27th December 2019:
The phone rings much to his displeasure.
He knew what would be said to him, and in which manner.
He ignores the call.
But it doesn’t stop its irritating,buzzing tone.
He had no other option, but to receive his master’s call.
“Junaid?!”,he shouted angrily from the other side.
“Junaid! You there? Don’t act dead. I know you can listen me. Stop being mum and answer me.!”,the harsh voice went up again.
“Yes..master..”,mustering some courage,his meek voice responded.
“Just saw the news regarding our operation. You know why I called you, good for nothing bastard! I shouldn’t have recruited you at the first place! My fault! ”
“Sir..it’s not my fault…I had kept the explosives at the right place and as planned,left the spot silently,without seeking any attention as such..”
The thought of the thin,spectacled guy who had identified and attacked him made him angry and sick. He knew that the spectacled guy, who sat besides him at the multiplex had unearthed the explosives inside his bag,after he left and might have thrown it away,hence minimising the effect of the blast,in turn resulting in this lecture from his master.
Anger rised within him,but now,he was helpless. He has to listen to his master’s selected expletives and with that,his next commands.
“Junaid! Reply you bastard! Why are you quiet now?”,his master seethed in anger.
He could imagine his master at the other end,with his gun clutched in one hand and aiming towards his phone’s receiver..as if the bullet would travel miles within the cables and would kill him. If that was possible,his master would have surely done that. But unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.
“Sir..I’m sorry..just..just give me one more chance and I’ll make up for the loss..just one more chance..please Sir..”,he wailed, pleading mercy.
There was no response from the other side.
“Sir..please..believe me! I’ll do something! ”
“Our leader is pretty happy, after the series of blasts that have shook Hindustan and since the aim of creating fear and confusion in the minds of people have been successful,I think he has kind of ignored the scene of Mumbai. But he was still furious at me over the failure. He still wants their financial capital and the city of dreams to be attacked and brought down. So we have sent another set of 5 cadets to Mumbai. You’ve to support them in this one Junaid. Operation Mum-Bye! Check your mail.”
The stress on his face disappeared to quite an extent.
He has got one more chance to prove himself. One more chance to be alive.
And he HAS to make the most of it.
He checked his mail which made it clear that Mumbai’s defence will be put to test by the brave Mujahideens the last week of January. Till then, they have to work together and move according to the plan hatched by their master.
Before striking Mumbai, this country would be already under pressure by JeM’s new year gift to the Indians.
He was relieved. He decided to celebrate the event of him getting another shot at being alive by doing his favourite past-time – thinking about his past.
“Stop Junaid! No that’s not a toy! Keep that down! KEEP THAT REVOLVER DOWN JUNAID!”,his mother scowled at her innocent 5 year old son Junaid who was playing with a real revolver,which he was aiming at Shabana,his sister, playing the quintessential children game of Chor-Police.
“No Ammi..no! This is my new gun from today. I sneaked it out from Dad’s drawer yesterday night. I know this was going to be my birthday gift and he was trying to hide it from me! And this looks so so real! See!”,he squealed in joy.
His Mom slowly went near him and was about to snatch the revolver when he playfully teased her and started running towards the door.
“Ammi,go and hide now. Or else I’ll shoot!”,he giggled.
“NO JUNAID! NO! Please keep that revolver down and I’ll give you whatever you want!”,she tried again.
“Nah..nah..don’t trick me Ammi. These tricks have become too common!”,he smiled mischievously.
She had no other option than to move ahead and forcefully snatch it from him. She knew what could be the result of taking this step. But she had to,or else her innocent son will go out and play this game with his friends and blow them up.
“Ammi ke paas aao Junaid.. Idhar aao…!”,she fell on her knee and pleaded him to come besides her.
“Ammi! I’m the police you know. And I’ll punish injustice. Yesterday when I was going to school, you gave me just a rupee and you gave Shabana twice the amount you gave me. Isn’t this injustice Ammi?”,he playfully revolved the gun and posed as if he was the epitome of justice.
Legends of Justice!”
“Hands up Ammi..surrender yourself to the power to justice!”,he aimed towards his Mom.
“No Junaid..No..”,she wailed, helplessly.
A strong slap from his Dad,resulted in the gun falling down from his hand.
“You idiot! What were you doing? And how did you get my revolver?”,he slapped him again.
“..but Abbu..I was just..”,he cried.
Another tight slap from his Dad thrashed him down to the ground.
Clearly,his army instincts were visible.
“One more time,you play this stupid game and you’ll be dead Junaid! Mind you.”,he warned his 5 year old son who was confused.
I was just delivering justice! And I was punished for doing that. Really, good people can’t survive in this cruel world.
Whatever happened that day,he would always remember the way his Mom hugged him tight and caressed his red cheeks with her warm soft hands. He remembered how the innocent Junaid didn’t understand why his beloved Mother cried so much.
He clinged on to these memories.
The very memories that breaks him,at the same time encourages him to move forward with a vengeance.
The phone buzzed again.
It was a message from his master.
“Be ready Junaid. Be ready.”