Chapter 8

Written by: SameerNagarajan

Munira heard everything that Shweta said clearly and briefed Salim when he was back. After

settling the bill, they walked to the Loop and got off at Sachiura. A short walk to the hotel and

they booked tickets to Mumbai for the morning.

Salim did not seriously consider Shweta’s suggestion to go undercover. The husband in him

was unwilling to abandon Paurush and her. He feared the worst from her uncle. He did not call

Shweta and instead called Ahmed. He then prayed quietly for his family’s safety.

“We’re safe in Byculla,” he said briefly to Munira, “and completely safe while we are in Japan.

Her uncle wouldn’t dare do anything here.”

They slept fitfully. Eight hours and one stopover later, they landed in Mumbai, still groggy.

Ahmed met them at the airport and smiled broadly.

“You manage to attract trouble wherever you are, chhote,(1)” he smiled.

“That said, log into the app now. Shweta and Paurush are under surveillance. Don’t look obviously, kiddo, but the black Audi at the corner, that’s Swaminathan’s agents. And of course the blue Mercedes behind them has my friends in it.”

Salim saw that there were three men in the Audi, including the driver. He couldn’t make out who

was in the Mercedes. He raised an eyebrow, “you’ve deployed your company security into this?

What did you tell them?”

“Nothing much, just that we need heightened security, surveillance. Good fellow called Hemant

there. We’re ok to go as per plan.”

They had just reached Ahmed’s silver Suzuki when the Audi’s engine sputtered to life and then

roared. The headlights came on full beam, and the car was, in a couple of seconds, next to them. Munira screamed as two men tumbled out and waved pistols at them. One of them held the gun to Salim’s head.

“What the f***…?” Salim swore and struggled. The man pushed the pistol into his side and said clearly, “I’d suggest not.” Salim allowed himself to be hustled into the Audi, which vanished into the darkness.

“Munira, are you all right?” asked Ahmed.

“Oh yes,” she said brightly. “I thought the scream made it more authentic, didn’t you?”

Ahmed smiled briefly, and switched on the app on his phone.

The Mercedes had drawn up, and the men inside looked at him questioningly. The man next to

the driver showed the Mauser in his hand, then covered it again.

“You asked us not to confront, so we didn’t, Ahmed,” he said. A fair, clean shaven, bespectacled man, Hemant would at most other times have passed off as a University professor.

Except he was a ruthless, brilliant safety and counter-terror analyst.

“So what do you want us to do, now that we have observed your brother’s kidnapping?” continued Hemant confidently.

Ahmed and Munira got into the Mercedes.

“Let’s go, Hemant,” he said briefly, “they’re headed towards the Taj. I can trace them on the


Hemant smiled, and the car went from 0 to 60 kmph (2) in a minute.


(1) Chhote: Literally, little one. In this context, an affectionate term that an elder sibling uses for a younger one.

(2) About 38 miles per hour, pretty fast given typical traffic in Mumbai.



This is a good chapter, very readable and a good pace. I loved the reveal that the scream was engineered. The abduction could have had just a bit more tension in it. I also liked the description of Hemant and the twist that he was not what he seemed. Very good.