Joined: 06 June 2008
CIA Headquarters Langley, Virginia
He slowly caressed the pencil in his hands that rested on the huge red stained maple desk in front of him, while he stared at the carpeted floor at the end of the room, with a lowered gaze.
Taking in the natural cold metallic smell of the Head Quarters mixed with his own cologne he sighed closing his eyes.
"You cannot always do what you want!"
"yes I can! I am your husband! And you will do exactly as I tell you to!"
"don't you even dare to raise your voice in front of me"
"Shut the hell up!" he yelled as he moved towards her through the mess scattered on the floor.
She fell against the wall and her forehead started to bleed, she instantly fell unconscious and the man left the room in agony.
He cried as his little brain could not digest the violence his eyes were witnessing, hugging his teddy bear tight, he closed his eyes shut in an attempt to block all the chaos.
He opened his eyes and exhaled deeply as he felt a heavy burden on his heart, a sudden unease. Glistening fresh sweat started to appear on his temples despite the coolness of the air conditioned room.
Looking at his surroundings he realized the sudden decrease in the hustle bustle of the office. He looked at the eagle clock that was located at the top of the wall, opposite to where he sat which read 11 pm.
Another day he had overworked, another day he had stayed late. Everyone else had left to their homes, to their awaiting families. He laughed to himself, who did he have who would wait for him at home, for whom should he worry to get back to? Did he even have a home? Or was it a mere bricked shelter?
The questions were endless and answers were unfound.
He opened his laptop for some last minute wrap ups and saw a popup informing him of a new email in his inbox.
I have just received the transfer details of the new officer who will be joining us in two days from Washington. The details are attached with this e-mail.
p.s. I know you are still at work, do me a favor and leave for home NOW.
He smiled at the last line. Despite the professional relationship they had shared his colleague slash closest friend never forgot to add those friendly notes in the work related emails. It was funny the way he obliged him in the first part of the email, and instantly ordered him near the end.
Sadly reality did not only revolve around such simplicities. Life was a gift or curse, perhaps it was a mystery to be never solved.
He closed his laptop, placed it inside its carrier and grabbing his coat and keys Vivan made his way towards his Porsche in the secluded reserved parking.
The chilly winds of Washington swished and swashed against his clean shaven cheeks.
His eyes narrowed as he took a sip of his steaming hot coffee as he stared into the crowds of the city.
"I cannot teach these buffoons!" fumed the Mastersahib as he flared his nostrils and his traditional mustache remained firm like always. He grabbed his black leather wristlet and jumped on his bicycle as he fixed his turban and strode away.
"Mastersahibbb mastersahibb" Amma called after him with an outstretched arm as she walked fast after the mastersahib, making sure her head scarf didn't fall.
As the mastersahib disappeared from sight, she turned to the two giggling boys and placed her hands on her hips as she gave them "the glare" demanding explanations.
The two as usual made an innocent face and held their ears.
"sorry Amma, won't happen again" the two said in unison
Despite the repeated mischief, unable to remain mad at the cutest and the most innocent faces she enveloped Ashar and Apsaar in her arms as a genuine smile appeared on her lips.
The constant ringing of his cell phone brought him out of his reverie and he exhaled as the air left his lungs into the chilly night.
He stared at the half filled mug as he carried a halfhearted conversation with one of his seniors.
Disconnecting the call he entered his room closing the French doors of the balcony.
After some last minute packing he went to bed with a thousand emotions, a gazillion unanswered questions and a few hours of sleep.
The times had been passed, the innocence had been robbed, all there was left was a cruel dark reality. The sooner it was accepted the easier it would become to survive.
In a blink of an eye, Amma's harmless but love filled scolding had turned into strangers' words that were equivalent to a thousand knives, mischief with Apsaar had taken a new turn in the form of loneliness, and mastersahib's temporary anger had turned into a permanent torture by the hands of the world.
"why don't you sit down? Your constant pacing is irritating me" she said as she gestured with her hand to make a point, unable to concentrate on the case she was given to study.
"something is wrong, definitely, im sure of it" he continued to pace back and forth, paying no heed to her question, adding on to her confusion and irritation.
"ok whats the matter?" Khirad said finally giving up on the case she was unable to study due to uninvited annoyance.
"he is hiding something from us' for sure" he finally spilled, to her surprise.
"ohhh so that's what you are worried about" she said as she settled back in her leather chair throwing the pencil on the desk that she had been holding for a while now.
"don't take it lightly, its not a trivial matter" he said trying to transfer his curiosity to her.
"relax Rohan, he's not hiding anything, im sure it's just the work load" she tried to reason.
"workload?" he chuckled at her reason. "you know he works more than all of us, and he never gets tired, I think its something personal" he replied, now feeling deeply concerned for his boss slash friend.
"could be, but its not like he will tell us, has he ever shared any problem from all these years we've known him?" she raised an eyebrow as she placed her forearms on the maple desk, her crisp cotton shirt making creases at the back of her elbows.
"true'but I want to know, he should tell us I mean it will only help him'does he not trust us?" he asked finally taking a seat on one of the sofas. His voice talked of concern and a tinge of hurt for not knowing the reason behind his friend's behavior.
"its not about that, you know he trusts us, he considers us his family'you gotta have patience, he will open up when he's ready"
Khirad reassured him in a soft voice being well aware of the personality their boss had.
Deep down she felt the same as Rohan, but she also knew some things were better unknown.
Vivan was that book of secrets, that could be beneficial if opened at the right time, but could bring disasters if exposed at the wrong moment, even if it was in the hands of the right person.
"if you say so" he breathed a sigh and got up to leave, the popping questions subsided momentarily at the back of his mind.
"any news on the Washington guy?" she looked up from the file as she expressed her curiosity, before he made his exit.
"you mean the new officer?" he asked holding the handle of the dark brown door.
"yes..that.." she said trying to get him to the point.
"yes.. I've got news" he said placing the palm of the right hand on her desk, while fisted the other one and placed it on his hip.
Before she exploded with his delays at every second, he spoke.
"Officer Asher Hussain, joining us in two days, coming from Washington, will be working with the executive staff, and will be assisting boss in major cases"
He said in one breath as a matter of fact.
" interesting" came her reply.
Rohan made a whatever face and left to resume his pending work.
Even though Khirad had resumed with the case she so wanted to work on amongst Rohan's blabber, her mind kept wondering off to that mysterious officer she was to meet in two days, which seemed like a long wait to convince her mind which was firing all kinds of questions at her about the Washington guy.
For some reason her sixth sense was sending her some kind of signals, which were beyond her understanding at the moment. Only time could tell.
He stared at the lifeless body on the floor, not a drop of tear reflected his pain, and he didn't make a single movement to show his grief, to fight for injustice, to bring his mother back.
The corpse covered in white lying peacefully on the marble floor glowed in the dark hall, his anger filled steely eyes talked of the catastrophe forming inside his being, eating everything in its way. His arms were locked around his knees, the sleeves of his black cotton shirt rolled up and darkened with sweat. The crisp firm collar sat around his neck with pride, despite the creases on his entire form, it talked of the last straw of tolerance and stamina left in him.
His phone lay abandoned on the empty space beside him, despite the several ringing his attention remained undivided, his mind clouded by the darkness reflecting his surroundings.
"arnavv you are home already? How was your first day?" she asked running a hand through his hair lovingly.
"it was alright ma, what did you make for lunch?" he asked not wanting to talk about unimportant things like friends, classmates etc.
"why don't you go freshen up ill be right back?" she asked caressing his face, taking his backpack and water bottle.
He gave one of his rare smiles and ran inside. She shook her head at her son's personality which was one in a million, literally.
He blinked after hours as his stiffened muscles began to lose. Those anger filled eyes started to become moist. More beads of sweat started to roll down, his breathing coming in pauses.
"Ma I made it" he told her calmly, with a glint of pride in his eyes and a smoothness of satisfaction in his tone.
She kissed his forehead and hugged him tight.
"I knew you would! I knew it" she smiled on his shoulder as tears of happiness formed in her eyes as she imagined the immense happiness her son would be feeling at the moment at his achievement.
"congratulations!" she said releasing him as she held his face between her palms.
He smiled as he wiped her tears "thanks"
His high shoulders had now become slumped as his hair glistened with the sweat of fear.
"Arnav Im going to Smita auntie's will be back around 6" she said as she grabbed her handbag and walked towards the kitchen to get a glass of water.
He sat there typing furiously on his laptop, lest he wasted a minute of his life and was left behind in the race to become the best.
She gulped down half the glass in one go and made her way to the main door.
Asha grabbed the keys and before closing the door behind she reminded him " and don't start talking to yourself again!" with a hint of playfulness and left closing the door "don't wait for me over dinner and tack care bye!"
She was gone before his sentence was completed.
Finally a lone tear rolled down his cheek, his arms that had been tightly wrapped around his knees started to lose.
He couldn't even say goodbye. The final goodbye.
Attack on the World Trade Center!
AN ACCIDENT OR ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK?
His eyes popped out as his hands froze in mid way, as he read the headlines on the TV screen.
The clock read 5:30 pm.
Ma, in the way, attacks, were the only words that echoed in his head. He ran to get his cell phone and dialed her number with shivering hands.
"Hello Ma!! Ma!!" he yelled in the piece of plastic.
*The number you have dialed is unreachable please try again later*
Again and again, again and again he tried the same number, abusing the redial button on his keypad, but there was no sign of his mother. .
Worry had turned into fear and soon it was replaced with dejection and that fraction of a hope that was lost forever.
"Ma!" his eyes shot open as he moved closer to the corpse.
"Please come back ma! Please come back!" he cried and pleaded as he placed his head on her chest holding her body from both hands.
His voice echoed in the huge apartment, unheard, which was soon lost like his existence in the crowded selfish world.
Vivan and Asher walked side by side in the huge hallway which was empty except for a few officers entering and exiting different rooms. After the formal welcome, Vivan led Asher to his cabin where he wanted to discuss some important details with him so he could start at the earliest.
"working in the similar environment in Washington, im hoping you wont have any problem adjusting here, the entire staff is very cooperative" Vivan said as he opened the door to his cabin and waited for Asher to enter first.
As soon as the two entered, Rohan and Khirad stood up from their seats.
"you would be working with the executive staff most of the time, which includes Rohan, Khirad and myself" he introduced the three, as he motioned towards his colleagues.
Khirad and Rohan shook hands with Asher and exchanging formal greetings the three kept other conversations for later to hear Vivan's words.
"you will be introduced to the rest of the staff as needed but for now you will be working with us. Let me know if you have any questions"
After expressing his gratitude for such a warm welcome he immediately went to his cabin to get familiarized with the surroundings.
Rohan and Khirad retired to their cabins too leaving Vivan alone in the huge cabin just as he liked.
"Aliya! Aliya!!!! Where the hell are you dammit!" he pleaded frustrated as he threw his phone on the bed, after searching for his only friend for whom he had started to develop new feelings who was unreachable. At the moment when he needed her the most she was not there.
He had gone to her apartment, called her a countless times, called her work. But she wasn't there. Every single time. Unreachable.
Hot steamy tears started to roll down his blood shot eyes, his lips started to quiver as he felt himself collapse on the marble floor beside the bed. His limbs and hands lay lifeless as he was on the verge of giving up. He cried in the dark room, which was illuminated only by a single bed side lamp, for what seemed like an eternity.
He felt he had cried out all the liquid he had inside his body, feeling dried out and tired of living- correction surviving.
"where are you Aliya..where are you" he said as his voice became hoarse, his throat dry, his chest paining as if a thousand knives had been stabbed.
The residue of his tears collected at the corner of his eyes.
Life had never been smooth on Arnav Singh Raizada, the forces of the universe never showed him any mercy and he was used to living like that. But now he had reached his tolerance range and simply did not have the power to go on. After all, there was only so much one could take, there was a limit to being tested, to being judged.
He sat in his brand new cabin, enjoying the metallic smell combined with the coolness of the air condition. He kept playing with the paper weight on his desk as his mind was deeply engrossed elsewhere.
"Aryan he is the one! Its all because of him! He killed him Aryan he killed him!"
She cried as Aryan tried to calm her down and made her sit on the bench.
"I don't want to see your face ever again!" she screamed at his face, while Asher stood there shell shocked.
What had happened all of a sudden which had changed their unbreakable friendship of eight years?
"Shikha relax, calm down" Aryan tried to lighten up the situation, he himself was at loss of words.
She continued to cry as she sat on the bench unable to breathe properly.
"Aryan.." Asher started unable to find the correct words to express his state of shock.
"Neel'he..he passed away" Aryan started calmly.
"how? What happened?" his voice came as a whisper.
'the..the plane crash" Aryan finally revealed already fearing of the heartbreak Asher will have.
"the..pl.plane..crash" Asher repeated not being able to believe his ears.
His eyes instantly filled with tears, as his long eyelashes glistened with the salty liquid.
The state of shock had been replaced by the fear of loss.
"Asher..Asher listen to me, breathe'sit down" Aryan tried to console Asher who was on the verge of breaking down. Even more so because he was being blamed for killing one of his closest friends that he considered more than a brother.
"Don't you even dare show any sympathy on him! He is a murderer! He killed him! It was a plan! He is a terrorist!" Shikha threw another tantrum breaking into sobs again.
"If you have any kind of contact with this man then forget we ever even met" she said wiping her tears with a look of determination on her face which scared Aryan.
"Shikha-"she had walked away before Aryan could try his luck.
Giving a look of comfort to Asher he had left to search Shikha to give her a piece of his mind and clear the misunderstandings that stupid girl had let form between the strong bonds of friendship.
Asher was left alone on the bench, his mind trying to come up with a logical explanation to the recent occurrences, but failing time and time again, no coherent thoughts were being processed.
He was brought out of his reverie from the light knocking on the door.
"Oh hi" he said feeling guilty for not noticing her earlier.
'All is well?" she asked taking a seat in front of him.
"yeah everything's fine" he said as he forced a smile.
He liked her friendly gesture, but at the same time he didn't want to get fooled by the "unbreakable" bond of friendship yet again. Once the damage had been done and it was a good lesson for a lifetime. He wanted to shut himself and throw the key to his soul in the depths of the blue seas.
"so are you liking it here so far?" she asked genuinely concerned for him, as she straightened her back, her jasmine fragrance melding with the metallic smell and entering his senses.
'yeah its great here" he said keeping the conversation minimal and to the point.
"I had come to give you this file, study it and you can ask me if you have any questions, for this specific case its only you me and Rohan, boss wont be working with us for this one as its not that complicated"
She gave him the details, in a soft but firm manner, expressing the importance of the case at the same time not wanting him to take unnecessary stress.
"ok ill get it to it" he replied in a low voice opening the file and scanning its contents quickly. His eyes downcast.
"ok ill see you later bye." Khirad said and left him to his business.
She had seen something different, something strange about him. Does he have any problems that he is immensely worried about? Or he's just uncomfortable in the new environment?
Her mind wondered off to endless questions, as she studied his body language and those shifty eyes. That dullness on his face, that gaze in search of something but unable to find it had left her in a curious state of mind.
Questions which forced her to investigate, to find out more and maybe to help him out, and somewhere in the corner feeling sympathy for the loneliness that could be sensed in the crowd too.
Never in her entire career had she seen a man who had been disturbed yet so calm. There was something about him that made her want to dig in his soul, break the barriers he had created, make him do things he was capable of.
He unlocked the door and turning the knob he entered his apartment. The moonlight glowed through the huge windows in the living room, being the only source of light in the luxurious apartment, ironically dark.
His heart ached at the realization as it hit him. Just like that lonely moon in the night sky he was now completely alone as well. No longer he had his worrying mother who would wait late at night until he returned and had his meal.
It was an indescribable feeling, he could not feel sad that would make him feel weak which would allow the world to take advantage of him, he did not have enough courage to plaster a smile that would only secretly eat his insides, he could not forget neither he could move on. He wanted to do a lot but couldn't, nothing seemed in control. They say life is granted once and is more precious than we think, but why did it suddenly feel like those grains of sand that slipped through the fingers?
Without turning the lights on he walked towards the couch in front of the window. His shoes making the clacking sounds on the marbled floor in the pin drop silence that his house forever would be haunted with. A feeling of shallowness occupied his heart.
Wanting to remain alive, yet wanting to disappear into thin air was a nerve wracking dilemma of its own. The courage to survive had been faded and backing from problems shredded the massive ego.
Sometimes lesser options were just better.
He threw his laptop bag on the corner of the couch and placing his hands in his pockets he stood by the window staring at the lonely night.
"I love quiet chilly nights" she said as she glowed with happiness under the moonlight, as her doe like eyes stared at the full moon taking in its beauty.
"yeah but it can give you a cold" he said slightly smiling at her happiness.
"oh come on! learn to enjoy Arnav " Aliya said as she made an expression of dislike at his lack of interest..
He shook his head at her attempt.
"you know you can find happiness in the simplest of things? And if you want you can whine about every single thing and torture yourself and those around you" she said scrunching her eyebrows and making an expression of mock anger.
Her fringes touched her long lashes as her expressive eyes shone brightly.
"ok fine you win" he said lazily as he rolled his eyes and smiled inwardly at their precious moments.
She grabbed her shawl from the couch and moved towards the window to enjoy the view.
He extended his arm to touch her shoulder.
Only to catch air as another gush of loneliness ran over him, his outstretched hand unmoved in mid way.
He felt a burning sensation in his eyes and his vision started to get blurry. He touched his cheek and was stunned to see his fingertips wet. He had thought he no longer had the capacity to feel the pain, to weep or to have any kind of emotion at all. But he was wrong, yet again he had been proved wrong. Did this mean he had more hurdles waiting for him?
Did he have the courage to move on?
"May I come in sir'" he asked waiting at the door.
"come in" Vivan replied absentmindedly his eyes glued to the file.
Asher hesitantly walked inside as Vivan looked up to see who the intruder was.
"oh Asher, please have a seat"
He quietly pulled the chair and sat firmly facing Vivan.
"So everything's good?" Vivan asked as he placed the file aside already impressed at his contributions so far.
"yes sir, just wanted to talk to you about that case if you don't mind" Asher asked in a low voice.
"yeah sure what is it?" Vivan asked as he tried to look at the writing on the file in Asher's hands. The tinge of panic in his voice did not go unnoticed by Vivan.
After discussing the details of Ahmed Ali Khan's case Asher felt somewhat relieved but still that horrifying feeling remained in the corner of his heart.
"Look Asher" Vivan said as he closed the file and looked at him with an expression which said listen carefully.
"sometimes you get cases which are very disturbing and could even relate to real life or first hand experiences at times"
Knowing full well where this discussion was headed Asher tried to compose himself, the fear that grew wild at times, he tried to keep it controlled. It was a matter of ego, self esteem, and the fearless quality that was tagged with his authority.
"and believe me it will happen" he said as he lightly smiled, conveying double meanings. His eyes slightly narrowed urging Asher to inquire about the rest, his aura stopping him from unnecessary talk.
Asher's mind went into directions he didn't want on its own accord. Vivan could see himself in those pools of dark brown. For some unknown reason it felt like he was standing in front of a mirror, being forced to remember and remind.
"but that doesn't mean you should consider it personal. You have to learn to deal with a case as a case, not as a personal problem because its not" he spoke seriously, not wanting his new officer to grow weak, and in between convincing his own heart.
"And that will only help you survive here and become stronger" he said which sounded more like an advice.
There was no place of doubts, no place for weaknesses and definitely no place for fears.
"Thanks" Asher murmured and left his cabin with a smile of gratitude.
After having a talk with the expert he felt lighter and maybe at ease. However he couldn't help but take everything personal as his past kept flashing repeatedly. There are things on which you simply have no control, even if you are the strongest, most dominating out there. Perhaps no expert could help him with this one.
"Im fine'I have some important work to look at, I will talk to you later"
He disconnected the phone before he lost it, clenching his jaws, closing his eyes his posture stiffened as the memories of the past refreshed over a simple phone call.
He had run away from the cruelty he had witnessed at home as a child, correction a place where souls were captive, his childhood had been murdered, the love of parents unknown, the care between husband and wife non existent, the warmth and bonding foreign concepts.
Time and time again he had tried to separate his present from past but it had come again and again to haunt him.
Why did he feel like he was very strong one moment and the next he felt shattered?
Couldn't the man who claimed to be his father act like a stranger and forget he had any family?
"Arnavvv'find me if you can" her tinkling voice echoed, laughter coming in melodies.
"I'll always be there" Ma's soothing voice flowed like honey in his ears.
"my son is the best"she said kissing his forehead
"you are my best friend" Aliya said hugging him from the side.
"im all yours"she said holding his hand.
The voices echoed repeatedly and he felt himself drowning in a dark alley where there was nothing but darkness, so dark that he couldn't even find himself, all those voices growing louder and then fading, mocking him of his fears and loneliness.
He woke panting and sweating, his hands reaching out to find nothingness.
"ma..aliya'ma'al..aliya" his voice cracked as he felt his breath constrict.
The bedside clock read 3 am, and he realized the nightmare was no longer a haunted dream but one bitter truth that now summoned his life.
It was about time he accepted the reality and faced whatever was thrown at him. Throwing the duvet off of him in exasperation he opened his closet and started shoving clothes in an empty suitcase. Ma and Aliya cannot just leave him stranded on the thorny path that lay ahead of him. They cannot betray him, they had promised to be by his side forever and always, leaving him alone was simply not the option.
His hand rested on the window frame as he looked at the piercing sun, his dark brown eyes shimmering against the glass.
Images from the past flashed before his eyes, no matter how hard he tried to block the visuals an unknown force seemed to keep displaying them, his troubled mind unable to process anything, all rational thoughts had flown far away.
His mind knew Ahmed Ali Khan's case was just another case and it was a part of his job. He couldn't mix emotions with profession, there was no room for that. But his heart knew better, it kept showing the mirror in which he saw Ahmed Ali Khan as another Asher.
She entered the room casually and moved towards the window as her eyes followed.
"Hi" she spoke in a low voice.
"Hey" he said looking away.
"how's the work on the case going? It seems like an interesting one but there are a few details missing about Ahmed Ali Khan" she said casually, as a matter of fact.
"can we talk about this later?" he said directly looking into her eyes, in a firm voice that was on the verge of breaking.
"why do I have a feeling that you are taking this case too personally?" Khirad asked cocking an eyebrow with a serious expression.
Was she trying to ask him something he did not want anyone to know? Was it not possible to keep the barriers the way they were?
"I am not." He said clenching his jaws, the anger in his voice and the fear in his heart rising by the passing second.
She narrowed her eyes at his unacceptable behavior. Sure things didn't always work out as we wished them to, but this was no way to talk to someone, if he didn't know how to keep himself in control then he was at the wrong place.
"Please. Leave me alone." he said his back facing her.
Without a word she threw the file on his desk and left his cabin, her calculative movements secretly throwing daggers at him.
Life is not always perfect, in fact it is never perfect. It is those imperfections that add a flavor in life, sometimes sweet and sometimes sour. We think we control what goes on around us, but in reality we don't even have control on what is within us. It is the natural reaction to what goes around us, better known as Newton's third law: every action has a reaction.
Despite the cool and composed nature of Khirad, she could not help but fume at the Washington guy's unacceptable behavior. At the same time she couldn't lash out on him, her duties and responsibilities didn't allow her to act on impulse. Apart for that her mind kept pushing her to react when her heart silently told her to do otherwise, now was not the time.
She furiously typed on her laptop as she sat on her desk in her casuals, her nostrils flaring every now and then.
"Relax Khirad, from what you have told me there is more to this guy"
Khirad remained quiet, not sure if she should spill her anger out on her over thinking psychiatrist of a friend or wait till tomorrow to give that officer a piece of her mind.
"look Khirad, I have dealt with people like that, he is probably very disturbed and I'm sure he felt bad about it after you walked out of his cabin" she said as she got up from the bed and moved to the couch beside her desk.
"Khushi" Khirad spoke as her fingers stopped mid way and her gaze shifted to directly meet hers. She exhaled deeply.
Khushi spoke in a voice that sounded controlling and authoritative.
"just promise me you wont talk to him about this now'.please?" she spoke as she pressed her arm lightly and pleaded with her eyes.
Khirad didn't say a word but blinked in agreement. She knew she was angry, but logically it didn't seem like a big deal. Why she was even bothered about the new officer? What had happened to her calm attitude that she maintained regardless of what she dealt with? What happened to the self control she was so proud of? And why was her heart and mind changing their statements and reasoning each time she tried to get an answer?
And Rohan thinks Ahmed Ali Khan's case is the complicated one? Take a peek in my tangled mind.
"would that be alright?"
"...yeah..that would be okay" he said trying to hide the lack of assurity as he spoke into the phone, lowering his gaze slightly.
Vivan placed both his palms on his face and exhaling he rubbed them off his clean shaven cheeks, as he rested his hands on the desk interlocking them. Being the director of the executive staff was not an easy job, and despite of the countless qualities he was a normal human being after all. His position did seem like one of the most desired slash respected jobs out there, but sometimes he just wished he was an ordinary worker in an ordinary company, working nine to five, coming back home to his awaiting family. But then, isn't it a part of human nature to never gain satisfaction? He was no exception.
He opened his laptop and started to shoot some emails as his fingers typed furiously, his eyes shifting with the words in sync and his extraordinary brain working at the speed of light.
Now he was ready to welcome the new officer.
He sighed in relief and smiled in satisfaction.
He made himself comfortable on the seat and secured the belt as per the announcement before the take off.
He closed his eyes and exhaled deeply in search of a few moments of peace, but like always he got none. Moments spent with Aliya and Ma kept flashing through his mind. He didn't know whether to get frustrated or worried at the sudden absence of the girl who he claimed to be his life.
His mother had left him, his mind and heart had accepted that bitter truth now, it was real, she had actually left him but he knew he could always feel her. She was gone physically but they still had the connection, an unbreakable bond, just like the one a child has with his mother before he is even born.
He was going through mixed emotions, he wanted to cry to let out pain to drench himself out of the sadness he had been engulfed in for what seemed like forever, but at the same time crying would make him feel week and vulnerable. He had to remain strong, he could not let anything crash the walls he had created for his defense.
As the flight took off, his heart started to sink, the city where he had born and lived, practically his entire life was going to be left behind. He watched through the window as the houses got smaller and smaller and soon everything disappeared into thick sheets of fluffy clouds.
"promise me you wont ever disappear?" he said as he held her hands in his.
"ill try to'" Aliya said half heartedly, her eyes devoid of their normal spark.
Seeing the absence of her million dollar smile he felt himself drowning in darkness at that moment, feeling like he was losing the connection.
It was one of those times when he knew something bad would happen but couldn't find exactly what. Maybe that calm before the storm?
His eyes shot open only to find himself engulfed in darkness, the plane had been flying in the night sky for the past few minutes. He thought as time would pass by he wont forget Aliya and Ma, that wasn't possible but he had some hope that maybe, just maybe he would be able to have some emotional stability some sort of power that was born from the weaknesses, his weaknesses, but he was wrong. He could feel his mother's presence, her moral support but Aliya, her memories failed to fade regardless of his countless attempts to block her from his mind due to frustration and her uninformed absence.
He had safely landed in Washington, the unfamiliar winds touched his cheeks and his eyes got slightly watery due to the chilly season.
A new chapter was to begin, better or worse than last one? Who knew
Asher was called in Vivan's room, his mind still stuck to the not so smooth conversation with Khirad. Maybe he did overreact. He couldn't hold her responsible but wasn't ready to take the blame either, it was probably just the heat of the moment.
The two sat in silence, Asher engrossed in his thoughts and Vivan as usual working away. The silence wasn't awkward, in fact it was quite comfortable. The two felt very relaxed in each other's company, due to an unknown fact, to the hidden pasts which had been bottled up and locked in their hearts. Asher felt a sense familiarity when he first met Vivan, and over the weeks it only grew, maybe he did have some similar experiences. This gave Asher a sense of assurity, a silent support which he thought he would never find. But what if this was the calm before the storm? After all good things only came for a short while, didn't they?
Arnav reached the CIA HQ, standing outside the building he felt a strange sense of burden, which only added to his confusion. He was more than satisfied for coming here, leaving his home city was a good idea after all. Life had to move on, he wasn't some weak individual who would mourn for the death of his loved ones forever, of course they mattered to him but he won't let their memories, his past ruin his future and the only person controlling it was himself. Besides, he was a man and men don't cry and weep, they remain strong through thick and thin, and he would do exactly that. Not a drop of tear.
Vivan and Asher looked at the door as the knob slightly turned and both stood up to greet the guest. Vivan immediately recognized him as he had been expecting him, while Asher expressed his curiosity silently. Arnav took the silence as a yes and walked over to where Vivan stood.
"Hi I'm Vivan, the director of the executive staff"
Arnav silently shook hands with him and with a slight nod he pursed his lips in an attempt to smile.
"Asher this is Arnav Singh Raizada, the new officer who would be working with the executive staff here in the Head Quarters"
For some reason the first impression they had on each other didn't seem too appealing to Vivan, he knew they were both mature individuals but his sixth sense told him otherwise.
"And Arnav this is Asher, Asher Hussain"
Arnav's eyes shot open.
The storm after the calm had been erupted.
He took slow and measured steps towards Asher, forgetting the purpose he was here for, the presence of one of the seniors, and every relevant piece of information escaped his mind. His rationality had been long forgotten, the only thing that was driving him was his emotion.
Vivan silently watched observing his every move.
Arnav stopped only to come face to face with Asher.
Asher had a strange but scary sense of dj vu.
He held him by his collar, totally surprising Vivan who remained quiet.
"You'" he spoke with gritted teeth, 'YOU!" he spoke louder this time.
"Because of YOU! I lost my mother forever! Aliya!..she wont talk to me' I have lost her! Because of you! Only because of you fu***ng Muslims! You bloody terrorists!"
His grip on Asher's collar grew tighter as his hands began to shiver in rage and Asher felt choked and wanted to jump in a ditch this very second. He had tried so hard to lock all the doors of the past and create a new future from his present but the universe was against him and he was nothing compared to all the forces in this conspiracy.
"Arnav calm down" Vivan stepped in trying to remain as calm as possible but firmly telling the new member to behave.
Due to respect he couldn't utter a word but gave him a glare nonetheless. This is the most he could do to show his self control.
Looking back at Asher his eyes threw fire, a raging sensation that Asher could feel which was burning his soul by the passing second. He felt himself drowning in a hole of spitting fire where no one could save him even if they wanted to. He was too shocked to say a word, his breathing came in pauses and he simply stared at the monster of a man unable to comprehend anything. Not that he didn't understand what had just happened, in fact now it was too clear to be misunderstood but it was just too sudden to absorb.
The only word that echoed in his ears was terrorist, everything else became a blur.
Buddy me for PMs, if you just ask for a PM in your comment that won't help you have to buddy me
I know 9/11 is a very sensitive topic, and whatever I have shown so far (especially chapter 4) has nothing to do with my personal opinions or real life events. This is purely imagination based I hope no one is offended. I love all the characters and I'm not taking sides (obviously, that's not even possible I have written all of them)
So this note is just so none of you feel offended or take anything personally.
This story has been discontinued, for more details read the note on page 5.
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