Spy Story 5
"vilaiyERaPetra um iraththaththAl
umaKena therinthu koNTiir"*
The young man sang in a remarkably hoarse voice for his young face, while keeping both his hands spread to the front, face open upward. He did that again and again in the same tempo and tune, like some kind of 'saadhakam'. It clearly looked like part of a sermon of the new generation churches, but there were no accompaniments, or the overt enthusiasm normally seen in such functions. There were no visible symbols of a sermon present either.
The stubby middle aged man sitting on a well padded chair behind the teak wood table was listening to this performance with scant interest. Time and again, his attention got diverted to a sheaf of papers he held in his hand, but he did keep glancing back at the young man often, as if to keep him interested. He was well built, with a dark complexion. The round face with some evidence of extra fat was adorned with a thick moustache, which complemented a pair of bright eyes that seemed to drill into the opponents. He was wearing a simple dress that could easily be considered a military camo uniform. It was hidden behind the table, but there was a loaded sidearm in his hip holster, which never left him.
They were in a room that was rather well appointed. It was devoid of any windows, and the walls and ceiling were paneled with polished wood. It was appointed like an office room, with a desk made of polished teak wood, and a padded chair behind it. There were a couple of chairs on the opposite side of the desk for visitors. There was another table, apparently used by a secretary, with a laptop computer. The main door to the room was closed shut, so was the small door that led to a toilet on the side. An air conditioner purred on the rear wall, and somehow, the entire room seemed to reverberate with that, giving an impression that the walls are not really solid. The room was empty except for the two men.
There was a 'ding' from a bell that was mounted above the door. The young man, who was, by this time, seemed too bored with the constant monotonous chanting of the hymn, missed a beat as he glanced at the older man behind the desk. The older man waited indifferently till the hymn was finished, and then lifted his hand slightly in a signal. The young man stopped instantly, and stood in a reverent pose.
The older man sat, lost in thought for a moment, and then, as if making a decision, put the sheaf of papers back on the table, and faced the young man again. Then he spoke in a rather high pitched and broken voice that seemed unusual for his demeanor, and in a language that is more appropriate at a pulpit or podium.
"Pullai**, remember this very well. Guard this well, better than your own life. Never forget this, nor what to do with this. One day, it will save the nation"
The young man fought hard not to show his boredom on this 'speech'. It was pretty evident that he had heard it many times already. Still, he brought in an expression of extreme deference to the words.
"Certainly, leader", he said in a clear, even tone. A tiny flash of a smile and an appreciative nod played on the face of the 'leader'.
"Now you can go" The 'leader' said. "Go with Divia. Listen to what he says, and do what he asks you to. The road may be hard, and the job may be tough, but you must give a good fight, and keep your mission." He paused for a moment, trying to frame the next sentence in his mind.
"Where am I going, leader?" The young man asked. The leader glanced at him, a bit annoyed.
"You will get directions as you go along. Right now, your order is to go with Divia". He said, smoothly moving to the stance of a military commander from the earlier, more priest-like stance. It had an instant reaction in the young man. Unknowingly, his limbs went to attention.
The leader turned his gaze down at the table, thought for a moment, and then pressed something under the table. There was a click at the door, unlocking it. It opened slowly, showing a young man in similar uniform as the leader. He was armed with a sub machine gun across his chest, and also a sidearm. He stepped in smartly and came to attention.
"Jessica Amma is here, leader". He reported. The young man, still standing to the side let out a gasp, and involuntarily glanced at the leader. The leader sat still, trying hard to hide his facial expression for a few seconds.
"Well, take Simon out." he instructed the soldier, and turned to the young man. "You are NOT meeting her, you understand?" The young man was quite distressed, but he had learned that any sign of abeyance to such orders from the leader would be big trouble.
"Certainly, leader", he muttered, and with great effort brought himself back to attention.
The leader waved slightly, and Simon followed the soldier out.
"Send Amma in" the leader ordered as the pair was walking out of the door.
Within moments, a woman, wearing the same uniform as the leader, but without any sidearm, entered the chamber. Despite the uniform and the military air, she seemed to be highly distressed. The dark, almost black, face was flushed with red sheen, which was accentuated with the bloodshot eyes. With the uniform, hairdo and the facial expression, she really looked like an angry tigress.
The leader, though he was preparing for this encounter, was startled by the appearance of the woman. He almost rose from his seat, which was very unusual for him.
The woman stood directly in front of the table, a few feet away, and glared at the man. He, who often gave orders to send young men to certain death without the flinch of an eyelid, was rather bewildered by this personification of fury. He saththere, waiting for whatever she brought in with her.
"Leader, where are you sending our son?" She hissed.
"Son?" the leader fumbled, for want of a proper expression.
"Yes, son. Our Son. Simon Mariadas. Where are you sending him?" She demanded, with both hands on hips. The leader kept quiet for a long moment.
"Jessica, I can't tell you, but it is not something that you are scared of" He finally said.
"Won't believe you!" She cried out. "I won't believe you. You have sent my brother away to certain death. Now you are taking away our son" Her expression of anger gave way to a wailing sorrow.
The leader stood up, and walked around the table. The woman suddenly gave a startle, and her expression changed instantly.
"Pardon me, leader" she stammered. "Consider it to be the sorrow of a mother. Pardon me" She turned to the man in a very regretful and pleading look. The leader was taken aback by this sudden change. Then, with great haste, he removed his right hand that rested on the holster of his pistol, and let it fall idly to the side. The woman noticed this, and let out a huge sigh of relief.
"Sit down, Jessica." the leader told in a sweet, but firm voice, pointing to the chair. The woman collapsed down in a heap. The leader walked close to her, with an expression of love and care on his face.
"Jessica, I will not be lying to you. I am sending Simon away from danger, where he can carry the seeds of our mission for safekeeping. He can keep the flame alive even if we all perish." He said, looking straight at her eyes, with all the appearance of honesty he could muster.
"Leader, you know that all our lives and bodies belong to you, and you know the best how to use it" She said, now apparently relieved.
"Go back now, Jessica." He touched her shoulder lightly. She startled again as if a jolt of electricity passed through, and looked to his eyes lustfully. "I will visit you at your place soon" He said, taking his hand away. Her face lost the sheen instantly. Without another word, she rose, touched the feet of the leader, and walked away.
* A Xtian devotional song in Tamil. No need for translation, because the meaning plays no role in the story.
**Pullai: kid/son. Remember that these dialogues are in Tamil, translated to English.