With Due apologies to those who lost their near dear ones in 9/11
The day OSAMA was killed ————
By Rashmi Talwar
May 2, 5.15 am- Twitter was bursting with news ‘Osama killed!’. The magnitude of ‘Op Geronimo’ in Abbotabad, Pakistan, flushing of the elusive ‘Osama bin laden’was all over cyber space. I slumped into my Shahtabdi Express seat, Mortified! Osama’s end, left me crestfallen. Not that I had any love lost for the ‘world’s most wanted’, but in his death, he had turned the tide against me.
At 4 am before departure to Delhi, It felt like a ‘shoot and scoot’ mission to procure visas for a 9-member ‘Amritsar Sacred Heart Alumni’, headed for its first International tie –up with a sister school –Sacred Heart School (SHS), Lahore, Pakistan. Now, it had turned into ‘ironic’ confetti via CIA’s stealth choppers.
Expletives adorned my tongue in unbridled measure as I muttered -Why was Osama killed in Pakistan? Tora Bora was only a few miles? Why not in hotter months when no one ventures to SA countries? I raved and ranted against this unfairness. Sparing hardly any thought for the lives, Osama had stilled and silenced in 9/11.
Shooing away, the swift waiter’s tray of tea-biscuits, I stuffed a tetra juice, garrisoning a back-pack for a formidable “D-day” at Pak embassy.
Two months of the hardest synchronization on this ‘tie-up’ had caused cramps in my grey cells and bodily tissues seemed to be on a cracking assignment. It was just a few ticks away, I moaned; Why Osama, of the entire ‘world’s dreaded’? God, if sinful Earth was heavy, why couldn’t it be, Hafiz Sayeed or Dawood Abrahim or any other now?
Nearing the journey’s end, I looked up and light dawned. Chalo! Doesn’t it make it easier to tell the group – ‘Osama killed, Visas rejected!’ I sighed purring a ‘Roger -Over and Out’ with a smile, ready to embark on a new self–styled ‘Op Chak De Fatte ’.
Baggage et al, I trooped down to a dhaba, outside Delhi station for a quick bite. A battle of grit and wits needs all strengths covered and fulfilled, I told myself. But soon another awakening donned ‘A stitch in Time saves Nine’. I rushed, even as the waiter held up my order, gave him a beggarly smile. ‘Urgent phone call’ ‘How much, I pay? I muttered. Strangely –He broke into a smile and saluted –App kamyaab hoyenge! In the auto-rikshaw to Embassy, I relished his comment, it added to my damage control plan Op CDF.
I was banking on a rock solid recommendation of a top-notch embassy officer’s wife that can be best explained as –‘Saari Khudai Ek taraf, Aur Jorru ka ‘Bhai’ ek taraf!
Geared with paraphernalia, landed at the embassy to see TV reporters sprawled all over, cramped above single rat-hole window. Heat, luggage and water-bottle in hand, I coursed through to the magic window. ‘NINE! Passports! Madam? Very difficult, Look at these TV crews.
I named someone, and was ushered in, while jotting details on 36 forms, someone asked for an application form, I handed him an extra one and surprisingly, got ‘chicken kathi rolls’ as return gift in a near famished state.
It was nearly 5 PM. Interview called! Interviewee shook his head –Apply now and visas in a month. ‘Does anyone go to Pak in scorching heat of June?’ I asked innocently. Bravely, took his number with Shooter Olympian’s words ringing – ‘It is not Over! Till its Over’. Next morning, Phone answered ‘Madam, bas aa jao’! I rushed, to find all 9 visas ready for Lahore- Nanakana Sahib. Faxed to MEA for foot visa and called the group. Everyone was expectedly –Shocked, dismayed anticipating the worst over post-Osama situation in Pak, till I announced to venture alone. Gradually, all nine pins rolled and we made it to Lahore, surprisingly on a date that read May ‘9’, this year. Perhaps the waiter’s blessings Hit the Target Nine….. Just days later I learnt 340 visa of sikh jatha to Pakistan were rejected.