General Durjan took him to a street leading out of the main town in a jeep and he himself drove the vehicle to a farmhouse, a few kilometers away from the last octroi post. Ranjit sat in the front seat along with General Durjan. As soon as the vehicle took off two boys came running towards the open jeep and jumped into the rear seat. They too were carrying similar weapons, “may be, they are also on the familiarization and shooting trip”, thought Ranjit.

A cut out of the targeted person had been placed before each firing stand and the instructor will exhort each one of the shooters while practicing target shooting, “you warriors you have to remember that it is either you or the target that will come out of this mission alive. If you miss, then it is you who will die. You are not looking at the card boxes but the traitors and the exploiters of society. They are your enemies.  They are not the dummies. Look at them as real faces and then fire”. If some one hit the flag, he would personally go to him and congratulate.

The training in the art of escape from the place of attack made it clear to him, “we value your life; so long as you do not get caught; hence you must try to come out alive from the enemy’s fort. Should you fail to come out bite the chocolate tied to a thread on your neck; this will give you instant relief, which will save you from the torture, pain, and humiliation at the hands of the enemies. Each on of you will have a cover up following you; to ensure he kills the one who gets captured. The cover up process is adopted as a back up exercise to ensure elimination of either the target or the missionary who fails to achieve the mission assigned. The mission is supreme to all of us. You know the reward after accomplishment will take care of you and your family for generations to come at the same time though the family will be taken care of even after failure but you may not be there to share the booty with them”.

General Durjan himself who elaborated on the great sacrifices of their predecessors and preachers handled the period in theology. The perpetrators of the atrocities on the believers of faith and the trials and tribulations of the faithful to religion; had to undergo; taught them about defiant and relentless fight carried by the braves in all ages. “This training is only an introduction to the intense and the deeper training to be followed at the other side of the frontiers which will make a complete, fiercer and stronger warrior out of you as compared to the ones created by the armed forces of any country”, General Durjan would often tell them.

He briefed them about the intended target’s movements, his location advantages, and disadvantages, possible proximity they could attain to the target or the improbability of achieving the given task were all explained to them at the intensive training schedules. “Remember the task will have to be finished at the first go. There will never be a second chance. In case you are not confident of cent percent success, you must have the patience to wait for precise moment.  You should always remember that it is you have who have decided the hour and the minute of death of your target when he is put on the list of defaulters. This minute of his death will definitely come. Your courage from within will give you desired results”, General Durjan maintained.

“The minutes for accomplishing the task should come to me sooner than expected”, thought Ranjit. Two boys were assigned the job of keeping surveillance on his movements all the while lest he wanted to give it all up and run away. He had resolved to give it a try to lead his life as suggested by the seer.  Yet many a times he wondered if the promised wads of foreign currency will ever be used by him.  “What if he fails to get at the target? What if the return fire of security forces kills him?  Even the boys from the shrine who had been deployed to keep an eye at him can finish him to remove all traces of his connections back to the pontiff. At least his family will be able to come out of the rigmaroles of day-to-day pangs of wants and shortages in their life, he thought to himself. This will also tell his father that he was not a worthless son after all”.

“If he comes out of the task successful he will be able to get married to the girl of his choice. How can the parents of the girl refuse if the shrine puts pressure on them?  Otherwise also till date they have all fallen to his charms.  This girl will be no exception”. He could feel the closeness of her warmth even today. He remembered the day she agreed to accompany him to a walk through the lawns of the university gardens. She was coming out of the classroom when he accidentally met her on the way. He was in no mood to go to the university but a sense of idleness was eating into him and out of sheer boredom he drove to the building that housed her classroom. He did not expect she will agree to accompany him but still he took the chance to ask her out for a cup of coffee.

“No I do not relish it much “, she had told him.

“In that case if you have some time, can we walk through the lawns? I am sure a walk in this nice weather will do well to both our moods. I am not able to sit through the class out of sheer boredom”, he told her.

During walk through the botanical gardens he tried holding her softly on her lower waist. She trembled at the first touch. He let it go after a while. But a few minutes later had put his hand again on her waist and finding no resistance continued placing it there all through the walk. He desperately wanted to hold her still closer and give her a big hug. The scent of her body was having a strong aphrodisiacal effect on his mind and heart. He knew that she was equally affected the way he had been. A few more seconds of this heavenly togetherness could have made them forget about the worlds around them. But They had hardly walked through for an hour or so when a group of boys and girls from her class appeared on the scene. She had to go with them to attend the next class. A little of her company was enough to convey to him that she too was interested to make friends with him, but the fear of betraying her parents’ confidence in her was holding her back.

“They have sent me to complete my higher education with so many expectations. I will never ever be able to let them down”, she told him.

He felt her priorities were completely different from other girls he came across earlier. Those girls were always too eager to find out if he will marry them and take them abroad with them.  She had always refused to keep the small gifts brought by him for her.

She will say “I do not use any kind of cosmetics or perfumes hence they will be of no use to me “. He was always at his wits end to understand as to what could impress her till one day she herself suggested, “I am too fond of reading. Please see if you can come across some old fiction and novels.  I shall of course pay for the same. He had not read any such book in his life and had to seek the help of the shopkeeper to select a few books on English fiction for her.

“I hope you have already gone through these “. Her question had put him in a little discomfort him but he felt relaxed when she said, “now do not tell me the stories, I will not be able to read if you unravel the whole thing in advance. I always like the eagerness to find out what happens next. Yes I do not have the money right now and will pay it to you when I get my pocket money next month”. It was her simplicity and honesty that was getting to him besides of course her untouched and unexplored beauty.

“She carried a whiff of heavenly fragrance around her, like the first shower of the monsoon. She was like the only rose bud that raises its head when the spring breaks after a long autumn season” he told himself. She is meant for me only and I will never ever tell the boss about her, what if the gang ever comes to know about her and want me to do the same to her that I have done to other girls, “I will tell them she is my actual wife and not the pretended one like all others were”, he convinced himself.

Once or twice it did occur to him to talk it out with the boss, and settle once for all that she was meant for him and only him. “I shall do that when the necessity arises”, he had always thought.  “And now with the support of the seer, no boss ever will be able to touch what is rightfully my own”, he removed the fear on his mind.  He dreamt of the luxurious life he would be able to lead staying abroad with the love of his life Koena.

The little doubt still persisted, “what if her parents will not agree to their matrimony, have not the parents of other girls agreed to, whenever he proposed”. He had by now lost the count of the number of marriages he had embarked on. He started counting and recalling the names of the girls he had dumped in different countries. After a few of the names he lost count and gave up the effort.

“Koena was different; she will remain as my wife and bear our children. She will stay with me all my life. I will not travel to the places where I have taken the other girls”.

 

 

 

 

 

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