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A short story by Suresh Naig

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After the serial bomb blasts and carnage, in a walled city, one person was heard conversing on a satellite phone, oblivious of the surrounding in a casual manner. His conversation without any fear or inhibition, proved his careless attitude. He was calling, presumably his patron, whose geographical location was, privy to only a select few. Though many of them did not know his geographical location, he was accessible to core members. The conversation went on like this.

‘We did it. The whole media is discussing it in their usual style, accusing and defending each other as it suits them. It’s amusing. Some of them are shouting for modification of strategy to deal with us and the others accusing back. It’s because of “MODIfication”, these things are recurrent. Now that we have successfully executed it, we need funds for our cause.’

‘How much?’ The person on the other person queried. When the caller pronounced his bidding, the respondent safely ensconced in the God-only-knows confines was shocked. He gave a long lecture to the novice.

‘It’s preposterous. We fund such huge sum as demanded by you only for a comprehensive covert operation, against odds. In a comprehensive covert operation, various processes of recruitment, networking, logistics, media propaganda and execution have to be performed in a hostile territory against so many odds.’

He continued, ‘You are operating in a country which has MFN (most favored nation) status on our threat index. Recruitment and networking are not at all cost intensive, since there are many idle minds; they come very cheap. As for networking, it could be done without any fear, since many progressive thinking personalities have ensured repealing many acts with teeth, terming it as “Draconian”. Even if a network person is caught and sentenced, intellectuals in bright colored shirts, protect the convict from going to gallows. They have gone to unparalleled extent, by granting audience for the convict’s family members, with the highest authority for clemency. In worst circumstances, we even rescue a person by a “trade off” for international passengers. It’s that easy.’

He was in the best of moods and hence continued further. ‘As for logistics, movement of men and material do not pose any problem. If my information is right, one can easily obtain a ration card and photo ID cards, by using one’s wits and peanuts. Trigger-happy security agencies are confined to their barracks, because of the ruckus created by media on one or two fake encounters. They are scared for the time being, as any encounter could be termed as fake.’

‘Intellectuals do their bit, when any of our persons are caught and tortured, by invoking their pet theory of “human rights”. The caller chuckled and giggled. The patron from the other end said, ‘Initially I too thought similarly, then I felt if they think we are humans, the fault is not ours and we have nothing to lose.’

‘No doubt what you accomplished is commendable. However, since you are operating in a conducive climate, you cannot demand huge sum. In the past our brethren have demonstrated, how easy it was to strike at the seat of power. At best your act can qualify for a “field trial” and you will receive funds as per our norms for that. Get ready for the next field trial.’ The line went dead.