It was snowing
The chill stole up my windcheater and into my bones gnawing it like with a chain saw .
A RAW agent in New York cannot use cold as an excuse .
Extremes of climate was part of an agents life
Drawing a loaded weapon aiming it and hitting targets cannot point at frozen fingers
Excuses and apologies dont exist in the vocabulary of the profession
The targets dont understand them
They know only one chance the thin thread between life and death
I hardly fit the role which was exactly what was needed
I looked every inch an academic Indian who had come to 53 avenue 24 th street for another dreary meet .
The ubiquitous Indians seen on the Manhattan thoroughfares .
They were there all the time
With families towing grinning at selfies in Times square
Gingerly holding a Manhattan cocktail and wincing at its bitter Bourbon in the crowded bar
Bouncers watched somberly as scantily clad girls moved around hunting for prey
The smoke inside the bar was more than the flakes outside.
As its warmth descended down into my bowels a glow suffused on my homely face
Anything to beat the cold
The wait in the Brooklyn bridge for hours was a torture till i saw the short Japanese walk briskly giving me a camera to shoot his picture like any tourist would !
Only difference after that he just walked away while the camera found its way into my windcheater and now to give it to the lanky huge Russian bartender was my job .
The cocktail was half empty when he sidled up to me with arched eyebrows
He grunted wheezily while i extricated the chip in the camera and slid it near my glass
With the deft of a magician he took it and left the scene
I looked around
The crowd was behaving no different
An indistinct Indian nursing a cocktail in a Manhattan bar made no news which is precisely what I wanted
Merging into crowds was our USB drilled into us during our years in training !
One minute we are there and then a crack of a shot and we disappear like Houdini .
The satellite phone I had was tiny the latest
i took it as it trilled
And just said two words
Thousands of kilometers away sitting in an old Delhi office an obese officer tapped into his laptop an indistinct coded message