The Day The State Split Asunder-4
The Day The State Split Asunder-4
Standing two feet behind the compound wall of the mountain sidewalk, high atop the steps of the famous Annavaram Satyadeva temple, Arjun's wife Sudha gazed at the spectacular view of the lush green mountains and the Pampa river flowing seamlessly under its feet, painting a picturesque background with fog.
'Hurry up! The view is amazing from here. I am so happy today. After a long time, we visited the temple together!' Sudha said.
'Wait, I can't walk fast like you,' Arjun was struggling to ascend the steps.
His mobile started ringing. He took out the mobile from his pocket and to his surprise, the caller's identity on the screen displayed a private number. He swiped up to answer and all at once, his vision began to blur. The temple surroundings were completely replaced with tall trees and the sidewalk with giant grass and tall trees. The devotional music from the loudspeakers is couped with thundering gunshots which reverberated throughout the area.
He looked around. His wife disappeared from his view and in her place stood the Greyhounds commissioner Acharya. All of a sudden, the mobile in his hand got transformed into an AK-47 and the commissioner ordered him to go deep into the forest and combat against the belligerents. In short, order, as he was about to venture into the forest, his wife obstructed him.
'You failed to fulfil the promise,' she said in a sobbing tone and tears started coursing down her cheeks, 'I shouldn't have married a policeman.'
'Sudha! Get out of my way, I am on duty. The bullets can hit you.'
Like a bat out of hell, in no time, the bullet penetrated into her chest from behind and she fell to the ground with blood oozing out from her body.
'Sudha...' he let out a loud scream.
He felt a tap on his shoulder and awoke from his horrendous nightmare. Stupefied with horror, he rose and looked around aghast. He then heaved a sigh of relief as he was safe and his wife was beside him with his one-year-old son Sanjay in between. He looked at the time on his wristwatch. It showed 02:15.
Arjun Kumar joined the Andhra Pradesh Police in 2003, and his talents in the field soon earned him a transfer to the elite Greyhounds division, a special police forces unit considered as one of the best anti-insurgency forces in India that specialise in anti-insurgency operations and possess the unique ability to engage in jungle warfare.
The greyhound commandos are trained on par with Indian Military commandos and the maximum age for commandos to serve in this special police force is only thirty-five years after which the officers will return back to their parent police organisation. Arjun will be turning thirty-five in a week and was keenly expecting a promotion for the services he had rendered.
'What happened? Was it the same nightmare?' asked Sudha.
'Yes!' Arjun said, his face was glistening with perspiration.
Within no time the mobile present on the table beside started vibrating. Sudha took the mobile into her hands and frowned, looking at the screen.
'Who is calling you at this late hour?' asked Sudha.
Arjun snatched the mobile from her hand, tapped on the answer icon and said, 'Hello'.
'Hello Arjun. This is me Acharya.'
'Yes sir,' he stood straight.
'Arjun, start to the Visakhapatnam Police Guest House as soon as possible. I cannot explain the matter on the phone. The DIG of the city is also with me. We already arranged the vehicle. It will arrive at your home in thirty minutes,' said Acharya.
'We are expecting you soon,' Acharya disconnected the call.
'What happened?' asked his wife in a loud tone, 'Who called you?'
'Shhh… Don't shout, Sanjay will get up,' he glanced at Sanjay who was lying asleep on the bed without any care for what was going on around, 'Acharya sir called me and he said I need to meet him now.'
'For which purpose did he call you at this hour? Tell me what exactly is the matter?'
'Sudha… the matter is… I may not be able to…' Arjun was getting afraid to convey.
'I think you received orders to perform the combing operation again? Isn't it?'
'Not exactly, I was asked to report to the Visakhapatnam Police Guest House. I will get to know my task after having reached there.'
'I swear I don't know.'
'Tomorrow is Sanjay's first birthday. We are supposed to visit The Annavaram Temple tomorrow. Don't you have any love for your child and for your wife?' asked Sudha sobbingly, 'We had waited seven years to welcome him into our life. It is only because of the blessings of Lord Satyadeva, Sanjay came into our life.'
'I can understand your pain, Sudha, but I am bound to my duty. I love my duty and my family. In a month I will be released from the greyhounds and will be reinstated as Sub-Inspector. If luck permits, maybe I will get promoted as Circle Inspector.'
'I don't want you to continue in the police force. Already you have been attacked twice. What if something happens to you? Already you suffered many bullet injuries. My father already told you about setting up an electronic showroom. Why don't you resign from this stupid job and start the business?'
'Sudha!' Arjun yelled loudly. 'Don't call it a stupid job. All four generations of my family have worked in the police department. The duty to serve people and the nation is completely soaked in our blood. My great grandfather, grandfather, and my father served the police forces-'
His mobile started ringing again. A call from the driver who came to pick him up.
'I need to leave now and don't worry about me. Lord Satyadeva has protected me so far and I am sure, he is going to protect me this time also…' he looked at her sorrowfully for a moment. He then glanced at his son Sanjay who just awoke from his sleep. He cuddled the child close and pulled the blanket up around him before setting him down among the cushions. He kissed his soft cheeks and said - 'Happy Birthday Sanjay, please excuse your Dad for not being present to celebrate your first birthday, until I come, take care of your mother.'