Monday, March 14, 2005

Jahangirs Journey - VI

Time marches on. The 30 day deadline is drawing to a close….and it sure as hell is going to be ‘deadtime’ for Jahangir. A part of me believes strongly that I was set up by Mr J and his sisters and I’m going to get even. Will make him die real slow. And I’m going to make the ladies squirm too. Enough of being a gentleman.

Day 24 since the deal was struck. Its late evening and I’m lazing around in my hut. Serious decision making is in progress about whether I should eat a proper dinner or make do with Maggi noodles when suddenly, the radio squawks.

Its Zarina.

“Khalid, dhyan se suno”

“Go ahead “ is my response, perking up a bit. Is this gonna be the real Mc Coy or am I going to be taken for a ride?

“ Kal P illaqe mein HM ki meeting hai. Bahut Mujahideen ekattha ho rahe hain. ”

“Roger. Kaunse gaon mein? “ I ask, since P illaqa (area) is essentially a plateau ringed by nine villages. Too large an area and I need specifics.

“ Khalid, illaqa bata diya hai. Baaki aap kar lo jitni aap ki kabliyat hai aur jitni aap mein himmat hai.”

And the lady signs off without even a filmi type ‘over and out’.

Damn !!!

Double damn in fact !!!

How the hell am I supposed to work this one out? A large area, nine villages, more escape routes than wrinkles on an octogenarian’s face and no specific information/intelligence at all.

Triple damn!!!

How come and why do I always get stuck with these sticky situations? I really wish I’d worked hard in school and gone on in life to become some fancy executive somewhere on civilian street with a well heeled job, a well stacked secretary and where the only ‘kills’ were to be effected on Dalal Street , or whatever that lucre-generating lane is called.

Anyways, no time for day dreaming and regrets of the past. Time to swing into action. Grab the moment by the nose before it grabs you by the tail…..kind of thing.

I immediately call up the Brig on the radio and give him a run down. Times at a premium and there’s lots and lots of coordination involved. And sadly, there’s no way we can go the usual route of a detailed meeting/discussion/briefing.

Luckily, the Brig gets the picture fast and for once, gets more into ‘listening‘ mode. I spell out my plan to him.

Nine villages…..each to be addressed simultaneously by a company column (40 odd personnel) doing a CASO. He has nine RR companies within operational time and space so those can be easily employed. In addition, two BSF companies, to act as reserves and also to be deployed as ‘stops’, i.e. to stop egress out of the area, by anyone using the undulating ground in the plateau.

The Brig agrees and says he will control the op from his HQ. Suits me. Don’t want brass up my ass in the fun zone.

He gets his staff cracking to issue the necessary orders and get the cogs moving, while I sign off….and get into weapon cleaning and checking mode…while my little brain tries to think up exactly how the operation will proceed and what are the various contingencies that may arise. Luckily, theres not much time, so I’ll just play it all by the ear. Faith in God, my country, the Indian Army, my mind, my muscles and above all…in Uncle Kalashnikov’s gizmo of the 47 variety …should take me through this one.

I call Karan and go over the whole issue with him. I see his eyes light up as they always do…mirroring my own…as we talk of the impending ops and the hours that lie ahead. I always trust his instincts and intuition and when he says “Saab, abki baar tagda op hoga, bahut kill milenge” , I’m happy and excited.

Its 2300 hours by now and I’d better get moving towards Area P. Karan and I don uniforms this time, too many soldiers are going to be around for us to take the risk of being fratricide victims.

I plan to hang around Village L, which is a smallish place on one edge of the plateau. I really visualize no action personally for Karan and I, so might as well just sit someplace nice and listen in on the radio to the progress of ops. I’m also carrying a second Kenwood for monitoring HM frequencies, because if the information is correct, the jerks are sure gonna get whining once they know the army’s squeezing their vitals.

A walk through the countryside and by around 0100 hours, Karan and I are comfortably plonked in a little orchard near Vill L. Theres radio silence in force so I don’t know what the rest of the ‘fauj’ is doing….though by looking at my watch, I know they all must be getting into place for the respective cordons.

Yes, I’m right….because within half an hour, I can spot the boys of the company tasked to CASO Village L. We are well outside the village, so no sweat. We ain’t getting stuck inside any trigger happy cordon. No thank you, Sir !

0300 hours. The radio buzzes.

“Alpha, in position.”

“Bravo, in position.”

“Echo, moving in, another 20 minutes for getting into position.”

“One Nine, stops deployed.”

And so on.

And the Brigs deep voice going “Roger”, every time a company commander gives his report.

0400 hours. Silence again.

Which means all cordons and stops are in place and now they’ll wait for first light before going in to search the villages.

I might as well grab some shut eye.

Its time for the final step in Jahangirs journey and hopefully it shall be a victorious journey….for Jahangir, for Zarina and Zubeida….and for Karan and I. Might as well be fresh for taking that final step.



At 3:57 AM, March 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wooo hooooo



At 1:49 AM, March 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.

n u got me thinking.. were u let down or did u go for d kill :)


At 9:59 PM, April 19, 2005, Blogger Counter Insurgent said...

Alex n X_X, thank yu...n read on :+)



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