Under The Show
Under The Show8 mins 411 8 mins 411
It wasn't a great discovery and Charu recognized it. Though Yuvaan was celebrating the Eureka moment, identification of Uncle Vincent as the last man would be a dangerous sequel later on. Certainly catastrophic, as now it was established that Vincent was just a pawn. Vincent getting arrested suggested a different trajectory to the case.
"Charu we cracked the case!!!!! Vincent is arrested." Said a jubilant Yuvaan. He was on cloud nine celebrating the victory. Abhay, in melancholy, stared at the crestfallen face of Charu. She patted Yuvaan and left the identification room plagued with thoughts of failure. Yuvaan completely virgin of this sign of trouble left after Charu.
Charu's mannerism towards Yuvaan seemed friendly, a kinda platonic one, which certainly was a good sign for Abhay. But, though, Charu cleverly side-stepped veracity of the situation she couldn't mask her body language.
"Something is wrong. She gave Vincent a death stare. " Said Abhay's instinct. The impact of Charu's vulnerable face when she pursed her lips brutally injured Abhay's heart.
"I will gift her some chocolates." Abhay said aware of her love for chocolates. With a box of chocolates, he headed towards Charu's home. While driving, Abhay saw her from his rear view mirror when his jeep accelerated at its prime speed. With a palpitating heart he applied a screeching brake.
"Is it Charu on the other side of the road? No. No. Can't be." Abhay vaguely saw a profile similar to Charu. Her attire seemed freaky and her hair blonde. Abhay turned his jeep towards the other side and followed the mystery lady, as undoubtedly the lineaments of her face matched with Charu. Abhay saw her hire a bike and she started her ride.
'My God!! Is she really Charu or just her lookalike?' Abhay, absolutely baffled by her appearance as this puzzling lady looked magnetic with cream shirt loosely tucked inside her tight glossy pants and her honey hair fluttering from the helmet as she en routed towards the outskirts of Fort Kochi.
"Never has Charu dressed in this sort of clingy attire. Blonde hair and leather boots Awww????" Abhay's mind ran at the same velocity as his jeep. He maintained a manageable distance from the bike and the biker lady was completely unaware of his chase. A few kilometers away from Fort Kochi she checked in a cheap motel. As she settled in a stuffy motel room she immediately connected her cryptic satellite phone and typed:
"Black-bag job done. There is an unknown female rabbit inside the lake. The big man nabbed."
It was a predetermined secret writing. A jargon used by spies. Charu was a spy working for 'Egyptian Antiquity Intelligence Agency', as they call in espionage language " an agent". Charu worked in shadow for her intelligence agency and the episode of her coming to Fort Kochi to meet her ailing grandma was a complete eye wash for everyone. For world she was a Law student from New York but the reality was totally different. Known for her street smart attributes, the agency assigned her the task to expose the smuggling network working around Egypt and Kochi. When Charu heard about her grandma's ailing health, the agency thought this reason as the best cover - up to send her to Kochi. Thence, Charu did her job, impeccably she thought, till she saw Vincent arrested. Until now and according to the information gathered by her , Vincent seemed the 'Mister Big'. But his arrest established that there were bigger forces working in clandestine.
"There is someone over Vincent." She said and looked blankly at the leaves of Gulmohar tree swaying in rhythm with the gentle breeze. Usually her solitude gave her remarkable results. Focusing her gaze at the tip of a single leaf, Charu tried to recollect the expedition inside the lake being her ' black-bag job' a covert operation conducted for her agency. The visuals of the infamous Mafia boss talking with a mysterious lady bothered Charu. Charu could only see her backside as she had peeped inside the blue whale shaped big den. Her only striking feature which caught Charu's eyes were her salt pepper long hair. She had worn plain white dress and she appeared talking something serious with the Mafia boss.
Certainly, the submarine big whale den plus lab was the headquarters of the squad and she looked the leader of that force. Her spying brain tumbled upon an anomalous possibility. Somehow she felt that the mystery lady in the big whale den was Sheryl. No one exactly knew about Sheryl and everything about her was ambiguous.
'Sheryl can be alive and maybe she is the driving force behind this smuggling activity. Are the villagers near the Kutta lake helping her in this operation? ' Charu murmured under her breath.
Charu remembered conversation of Vincent and a female voice when she had tapped Vincent's phone few days back. Somehow, the clues were giving a big breaking story of Sheryl being alive and dangerous. Being one of the most obscure case for Charu as the network smuggled from Egypt to Fort kochi surpassing airport and seaport authorities. The intelligence agency never succeeded in catching them red-handed as the gang had a very unique coding technique. The original antique were concealed in funerary boats and innocuous freight boxes, while some in plastic replica of the antique itself to escape scrutiny. The important and impenetrable aspect was the laundering of funds. The source of funding still seemed an unachievable task for Charu. The museum community had improved on the due diligence practices but the leak appeared inside the museum itself.
'For your enemy to crumble you have to attack their strongest point.' Charu's superior once gave her this advice which she had preserved as her valued possession. The strongest point of this enemy being the peculiar codes, Charu gathered courage to do a cryptographic attack. A method of circumventing the security of a cryptographic system by finding a weakness in the code. She immediately opened her laptop and with the help of back door computing technique hacked Vincent's computer. Charu coded an algorithm which made the systems of blue whale white building go berserk. The activity stopped and the zombies like workers cried :
"Black out. Black out!!!!!!!"
"The multi user operating system is interrupted by a Trojan horse virus. Our system is locked. " Cried the worker.
The woman with salt and pepper hair gave a quick bark of laughter and slapped the worker tightly on his face. For a moment, she stared at the black out with horror and disbelief on her face and then she got up with the help of the walking stick.
"Damn!!!!! How's this possible??? It's inconceivable !!!!!" She pulled her glasses down and looked over the rim and she collapsed on the chair again.
"Who has the nerve to hack our system?? "Said the mafia boss.
"Its done deliberately." She said grizzly.
Charu knew the damage was done as now, they had no choice but to come out of their den. The gang would surface out to do some repair activity of their hacked system and then she would catch them pants down.
"I have to do the submarine voyage again. Alone. Absolutely alone. Without Abhay."
'Abhay' the name itself evoked emotions of romance creating a magnetic pull towards his oomph persona. The acute pain inside her heart expressed her desire to be with him. But her profession disapproved any kind of emotional entanglements.
"La douleur exquise!!!!" She expressed her feelings and ambled near the little square window and saw Abhay wandering around the narrow lane near her motel.
"Oh dear!!!! He is here. God save me now." Thoughts scrambled inside her head as she covered her mouth in disbelief.
Charu typed a message with great urgency:
"Need back stop immediately ." Charu send the secret message to her only accomplice in Fort Kochi.
The aroma of garlic with herbs lingered in Martha's kitchen as the vegetables sizzled in the white sauce. As Martha poured the pasta in the pan, she checked garbled message received from Charu on her fit bit watch.
Martha gave a deep sigh when she read the word "back stop." Back stop, the lingo means to make arrangements to make sure the cover isn't blown.
The day was about to end and after hours of waiting, the impatient inspector stepped inside the motel and inquired about the blonde girl. The motel staff said that the blonde lady checked out of the Motel few moments back.
"From where???" Exclaimed Abhay as he was standing near entrance of the motel like a watchdog.
The sun shined brightly as it was about to set down the horizon. The rays were so bright that every mask could be uncovered. But often, shadows say the truth more than the light. Charu's mobile was untraceable and it left Abhay completely drained . In desperation, Abhay called her home.
"Hello Mani Uncle.. Can I speak with Charu?"
"Abhay dear .. Charu is out -of- town for few days. She said some urgent work cropped up." Mr. Oomen replied from the other side.
In agony Abhay kept the phone. Charu seemed like a shadow for him now.
He remembered the quote of the famous Persian Poet Rumi:
Like the shadow
I am not.