Spy Story-2

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 12 Sep 2009 21:00

Babu Jacob met Raj Khongsi at the hair salon.

Babu had gone to the salon for a hair cut. The only available chair was manned by this Manipuri Bhai. He had bad experience from another one not too long ago, so he was a bit reluctant. But Sasi, the owner of the place encouraged him, saying that this Bhai is very good at what he did.

He was indeed good. He spoke the local language quite passably. Like any barbers, he also was chatting a lot with Babu. That included the local politics, weather etc. He also asked where Babu worked.

After the cut, he gave a brief courtesy head massage.

As his hands moved around his head, Babu felt the same urges that brought him trouble at Pune. He couldn’t stop looking at the young, clean shaven face and the narrow eyes of the young man.

When he was about to stop, Babu ordered a full head and face massage, then immediately regretted it.

As the slender, almost women like fingers moved around his face, Babu felt the hot breath of Raj on the back of his neck. He felt an electric impulse within himself, as he visibly shuddered.

Raj seemed to understand what is going on in Babu’s mind.

“Where do you live Sir?” He suddenly asked.

Babu was happy to let him know that.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 13 Sep 2009 10:50

Real estate had always been an indicator of the economy. When development moved beyond the city limits into the suburbs, that created a lot of business opportunities. Land is always of limited supply, so it is a safe investment. But people often make it into a commodity, to be traded and re-traded, increasing its value in each iteration.

People who held land in the suburbs, either by inheritance, or by purchasing them at very low cost, ended up in windfalls. But the ones really made the quick buck are the wheeler-dealers.

If a land owner wants to sell his piece of land, a buyer would settle for a price, which is a fantastic one from the seller’s point of view. He will pay an advance, and make an agreement to do the title transfer within six months.

Within that time, he will find another buyer, who is willing to buy it at a higher price, and sell the land to him at a quick profit. The same land could be iterated through many such sales within a short duration. The real estate bubble is created that way.

Wherever there is quick bucks, there will be criminals. Organized crime cartels will be formed who would threaten land owners to sell the land at a mediocre prize, and they will re-sell it for a huge profit. Then there are the issues of rivalry and setting scores etc.

A lot of people ran such businesses on the side. Some did it on a proxy basis, using people, often relatives, as a front.

Joshi Panikkar was one such operator. A smart one at that.

He was a mechanical engineer by trade. He joined the government facility after a few years in the private sector. He was more of a good manager than a good engineer. He was involved in many projects, but his contribution was mainly co-ordination work, assisting the project managers. Everyone knew his technical contribution was close to none, but since he was good at keeping people happy, no one complained.

And that gave him the luxury and time to run his side business.

Rajesh, his wife’s brother was his front man. Joshi hailed from an ancient family, who held a lot of lands. He managed to get an unreasonably good share of it from his father. He used it to seed his real estate forays. Rajesh did the running around work, like site visits. Joshi worked on the background.

The business prospered.

No one at work had any problem. Joshi didn’t hold any critical work. He just pushed paper.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 14 Sep 2009 16:21

It was Saturday. The weekends are normally very busy for Joshi. He met most of his customers on weekends. This weekend was specially hectic, because he had to organize site visits to a new projects by a bunch of NRIs. Coordinating between them itself was tough, and then a problem developed with a joint venture partner.

Joint ventures are very common phenomenon, benefiting land owners and developers alike. The land owner, who do not have much knowledge or competence in the business, will partner up with a developer. He will get a share of the developed project in return for the land value. The developer gets the advantage of not having to pay upfront for the land. It is touted as a win-win situation.

But human greed can create problems in any business. It is a common phenomenon that the land owners getting an unfairly low portion of the deal, simply because their inability to negotiate well. Sometimes they try to re-negotiate. The developers on the other hand are normally quite adept in the tactics of the game, and employ different means to thwart such attempts.

Joshi had a joint venture set up at a key location. The land owner had been being approached by a number of developers with proposals, but he had adamantly refused to deal. Finally he had verbally agreed to deal with Joshi, under tremendous pressure. Joshi had to agree to give a share he thought to be on the upper side.

But before the deal could be put on paper, the landowner had withdrawn. The news came as a jolt from the blue to Joshi. He had already tied up many things of the business in anticipation of this deal, which looked all but done.

He had to use his contacts in the underworld to resolve this.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 15 Sep 2009 11:20

The state, and especially the city had seen the proliferation of crime gangs, dubbed as “quotation gangs” in the recent years. Politicians and businessmen used them both as a shortcut instead of the corrupt and convoluted legal process, and also to execute the criminal deeds. Several police officers are known to be in cohorts with these gangs, such that a cut of their ‘fees’ went to the officer. In return the officer did whatever he could to protect the gangs.

Politicians invariably had business interests, and the gangs formed the backbone of the dirty work. Money, power, sex and drugs drew youngsters into the folds of the gangs, and they thrived along with the economic boom of the city. Anyone could take a ‘quotation’ for a specific job to be done. Rates are quoted from simple verbal harassment, to breaking bones, to murder.

“I will take a quotation on you” became as notorious as “I will place a bounty on your head”.

The gangs formed a major component of the real estate business. Since the business involved rolling millions of rupees just based on trust, and backed by simple documents executed on stamp paper, the help of this gangs became indispensable for enforcement. If the signed agreement had to be enforced legally through the corrupt, outdated and lethargic legal system, it would take years, where passing days is critical in the business.

Gangs were the only way.

They also undertook jobs to threaten landowners to sell their land, or to evict people. Holding valuable land has become as bad as keeping gold at home. But gold could be put in a locker, but land couldn’t be.

Joshi Panikkar had a job for his regular gang, led by Brahmanandan, nicknamed “Varaal*”.

After he set them rolling, he got a call from another gang.

“Joshi Sir, this is Sivan. Pulavan# Sivan is the better known name”

Joshi Panikkar missed a heartbeat. He thought he had been counter moved.

“I want to talk to you. Where can you come?”. Joshi noted that the voice is not too threatening.

They agreed to meet at the village resort, which is in fact a glorified toddy shop, near the waterway. It was owned by Joshi’s friend, and offered better protection.

He had no clue about the size of the conspiracy.

* Varaal: Mud Fish. Expert in wiggling out of any trap.
# Pulavan: Russel’s Viper.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Sanku » 15 Sep 2009 11:40

Well I think people are not posting here because they dont want to break the flow of a great thread. Good stuff this, but could you please post more everyday? This snips and snaps of story begins to make you restless for whats coming ahead.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 15 Sep 2009 15:59

Sivan came alone, riding his signature bullet, that is modified to resemble a custom chopper shown in a TV show. Joshi was glad to see him alone. They sat down to discuss business in one of the small thatched huts, which offered privacy. Earthen pots full of toddy from the afternoon decant, and plates of various seafood delicacies were served.

“Sir don’t have to be afraid. No one wants to hurt you.” Sivan began the talk with a friendly voice. Joshi was not sure if he was happy or tense by that. He was utterly confused.

“People at higher places know about your job and your side business. They know what kind of money you have made, and by what means”.

“Well, everybody does that. I didn’t steal from anyone, or kill someone, did I?” Joshi tried to smile, but it came out as a feeble grin.

“No. No one has any problem with that, and no one opposes that either. I came to talk something else with you. I have someone who want to do business with you.”. Sivan said as he gulped down the toddy, and put down the pot firmly. He then moved to remove a big sliver of meat off a pearl spot.

“Is it a property deal?”. Joshi somehow felt a bit relieved, and he paid attention to the duck pieces smothered in thick red sauce.

“No. But you will see that it is a very good and profitable business.” Sivan added a tinge of mischief into his voice, as he chewed a big chunk of the pearl spot.

“What kind of business is it? If it does not interfere with my job, or my current business I am fine with that.”

“I myself don’t know what exactly it is. The Sir asked me to talk to you, and see if you would be interested. If so, you can meet him and discuss. The pearl spot is excellent.” Sivan was removing the last sliver of the loin of the fish.

“Who is this Sir?” Joshi asked.

“I recently only got introduced to him. He is new to the city.” Sivan took the pot for another long draw, and made a pause.

“He is a Manipuri Bhai”. Sivan blurted out as he made a big burp after the drink.

The meeting continued long enough to finish the toddy and the food.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 16 Sep 2009 07:25

Adung Takhom loved fish, but only the freshwater type. The locals had a lot of varieties of both freshwater and sea fish. But in his opinion, they had no clue how to cook them. The manipuri cooking, especially the thongbas were passable, but nothing like the traditional chinese fare he enjoyed as a young boy. The local people used fish that had been dead for a long time, and kept on ice. That itself killed half the flavour. Then they terribly overcooked it with a heavy dose of spices.

Yucky, to say the minimum. The stench of the sea fish fried in coconut oil was driving him nauseous. Can’t these people use any better oil? The whole place terribly stinks of it. Add the smell of the sea fish, it would drive anyone crazy.

Except the locals, like the people sitting in front of him, and apparently enjoying it.

He had to be content with what the cook claimed to be “Szechwan fish”. It had nothing to do with the beautiful land where he was born. These people apparently just named their dishes, regardless of how and of what they are made. This concoction at least avoided the dreaded chillies and coconut oil. Though the fish pieces were as tough as rubber, he could at least eat it.

And he liked the toddy. Reminded him the fermented rice drink back home. This one had the subtle earthy feeling, and was much less bitter.

He ordered one more pot.

Joshi, Sivan and Jose, who was Sivan’s assistant and interpreter, were sitting around the table with Adung. Sivan understood English reasonably well, and spoke it a bit, but the heavy accent from Adung was tough to decipher sometimes. So, he had to bring in Jose, who was a graduate, and worked for Tibetan businessman. He was very comfortable with chinese accent, and spoke a bit of Tibetan and Mandarin as well. Joshi had no problem in conversation, so Jose was a mute spectator for most of the time. He focussed on carefully dismantling the huge crab halves, and recovering the tasty morsels of butter smooth meat from the bony chambers within.

Adung was letting Joshi know that he knew very well about his side business, and how it is illegal to do while holding onto his government job. He also knew where he worked, and what kind of a job he did there.

It was pure blackmail.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 16 Sep 2009 17:45

Vijaya Baskar sat down on the bench, a bit out of breath, and sweating. He had just been thrashed in a game of shuttle badminton by a younger colleague. He used to play reasonably well years ago. But after taking it up again, he was not able to cope. He had lost a lot of stamina.

He wiped his face off the prespiration, and cast eyes to the swimming pool. A few children were in there, running around the sides and diving in.

He looked at his watch again a bit impatiently, and again focussed his gaze towards the pool.

As if on cue, Meiji Takhom appeared from the women’s dressing room, and catwalked towards the diving board. The scene turned surreal, as the men paused in what they were doing and cast glances towards her. The shuttle missed the racket and fell inside the court, but even the point was not called. IT was like watching fashion tv, live.

Women in the colony rarely used the swimming pool. Even if they did, they used single piece swimwear with skirt attachments. Some even used non standard, more covering type clothes. But after Meiji started showing off her two piece bikinis, there was a surge in the male attendance at the clubhouse. While most of the men stole glances in the direction of the pool, Vijaya Baskar couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Meiji has a well toned body, without even an ounce of fat. Regular work outs kept her body in good shape. The skin, with the yellowish tinge normal for her race, was flawless, and her face retained the radiance even without the make-up.

She also had a good collection of swimsuits.

Baskar’s old lady Chitra had neither. She never even came to the clubhouse. Baskar had tried to encourage her to do some sports or exercise. At least she could get on the treadmill, he reasoned. Chitra, brought up in a traditonal brahmin family, believed that doing house chores is enough exercise for a woman. She also believed that foods like butter and ghee are very healthy.

Baskar’s teasing her about looking like a rice bag had resulted in a lot of tears, and threats to “go dad’s home”, and not in interesting her in working out.

Meiji pulled herself out of the pool. She looked around, and saw Baskar staring at her. She waved and said “Hi”. Baskar reciprovated. It had become a bit of a routine in the past several days.

Then he was surprised to see Meiji walking down to where he sat. His vision seemed to go into slow motion like the movies, where it shows the heroine coming out of water. Meiji could easily give a run for their money for those girls in movies, Baskar thought. The dark blue swimsuit gave sharp contrast to her skin. It held on tight, following the smooth curves, as the water, draining from the taut spandex made streaks among the valleys. Vijaya Baskar gulped.

“Do you swim?” Asked Meiji

It was a trap.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 17 Sep 2009 11:14

The lair

The successful demonstration of the ELFA system made a storm in the small circle of people who were in the know. But there were still problems.

Whenever new systems are being developed there will be disagreements, or even fights between the designers and the customers. Most of them would be about the functionality and useability of the equipment. The designers would always be over optimistic about their product, while the customers, the forces, tend to be pessimistic. In most of the cases, the forces will demand performance at par, or exceeding the equivalent product available by import. The designers will complain that the forces is not considering their effort, and not giving them leeway.

It is always a mess. Even allegations of corruption and sabotage fly around. Almost all the past development projects in the country were plagued with this.

But the case of ELFA was different. It was an entirely new technology, not invented, let alone available, elsewhere. Its utility and functionality had been undoubtedly demonstrated in front of the customer. In fact the navy was very eager to get it. The matter of contention was entirely elsewhere.

The top brass of DRDO was always gunning for integration of the device into the ATV submarine before it was launched. The navy was not convinced about that. Both had their own arguments. DRDO argued that since the integration involves rather large openings, six of them, on the outer hull, it is better to do that before launch. The navy contended that since the launch will be primarily the hull and the reactor, with no electronics, the ELFA should be integrated along with the other equipment.

Finally a compromise was reached. The hull openings will be built, if the final specification is available in a timely manner. Otherwise the work will be done when it comes back to dry dock for fitment of the other equipments. The launch was expected to be in six months, so the navy did not expect to build the openings at all.

No one thought NRE could provide the production level specification for the sensor unit in a short time.

Except the head of DRDO, who is the scientific advisor to the defense minister.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 18 Sep 2009 06:23

Yasser Ayoobi sat nervously in the visitors chair. He had briefly met the defense minister a couple of times in the past, but they never spoke to each other. Of course he knew the man very well. A veteran leader from his own state, and well known for the high level of honesty and integrity he kept in his life. Yasser was not exactly sure why he was called to the minister’s home. He was on a routine visit to meet his boss, the SA, and it was him who informed about the request by the minister. The minister wanted to see Yasser alone, at his home office in the morning.

Yasser looked around the room, which was simply, and almost frugally furnished. The tastes of the host reflected in the selection of everything, including the upholstery and curtains. Khadi curtains adored the windows and the sofas were upholstered with hand woven jute fabric. These were a gift by a village co-operative society that made them. Three big portraits of the erstwhile leaders of his party stood beaming from the wall.

The minister came in, dressed in a lungi and a white khadi shirt. Bald and short of stature, the man did not make any lasting impression in people on first sight. But the way he approached problems, offered solutions, and took care of issues had made him a lot of fans and followers.

Instead of going to his seat, the minister came around to where Yasser stood, freshly risen from his chair, and took his hands. Along with the warm handshake, the left hand rested on Yasser’s shoulder, like a father.

“You are the son of Hussein Rawther, of Padikkal Tharavaad, right?” the man asked in the local language they shared.

Yasser was surprised to no extent by this beginning. He could cough up a simple “Yes, sir”.

“We know each other from the days when your father was in Muslim League. I had come to your house many times with Ummer Saahib and ate great biriyani made by your mother.” The minister paused for a moment, as if lost in thought. “We hadn’t met after he moved out of the alliance” He added as an afterthought.

“Father passed away in 2003” Yasser thought that could be the only thing to say.

“I know.” The minister spent a couple more seconds before continuing. “It is very nice to meet Hussein Sahib’s son. Please take your seat. I got to talk to you.” The minister walked around to his own chair. Yasser sat down.

The peon pushed his head through the door. “Tea, or coffee Sir?” he asked. Yasser chose tea.

The minister got directly into the subject.

“Yasser, I have seen the reports about the new system you have developed. You have done a fantastic job. The nation is proud and indebted to you”.

“Thank you Sir.” Yasser bowed.

“I would like that to be integrated to an actual platform as soon as possible.”

Yasser knew what the minister was talking about, the but the name ATV, or any reference to that project, was meticulously avoided in all conversations.

“Of course Sir. All of us at NRE also want to get that into use as soon as possible”.

“I hear that we will have to cut open the body of the ship to install it?”

“That is correct Sir. We will have to cut open the hull, and install a pressure chamber.”

“For that the shipyards need the complete specifications.”

“That is correct Sir.”

“When can you get those specifications?”

“It will take three months Sir.” Yasser was confident on that.

“Are you sure? Do I have your word on that?” The minister smiled.

“Of course Sir”.

“Allright. You do that, and I will make sure that it will be integrated into a platform without delay”.

“We will do it Sir.”

“OK, that settles it. But there is a much more important issue I got to discuss with you”.

“What is that Sir?”

“The work you do is so valuable, that there are a number of people who want to steal the details.”

“I can imagine that Sir.”

“Right now, the project is run in a very low key, under a false name. The moment we get to the integration stage, we will not be able to keep that. So, we are taking some actions to protect us, and our technology”

Yasser shook his head in agreement.

“We will be placing some new staff at your facility, as well as at the other ones involved in this project. They will take care of everything related to security. It will be in place before we get the shipyards involved."

The meeting continued for a bit more time, before Yasser went back to meet his boss again.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 18 Sep 2009 17:55

When Yasser was called in into the SA’s office, he found two men there. One was a man in his early fifties, with piercing eyes and a perennial smile. His short trimmer hair, and the beard, or rather stubble, were greying. Yasser felt his gaze sizing up himself when he walked in. The other man was much younger, maybe younger than himself. He looked like a younger version of the former, beard and all, but obviously from southern origin.

“Yasser, this is Mr. O. P. Malhotra I.P.S, and this is Mr. Anil Nambiar. They take care of the security needs of ours”. The SA made the introduction.

Yasser felt the very firm, but warm grip, and the piercing eye contact when he shook hands with the men. He sat down, looking at his boss.

“Yasser, we need to improve the security of our facilities in your area. We have news that our friends around are curious on what you are doing. Mr. Anil will be coming down to your place to take care of them.” The SA said with a mischievous smile.

“We thought we would do a favour to Anil by posting him close to home”. The elder man, Mr. Malhotra said. Anil smiled warmly.

“Yasser, your unit is the most critical, and sensitive there. We have got information that a lot of activities being going on there. Some information has already leaked, along with some we deliberately placed out. We got to protect our system at any cost, whatsover. I hope you understand the gravity of the situation” The SA beamed at Yasser.

“Of course I do Sir”

“Hereafter, Mr. Malhotra is responsible to protect your project. You are authorized to provide whatever support he needs, including access to your facility, people, or information. You understand?”

“Yes Sir.” Yasser bowed.

“I will get formal orders for these later today. Now we need to work on a bit of operational deails”

They continued the meeting for a few more hours, where an outline of a plan was evolved.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 19 Sep 2009 11:49

Anil Nambiar moved into a flat in the mainland side. There was a bit of contention on where to set up shop. The NRE facility was in the naval area which is in the cost. The bigger lab was on the mainland side. Finally it was decided in favour of the mainland side, primarily because the prime adversary has also done that. The flat was not too far from the office of the TV channel where he held his cover job.

He was already briefed on the local situation. There were four men from his organization, apart from liaisons from other agencies. All of them were from the north-east, and were embedded into the social setup of that community. They easily got jobs and accommodation, as it was for the others in the community. As of now, they were trailing Adung and his wife. They haven’t tagged anyone else yet. One of them got a job at the eatery close to the colony where Adung lives, but till now no further information was available.

As a first step, Anil decided to place one of the guys inside the colony where Adung lived, preferrably in a house close to Adung’s. Casual searches did not yield any results. A number of people from the lab lived there, but the policy was not to disclose the security operations to them. So, it had to be achieved very discreetly. It was difficult to scope out the place as well, since strangers roaming around were looked suspiciously.

But surveying the area on the standard issue satellite map, Anil realized that there was an apartment building on the hillock next to the colony. The next day they took a drive around to the place. A unit that faced the colony area was available for rent. One of the bedroom windows opened to the colony, and had a clear view of the house where Adung lived. It was just 100 metres away.

Anil immediately paid advance and took the unit on rent. He placed a couple of his boys there, claiming them to be his staff at the TV channel.

That cover worked well. The security and other residents did not think twice when the boys lugged in a lot of electronic equipment.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 19 Sep 2009 21:54

John Mathew stood near the window, keeping himself one step away from it. People didn’t always appreciate others peering through binoculars. Stepping a bit back from the window would prevent a casual onlooker from seeing him, while he can focus on the target. He was doing a preliminary scan of the house he was required to stakeout. He was obviously in a happy mood, humming a movie tune. He had got an assignment close to home after a very long time. He might be able to steal a few visits to his relatives and enjoy the hospitality.

Working his job had its privileges, and dangers. He had an accreditation card of the press, as a media cameraman. It opened many doors, and provided easy access in his job. It also helped to score with the girls. He also had the advantage of flexi time.

Well, not exactly. He is on duty 24 hours, but he considers that flexi time, since he can go places at odd times.

The binocular he used looked like a regular one. Looking like one of them hunting scopes being sold as ‘Russian Binoculars”. The only difference was some push buttons on the grip area of the right tube. It was also a bit heavy for its size.

John stopped scanning the house and turned his attention to other places around. “Praveen, too bad we can’t see the swimming pool.” He commented to his colleague who was sitting in a chair, looking out of the window himself. He shrugged.

Praveen Kumar was working with John for the first time. He was a bit serious type, and didn’t like the easy going attitude of John. Praveen took his job seriously. A bit too seriously in fact. His training at the Army Intelligence still lingered on him. He would have preferred to continue there, but he was enticed with the challenge of working for the agency. He felt a little bit of regret on the move in fact, and was considering returning to his original place and rank once the 5 year option ends.

“Hey, stop looking around and focus on the target. There is some movement”. Praveen whispered. He had the habit of lowering the voice in such situation, even if there are nobody around. John turned his binocular once again to the target. He pressed a button, and the objective lens assembly of the binocular began to move out with a whirr. The field of view narrowed as the system zoomed.

A whistle escaped from John. “Hey the lady is on the terrace. Oh my god!! What a piece!” He offered the binoculars to Praveen, who declined it with a wave. John put it back to his eyes and gave a commentray.

“Hmm, Pajamas and tanktops! Fresh out of a bath!! Oh man! I love my job!!”

Praveen muttered something under his breath and left for the kitchen. He badly wanted a coffee.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 20 Sep 2009 19:31

The equipment looked like one of those arc lamps used for movie shooting. It was cylindrical in shape, around two feet in diameter. A think cable came out of the rear, and a roundish lid covered the front end. It was approximately three feet long. I took both John and Praveen some effort, among the angry look of the security guard of the apartment, to get it to their room. John’s casual comment that “it is in repair” didn’t make any impression on the guard.

It was a state of the art eavesdropping equipment from Israel.

Cellular mobile communication took a major advancement with the introduction of the GSM system. IT made sure that the privacy of the subscriber is maintained against eavesdropping on the radio. The connection is set up using a random number encrypted with a private key embedded in the SIM card. It is not possible to get any information about the handset or subscriber by eavesdropping.

But there are other things that could be done.

The first and foremost technique used in espionage on cell phones is to fake a cell base station. The handset chooses the station with the highest power. Your fake station can send out signals and grab attention of the handsets in vicinity. It is not very simple. Since the handset is already connected to a service provider, you have to fake out the correct service provider data. Another roundabout way is to jam all signals first to make the handsets to disconnect and timeout all connection information, and then offer a fresh base station signal over the jamming signal.

Either way, you can grab the SIM details and the phones IMEI number by this technique. You can also get the approximate distance of the handset from the station. This is part of the communication protocol, since the delay of the radio signal need to be considered.

What is not possible is to eavesdrop on actual conversations. For this you need the co-operation of the service providers. This co-operation is a mandatory requirement for the license in many countries. So, the intelligence agencies of the government can eavesdrop on someone, if they know their connection or phone info.

That is what exactly the arc-lamp like device does.

It is simply a sophisticated antenna system, with very high directivity. It focuses the radio waves in a tightly controllable area, using motorized antenna elements and reflectors. The actual electronics of the base station is contained in a briefcase sized box, which is connected to the antenna using a thick cable assembly. Four cameras, one in the centre and three on the periphery, capture visual references and display a combined scene on an LCD screen. The user can manipulate the zoom levels and visually define a target region. The system then adjusts the antenna to focus the beam on that target area. It also self adjusts for the various cell bands and frequencies used.

The controller box works with a set of antenna systems, including a built in omnidirectional, or a 45 degree planar antenna. This makes it a portable system to do close in monitoring.

John began setting it up on the target.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 21 Sep 2009 20:30

The eavesdropper is not simple to use. When it is active, none of the phones in its active area will be able to make or receive calls, as the fake base station will not be in link with the service provider. When you use it against a target who is in the business, you should be very careful.

Also, if you don’t confine the target area, you will get a number of phones, which will make life difficult. If the phones are in motion, that makes things more complex.

One obvious way is to turn the system on for a brief period during the night, when the owners will be sleeping and the phones getting charged. That is what John wanted to try.

The first session, lasting 20 minutes, caught seven phones. Four of them were eliminated right away, because the were too close or too far away to be in the target area. The three remaining were from three different service providers. The SIM numbers and IMEI numbers are reported back to the boss.

They would repeat their exercise several times more to see if there are more phones in use.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 22 Sep 2009 15:57

Eight Faces of the Ruby*

Yasser had returned from a trip to Mumbai to participate in a design review of the ATV. His team had provided the exacting specifications for the hull openings to install the Paanchajanyam. One, forward looking on the bow, just under the torpedo tubes. Two each on the port and starboard, and one aft, to be housed in a hump like projection under the screw.

And he came back with a problem at hand.

The detection and measurement algorithms depend upon precise measurement of timing between the six sensors. As the sea water changes, the parameters of this timing also changes, affecting the measurements. Also, actions like changing the diving planes also can affect the readings in small ways. So, the sensor grid needs calibration.

The active suggestion was to modulate the air that pressurizes the sensor cell. This did work when the ship is just staying still in calm waters. The problem with a submerged submarine is that it can’t stay still. It need to be moving, otherwise it will sink like a rock. When the submarine is moving, the ELF signal produced by the air modulation gets drowned in the flow around the hull.

They needed a higher frequency.

Yasser was considering inserting an active element inside the Paanchajanyam. This would need a lot of work because all the parameters of the system would change.

He was coming back from the toilet, and as he walked in front of the electronics lab, he heard some music from within, and a few of his boys standing around one of the tables. He just walked in to see what is going on.

The engineers got startled by the unannounced entry of the director. One of them slyly turned off the music. All wore guilty smiles on their faces and faced the man they adore as a leader.

“What is going on? Is that a radio?” Yasser asked with a smile.

“That is Paanchajanyam playing Sir.” One of them answered.?

“Panchajanyam?” Yasser was a bit confused.

“Yes sir. The piezo sensor of the Paanchajanyam is the speaker. Gives great bass.” Said the one who turned it off.

“It took some time to match the impedance, but it works reasonably well” claimed another.

Yasser couldn’t help muttering “Masha Allah” under his breath.

He right away asked them to make a characterization study, with the intention of driving it over a range of 10 to 50 Hz frequencies.

* The snake ruby is formed with eight faces.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Austin » 22 Sep 2009 21:03

Ok me no expert , but my understanding is submarine uses depth control tank and control surfaces ( stern planes to maintain trim and bow planes for depth ) to maintain their desired depth and trim control ( trim tanks ) to maintain finer depth , although generally speaking subs are neutrally buoyant when they are submerged

From what I understand subs do loiter when they are in their designated patrol areas and can fire missile either by moving at slow speeds ~ 5 knots or just remain motionless submerged or even surfaced and fire SLBM , the latter a specialty of Russian boomers , allowing them to remain on combat alert when at pier.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 23 Sep 2009 11:07

INS Vagli, the foxtrot class submarine was under deputation for the ELFA project for a long time. As the calibration issue came up, it was imperative to run tests on the system to develop the software. It was decided to adapt the pressure housings used in shipborne testing so that they could be bolted on the ageing hull of the Vagli. This way, an approximate model of a submarine and the six sensors at appropriate locations will be available for data collection.

Yasser went on the first voyage. It was his first trip in an actual submarine. But he was already in close friendship with Captain Prem Shankar, the commander, and Lt. Cmdr Menon, the XO. They were hand picked by the navy chief, and were the only ones on board who were privy about the details of the mission. Captain Prem was to command the second vessel in the ATV class. Menon was designated to be the sonar officer when the ATV is launched. They were picked for the current job exactly because of this background.

Captain Prem and Lt. Cmdr Ramesh Menon couldn’t be any more different in personality and attitude. Prem was an old time sailor, like a strict, but loving father figure. His crew loved and respected him. As an accomplished submariner, he had the distinction of commanding all types of submarines India had in service, including the nuclear subs leased from Russia. He also was a member of the elite group of officers who had actually served on missions on the Russian boats in the North Atlantic.

Ramesh Menon came from the technical side. An electronics engineer by education, he had established his name as an excellent SA tactician. However, he was often considered to be a nerd, and even to be ‘unfit for service’ by some of the orthodox old salts of the navy. But he was very good in what he does, so he had a lots of friends and fans in the force as well. Captain Prem was one of them. They made a great team.

So did Yasser.

Yasser used the opportunity to get whatever information he could gather from the experienced submariners. He learned a lot about the art of submarine warfare, especially how the various electronic equipment are used in detection, identification and evasion of the enemy crafts.

Once concern the old timers had was the sound generated by the calibration process. The enemy crafts would definitely hear the sounds. And if their intelligence gathering is any good, they would already know what the ship is doing as well.

Sound signature of a ship is very important. Huge efforts are made to capture the sound signature of the enemy ships, as well as the counter measures to prevent that. The sounds made by the screws, by the torpedo doors when they open, by the missile doors, by the ballast doors, all are recorded, analyzed and used in warfare to figure what the enemy ship is doing.

So, the calibration sound is definitely going to figure in one of the signatures. When the ATV goes out on any mission, you can expect the enemy subs to snoop around, looking for signatures.

“Maybe we should add a microphone to the system, and give the choicest ‘gaalis’ to them over the calibration system” Joked the ever humourous Menon.

“Maybe we should record the sound of a city bus and play it all the time, so that they will go back and report that the ATV is so noisy like a city bus.” Added the captain.

“Maybe we should do both” Said Yasser.

Sa fate would have it, he ended up building both systems. The idea of deception got ready acceptance by everyone involved, and the sound player system was approved for inclusion in the suite.

A six channel DSP based sound synthesizer was designed, and integrated with a sound library available at the main controller. The system could simulate pretty much any sound in 3D.

And the sound library did contain some colourful ‘gaalis’ and whatever other sounds that seemed appropriate, thanks to the ingenuity and insistence of Lt. Cmdr Ramesh Menon.

It also contained voice of little Akhil Menon. The two year old son of Lt. Cmdr Menon.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 24 Sep 2009 07:21

The Coil

“He seems to be on a new uplink” John Mathew told Anil, as they pored over the call patterns of the phones at the Takhom residence, which was nicknamed the ‘foxhole’. The boys were constantly watching and snooping the foxhole. Even while they slept, infrared cameras, and laser microphones were doing the watch.

Laser microphones were withdrawn after a few days, because all they got was the local FM station. Apparently Adung is playing the radio at the windows to thwart this technique of surveillance.

Adung Takhom was under a certain handler in Guwahati while he was operating in Imphal. That branch of the ‘dragon string’ was well contained by the agency. Dragon string was the nickname for the Chinese intelligence network in the country. It was named so because it was always a tree structure. Each node connected to one only one node above it. Connections between nodes at the same level were normally not present.

After his move down south, Adung seemed to be reassigned to another handler. Someone with name ‘Lee’ who lived in Kolkota. The local unit of the agency was already busy trying to track this man ‘Lee’. That was standard operating procedure for the agency. Whenever a node on the Dragon String is uncovered, it is immediately tagged, all its connections are investigated. The tree structure helped a lot in this regard, and often big networks used to get uncovered by the compromise of a single node.

The local network under Adung seemed to be in a nascent stage. He only had a few hands around, most pretending to be and among the young migrant from the north-east. There were a couple of local boys as well, who seemed to have got in through the others. Every visitor to the foxhole was investigated, and everyone who are not a casual visitor, are tracked. Someone followed Adung when he went out and watched the contacts he is making. It was a tough net.

Raj Khongzi, the hairdresser was tagged that way. He was seen in conversation with Adung multiple times. Adung never visited the hair salon though. Someone followed Raj to his residence. It was kind of a bachelors hostel, where young working men lived, often sharing rooms.

One of the side effects of the IT and tourism boom in the area was the increase in demand of residential accommodation. House and flat owners often refused to let bachelors rent their properties. Some industrious landlords took this as an opportunity and built multi room dwellings in the fashion of studio apartments. They were done in a simple low-key way, consisting of lines of rooms with a kitchen in the corner, and often an attached bathroom. Two or three people often shared a room. This was a boon to the young men because the rents were lower than the houses, and these were easy to get.

The owners were also happy because they got more rent per area.

Ramcharan, one of Anil’s boys in the field, approached the facility and made enquiries, pretending to be a prospective tenants. He talked to a couple of people from his area, and told them that he heard about the place from the “bhai in the hair salon”.

“Oh, you mean Raj. Are you his ‘friend’?” There was a mischievous tinge in the question.

“No. He just told me that rooms might be available here.”

“Be careful man, you may get more than a room from him”. And the guy winked.

Ramcharan realized what the other man is talking about.

“Oh, is he? Thank god I didn’t talk to him much” Ram said understandingly.

“No, No. He already got a boyfriend. A local guy.” He again winked.

The conversation led to Babu Jacob, who worked at the lab.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 25 Sep 2009 07:09

The bullet motorcycle looked like just came alive from a poster of a bike show on TV. The art and science of building custom bikes was subject to many reality shows in the USA. The people and the shop are filmed while they built the bikes and went about their lives. The activities of building the bikes took equal coverage as the personalities and the conflicts of the lead people. These shows were a huge success and were syndicated on networks in Asia as well.

Those custom bikes, called choppers, are normally built ground up, beginning with steel pipes being bent and welded to form the chassis. The body parts, including the petrol tank, mudguards, panels etc are fabricated in shop. The powertrain and electricals are purchased from suppliers, and painting and finishing are outsourced. The creativity in the process comes from the design and the fabrication of the trim and accessories. Most of these are built to a theme. The builders attain rock star like status and fans follow them all around the country.

Though the programs were american based, they are syndicated worldwide, so there was a considerable fan following in India as well. Enthusiasts in India had been limited to the mass produced bikes and modifications thereof. The laws of the country makes it impossible to build a street-legal bike from scratch. The regulatory process for approval for street use is the same for a mass produced bike and a custom manufactured one. However, it is possible to modify a mass produced bike, and by bending a few rules, you could approximate a full custom built bike.

The new generation bikes were all small, and lacked the machoism needed for a chopper class bike. The only commercial bike that could reach anywhere near the level was the Enfield Bullet, the venerable old timer, with a 1950 British design. This bike was large, and had an old generation low tech engine that could take the punishment of transformation into a chopper.

Some enthusiasts, who desperately wanted a chopper, did just that.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 25 Sep 2009 17:21

Sivan, better known as Pulavan Sivan, was one such bike enthusiast. He was born in a family that was rather poor. His father, Radhakrishnan, was a mason by trade. He also was a bike enthusiast, and in those days, when masons could hardly afford a bicycle, Radhakrishnan had a Rajdoot motorcycle that he bought from the owner of a house he helped to build. It was in a terrible condition when he got it, but with help from a local mechanic, and by spending countless nights working himself, Radhakrishnan repaired and restored it to a running condition.

Sivan, who was around nine that time, stayed awake with his dad, and helped as best as he could in the project. Love for bikes came hereditary to him. He quickly learned the techniques of repairing and maintaining them and went to be an apprentice at the repair shop. He also secretly learned to ride them, even though he had to practically sling himself to one side to change gears or step on the brake. He became a local stunt rider even before he was old enough to get a license.

Soon, the lure of easy money turned Sivan away from the workshop. His skills of riding the bike found him new opportunities in drug traffiking and organized crime. He was thrown out of the house by his father. Defiant, he initially stayed with some friends, and later built his own house and raised a family, right in front of his estranged father. All these times, he had owned various types of bikes in various ways.

When he saw the choppers on TV, he realized what he missed all these years. He wanted one. Now he has enough money to get one. He talked to Rajesh, the local bike repair shop owner, who happened to be the son of the guy who helped his father to build his. They have decided to get a bullet and modify it.

An old creaky 500CC Bullet was found with a planter in the deep north of the state. Sivan and Rajesh went and picked it up. Since it was unridable, they had to load it up on the truck and bring it. They set it up in the back of Sivan’s house and began the work of modifying it. Siven got one of his friends to print out the enlarged photos of a spider theme bike from a show and gave it to Rajesh as reference.

Rajesh had playfully suggested he should consider a snake motif, because of the nickname of Sivan. But Sivan was already enamoured with the spider theme, so that is what got built ultimately. The original design had a regular teardrop shaped petrol tank. Rajesh built one that is shaped like the thorax of a spider and added webbings to that. Sivan liked it immensely, so Rajesh made more modifications, like the handlebars which are bent like antennae, and a pair of panels to resemble the jaws of the spider right on either sides of the headlamp. Sivan was extremely pleased with the result. He even went as much to call it by a name, which measnt spider in the local language.

It was as intimidating as the owner of the bike. Sivan had already built a name for himself among the underworld of the city. Now the booming sound of his bike became his herald and signature. He hardly used any other means of transportation, other than the ‘spider’

The ‘spider’ was parked in front of the ‘foxhole’. It was the second time it was seen there in the past few days. Naturally it raised the curiosity of the people at the stakeout. John Mathew spend a good fifteen minutes looking at it, taking in the design and the beautiful detailing.

“The bike looks much better than the lady..” He commented to Praveen. “I wouldn’t mind riding it either”. Praveen just shrugged. He still had to get used to this nerdy colleague

The second visit made it necessary to take a look at the owner of the bike. It won’t be difficult. There could only be one such bike in the city.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 26 Sep 2009 07:12

The wine red Chevy Spark was parked at a corner of the underground parking lot. It was well away from the GPS signals, but the cell repeater operated by the mall could reach it. The tracer had to be mounted under the fold of the running board, so the GPS worked only when it was in the open. Since the owners were known to be professionals, the installation had to be done very carefully.

Arjun Rai didn’t like waiting indefinitely. He liked to do things, not wait. But he was a bit late to the place. By the time the guys at the office realized that the Spark had gone beyond its normal commute to the boutique and alerted him, it had made good progress. However fast he could ride, it had already got parked and the driver was nowhere to be seen. He waited for some time, but got bored soon. He decided to take a stroll in the mall to see if the lady he was supposed to track was around there.

The mall was not too big. It was built on a sliver of land at the waterfront. The lower three floors were made into a mall, and the upper floors were built into apartments. The water side apartments were sold at a premium, but not many people chose to live there. This place, being in the middle of the shopping district, had a lot of traffic, and in order to reach there, one had to pass through the heavily built up downtown, or the market area. People liked to visit and shop, but not live there.

Arjun walked around in the mall. It was the morning of a working day, so the place was not crowded. He casually strolled through the corridors, looking at the shops and peering to the insides. He had to get into a few bigger shops to see if his quarry was shopping there. All he got was a few glances and giggles from a group of girls who thought he was a college boy killing time.

Though it was unlikely, he also checked out the third floor, which was occupied by the food court and the video game arcade. That floor was almost deserted. He walked into the Barista and ordered his favorite brew. He chose a table from where he had a clear view of the atrium to which the elevator doors opened.

Suddenly his phone vibrated. The frantic voice of John came over the headset. “Arjun, where are you? The car has started.” John was yelling. With a curt “checking now” to acknowledge, and avoid questions, Arjun started running towards the escalator.

Arjun had to adjust his pace to a jog as he got into the main corridor. He didn’t want the people to think that he was shoplifting or something. As he came out of the glass door, he saw the Spark just emerging out of the ramp coming from the underground parking. It turned to the exit driveway and moved out into the street. It had to stop at the sidewalk as the traffic was rather heavy. The profile of the lady sitting inside was clearly visible from where he stood.

As Arjun stood there, cursing himself , and watching the lady, he saw another car, a White Maruti Zen, drive out of the garage. As it pulled behind the other car, the man driving it wound down his window and waved to the lady in the Spark. The lady turned, smiled and waved back at the man.

Instinctively, Arjun’s right hand, which was holding his phone, raised and silently clicked the scene. As the Zen moved and drove off, he took a few more photos.

The next five minutes went in a lecture from John Mathew on how stupid and incompetent he was. Arjun shrugged, got on his bike and started the journey back to his workplace.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 26 Sep 2009 14:59

Vijaya Baskar drove, humming to himself a popular Tamil tune. The traffic had eased a bit, and the old faithful Zen glided over the recently resurfaced road. The first meeting went well, and he was happy.

Meiji was smart. It would have raised a scandal if they met anywhere near their place. People have eyes all over their body when it comes to affairs. He couldn’t afford any scandal, but he couldn’t afford the chance to meet the smart and sexy woman in private. It was Meiji who suggested the floating restaurant in the lake, just behind the waterfront mall.

He had cooked up a reason to visit the health insurance company branch right across the waterfront road and came around on short leave from work. He was even smart to actually enter the building and spend some time inside to fool any onlookers. He had a suspicion whether Meiji would show up, so despite her advice to park at the pay&park, he went and parked at the mall, checking out her car at the same time.

Thank god she was not upset. She is very undersanding. His own old lady Chitra never understood. She would have yelled her heart out if he disobey one of her ‘orders’. Meiji seemed to understand him and his concerns. She was waiting for him at the floating restaurant. The place was empty, as it was not yet lunch hour. The old chinese waiter served them tea and snacks, as they sat and chatted inside.

It was fun, in fact heavenly, to talk to Meiji. Vijaya Baskar took a deep breath as if the air inside the car was filled with the intoxicating perfume that Meiji wears. She said her husband bought it for her from Hong Kong. Baskar had never travelled abroad, and he kind of envied Meiji and her husband. Meiji’s husband ran a software business and travelled frequently abroad. The silk tops that Meiji loved to wear were also bought from Hong Long. Those suited her very well. Chinese women looked great in those embroidered silk, with the body hugging cut and very short sleeve, or sleeveless. He knew Meiji was in fact Indian, but she looked very Chinese. Like one of those models for Singapore Airlines.

And Meiji mentioned that her friend had a flat in the complex over the mall. Her husband is taking care of it, and trying to find tenants. But till now no one has rented it. Vijaya Baskar wondered why she mentioned that to him. Did she mean what he tought she did? Maybe not. He should not think too much into anything. Maybe she just wanted a friend. It is understandable that she doesn’t have friends here. She didn’t talk the local language, and the women in the colony didn’t like her. Meiji said she hated the women of the colony. All they had to talk about was the gossip and the TV serials. Baskar completely agreed with her on this. All the women, including Chitra, are horrible to talk to. Meiji had mentioned that Baskar understood her perfectly, and she would prefer to talk to him rather than the scheming and gossipng women folk around.

Her husband also seemed to be fine with their friendship. They have met a few times at the clubhouse. Meiji had talked enthusiastically about him to her husband, and he seemed to be happy to hear that. But Adung was always busy and away at work. He hardly came to the clubhouse with Meiji.

Would he be happy if his lady Chitra had a man as a friend. But what does she know? She had been steeped in the old customs and the notions that her mother and grand mother had instilled in her. How could any man be a friend to her? Men would run away from her.

He can’t. He is married to her.

Look at Adung and Meiji. How happy they are as a couple. They make money and enjoy life. Meiji makes friends with him, and Adung is understanding and is fine with that. He buys her clothes that are attractive and suits her body. He buys her jewelry that are dazzling, and Meiji loves to show them off.

Chitra hates the saris he select. According to her, he has no sense of beauty. Once he had mentioned that the current fashion is short sleeved blouses.

That resulted in a week long war.

Vijaya Baskar drove on, deep in thoughts and unaware of the troubles ahead.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 27 Sep 2009 19:33

The thunderous roar of the ‘50s vintage 500cc twin cylinder engine echoed from the arches of the bridge, as the bike passed them in a flash. The speed was well over 120kmph, but the sturdy frame and uprated wheels were taking it rather well. Pulavan Sivan was sitting very comfortably in the contoured seat, which looked tiny behind the humongous petrol tank, shaped like a spider’s chest. His long hair, tied in a pony tail was waving in the wind. With no helmet, and just a sunglass to protect his eyes, Sivan was squinting a bit to escape the vortices of air messing his eyelashes.

He loved to ride fast, but right now, he had a purpose. The bright yellow Pulsar which came almost a kilometre behind him was the reason.

He saw that bike, and the man who rode it, to be shadowing him for the past several days. He was not named Pulavan, the local name for the russel’s viper, for nothing. He claimed he can sense an adversary a mile away.

And he DID sense it with the rider of the Pulsar.

Sivan was getting more and more restless about the bike rider in the past few days, because all he seemed to be interested in is to follow him at a discreet distance. At one point of time, Sivan had led him to a road that was rather empty, to see if he dared a confrontation. The rider just kept aloof, with no intention to approach him at all.

It was becoming a bit of a nuisance. He wanted to end that. He is luring the bike rider away to some remote place where he can go and ask him what is in his mind. Meanwhile he chose to let of some steam by gunning the engine and making a race.

The Pulsar kept up rather well. Sivan turned into a section of road that got abandoned as a new byepass was built. The Pulsar followed at an incresed distance. Sivan rode the bike into a coconut grove and parked it. He then walked back to the road to look for the Pulsar. The rider had pulled over to the side of the road, and was pretending to be on the phone.

Sivan walked directly to the Pulsar. The rider paid no attention to him. He seemed to be immersed in the conversation over the phone.

Sivan stopped 3 feet away from the bike, and stood, looking directly at the rider. He was not looking at Sivan. He was playing with the keychain on the ignition, and murmuring into the phone at the same time.

“Hello..” Sivan called out to him. The phrase is often used as an intrusive means of attracting attention, a rude alternate to “excuse me”.

The rider ignored him.

Sivan took two steps forward, and placed his hand on the shoulder of the rider.

The rider took his fingers off the keychain and placed that palm over the hand of Sivan which rested on his shoulder. He delebrately removed his helmet and handsfree earbud tucked within. He then turned his face to Sivan and smiled. “Hello” he said rather pleasantly, and took Sivan’s hand off his shoulder.

He then got up from the bike and stood, facing Sivan. He was of the same age as Sivan, well built, with neatly trimmed hair and a moustache. He removed the sunglasses, revealing jet black eyes, of which the pupils were not discernible. This feature gave an intimidating look to his gaze. Sivan looked into those eyes, and felt a bit unsure about himself.

“I am Sivan. Pulavan Sivan.” He extended the hand. The rider took it and shook it firmly. But he did not give any self introduction himself.

“I see that you had been following me for the past few days.” Sivan began, while the rider held on to his hand, without letting go.

“That is correct.” The voice of the rider was perfectly neutral, with no trace of any emotion. Sivan suddenly felt a strange feeling, close to fear than bewilderness.

“For what?” Sivan made a deliberate attempt to make the voice harsher.

“You have no need to know that.” The tone of the rider remained unchanged.

The feeling of fear gave way to rage. After all, Sivan had a reputation of being a ruthless goonda, and he got to do justice to that.

“Can’t do without knowing” Sivan took half a step closer to the rider with an utterly menacing demeanor. The rider noticed that Sivan is almost trembling with rage.

“That would be YOUR problem”. He wanted to see how far Sivan could go. It was too much for Sivan to take. With a roar of “What did you say?” Sivan tried to grab his collar.

In a sharp move, the rider grabbed that hand turned it away. The next moment, Sivan tried to land a left hand hook aimed at his jaw, but he moved his head away in a lightning reflex. As Sivan lost a bit of balance by the missed hook, the rider hit the back of Sivan’t knee, leaving Sivan kneeling on the ground. Sivan turned, and like a snake trying to re-aim for a strike, he twisted himself back up, facing the rider again.

“Who are you?” Sivan asked, a bit panting.

“I am not your enemy”. The rider assured.

“Then why do you follow me?” Sivan asked again.

“I told you already. You have no need to know that.” The rider replied adamantly.

Sivan lunged forward, with a yell “I will make you say”, but the rider tackled him efficiently, leaving the feared goonda in a pile on the ground. The rider then extended his hand to Sivan so that he can pull himself up. Sivan took it, and rose.

“Maybe now you would listen. I want to talk business” the rider told in a reassuring tone. Though Sivan wanted to plunge his knife into this man, he got an understanding on what this man is capable from the two brief bouts he just had.

Sivan agreed to talk.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 28 Sep 2009 08:10

Circle Inspector of Police Ajith Kumar tried to sized up the man standing in front of him. He was alerted by none other than the DGP himself about the visit of a man from the “secret services”. This left him a bit perplexed.

Ajith hadn’t heard about any ‘secret service’ in India. He knew the force that protected the US president is named that. He knew about organizations like CBI, IB and even the RAW. But there was no ‘secret service’ heard anywhere. He didn’t know what to expect. In any case, his instructions were clear. He was to provide whatever support the man needs within his powers. And he also was directed to keep his regular chain of command out of it.

Maybe he will show up in a black long coat and a hat, like the spy stereotype in movies. Ajith joked to himself. But who walked in through the half door was someone who would never stand apart in a crowd.

“I am Praveen Kumar, Sir. I hope DGP Sir talked to you about me.” The man began in a humble respectful tone. That contradicted sharply with the build of the man. As tall as Ajith was, he was well built, with wide shoulders and long muscular arms. The chin with clear lines, and the well set jaws indicated hidden strength and resourcefulnbess in the man. The sharp eyes of Ajith also figured that he is deliberately stooping a bit, but he is accustomed to stand straight.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Praveen. Yes, the DGP told me about you.” Ajith invited Praveen to the chair. Praveen thanked and sat down. Once again, Ajith felt that this man is used to sit straight in the chair, instead if the hunched up stance he is trying to fake.

Praveen felt that the DGP was indeed correct in assessing his people. He liked the officer sitting in front of him. According to the DGP, Ajith Kumar was a very capable and honest officer, with a record of impeccable integrity. He could be a very reliable resource for the agency in executing its tasks. For a moment an interesting thought passed through Praveen’s mind. If he were wearing the uniform to which he is entitled to, the Inspector would have had to salute him. But once you got into the agency, ranks didn’t matter, and you never wore any uniform.

“DGP Sir told me that you are from some “secret service”. Ajith said in an expectant tone. He didn’t want to make an explicit query of what it meant.

“Well, if I tell you, it will no longer be a secret, Sir”. Praveen smiled widely to compensate for the denial.

“Well, fine. I understand it is important. What can I do for you?” Ajith was a bit disappointed.

“I need your help with a small investigation I am dealing with.”

“I have orders to help you. What do you want me to do?” Ajith’s voice was a bit neutral. Praveen figured that the man is a bit disappointed on being kept in the dark.

“You know Pulavan Sivan, right?”

“Of course I do. He is on the goonda list.”

“He is involved in some activity that is bad for the country. I need your help to put some sense into his head.”

“Oh, he has lot of ‘connections’ around and above everywhere. It would be difficult to get him, and even more difficult to keep him in”. Ajith knew that there is hardly any case against Sivan, and even if it did, no one in the force would dare to arrest or even indict him.

“Sir, we are not interested in his drug traffiking or organized crime. We just want to keep him away from what he is doing with the people working to hurt our country.”

“Like he is going to listen to us” Ajith was a bit skeptic.

“He will, Sir. I had a chat with him and prepared him for that already. He needs some corroboration that what I told him is official.”

“OK, I get it. He thinks you are from some other competing gang, right? And you want to clear that.” Ajith thought he knew what is going on.
“Exactly. I also need your help in handling someone who would listen to a police officer.”

“Is he another goonda?”

“No. His name is Joshi Panikkar. He works at the gov’t lab here.” Praveen said, while keeping his gaze directly at Ajith’s eyes. He thought he could indeed see the brain working behind them. One need to keep them fed. You can’t get the co operation of intelligent people without taking them into confidence.

Then they went about making a plan.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 28 Sep 2009 16:00

“You got another car to track!” Arjun announced, looking up from the computer screen. The RTO had recently computerized their records, so, given the registration number of a car, its owner’s full details are available to anyone. The white Zen was tracked to certain Vijaya Baskar, with an address that no longer existed. However, the lab had provided a database of the staff with photo Ids. A quick scan confirmed that there is indeed a man by that name, and his photo matched with the man driving the Zen.

Installing a tracking device on a car is not simple, as the movies tend to portrait. Movies had been showing devices with crazy shapes and flashing LEDS, attached with magnets to the underside of the cars, and sending back information into computers sitting hundreds of kilometres away. The computers then displayed a map grid, with a flashing dot , with beeps in sync with the flashes. All good and dandy on the movie screen.

Only that it never happens in real life.

The tracking devices are small and low power because of the limitation of battery. Before the advent of GPS, people had to use directional antenna to find out the approximate location of the device, and because of the low power, you had to get pretty close to the device to find it. They would have never worked on a car.

The current generations of devices consist of a battery that is several times bigger than a cell phone battery. A cell phone radio and a GPS receiver are integrated to a processor system, all designed for extreme low power. All these housed in a tough carbon composite housing with built in strip antenna. They need to be mounted using screws, or with an adhesive. Sometimes a bracket adapter with a Neodymium magnet is used for applications that doesn’t move much, but that was never reliable enough on an automobile.

The easiest way to mount it was to drive a self tapping screw through a hole on the housing. The tip of the screw is tungsten carbide, with an auger point. Most of the steels would readily get pierced by that, making a strong bond.

There was also option for adhesive mounting. An applicator tool drives an end mill with a diamond cutting surface through the mounting hole. The mounting surface right under the hole is cleaned, and a tiny capsule of UV sensitive epoxy is driven against the surface. As the cutter withdraws, UV light turns on, instantly curing and bonding the device to the substrate.

If mounting was difficult, taking them out if needed was a tough call. One need to drill away the epoxy and pry the device away. In many cases where removal is not a paramount need, the self destruction mechanism is activated and the device is left as it is.

The device tracked its position by using the GPS, and reports the information through the cell network. The user need to program it with the SIM information of a valid subscriber, and thereafter, the device will behave like a regular cell phone. But since it need to work unsupervised, there are some differences in how it uses the cell network.

Whenever it remains stationary for some set time, it shuts itself down, after sending a text message back home. It will wake up on triggering its motion sensor, and if programmed, will send a text message whenever its position moves by a set distance. The motion sensors can also sense if the car engine is running, or even crashes or overturns. It is also possible to initiate a voice call to the device and listen to the sounds, but this is not used because of the battery drain that causes.

The big battery of the device serves as a self destruction mechanism as well. A thin layer of Hydrogen Peroxide, sandwiched between two layers of gold foil is buried within the gel electrolyte layer. A ceramic coated nichrome wire is embedded in touch with this sachet which is linked to the polymer fuse integrated to the battery. If the current drain from the battery increases beyond a set level, the polymer fuse will disconnect the circuitry and connect the nichrome wire to the battery. The gold foil gets punctured and releases the H2O2 into the electrolyte. The entire chemistry of the battery gets cooked, along with the electronics that is housed in a recess within. Once it happens, all you would see is burned chemical residue inside the housing.

There could even be a mild explosion. The same fate will happen if the housing integrity is compromised.

It took exactly 45 seconds to attach the tracker to the underside of the Zen. The little gizmo that looked like a miniature lawn mower was pushed under the running board. After finding a suitable location via the video camera, the device was pressed up and the screw attached.

Vijaya Baskar was under surveillance thereafter.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 29 Sep 2009 11:16

“Kiwi Frappe!! You had a KIWI FRAPPE!! Man, if the company had to put up with snobs like you, we will all be speaking Mandarin one day” John Mathew was making one of his fake rants over Arjun’s indulgences at the Mall. “You get to watch the lady up close. That should be good enough reward for you”. John took one swig of the black coffee and wiped the lips with the back of his hand. “And you need Kiwi Frappe to go with her!”

Arjun sat there, across the handrest of the sofa, flashing his innocent smile. He didn’t venture to offer any explanation to John.

“Enjoy Son. It is not our dad’s company. Too bad Anil Sir doesn’t hold you for these. How is that? He came fresh from the snob capital of the word, Dubai. Then what happened?” In a moment John became serious, prompting Arjun to continue his narrative.

Arjun had gone after Meiji’s car once again into the mall. This time she was alone, and as she got into the shopping area, Arjun enjoyed a Kiwi Frappucino from the CCDay there. Right then he did know that John is going to go crazy on that indulgence. John used to profess that god created the coffee bean right after he made water, and made a commandment to man that “Thou shalt not mix anything else with them”. It was a cardinal sin to adulterate the coffee with anything else. In his book, even sugar was blasphemy.

And in a good mood, he would also profess that man was thrown out of the Garden of Eden because Eve added sugar to the coffee.

Once John was back to normal after the rant, Arjun continued his story.

Meiji had picked up some undergarments from the Face and Figure, and walked out. Arjun had to gulp down the bottom half of the Frappe to follow her. She walked up the stairs that led to the lobby of the apartment complex and walked past the security, after flashing a key to him.

Arjun, who walked into the lobby after her, was stuck. He just stood there, looking down the stairs as if waiting for someone. While he was considering the options, he heard footsteps behind him. Turning, he found the security guard standing a bit menacingly in front of him.

“What do you want?” The guard barked. Arjun was at a loss to say anything.

“This is residential area, not the mall.” The security said in an aggressive tone, obviously sensing the discomfort with Arjun.

“I know. Can you help me with something brother?” Arjun quickly put on the best innocent face he could. But the man didn’t seem to buy that.

“No. This is the residential area. You must leave”. Arjun felt the guard might shove him down the stairs..

“Brother, let me finish. I am a trainee at a private detective agency. We have a case with that lady who came in front of me.”

“What case?” The man asked. And as if sensing that it is none of his business, he added “You can’t do any investigation here. This is private property.”

“The lady’s husband is a big businessman. He suspects that she has affairs. We have got some proofs of her talking to some men. We need to get some photo evidence to finish the job.” Arjun felt good being able to spin a story right on his feet.

The promise of a bit of spice seemed to change the attitude of the man a little bit. “Is she really into those?” He asked.

“I have no doubt about it, though we have no proof yet. Does she come here often?” Arjun craftly moved to a question.

“No, I haven’t seen her before. She had a key, so I didn’t bother to ask anything to her” the man had a bit of guilty feeling in allowing her in without interrogation. “But I am new here, so I may not know.” He quickly added.

“We know she is not a resident here. So, why should she come to the apartments? Is she seeing someone here?” Arjun asked as if to himself, but noticed with pleasure the eyes of the man light up.

“There is a security camera. We can find out where she goes.” The man volunteered. Arjun was not sure if it is the curiosity, or the sense of responsibility that made him do that.

Together, they walked into the small room at the side of the lobby. A simple security system was kept there, with a control box and a PC monitor.

The security guard punched the buttons for the cameras and the view on screen changed. All the corridors were empty.

“She got into an apartment already.” Arjun said disappointedly. “What do I do now? I can’t go and knock all doors!”.

“You can sit here and watch till she comes out. I have to go and stand my post” the guard offered.

Arjun had to sit there for half an hour, with no benefit of even a coffee, till Meiji came out from a unit in the 14th floor into the corridor.

Arjun found out from the guard that it is a three bed unit, overlooking the harbour.

John Mathew, who was listening with interest, suddenly interrupted him. “So, you got your punishment for that Kiwi Frappe. All of half an hour without anything to do. Great!”

“B. T. W., the room also overlooks the Naval Base, you know?” John continued in a matter of fact tone.

Arjun didn’t grasp the gravity of that information. He was not privy to all parts of the game.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 30 Sep 2009 07:15

“Why don’t we just pick up all these ba$stards and put them behind bars?” Inspector Ajith asked Anil Nambiar. It was the first time he was meeting the man responsible for the operation he was directed to assist. They met at Ajith’s home, a modest 2 bed house in the residential area far south of the harbour. It didn’t have the glitz and glamour of the northern parts of the peninsula where the tourists thronged to. This was typical city block, with potholed roads and stinky open sewers. Anil borrowed an old motor bike of a staff to go there, trying to keep the lowest profile.

“In my line of work, we never put people behind bars. We contain or eliminate them” Anil said matter of factly. Ajith did not understand fully, and his face shown that.

“See, haven’t you heard the proverb that a known devil is better than an unknown god?”

“Of course.” Ajith was still confused.

“Here itself, you know this Adung guy. We have him under constant surveillance, and there isn’t much he can do without us knowing about it. We are also tracing his contacts and network.”


“If we just grab him today, we finish his work. But there are thousands of Adungs where he came from. They will just send another set of people here. And we will have to grope in the dark till we get some lead.”

“But wouldn’t their operation too will suffer by taking them” Ajith asked a valid question.

“It sure will, but this game is asymetric. They can do their work in many ways. We need to defend ALL of them”.

“That is too bad. Letting someone roam free when we very well know that he is trying to harm us. I can’t somehow agree with that”.

“You are a policeman, and your ways are different. We are spys. We got to have infinite patience, and we need to make the least noise” Anil turned a little bit philosophical.

“So, you guys always let the bad guys go?”

“No. We either contain, or eliminate them.”

“You mean, kill them?” Ajith was surprised.

“That too, but the word means to put them in a position where they are no longer in the game. It could be by death, exile, or even a jail sentence. It is done when the target moves out of the game. We never leave someone without getting an assurance that he is really eliminated from the game.”

“I didn’t understand the concept of ‘moving out’ of the game. Can you explain it?”

“Of course. It means the adversary has stopped doing what he was doing. The containment works as long as his continues. Once he stops, because of any reason, like his objective being achieved, or he became aware of the containment, or even he simply gave up on the objective, whatever it be, the containment is no longer valid.”

“Then you ‘eliminate’ him?” Ajith finally got the meaning.

“Correct. We make sure that there is closure.”

“Does that always happen?”

“No. Just like we know the rules, the adversary also knows them. If he is smart, he will vanish without a trace. Then we loose the game.”

“Does that happen a lot?” Ajith asked.

“Sorry, that is beyond what I can say” Anil sweetened the denial with a wide smile. He picked up a pastry puff that was served with the tea.

“So, we ‘contain’ Adung for time being.” Ajith too helped himself to a pastry puff.

“Time being, yes.” Anil confirmed.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 30 Sep 2009 18:59

Raj Khongzi returned from work later than usual. Some middle aged chap showed up at the saloon late in the evening, and wanted all kinds of beauty treatments, right away. Head and face massage. Henna for hair, bleach and facial, threading the eyebrows, all apart from the hair cut that took thrice the time. It seemed he wanted to cut each individual hair to a precise length.

He was already tired from non stop massaging four clients. His arms hurt badly. Still, the owner of the shop insisted him taking care of the new client, and let the other two boys go home on time.

What would you expect from these locals? The owner is partial to the other boys, both being local. Poor Raj was from far out of state, and always got the short end of things. He is needed to give good service to the clients, but they schemed to make a system of sharing tips.

Sharing tips!! Was that heard anywhere? At least nowhere Raj worked till now. Still, the owner and his pet boys schemed together for that, and got their way. Raj used to get tipped more than the others, so he turned to be the looser.

And he couldn’t get another job so easily. In this darned place, everyone has a union, and these saloon owners are no exception. He couldn’t get into another saloon, unless the current owner releases him. Or he need to find a shop owner who is in fight with this one. There was none, because this guy was a heavyweight. He owned four such saloons in different localities in the area, and also owned other small enterprises, possibly including crime gangs.

Everyone was a bit scared of him, and Raj was no exception.

And he had to serve his other master. At least, he was not overtly abusive. Still, he held more power on Raj than anyone else in the world. His free life was in that man’s hand. He got to trust him, and do his bidding.

Else he gets hunted down as a terrorist, and his family suffers. He already have a file with the Meghalaya Police, and possibly with the CBI. He is wanted for a terrorist bombing.

Only that he had nothing to do with that. The only mistake he did was to fall for the sweet talk of a man. It was more of infatuation to his person than the political garbage he was spewing. He ended up running off to join the man. He had no clue that he was going to blow up innocent people.

And throw him out of his life, to be blackmailed and exploited by others. He was taken to this unfamiliar country, doing things for the masters under blackmail.

The only consolation was he found receptors to his passion here. There were men who really cared for him, if he was careful to choose. Having to use some of them for the benefit of his masters was the only concern.

Especially someone like his current roommate.

Raj did love Babu Jacob. Unlike many others who took him just as a temporary means of satisfying the instincts, Babu was more of the emotional kind. He loved Raj like a husband loves his wife. This emotional attachment was something new to Raj, which enabled him to explore further into his own mind, and enabled him to look at the world under a new perspective. He learned to ignore the insults and the double meaning wisecracks made by others. But the fact that he is bound to exploit the man he loved had always been a heartburn to him.

And after the long and tiring day, he badly wanted to get back to his place. He wasn’t sure if Babu was back from work. His phone was switched off.

When Raj reached the lodge, he found the room to be bolted from the inside. It took a few minutes of knocking to raise Babu. When he finally opened the door, Raj found his face red and his eyes wet. Babu seemed totally upset.

“What happened Babu? Are you alright?” Raj put his hand on Babu’s shoulder, not even bothering to close the door.

Babu moved past him, closed and bolted the door, and turned to face Raj.

“I am fired from my job, Raj, and I will soon loose you too”.

And he broke down in an embrace with Raj and cried on his shoulder.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 01 Oct 2009 12:46

Dr. Shankar, the director of the lab had decided to do the unprecedented. He decided to attend the funeral of Babu Jacob. Normally the director attended such events only if the deceased was a permanent employee of the lab. But he made an exception this time. The reason he gave was that Babu was a long time employee at the lab.

But the real reason was that he felt immensely guilty.

He knew it was not an accident, even though all the newspapers were crying the blood of the driver of the dump truck. It is a fact that the dump trucks always drove rashly, and cared little about the life an limbs of the other users of the road. But this particular incident, he was sure that the truck driver was right. Babu Jacob drove the motorbike right into the truck. But no one would believe the truck driver.

Babu had a death wish, and Shankar felt he was partly responsible for that. But he didn’t have a choice. The security of the country stands way above the individuals, be it him, or Babu. There was no question of letting him continue at the lab, after all the evidence that had been provided. But Shankar didn’t think the job loss alone would have driven him to the extreme step. It should be the sense of deception that done it. There is no doubt that there was intimate relationship between him and his room mate. When confronted with evidence, it was clear to him that the man he loved was trying to exploit him to the detriment of the country.

That would have been too much for him.

Shankar felt that at least the best he could do was to attend the funeral, and pay the last homage. He was a good man. He did a good job. But he ended up in a bad situation that became worse. He couldn’t blame him.

A wreath with the name of the lab was placed on his coffin, and he got his share of six feet of land at the church cemetery. The priest made an excellent speech on the virtues of the departed.

Sitting in the pier, Dr. Shankar thought that if all the truths are revealed, his remains would have buried at the mass grave at the corner, reserved fr sinners. A homosexual man who has commited suicide deserved that according to the church rules.

Dr Shankar, an orthodox brahmin, prayed for the first time at the church for the benefit of a departed soul, and forgiveness for himself.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 02 Oct 2009 17:15

The team was in split on what to do with Vijaya Baskar.

It was very clear that he had fallen into the honey pot, but there was nothing to doubt that he had in fact compromised anything yet. The opinion they got from the director was that it was unlikely.

Vijaya Baskar was an expert in reflectometry. Several of the critical technologies of the indigenous sonar, specifically in the area of signal analysis were his inventions. He was not directly involved in the ELFA project, but several of his original algorithms were being used in that project. But he held authority on enough intellectual property of national interest, that no compromise on his part was acceptable.

The director held him in high esteem, and himself was a personal friend of his, as well as Chitra, his wife. Their single child was an adorable one. Just like many of the scientists he had to deal with on a day-to-day basis, Baskar also had his own quirks. Young ladies didn’t like to work on his team. He was never accused of harassment, but the ladies didn’t like the way he looked at them or talked. He had his share of nicknamed from that behaviour, and the men made up stories on him.

Naturally, some of these stories did reach Chitra, and the domestic life of Baskar was never a pleasant one. However, any amount of nagging, accusations or crying from Chitra made any effect on him. Being from a conservative family background, her immediate family always asked her to try to ‘bring him around’, and consoled her that at least he is not going around sleeping with them. Looking and talking doesn’t apparently corrupt a man’s chastity according to them.

Vaidyanathan, the younger brother of Chitra, never agreed to that attitude. He wanted to beat up the brother-in-law for all these, but their father always helf him back, saying that ‘after all he is her wedded husband’. Vaidyanathan made it a point not to be nice to Baskar, though he knew his sister was not happy about it. He was working in a bank that was in the city, but recently got transferred to the next district.

Shankar had all these information that he readily shared with Anil. This made them a bit confused. Shankar did not want any harm to come to Baskar or his family. He wanted him to continue doing the excellent work is does. He also asserted that the sonar that was supposed to get onto the ATV will get delayed if he was removed from the scene.

The first proposal was to transfer him out of the lab, which got immediately shot down. The second was to tell him the truth and ask him to get out of it. That too got shot down, because that can not be done without blowing their cover.

John Mathew did suggest actually beating him up a bit, and Arjun modified that plan to get Vaidyanathan to do that job. Anil laughed them off, as expected.

Then the suggestion came to take some photographic evidence, and confront him as an attempt of blackmail. He was not a strong willed person, so an attempted blackmail might deter him from what he is doing.

In the absence of a better plan, Arjun Rai was tasked with taking the photographs.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby suryag » 02 Oct 2009 20:17

Created one in GD sir.

Spy Story - Commentary thread

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 03 Oct 2009 07:09

The frequency of meetings between Meiji and Vijaya Baskar had increased. Arjun had been very discreetly tagging them, but the only thing they ever did was to get into the floating restaurant and chat. No one had any idea what they talked, but they felt it was unlikely that any business is being transacted. As far as they could see, Meiji was an expert player, so she will not make a move to milk him till the setup has come to the correct maturity.

Taking an incriminating photograph was a challenge. They never walked together in the open. After the first day indiscretion, they didn’t even wave at one another. Buying a box of expensive chocolates from the duty paid shop was the only thing ever came close to an indiscretion from Baskar. The only option was to walk into the floating restaurant and use a concealed camera. Even that posed a problem, since the restaurant was not open for business when they arrived. The Chinese guys who ran the place seemed to be accessories to Meiji, so they are not going to allow any mischief there.

John Mathew prepared a hidden camera in shoulder bag that was normally used by people commuting by motor bike. These bags looked like, but a bit smaller than, a laptop bag. They had a long shoulder strap, so that they can be worn across the body, with the strap going over one shoulder and the bag rests over the opposite hip. The camera was hidden in the end padding and had the lens hidden at the centre of a bush. When worn over the shoulder, the camera faced forward and recorded a wide angle view. A TransFlash card was used to record the video, and could offer hours of record time.

They tested it at different conditions of lighting, and was satisfied with the performance. But they still haven’t figure out a way to use it. They knew the next meeting will happen in a few days, and wanted to do their mischief on that day.

Finally it was John Mathew who solved that.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 03 Oct 2009 16:36

Several decades ago, the market area of the town reached to the backwaters. There were canals that opened to the water, through which country boats plied, carrying produce and merchandize. The market was built between a pair of canals, and the shopping area was spread to one side of the market across the canal. Multistoried buildings faced the water, across the road that went right at the edge of the lake.

Later, a sliver of land was reclaimed using the silt that was dredged off the harbour. This became prized real estate, where shopping centres and premium apartments were built. A walkway at the edge of water was provided where the public thronged in the evenings. A bit of shopping, a walk near the water, and watching the sun go down over the sea was a good pastime. Eventually the tourism potential of the area was discovered, and several makeshift boat piers were built, from which boats picked up people for a short ride around the harbour. Other entrepreneurs tied up a few boats together and created floating restaurants. The walkway was always busy near the mall, full with the people coming out of the mall and the other shopping areas next to that, and also with the clientele of the boat rides and to the street food vendors. Even on a weekday it was crowded, and the place becomes packed on weekends.

A commotion from the other side of the raised bridge that went over the canal attracted the attention of the crowd. As they turned and looked, they saw a young man come running down the stairs of the bridge. He had a bag in his hands. While running he was constantly turning around and looking if someone following him. Within moments, another man, a bit older than the first, appeared on top of the bridge, yelling “stop” and “come back”. He too started running down the stairs of the bridge. He seemed a bit out of breath.

When the younger man saw him, he increased his speed. The older man also ran down, yelling “catch him, catch him, he is mad” to the onlookers. In a show of the typical indifference of the town crowd, no one bothered to heed. They just watched the show.

The young man, now tens of feet ahead, suddenly turned towards the water. The older man changed his tone. “Don’t jump in the water, son. Don’t. Please come back. It’s me, your brother calling. Don’t jump”. He then pleaded with the onlookers. “Somebody, please catch him. He is going to jump”.

No one moved.

The younger man turned to the walkay to the floating restaurant and ran towards that. The older man followed. As he almost reached the front door of the place, someone came from within and tried to stop him. The young man made a yell and violently pushed him apart. The old man lost his balance and fell into the water.

That made an instantaneous change in the crowd. Some ran towards the place, but found that the old man was safe. It was the old chinese man who ran the place. He was unhurt and easily swam back to the stilts of the walkway and started climbing back up.

Meanwhile the mad man went inside and stopped, in apparent confusion on what to do. He held the bag in his hand and looked around the room. He then ran into one of the cubicles on the side, to the surprise of the man and woman who was sitting there. He too seemed surprised at seeing them. He stopped there, looking at them, with the bag in his hand.

By this time, the older man who followed him had come in. He caught hold of the younger man, and held him close. “You almost killed me, son” he told in a tender tone to the young man.

He then turned to the couple and profoundly apologized for his brother. He was mentally disturbed, and had run away from the clinic across the road. He took the bag from he young man, and led him out by holding his hand.

He also apologized to the old Chinese man for all the troubles, and explained to the crowd about his brother. All felt good that the brothers got away without harm or injury.

“Tell me the truth, have you ever been a lunatic? John Mathew asked Arjun once they were back in the car after the stunt.

“You lost your memory after all those shock treatments. I was your byestander.” Arjun retorted without missing a beat. He had started liking this man a lot already.

But they had a nasty surprise when they took the transflash and put it in the phone to see what is inside. The video was all black. The camera had failed them.

And they blew the only chance to do this.

That seemed to drive John into real lunacy. An artistic display of every bad words that were ever invented in the seven languages he spoke was made. Arjuns request to copy them down for reference was met with a scowl. They didn’t talk to each other till they reached the office back.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 05 Oct 2009 11:38

Vijaya Baskar was walking back to his car, with both the hands full of shopping bags. The supermarkets in the locality had cleverly built them so that the only way to take a shopping cart out of the shopping floor is to carry them down at least ten steps. Their very valid reason for that notwithstanding, the shoppers had to lug the bunch of bags and walk to the car.

He was a bit shaken, despite the assurances he was trying to give himself about the incident in the morning. In normal circumstances, he wouldn’t have given a second thought about the lunatic man who barged into the restaurant, but Meiji seemed to be un necessarily upset about it. These womenfolk, however ‘modern’ and outgoing they are, are still an unreasonably emotional lot. It is true that they are seeing each other on the sly, and there will be problem if their spouses come to know of it. He is not sure about Adung, but Chitra, his wife, would go totally berserk if she ever comes to know of his adventures.

But he failed to understand why Meiji was upset. It is lot like those men were actually trying to spy on them! She asked him repeatedly if he had ever seen them. He had no recollection of their faces. Meiji kept repeating that she was sure to have seen the lunatic man somewhere. She was also repenting that she couldn’t take her phone out and take a picture of the man.

All these didn’t make any sense to Baskar. Was Meiji suspicious that her husband had set spies on her? But she had introduced him to Adung. He seemed to be a nice guy, and didn’t seem to have any reservation on their friendship.

After all, hey were just friends. They are not having sexual relationship on the sly or something. Even if they did, what is the big deal?

Just like any other community, the gossip circuit in his workplace went around the staple topic of ‘who-screws-who’. It involved people as far removed as the film stars, to their own colleagues, like the typical she-got-it-by-screwing-the-boss stories. Everybody does it, why not him?

A colleague of his once chided him, saying ‘chastity is the lack of opportunity’. If an opportunity opens up, he might make use of it.

Not that he was working towards that or anything. He hadn’t made any move towards that yet, and he was not planning to. He didn’t want to loose a friendship that he was enjoying. It gives something to look forward to, after breaking his brains on the sound signals, there phase, amplitude, spectrum and whatnot. When he reach home, he got another problem of sound. This time from his wife. Chitra want to talk about everything he is not interested in. And his nonchalance to that always drives her crazy.

Even in bed, she talks about things like why the cousin of six degrees of separation is not conceiving. His wisecrack that maybe she talks too much and does not allow her husband to do what he was about to do made the opposite effect. Poor Baskar eneded up with an unfinished business.

Meiji always had interesting subjects to discuss. She also seemed interested in what he is doing at work. For a fashion designer, she seemed pretty well informed about things like sonars. He had told her what he did for a living, and sometimes discussed the problems he face with the team. She always listened to, and understood him.

That is good enough for him. He has no intention to sleep with her. But who would say no to a woman like her if the opportunity comes.

He placed the bags on the ground and fumbled the keys to try open the door. A young man suddenly appeared besides him, and tapped on his shoulder. Without introduction, he spoke to him Tamil.

“Sir, I need to talk to you a little”

“What matter?” Baskar had got startled more by the approach, than his line of thought being broken.

“Come, I till tell you.” The man started walking. Baskar found himself following him leaving the bags near the car.

They walked to the corner where the giant genset of the supermarket was installed and stood in the shade there. The machine was running, and a deep rumble filled the air. Diesel fumes filled the air, making breating a bit difficult. Baskar asked questioningly at the man. He tried to remember if he had seen this man earlier, but couldn’t.

“Sir, I am a friend of Vaithi” He said.

“Vaithi? Which Vaithi?”

“Vaidyanathan R., sir, your brother-in-law.”

“Oh, him. You are a friend of his? What do you want?” It was evident that Baskar didn’t have much regard to his brother-in-law.

“It is a matter about your family I want to talk”. The man’s voice started to reflect the harshness that Baskar put into his own.

“What is that?” A slight jolt of fear passed through Baskar’s heart. Does he know anything?

“I know that you move around a bit on the woman matter recently.” He came out open, as if sensing Baskar’s concern.

“What are you talking about?”

“I know that you are seeing that Chinese woman on the side”. The voice of the man went down, almost to a whisper, and the last side got inaudible behind the rumble of the genset.

“What nonsense..” Baskar began, albeit feebly. His heart was pumping heard, as a cold sweat came over him.

“No nonsense. You saw her even today at the floating restaurant.”

Baskar didn’t get anything to say. His throat had gone dry.

“You saw a mad man come in, right? That was my friend. We have you photographed.”

Baskar held onto the paneling on the side of the transformer to prevent falling down.

“With today, you completely leave that. If you see her one more time, I will break your leg. You understand?” The voice cut through Baskar like a steel blade. He could only nod.

“Chitra Akka is like my own Akka. Think that her thaali is the one saved your life today. She need not know anything. Understand?”

Baskar nodded again.

“Now you please go. Remember what I said. One more time, and I break your leg.” The man turned, zipped up his riding jacket and walked to his bike that was parked on the side. Baskar couldn’t move a limb till he rode off in a flash.

He stumbled back to the car, and with a Herculean effort, inserted the key and opened the door. Without caring about the packages on the ground, he fell to the driver’s seat, and held onto the steering wheel.

Meiji was right. They were spied on. That too by a friend of his stupid brother-in-law. What could he do?

He cursed himself and the moment he set his eyes on the sexy body of Meiji. The game is up. He can no longer see her.

He valued his family. More than that, he valued his limbs. The steely voice and muscular body of the assailant was etched in his mind. He said ‘break your leg’ with such casualness of breaking a stick.

Baskar was scared.

Akka: term for elder sister in Tamil
Thaali: mangal sutra.
Dialogues are translated from Tamil.original, hence might seem a bit odd in form.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 05 Oct 2009 15:23

Meiji sat at the work table. A line drawing with a woman’s body was lying on the table, with sketches in pencil that outlined the neck pattern of a salwar suit. She was not focussed on that picture anymore. She stared blankly on the computer screen in front of her, and kept tapping the eraser tip of the pencil on her forehead.

He had a long discussion with Adung on the events of the previous day. He too was concerned about the barge in, and was almost sure that it was fake. But he felt confident that it can not be from the counter intelligence people. This setup looked total amateurish. The intelligence bureau would never do such a thing. Every piece of their playbook had been figured out by his agency long time ago. In fact there are training sessions on those for the domestic operatives, where experts took classes.

No, the IB would never do it. It is too amateurish.

That brought him to the conclusion that it might be from the family of the target. Maybe someone saw them together, and wanted to see what is going on. Nothing to be alarmed about. They just had to be a bit more careful, that is all. He is too valuable to let go easily, so they should continue his tag.

Adung asked his wife to tighten the net. Give him more bait if needed, but do not let him go. Meiji sent him a message right away, but had not got any response. And she didn’t get any message at all from him.

Meiji grew a bit concerned. He used to send e-mails with jokes and wisecracks to her. They avoided using SMS, as those could be traced. She was not particular about the contents, but those messages ensured that her target is still on the line. Maybe Adung was right. Someone from his family circles found them out, and tried to stop him from the relationship. If that is the case, as Adung advised, she might have to give him more ‘bait’.

It was not the first time that Meiji did this kind of a job. But a man like Baskar was indeed the first time. The others were mostly officers from the forces, who brought in an element of gamesmanship into the equation. They knew what they wanted, and Meiji had what they wanted, knew how to use their desire appropriately.

And she was comfortable with that.

Baskar was different. He seemed to have no previous experience in adultery, unlike those officers. He was more into simple pleasures of flirtation and company. Meiji could not figure what exactly he wanted. They used to chat about various subjects, and she could sense the hidden lust in him. His eyes could not wander away for too long from the beautiful cleavage she prepared for him. There was no doubt on the inner craving in him, but apparently he couldn’t find a way to bring it in the open.

Baskar had told about his teens and youth. He grew up in a village where girls weren’t even allowed to talk to boys. No romance, no dating, and the matter of $ex was not even thought about. He was a virgin when he got married.

Good in a way. He had bad breath and body odour. Meiji thought with a smile. She would try to avoid getting physical as far as possible. But she very well knew that the only way to get a man to do what she wants is to give him what he wants.

With her previous targets, it was always a tough job to keep their hands away from her, and from her being dragged to the bed. Those men thought that they were god’s gift to womankind, that too often without substance. She was a bit reluctant to work on Baskar, considering him being unsophisticated compared to the others. However, she found that he is on the other extreme. He did not know how to make a move.

Or maybe what he really wants is what he gets now. Just a patient, but intelligent conversationalist, and a sexy body to freely look at up close. Nothing more. That would be a problem as well. That is like walking around the pool. Their work needed the target to get stuck. The insect to drown in the honey pot. Baskar seem to be not progressing in that direction at all.

And this little incident seemed to upset the setup. He hadn’t responded to her e-mail yet. That is not a good sign. She can’t let him slip away. He is a very valuable target, according to her husband The available background information shows that he holds key to very critical technologies of the adversary. She should try to get him back. If he is reluctant, she will move. She will show him what a woman can do.

And get what she really wants from him.

Meiji started typing another e-mail to Baskar.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 06 Oct 2009 06:09

Pulavan Sivan walked out of the Circle Inspector’s room in the police station. He walked the corridor where the big notice board where the photos of known criminals in the area is kept. He glanced at the board. There are at least fifteen men, him included, qualified for that honour in his gang, but none actually made there. He smiled to himself, tightened his pony tail and walked in into the station writer’s office with sure and authoritative steps. The head constable sitting behind he table stood up.

“Is it over, Sivan Sir? What did the C.I. Say?”

“My Moideen Sir, your Ajith Sir is a nut case.” Sivan said in apparent nonchalance.

“Why did he say he wanted to see you?” Moideen asked while Sivan sat in the chair in front. A constable peered through the door, and Moideen motioned at him to bring tea.

“He offered her sister in marriage to me” Sivan used the old cliched gag that was always used on police officers, while he thought frantically for a story that the old fox like Moideen would buy.

“Loose the wisecrack. You tell the truth”. Moideen did acknowledge the joke by a smile.

“He wanted to see if I had to do anything on a container that came in the other day”. Sivan was not really sure about the story, but had to say something.

A boy brought in tea for Sivan. He took it, and blew into the surface to cool it, allowing him time to think.

“Container? What container?” Wondered Moideen.

“I have no idea. He says a container came in the other day, and asked if I knew anything about it”. Sivan drank one mouthful. The teashop owner made the best tea for the policemen.

“We didn’t hear anything. Maybe he got secret information.” Moideen was perplexed. But a senior cop like him never bothered on such things, so he left the subject immediately and moved on.

“Sivan, we are not getting anything from your side recently. Have you forgotten us?” Moideen asked.

“Nothing is coming to suit.” Sivan gave a noncommital reply. He quickly emptied the tea glass and rose.

“Are you leaving?” Moideen was a bit disappointed. He was expecting some action, and the natural share of kickback when Sivan came in. All came to nothing.

“See you later.” Sivan was already walking out when he gave the customary parting phrase. He nodded to the constables sitting around, patted the shoulder of the young recruit standing guard, and walked out. His bike was parked under a tree. He walked towards that, sat on the seat and lit a cigarette.

So, what the man on the pulsar told him was correct. Inspector Ajith confirmed that he works for the government, and there is some mischief being done by that Manipuri Bhai. It will be big trouble if he doesn’t pull out of it.

What was there to pull out? All Sivan had done was to introduce the Manipuri Bhai to that Joshi. He knew Joshi was working with Varaal Brahmanandan. When he agreed for the deal, his ulterior motive was to take Joshi’s business from Varaal. He was not sure how satisfied Joshi was with Varaal’s service, but Sivan considered himself superior to Varaal.

After all, Varaal is capable of wiggling out of any situation, but Pulavan have the fangs and venom to inflict harm. Though the nicknames are given by someone and gets stuck, the gangs took some pride in theirs, and Sivan was no different.

If Joshi moves his business, Varaal might become upset and go after Joshi. That is better. He will get more work protecting Joshi, and might get a chance to beat down Varaal. Two birds for one stone.

The Manipuri Bhai didn’t figure in any of these, so he had no problem in doing what the Inspector asked him to. But the shame of being incredibly overpowered by a man was not forgotten or forgiven.

Who was he? He was immensely strong, and a very well trained fighter. It took only a few seconds him to best Sivan, who had defeated many stronghands in the past, with or without weapons. He knew basics of Karate, kung-fu and judo. The technique used by the man didn’t belong to any of those. Sivan could do nothing at all.

And he didn’t even know the name. His bike didn’t have a license number either. But his face was etched in his mind.

Sivan wanted to meet him again. If he can’t beat him physically, he will take him out by some other means. Maybe he can stick to the Manipuri Bhai, who was obviously his enemy.

But what the Inspector told was not insignificant. Sivan had good political support, and the loyalty from the police force. But he is in no way a position to go against the forces bigger than them. Going with the Manipuri Bhai might mean a loosing fight.

What was the Manipuri Bhai doing to become big trouble? If he was in business, there may be others as well. If there is a business going there will be money for people like him. And money is always good.

Sivan threw away the cigarette butt, sat properly and hit the ignition of the modified bullet. He had made a decision.

He will not work with Adung, but he will not leave an opportunity go waste either.

He kicked the stand off and rode away, his pony tail wiggling in the wind.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 06 Oct 2009 14:50

No one had ever accused Joshi Panikkar of being a man of scruples. He was considered as one of the parasites that get themselves stuck to the government overhead, and make a benign living at the expense of public exchequer. At the lab, he was just accommodated with insignificant jobs, just keeping him out of the way of the serious work. It was a setup that was convenient for all involved.

That did not deprive Joshi of the bragging department. As far as his narrative went, he played a significant part in the science and technology work being done at the lab, and he had provided invaluable contribution to the security of the nation by his work there. He had the added convenience that if someone happen to question anything technical, he could easily hide behind the ‘that is secret’ ruse. It also was considered benign and harmless, as Joshi maintained good relationship with his colleagues. Many of them were even his clients in the capacity of a real estate agent.

It all lasted till he had a fateful meeting with Adung Takhom.

Adung had correctly figured the two vulnerabilities Joshi had. Money and Image. The proposal he made was hence became something he can not refuse. It was half coercion and half blackmail.

Adung claimed that he could expose Joshi’s side business, and hurt him through his contacts in the income tax department and the administrative tribunal. Joshi can end up loosing his job, and a lot of his money that he made and invested in real estate as well. On the other hand, if he would work with Adung, he could make a lot of money. Joshi had to accept the deal as Adung had rightly calculated.

But Adung had gone terribly wrong in estimating Joshi on one side. He was in belief of the bluffs and lies that Joshi had propagated in his circle. Adung overestimated Joshi’s involvement in the operations of the lab, and considered him a high value asset. He was a very happy man when Joshi had agreed to work with him.

If that was problem, the worse was yet to come. Joshi was a very shrewd operator, capable of, and prepared to go through any scheme that monetarily benefited him. It didn’t take him more than a moment to figure out what exactly Adung was up to. It was plain and simple that Adung was not interested in his real estate business. Hence Adung must be a spy. The lab where he worked was definitely a target for such kind, and the only plausible reason for Adung to get to him was to take his trade there. Joshi agreed to play the game with that conviction. He was going to take Adung for a ride.

If someone is willing to pay you good money for something, why not sell him that?

Especially when he has limited means of verifying if it was genuine or not.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 07 Oct 2009 05:59

The meeting between Inspector Ajith Kumar and Joshi Panikkar left the latter a bit confounded. He hadn’t thought about the eventuality of getting caught. In his experience, everything worked fine with the law enforcement, so he never took them seriously.

For example, every real estate transaction in the state breaks the law. There is a percentage tax on the value of transaction, and a fee for the registration and transfer of title. In total, the government takes 12% of the value shown on the deed. As no one wants to part with their money, every land transaction is registered by showing a rupee value that is only a fraction of what is actually paid. This has in fact become a norm, so everyone, from the minister, to the peon, knows about it. There is also standard rates for bribe for the officials based on this. It was as good as the law.

And wherever things are not a solid norm as this, a bribe takes care. So, for a man like Joshi, who did things on the margin of legality, the law and its enforcers were not a problem. In his mind, what he planned to do was not illegal either.

Would it be illegal if he gave cooked up information to a spy? Is giving false information in a transaction that is obviously illegal and underhand, illegal? In his consideration, no one is getting hurt by that. So, he hadn’t thought for a moment that he will get in trouble with the law.

So, he didn’t think much when he was summoned to the police station by Ajith. After all, he did not live or work in the station jurisdiction that Ajith held. Joshi believed he was being summoned to help with his services. Maybe the inspector wants to buy a plot.

Ajith dealt with him very nicely first, reinforcing Joshi’s belief. After asking a few questions verifying the whereabouts of Joshi, Ajith adjusted his backrest, sat straight, and dropped the bomb.

“What are you dealing with that Manipuri Bhai?”

Joshi’s voice left him. He had no anticipation, and was totally unprepared for this.

Ajith watched the changes on Joshi’s face with intent, as he turned pale and started sweating profoundly.

“Speak. What are you dealing with that Manipuri Bhai?” He snarled once Joshi seems to be able to speak again.

“Nothing Sir.” Joshi’s hands were shivering, he had to hold them together tightly. Wet circles started showing under his armpits.

“Don’t try to roll around. I know what you are up to. Just tell it all”.

“He asked for some information from the lab, Sir”. Joshi’s clasped hands rose in a pleading gesture.

“Don’t you know that is espionage?” Thundered Ajith.

“I know Sir. I haven’t given him anything Sir”. Joshi’s voice trailed off as he noticed Ajith’s eyes go sharper.

“But you promised him to give” interjected Ajith.

“I did, Sir. That was just to escape from him Sir”. Joshi was feeling a little better as he got hold of that line of defense.

“Oh.. You are a saint alright.. So, you didn’t have any intention to comply?”

“No Sir..” Joshi began.

“Bloody Mo#$@$ F#$(34!! You are lying!” in an instant Ajith rose, reached across the table, held Joshi’s collar and pulled him up.

“No Sir, trust me. I would have never given him anything.” Joshi believed himself when he said that.

Ajith let him go, and Joshi slumped back into his chair.

“You bloody b@$tard. You will pimp your mother for money, and you play saint in front of me!! I will put you in and make you pee blood. Do you know that son of a *****?” Roared Ajith.

“By god, Sir, I will never do that.” Joshi was almost crying. This kind of verbal assault was a staple weapon of the police to break the spirit of the perps. Joshi being a softcore operator, was never exposed to this side of law enforcement. He cursed everything holy for bringing him into this fix.

“I know you will not. If you have any idea of playing smart, forget it right now itself. If I hear anything contrary, you will see my real self. Did you hear that bloody b@stard?” Ajith put both his hands on the table, bent forward, and roared right into the staring eyes of Joshi.

Joshi had half of his life blown away by the encounter. As he walked back with shivering limbs, he wished to have at least one known cop to offer some consolation. No known faces were seen around. He knew he was in a fix. He cursed his own stars, walked back to his car and slumped into his seat. He could not drive for a good thirty minutes more.

And his troubles had only begun.

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Re: Spy Story

Postby Dileep » 07 Oct 2009 18:21

The next meeting between Joshi and Ajith was under much pleasant circumstances. Ajith had called Joshi on the phone and introduced himself. The previous encounter was freshly etched in Joshi’s mind, and Ajith could sense the trembling in his voice. When Ajith said he want to meet Joshi at his convenience, poor Joshi almost had a heart attack. He knew how policemen exploited people like him. He was certain that this inspector also is going to extort money from him. But like all other victims, he had no choice either.

His conviction was reinforced when Ajith suggested an expensive resort up north in the beach area. The bloodsucker even want to screw me there, he thought. With a grunt, he agreed for that as well.

The resort sat on the backwater side on the thin sliver of land between the backwaters and the sea. Its restaurant was famous for the seafood. There was an aqua farm attached to the resort, and it supplied freshly caught produce to the kitchen. Joshi had never been there, but had heard a lot of it. It was also very expensive. A set of small huts were built around a courtyard which housed the open air kitchen and seating all around. The open air area is used only for the dinner session, and only weather permitting. The huts themselves are well appointed. The thatched roof and the palm leaf walls expertly covered the five star interior. Wide glass windows opened into the backwater scene, while keeping the cool air inside. A hefty surcharge is added to the check for service there, but Joshi chose one. If Ajith was going to give him hell, let him do it in style, he thought.

He also ordered beer and the speciality accompaniment for that, a bowl of large prawns, butterflied an cooked in the tangy sauce.

By the time Inspector Ajith showed up, Joshi had consumed enough alcohol to overcome his anxiety. He was surprised to see another man to accompany Ajith. Both entered the hut, and warmly shook hands with Joshi. The other man was tall and lean, with a thinly trimmed beard. He was introduced as Mr. Anil, and no other information was given at that time. Joshi sat down after the other two. ‘The shameless bloodsucker has brought a friend’, thought Joshi.

The waiter came in with a wide smile, followed by another man carrying a platter of live seafood. Ajith apparently was enamoured by the giant lobster on the plate. He wanted it to be prepared in the fried coconut sauce. The waiter was a bit confused about the latter part. Ajith removed the confusion by telling him the name of the dish in the local language.

‘The dog only slaps up water, even from the ocean’ Joshi remembered the proverb. What did he think this place is? A toddy shop?

Anil politely refused the seafood platter, and chose the Arabian Grilled Chicken. Joshi ordered Calamari with Marinara sauce, on a bed of fettucini . He wanted to show a bit of sophistication to the inspector. Anyway he is spending the money, so why not a bit of flourish? The selection of drinks also went on the same line, as Ajith chose the local brands, and Joshi went for scotch, where Anil took beer.

As they sat there, munching on the appetizers and sipping the booze, Joshi was getting increasingly anxious and uncomfortable. He was sure that Ajith was trying to milk him, and brought another parasite to partake in the spoils. He slyly took a gaze upon Anil to see what kind of a man he was. What came on impressive were the piercing and intelligent eyes. Noticing that Joshi is observing him, Anil gave a slight nudge to Ajith.

“Joshi, I forgot to mention. Mr. Anil is the one dealing with the matter we talked the other day.”

So, he is not just a parasite. He is another bloodsucker, Joshi thought. But what he said was something different.

“Which department are you in Sir?” His voice was ernest.

“Why do you want to know?” Interjected Ajith. “He wants you to do something for him”

Here comes the exhortation, thought Joshi. How much it is going to be? Five lakhs? Ten?

“What do you want Sir?” Joshi's voice hadn't changed.

“You know, the man who asked you for some information? I want you to give him the information that we give you.” Anil's voice came as earnest as it could be.

“What are you saying Sir? I have completely left that business, as Ajith Sir here asked me to.”

“I know”. Anil raised a hand to block Ajith who tried to say something. “It would help if you work with him and feed him what we give.”

“Sir, I don't want any trouble. As it is, I am scared about my life already” Joshi pleaded.

“If you don't listen to what we say, it will be with our hands that your life ends”. Ajith ventured before Anil could intervene. Anil looked at him pleadingly, and with a snort, he gave up and moved his focus to the chicken wings in the plate.

“Joshi, we know what he told you. I can remove the fear that he threatened you, provided you work with us”. Anils voice went down a bit. Ajith turned and grinned at Joshi, with the bone of a wing still between his teeth. Joshi felt like it was a vampire looking at him.

“I didn't understand Sir” Joshi really hadn't. He was not exposed to the ways of spy-speak.

“It means, we will not dig up the issues on your property deals. No CAT case. No undervaluation case. No problem with that land filling petition..”. Ajith stopped, as he took a deep draw on the whiskey.

Joshi almost fainted. How in hell these guys know about the land filling deal?

Right then, he knew he had no choice.

Joshi had purchased a big parcel of low lands that used to be paddy fields. His intention was to fill those areas and make housing plots. He had spent lot of money on that, and bribed lot of officials for the permission to fill. It was almost done, waiting for the special order from the revenue board to be issued.

If the permission was cancelled now, he will end up with most of his money stuck in a worthless swamp.

Even the Manipuri Bhai didn't mention this. That was his Achilles heel. He had no way to let it go.

But the real estate agent in him woke up on that. “I will co-operate if you guarantee that the filling permit will be issued.” He said.

“Hmm, little thief!! I will guarantee that I will not put you in for good, that is all.” Ajith said, laughing out loud. Joshi felt it worse than the evil laughter of a vampire.

“We can guarantee that we will not interfere with your file.” Anil said with an air of finality.

Joshi had to accept.

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