the maid Rama and the cook, Sunita, they denied any knowledge and appeared as surprised as me. Their denial added to the mystery of the affair.
When I woke up in the mornings, Ajay would still be asleep. I would make bread and omelets for myself and have breakfast. I would also feed the dog. Ajay used to stay up late, busy on social media –Internet, What’s App, Facebook, Twitter etc. He had 5000 friends on Facebook, most of who were inactive and were unknown to Ajay. Karkare Sir didn’t want us to be active on social media during the mission. He warned us to keep a low profile, but his words had no effect on Ajay.
The bungalow where we had been put up, had a big library, filled with all genres of books. To relieve my boredom, I would often pick up books about animals and read them.
However, I had lately started to feel that everything was going awry. We both were former army officers. But we had been tasked with committing a political assassination, which was illegal. Recently, the media had exposed a so called Gandhian big wig. In reality, he was an active member of an extreme right wing organization, but had been taking the public for a ride by hiding behind the mask of Gandhism.
One day, when I woke up in the morning, dead birds started to rain down from above. Next day, I read in the papers that somewhere abroad, dead fish had rained down. Seeing and hearing about such strange incidents filled my heart with an ominous foreboding. One day, the afternoon darkened in a sinister way. Next day, I heard that there had been snowfall in some state in the middle of a tropically hot month. Sometimes, I would fail to see the shining stars even in a dark, moonless night sky. Whenever I glanced at my reflection in the mirror, my image would seem to turn its face away from me. On the other hand, the bitch was incubating the eggs with such sincerity that it seemed her own puppies would hatch from them. At the same time, the results of the general elections held in the country were declared and a non- secular party won enough seats to form the government. The whole world appeared tangled like a spider web. Maybe, the Apolcalypse was near.
Ajay hated the bitch. He kept saying, “A bitch never lays eggs! It the same as saying that a hen gives birth to puppies. She is not a bitch but a witch! Turn her out from the garage.” I don’t know why, but the fact of canine eggs seemed appropriate in these strange times.
A day before D day, Karkare Sir came to our bungalow in the evening. He briefed us about the time and place for next day’s meeting with our target. He also supplied us with two revolvers and one AK 47 rifle, with a round of magazine. He also made available a Toyota Fortuner car, with blackened windows. After the hit, we were supposed to leave the state and escape through the National Highway. Arrangements had been made for us to lay low. Karkare sir also provided us with fake IDs to trick the police check posts. The car had false number plates to make it impossible to track the rightful owner.
On the destined day, after making all the arrangements, we entered the car at ten in the morning. I placed the bitch and her eggs in the car as well because I was worried that no one would feed her once we were gone. Our weapons were with us. Our target, the corrupt leader, was supposed to arrive at the Hanuman Temple near the city square, at 11 AM, to offer his prayers. We had taken our positions near the temple by 10.30AM. Soon, it was 11 o’ clock. Then, 11.30AM. But our target didn’t arrive at the temple. Karkare sir had given us strict instructions not to call him on the phone. So, we were unable to contact him.
Around noon, I got down from the car and went up to the temple to inspect the situation. Just then, there was a tremendous explosion behind me. The blast wounded me and I fell down. Somehow, I looked back to see our vehicle surrounded by dark smoke. When the smoke dispersed a bit, I discovered that in this topsy-turvy world, someone had fixed a bomb beneath our car and blown it up with a remote controlled device. Obviously, Ajay, the bitch and her eggs – all had been blown to smithereens by the explosion.
Gaur Green City,