Jen wound the dupatta twice around her neck as she sat in the rickshaw. She pulled out a pair of black-rimmed spectacles from her nondescript black leather bag, and put them on. She loved flirting with danger, oh she did! Which is why she had decided to walk straight into the lion's den: yes, she would go to to the police cormmissioner's office and snoop around. She would pose as a reporter and no one would suspect a thing! She even had a fake ID!. 'Everything was in place,' she thought. 'The thing about courting danger is to know your risks and to play them carefully.' She smiled to herself.
She stopped the rickshaw a little way away from the police commissioner's office, pretending to go into one of the apartment complexes nearby. Once she was sure the rickshaw-wallah had gone, she quickly strode over to the commissioner's office, the Press badge around her neck giving her an air of authority.
'Oh, how he would hate this,' she thought, as an image of her 'boss' flashed in her mind. The grapevine had it that the ATS and RAW were collaborating on ousting their game. But they had no idea, did they? They just had no clue how many seemingly ordinary people with ordinary lives were actually sleeper cells waiting for the 'go' order. But he had told her to play it safe. There could be informers among us, too, he had said. And he had looked at her too with suspicion. Damn his patient and perseverant attitude! It just got to her at times. But she had to curb her impulsiveness or the Big Man wouldn't like it, she thought. Wait till she got her hands on the info about Mishra! She would bypass him and take it directly to the Big Man! That should show him!
She moved confidently in the building, trying to recall the pictures that their informer had got them. She stopped in front of a glass door, with no identification on it. This was it, she thought, her heart beating so loud she was sure anyone coming near her could hear it. She pushed the door open and walked in. She had entered another long passage, at the end of which was another glass door, this time manned by two policemen, who were now looking at her curiously. She put on a nonchalant face as she walked slowly towards them, letting them take in her reporter's outfit.
"Sa'ab-ji hai andar?" she asked when she reached them.
"Samar saab nahi hai. Lekin Inspector John D'Cruz hai," said one of the policemen. And then, as if he quickly, remembered his duty. "Aap ka ID, madam?"
"Meera," she said, brusquely, handing over her ID and looking at him expectantly as if he should have known her at sight!
The two policemen fidgeted a little, and looked at each other. Jen kept mum, knowing that her silence would only intimidate them. Finally the other policeman stepped up and took the ID, saying, "Sorry, Madamji. John sir ne kaha hai ki kisi ko andar bhejne ka nahi."
Jen raised her voice. "And now the public has to wait for news kyunki aapke boss ke paas time nahi hai? Nonsense! Maybe I should just go and meet Commissioner Rathod and ask him why his constables are making life so difficult for me. Is there a gag order here or what? The public has a right to know!"
She paused to take a breath. She could see that the mention of Commissioner Rathod had shaken them up. Before she could set off on another tirade, the policemen pushed the door open wide and let her through. Jen adjusted her dupatta and glasses as she walked in, secretly smiling to herself.