LEOPALD CAFE13 mins 249 13 mins 249
NOTE OF DISCLAIMER:
Owing to the strong violence involved with some gore sequences, this story needs a strict parental guidance[U/A], if a child around 10 to 15 years of age. I further report that, none of the sequences are meant to hurt the mind of readers. If it hurts, I apologize to them.
NOTE ABOUT NARRATION STYLE OF THIS STORY TO READERS:
This story would follow Non-linear narration mode, telling about the events that occurred in a chronological type.
JB APARTMENTS BANGALORE- 27 NOVEMBER 2012:
Near to JB apartments, around 5:30 AM near flat no. 204, an alarm strikes in the bed of a man, who is sleeping by pulling out his bed sheets. Since the alarm striked out, he wakes up from his bed tired.
After refreshing himself up, he goes out for a jogging. Near to a temple, he notices a bar and goes near it to get a bottle of beer. He have a thick beard, moustache and a long hair, with a strong blue eyes. A mark sustains near his forehead.
FEW HOURS LATER, 8:30 AM:
While coming for a work, he sees a TV news in the same bar shop, telling: "Today's headlines. Ajmal Kasab, who was responsible for the brutal attacks in Mumbai on 2008 was executed by hanging."
The priest of the temple, who seemed to know the man for the past four years, comes near to him and calls, "Mr. Aravinth Raghav."
"Yes sastry. Come. When did you came here? I didn't notice you actually."
"It's Okay pa." He said and breathes for a while. Then he continues asking him, "Our Mumbai should have been saved from such a brutal attacks."
As he told this to him, Aravinth asked him: "Sastry. Have you read Bhagavad Gita? Because as a brahmin, you used to read it right?"
Sastry nods his head and Aravinth asked him, "What did Bhagavad Gita told about life?"
"Identity, recognize and accept Equality in Life. This is one of the famous quotes about life from Bhagavad Gita. Why Aravinth?" asked the priest.
"You have to know about my life before few years back, for understanding the 2008 Mumbai attacks." Aravinth said.
20 YEARS AGO, 1992:
Twenty years ago, Aravinth was living in Bombay along with his father Raghavendra and mother Laskhmi. His father was working as an editor to The Hindu Magazine. Mumbai was not their hometown. But, their hometown is near to Tirunelveli. For the sake of work, his father have came to Mumbai.
Aravinth speaks Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu fluently. Because, some of Telugu and Kannada people also resided in the same apartment, in which they resided. They all were leading a happy life, until the date 6 December 1992.
6 DECEMBER 1992- 26 JANUARY 1993:
The attacks took place due to the problems of 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition by Hindu Karsevaks in Ayodya. Eventually, the violence and riots resulted in the death of Aravinth's parents, though they all managed to lead a safe and secured life for more than one week near a tent, that's surrounded by hundreds of people.
Aravinth however, managed to escape with the help of his father and reached to the safer sides with the help of a police officer, who all came for rescual process. More than 900 people died in this blasts.
THREE DAYS LATER:
For three days after the riots, Aravinth starved for food and struggled to find out basic needs. In addition, he have been left vexed since, government told that, "They would take care of the victims by providing them with necessary things." However, it turned out to be false.
Aravinth decides to commit suicide in a sea near to the place and goes towards it. His mind was so weak, being an 8 year old boy. When he was about to step his leg into the river, a Brahmin priest holds his hands and brings him out from the sea.
"Son. Why are you going inside the sea?"
"My parents got killed in the riots, that took place in recent times sastry. I too didn't get any help from people. They all are selfish. That's why, I have came here to commit suicide." He said by crying.
The priest looks for a while and then replies to Aravinth, "Human Life Is full of battles: Never Shirk In fear – Fight To The Last, Stand Your Ground. The Supreme Power has created an even human being in a separate way – or will we say, everyone is a masterpiece. When every action you do turns negative against your goal, do not shirk in fear. Do not expect results. Always understand, it is fears and expectations that cause restrictions and limitations. A valuable lesson from Bhagavad Gita that can shape your future."
TEN YEARS LATER: 2003-
Aravinth understands his mistakes and decides to be stronger in his life. He joins an orphanage trust near Daravi. From there, he finished off his education and joined in a Military School near Pune of Maharashtra.
After getting trained physically and mentally, he enrolled himself in Indian Army Regiment. Aravinth successfully finished off his physical test. Aftermath of the physical test, he was sent to training for the period of one and a half years. The training proved to be a very tough phase for Aravinth.
Because it's not that much easier for Army men. They have to strive hard and put their efforts. No pain, no gain. The training too is not like Police training and Theory exams. It's almost like a practical class, that's given for wild animals, hunters and predators.
Aravinth wins all the battles in the training phase. Completing the trainings like: A test of fear, CISF Commando training, Do or Die confidence training and Self Defence training. This period is a very tough phase for him. Because it took two years, instead of being one and a half years.
FIVE YEARS LATER, 2008 MARCH:
Aravinth gets posted as a Major in the Kashmir borders. For two months, he becomes busy in doing rescual mission and killing terrorists. Aftermath of Delhi 2005 Bombings, Aravinth and a few officers are sent back to their respective homes for a leave gap. Because, all have to reload their batteries again.
Aravinth decides to get married in between these alloted days and searches for his prospective groom. He meets an architect named Swetha, who hailed from Ambassamudram, near Tirunelveli. Besides being an architect, she is working as a Hindu Preacher. Her kindness and loving attitude impressed him a lot. Becoming friends, they both eventually fell in love sooner. But, didn't express it.
Aravinth decides to reveal the marriage proposal to Swetha during her birthday on 25 October 2008 though he have proposed his love and got it accepted. They both have a good attachment until, a call comes back for Aravinth. He rejoins his duty, having finished his leave.
20 NOVEMBER 2008, INDIAN ARMY:
On 20 November 2008, a call comes from Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organisation. They tells to the army people: "Be ready to face our next threat sir. You all would see numerous of dead bodies, floating around Mumbai."
"Hello. Hello." The army man said to him. Only to realize that, he have hanged the call.
Henceforth, he immediately reveals this threat call to his senior officer Sub-Lieutnant Ibrahim Muhammad. Threatened by the call, he holds a meeting along with the officers consisting of: Colonel Ram Singh, Major Aravinth and a few more.
Ibrahim tells, "There had been many terrorist attacks in Mumbai since the 13 coordinated bomb explosions that killed 257 people and injured 700 on 12 March 1993. The 1993 attacks were carried out in revenge for earlier religious riots that killed many Muslims."
"Sir. On 6 December 2002, a blast in a BEST bus near Ghatkopar station killed two people and injured 28. The bombing occurred on the 10th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya." One of the Army officers told Ibrahim.
"Sir. A bicycle bomb exploded near the Vile Parle station in Mumbai, killing one person and injuring 25 on 27 January 2003, a day before the visit of the Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the city." Ram Singh told a few details to him.
"Sir. According to the Mumbai Police, the bombings were carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)." Aravinth said to him.
Ibrahim forms a special team officers consisting of: Aravinth, Ram Singh, Aravinth's best friends- Captain Adhithya and Captain Aamir Khan to execute the rescual mission.
26 NOVEMBER 2008, AT 7:30 PM-
On 26 November 2008 at 7:30 PM, Aravinth goes along with his team for the rescual mission and security in a helicopter. While going, he decides to ensure the safety of his love lady, Swetha.
When the team reached Mumbai by 8:30 to 9:00 PM, Aravinth calls Swetha and asked her: "Swetha. Are you in a safe zone? Where are you now?"
"Yes Aravinth. I am safer. Sitting in a chair at Leopold Cafe." Swetha said. Aravinth relieves himself and hangs off the call.
When he was along with his officers, one of the man said to Aravinth: "Sir. We have been asked to go for Leopold Cafe in order to ensure safety measures against the terrorist attacks. But why are we here?"
Aravinth recollects the instructions, given by his senior officer Ram Singh. Panicked, he rushes to his senior officer in the same place and begs him to do something, before a mishap happens.
Ram Singh however, tells them that: "They would get caught by the terrorists if gone in helicopter." Henceforth, they have to go by jeep. Aravinth is left frustrated and tensed.
After facing much traffic and signal issues, Aravinth and the team managed to reach Leopold Cafe by 9:25 PM, five minutes before the alloted time. He feels relieved that, "All people are on safe zone."
Aravinth decides to protect the place along with his team and Ram Singh. To their horror, terrorists starts to do gunfire and threw grenades around the place at about 9:30 PM. The terrorists, perhaps an hour after landing, sprayed fire inside the restaurant from outside killing 10 persons and injuring many others. The restaurant was extensively damaged during the attacks. There were blood stains on the floor and shoes left by fleeing customers. In such a merciless attack, Swetha gets severely injured.
A guilt-ridden and emotional Aravinth rushes to take her from the place, despite been stopped by his fellow officers. Because, they concern to do their duty at first and family being next.
Due to the severe injuries, Swetha eventually succumbs to her injuries in Aravinth's arms after telling her final words, "Please don't leave these brutal animals, Aravinth. Since, they may kill many other people."
PRESENT, 12:30 PM:
"That final words made me traumatised. I have been left almost dead and angered. But, I remembered the words, told by the sastry when I tried to commit suicide. Then, I made a decision to fight back against this attack." Aravinth said to the priest in the temple.
"So, this mission started from Leopold Cafe?" The priest asked him.
"Yes sastry." Aravinth said.
OPERATION BLACK TORNADO-OPERATION CYCLONE, 26 NOVEMBER 2008- 29 NOVEMBER 2008:
Aftermath of the attacks in Leopold Cafe, Aravinth and his team starts Operation Black Tornado with NSG commandos. Since, Aravinth got trained in CISF Commando during the Army period, he was eventually brought into NSG for the operation.
They wanted to prevent the further attacks, with care. Because already terrorists have attacked Chatrapathi Sivaji Maharaj Terminus and Leopold Cafe respectively. Even taxis were targeted through bomb blasts.
There were two explosions in taxis caused by timer bombs. The first one occurred at 22:40 at Vile Parle, killing the driver and a passenger. The second explosion took place at Wadi Bunder between 22:20 and 22:25. Three people, including the driver of the taxi were killed, and about 15 others were injured.
To save the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Oberoi Trident, Aravinth-NSG Commando-Aravinth's team joins together and reaches there successfully. Two of the soldiers are killed by terrorists, when they were fighting to rescue the people from hotels. The operation proved to be a success for Aravinth's team.
On 28 November 2008-29 November 2008, NSG raid took place after rescuing people from Nariman House. The team of Aravinth and the NSG have planned to execute Operation Cyclone in this particular place. With very few people getting killed and three army men dying from Aravinth's sides, they makes this mission successful.
Ajmal Kasab, who did these brutal terrorisms got arrested along with several other terrorists, involved in this attack. Reactions from Indian Muslims heaps against the attacks.
FEW DAYS LATER, AFTER THE ATTACKS:
Prime Minister praised the Indian Army soldiers for their bravery in this mission. On 30 November Minister for Home Affairs Shivraj Patil resigned, taking moral responsibility for the security lapse. After his resignation, P. Chidambaram was made Union Minister for Home Affairs and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took over the Finance Ministry from Chidambaram. India's National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan also offered to resign the same day, but Singh did not accept his resignation.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh also resigned on 1 December 2008, and was replaced a few days later by Ashok Chavan. On 1 December Deputy CM R. R. Patil resigned when Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar asked him to tender his resignation and he was replaced by Chhagan Bhujbal. Patil was under pressure to resign after commenting on the attacks that "small things happen in big countries."
Naxalites (who are waging an insurgency in parts of India) gave a gun salute to the victims of Mumbai attack. This gesture marked a significant shift in their policy.
Aravinth then got a voluntary retirement from his post, after submitting the reports of the terrorists(who got arrested) and their family background to the Indian Army committee, which was considered. A few days later, Adhithya too resigns from the Army, for failing to do his duty at right time.
Aravinth is unable to hold his grief and guilt for being a primary cause for his love Swetha's death. He takes up a voluntary retirement and returns to Bangalore.
PRESENT, 3:30 PM:
The priest then asked Aravinth, "Finally, you won this silent war by saving our Indian People from terrorists? Am I right?"
Aravinth gives a reply to him stating, "Sastry. War won't give peace on either sides. That is: For those who won and for those who lost. Though our country hijacked this terrorist mission, we lost so many people."
"Violence and bloodsheds are the route cause to the death of humans. Is it?" The priest smiled and asked Aravinth.
"It's the truth." He said and Aravinth additionally tells him, "Identity, Recognize and Accept Equality in Life. I think its told in Bhavavad Gita right?"
"It's applicable in Bhagavad Gita only Aravinth. Now, this quote is a difficult one to follow. But, definitely, life will guide any person towards achieving the knowledge. After facing many challenges in life, you tend to see all living and non-living beings as equal. Let it be any circumstance – the feeling of suffering and joy will mean the same. You realize, the bodies are different but the soul is one. And that is the ultimate truth." After hearing this from the priest, Aravinth smiles at him and proceeds to go from the temple. Because, clouds are turning black and dark, indicating that rains are about to downpour.
While going, he recites the lines, "Where the life is without fear." Then, Aravinth moves out of the house, that he was living in.
Ten Pakistani men associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba stormed buildings in Mumbai, killing 164 people. Nine of the gunmen were killed during the attacks, one survived. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, was executed in November 2012.
They traveled from Karachi, Pakistan, to Mumbai via boat. Along the way, they hijacked a fishing trawler and killed four crew members, throwing their bodies overboard. They also slit the captain's throat.
The terrorists docked at the Mumbai waterfront near the Gateway of India monument. They hijacked cars, including a police van, and split into at least three groups to carry out the attacks, according to police. The attackers used automatic weapons and grenades. At least 174 people died, including 9 attackers, and more than 300 were wounded.
DUE CREDITS AND DEDICATION:
Let's praise the braves. A tribute and memorial to all victims, who died in 2008 Mumbai attacks. This story is dedicated to all those Indian Army officers, who have strived and worked hard for our nation, despite having a family for them. I give due credits to my co-writers Shruti Gowda and Hariharan, who helped me by providing details about the incidents. Proud to be an Indian. Jai Hind!
NOTE ABOUT THIS STORY FOR READERS:
Initially, I wanted to add so many Hindi words for this story, to cater the readers of Mumbai. But, my co-writers refused to do so. Because, my story Knight was brutally criticized by English critics for using unnecessary Hindi words. This is one of my challenging works after Knight, The Perennial Love and CID Duology.