“It’s all in your hands now.”
It suddenly hit me how true that was. It wasn’t just a saying. This whole project was my responsibility. Daya, Abhijeet, DP, AP—they were there just to watch over me. The job of drawing out an international terrorist, and getting him to stick his head in the noose, was mine. Nobody could do it for me. But I knew I could do it. I had to do it.
DP, AP and I left the motel and made our way to what would be my home for the next month or two.
The car turned off the highway, and shortly afterwards we pulled into a leafy suburb, where the elm-lined roads were wide enough to land a small plane, and the lawns were big enough to park one.
DP and AP got out of the car, and started up toward the house. I walked the opposite way, to the end of the driveway, to stretch my legs after the long journey, and to take a look at my new neighborhood: moderately affluent meets middlebrow-blandsville. Trim lawns and manicured bushes. Browning leaves, and graying executives. I couldn’t wait for Diwali, to see the place all lit up. But how come such an up-market place? I wondered. What did the FBI have in mind? But I didn’t, or couldn’t, ask.
A squirrel darted out from behind a tree, saw me, and then darted back. I heard it scurry up the back of the tree. It was Tuesday afternoon, and apart from the squirrel, the place was deserted. I turned around, and found DP watching me expectantly.
I followed him inside. The interior of the house was as tastefully understated as the outside. AP led the way into the living room. It was so clean and neat that I didn’t want to sit down without checking my clothes first, to see if perhaps a stray leaf had attached itself to me, ready to dirty the new furniture. My new mother asked me to follow her upstairs.
“This is your room,” she said, opening the door to a football-field-sized apartment. Compared to my jail cell, the room was enormous. It might have been bigger than my mother’s apartment. I gave the bed the bounce test, and it passed. Not too hard, not too soft. Everything was just perfect.
“While you were at ypur Uncle’s (she meant the prison), I got you some new trousers and shirts. I hope you like them.”
From my bed, I watched AP open the closet, to show a bunch of trendy shirts and cargo pants, stuff I had never worn in my life. I looked them over. The trousers weren’t the functional sort you get in the military, but the ornamental variety, with extra pockets, in case you were out on recon at the mall.
“Okay” I said.
I took out my belongings: an architect’s pencil and eraser, and a small note pad still with details of a ‘bash’ script I was going to write. Somehow, the CBI hadn’t confiscated it as evidence. I put these on the nightstand, along with my wallet.
“If you need anything, I’ll be downstairs,” AP said, as she left.
I sat on the bed, getting used to y palatial bedroom. When i was ypung, i had lived in a big house like this one, and since then my life had been spent ijn a seriesz of rooms of decreasing siize, culminating in the prison cell, as a guest of the CBI.
I walked around the room, looking for dust or fluff, but there was none to be found. I walked over to a door, and opened it, to find my own bathroom, sparkling clean and lemony fresh. Behind another door was a linen closet, with shelves of neatly folded, color-coordinated bed sheets, and a basket for laundry.
I looked out window onto a large garden, where Mr. and Mrs. Maheshwari had once played with their child, pushing him on the swing. No, that was another house, another life, another time. I had only been back to that house once since my parents split up. I stared out of the window, looking and listening to the library-like silence.
The house was so silent that it was eerie. I crept onto the landing, just to check that my ‘parents’; were still there. Sure enough, I could hear AP or DP in the kitchen. I went back into the bedroom and closed the door. As I did, I noticed that someone had made a stab at suburban camouflage. On the back of the bedroom door was a poster of a hairspray-rock group that I hadn’t heard of before.
It made me think, Are my new parents expecting me to bring my school friends home for after-hours hacking sessions? Homework help? Sleepovers? Oh, god, I’m back at high school.
I made a mental note to get some proper decor, then went to the bed, and for an hour lay there looking at somebody else’s musical heroes, holding expensive guitars with exotic finishes, and letting my thoughts whirl around. Laksh, college, CBI, hacking, Mallik, the prison, Pandey, coffee, and back to Laksh.
Always back to Laksh…..
sorry for shprt episode and typos but writting while being drunk was a bad idea i guess now…Thanks whoever reads my crap..Will provide a longer episode in morning..till then cya…Keep reading keep hacking….