Other posts in this series of posts are on this link.

On day three I got out of hotel room and walked in market for a while before entering a cafe for breakfast.  Took the road to Dharmkot again and met the same man I had asked for directions in lower Dharmkot village previous day. He had come this far just to get some work done in a bank.    He gave some more tips regarding shortcuts and paths.

Easier part of the trek

Easier part of the trek

 

I found another trail and took it which led to a canine breeding compound full of menacing looking dogs. A pair which looked like Pitbull was in a steel wire enclosure. They didn’t seem very happy to see me and and I hurried on my way. Continue reading

 Your’s truly is one of select people on the planet who have had the chance to act in the movies, It isn’t like I’m a good actor, I never took part even in school plays. Neither do I have a great personality or good looks, In fact on that day I was looking even more hideous than usual. No shave for 2-3 weeks, overgrown hair looking like matted coils due to sweat and dust and worse. Anyhow, here is the  story:
               It just happened that we and a few friends from office were on a visit to Khajuraho in late August. We were 5 people, me, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Archie.Obviously the names have been changed to protect the identities. :p   Rainy season is usually  an off season for tourists  due to rains  and the fact the nearby Panna National Park is closed. So we were able to find  a good lodge nearly empty. How it filled up to it’s full capacity just in 2 days is another story,Continue reading

Everything in this story including characters, events etc is entirely fictional. 

9:00 AM on the clock.
I groaned and tried to get up. Then dropped down on my back again. It was tempting. What’s the use ? I was late anyway. Better make the most of this crappy start of yet another day of my life and go to sleep again. The temptation was too strong, but then people always say that I’m a sucker for pain. Somehow, managed to drag myself up to my feet and shuffled unsteadily towards bathroom. Yet another half  hour spent  in that too wet, too bright room trying to rub off the remnants of previous day. I couldn’t even remember how that went. Somehow, the fact that I should’ve been on the road by now was conveniently forgotten.  I looked absently for the mirror, only to be see my dull  grey outline on  shiny white tiles where a mirror used to be till last month. Some habits just don’t go away that easily.I was hungry but fridge was empty except for a limp half eaten watermelon. Took a bite then spit it out. I was surprised that the fungus wasn’t visible yet. Bye bye breakfast.

Thankfully keys were exactly where I had expected them to be and I was out of the apartment, locking the door half a minute later.  Sun was up already and it was hot as hell outside. Hello sweat
.
For a 10 minute long walk, I was nearly sprinting towards door of the store where I worked. Oh god, anything to escape this damned heat. It’s not like that I really love the place, but at least it’s air conditioned and much cooler. Same can’t be said for my boss, that middle aged control-freak of indeterminate sex.

To be honest, she is a woman, at least that’s what everybody says. Then who am I to dispute that. My medical history too often comes in between of what I see and what I want to say. Right now, “she” was standing with her back to me in a shapeless dress that could very well  be her night-gown or a sheet clinging to her body hair for all that I know.God ! Why couldn’t Anny see those rough black hair that covered  every inch of her body ? For that matter, why couldn’t anybody else but me ?

Of course, how could I be so stupid, so forgetful ! Anny had no eyes.At least not any that I could see. But nobody ever said or behaved like  she was blind. Customers quite often asked for  her help with making final choices.  She even recommended them alternate colours or designs when she felt like it.  Even then, she was sorting out a pile of t-shirts by their colour. Surely a blind person wouldn’t know how to do anything like that. I stood at the door looking at her as she put her hand in pile of t-shirt and put them on racks one by one.

         “What the hell are you doing staring at her ?” the sentence spoken in that gravely voice shook me out of my reverie as I found myself looking into a writhing dark pit that somehow functioned as my boss’s mouth. I looked blankly at her trying to make sense of what she said when I heard something coming out of her mouth again, ” Go upstairs at once and start unpacking the stuff like Anny has been doing for the last half an hour. And…where the hell have you been ? Why are you so late ? “

“I woke up late”, I managed to squeak out.

“Woke up late my ass. I’d kick you right here for that except for the fact that I’m too busy right now. Now run upstairs and unpack those boxes.”

I nodded my head and nearly bolted for stairs when she called out

again, “Hey wait dumb ass. Aren’t these your pills ?” I turned to see
her waving a dark brown bottle with my name written on it’s lid. “Yes”
I nodded to which she asked another question, ” Why did you leave them
here last night then ?” Without waiting for an answer she asked another, “Why do you need them again ?”

“Uh,my vision doesn’t work well without these.” I stammered out.

“Ah, yes. The vision pills. Don’t forget them here and there if you don’t want to turn blind or something.” She chuckled at her statement and placed the bottle on counter, motioning me to pick it up while she busied herself with her notepad .

I climbed down the stairs and grabbed the bottle before bolting upstairs to my comparatively peaceful upstairs section again. Peaceful was not an accurate way to describe the place . It’s not like she wouldn’t come upstairs to see for herself what was I up to whenever her legs permitted, but  any place away from her direct gaze is better. Much better than poor blind Anny’s who has to work
continuously under her disapproving eyes. I almost chuckled at the irony of that. Eyeless Anny under the watchful eyes.I’d have really laughed out loud when I realised why Anny was without eyes and my boss was a hairy freak of indeterminate gender.

I was not completely correct when I answered boss’s question about what the pills were for. Or may be she hadn’t really understood what I said. My eye sight was completely alright. I’d have passed any eye test without any difficulty. It was only what my brain made out of what my eyes saw which caused me some problems. That problems had forced me to spend 6 years of my life,  to be more specific  almost all of my teenage years  under constant medication. A major part of those years were spent in numerous psychiatric wards of various hospitals undergoing one test after another. Most of the times, being a guinea pig for various experiments that the doctors tried to pass off for treatment. How I wish I had something to blame anyone, my family, doctors, anything for my condition but nobody could put a finger on what was wrong with me.

All they knew that I saw something that was not there. The rat like teeth that I saw growing out of my mother’s mouth or the red scales that started to cover my father’s face as he tried to convince me to climb down from the mango tree that grew in our backyard.  I spent 8 hours clinging to the topmost branch of that tree and would have stayed there much longer if it had not snapped all of a sudden , dropping me unceremoniously to the ground 14-15 feet below. It was at that time
when my parents realized that there was something seriously wrong with me.  Next 6-7 years were spent in a painful daze of hospital stays, injections, pills and hundreds of tests. Of all this, I feared my extended stays in psychiatrist wards  the most. Living there for months, surrounded by crazy people some even more crazy than me scared the hell out of me. Many times I tried to lie my way out. I told my
doctors that everything was fine. That I could see people for what they truly were not what my brain wanted to see. But every time, I found myself back in those wards within a few months. Once I found myself standing alone in some kind of party in a relatives home and tried to jump from their balcony on 5th floor. That was the last time my family ever took me out.

Only silver lining of this dark cloud was that I was absolutely harmless to others. Nobody could ever blame me for hurting someone. All I did was to curl up in a corner, close my eyes and cry in sheer terror. Then slowly I willed myself to control it. I still saw bleeding eyes, smoky nostrils, forked tongues, boiling skin and things much worse around me, but I learned to control my fear. Slowly, I
taught myself to be desensitized from such horrors that only my eyes could see. It was difficult, I failed many number of times, contemplated suicide but something kept me from completely going under.

Spent a long time like that, then things changed a little when I was put on a new experimental drug. I still don’t know what do they call my mental disorder or what’s the exact name of that magic pill or how it works. Only thing I care about is that it helped me like nothing ever did. It changed my life.  Finally, I could go out in a crowded market and see normal faces instead of  mutilated abominations.  Somehow I passed school and enrolled in a college, but apparently it was too much for a crazy unbalanced mind like mine. I dropped out within a year and enrolled in a distant learning course. Then boredom of life hit me and I grew increasingly restless. I fought with my parents and one day left my home town to be here in bigger city where nobody knew me. Even after spending 2 years here, people who know me by name can be counted on 2-3 fingers.

Please don’t get a wrong impression. It’s not like my life has been a theater of tragedy. I’ve had my share of happiness. But there is a funny thing about being sad. Sometimes when you to cheer yourself up by remembering a good memory, you can’t recall one single detail. Even if you can recall it, it makes no effect. It’s like that stuff never happened and even if it did, it made absolutely no difference. People say that one ray of light is sufficient to dispel the deepest dark. Well, sometimes nothing is enough. Sometimes even the brightest sun is snuffed out by the darkness trapped inside you.For a long time, all of this crap going on in my life had made me a depressed freak. Thanks to science, there were pills for that too.  But pills only work your hormones or brain. Whatever they do, they can’t mend your life for you. The dirty work is for you to finish.

This job as a sales attendant at this small showroom doesn’t pay enough or leaves much time to go out and socialize. Not that I could even if I had the means. Sometimes I dream of leaving this city and going somewhere far from all these people. Build  a small cottage or a hut and spend my life watching trees, animals, fluffy clouds in a blue sky and bright sparkling stars in a black one. But I’m so damned afraid of that.

“Do you have these shorts in blue ?”

I was startled and my face must have shown it, for she smiled in a way that felt reassuring and waited while I tried to gather my wits. For how long I had been blanked out in deep thought, I had no idea. I didn’t knew when that girl in white tshirt and black jeans had came upstairs, took out those shorts from display rack and walked up to me ask for a different colour.

“Mmm, I’m not sure. Let me check.” That was all that I could manage to mumble out as I scrambled to find what she had asked for. After some struggle I found the blue one and triumphantly handed it over to her. She flashed another smile and disappeared in to trial room. I watched dumbly as she closed the door and stayed there for 2-3 minutes. Then she opened the door just a little and peeked out, “It’s only two of us here, right ?”
I noticed her sparkling eyes and perfect little mouth for first time.
“Ermm, yes.”

She smiled again “Great, I want your opinion.” Saying this, she stepped out dressed in her t-shirt and those blue shorts that I searched out for her.She looked beautiful and I stared without blinking. Then I heard her saying, “Don’t you think that these are a bit small for me ? Do you have a larger size ?”

I stared while she moved to offer me a better view. My god, she was the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. She had long beautiful legs which were bent at knees in a model like pose. Those blue shorts looked just tailor made for her as they clung to her tightly till her thin waist and shapely butt. Her blue t-shirt was  a perfect fit on her body and highlighted every curve perfectly. She swung lightly in a circle and I noticed her pretty little feet as she shifter her weight from one to another.

” Although I love them, but I think they feel too tight.   What do you think ?  ”

I kept looking at her as if I was trying to make up my mind while in reality I wanted to keep looking at her for as long as possible. She raised her eyebrows in a quizzical expression, ” You look beautiful” that was allthat I could stammer out.

She giggled and pushed back her hair from her face. “Thanks. you are too kind. But I’d really like to try a larger size.”

I looked around. There were boxes of unopened stuff lying in the cupboard. I was supposed to have them unpacked and arranged on shelves half an hour ago. .

“I think we do have a bigger size in new arrivals, but I haven’t unpacked them yet.”

She looked at the shelves and back at me again, “Really ? Let me try out that then.”

“The thing is, it’ll take me sometime to unpack and look for exactly what you need. Can you please wait for a while ? 15 minutes maximum” I waited desperately for her to say yes. That she would stay while I open the boxes and search out those blue shorts for her. No matter how long it took.

She looked slightly disappointed, ” I can’t wait that long here. I have to go somewhere. .”

My heart sank, then she spoke again, ”  But I really want those shorts.  Umm listen, give me your phone number. I’ll be busy for 3-4 hours and will call when I’m finished to check if you found them.”

I nodded vigorously and almost sprinted to the counter to get a card for her. I scribbled down my own phone number  and handed it out for her to take. She took it from my hand and her fingers brushed against mine for fraction of a second. It was first real human touch that I had ever wanted and liked, at least that was what I could remember.

She read the card and pointed at what I had written, “Is that your number ? The store’s phone number is slightly hidden behind what your wrote.”

I smiled sheepishly, “Yes, it’s my number. Sorry about that, but you can call me any time you like. I can give you another card if you’d prefer it that way.”

I was relieved when she shook her head and put the card in her purse, “No, it’s alright. I’ll give you a call when I’m free. Please find them for me. ”

“I’ll do anything and everything.” I realized how foolish it sounded even before I had finished saying that and made a silly face. She laughed lightly and waved a bye as she climbed down the stairs away from my view.

Anny came up the stairs a few minutes later as I was busy searching boxes for those shorts. Instead of arranging them in neat little piles on shelves I was just dumping them on floor looking desperately for anything blue. Anny saw the mess I was making and spoke  “Wow ! What are you doing there ? Arrange these clothes on shelves first.”

I jumped a little on hearing her voice and gave her a sheepish smile. “Yea..well…you are right. I kind of messed it up. Could you please help me a bit ?”

Anny shook her head in exasperation and pointed a finger at me, ” I don’t think that I have the authority to reprimand you, so it’s just a friendly advice. Please be careful when the boss is around. She is not in good mood these days and I don’t want her to vent her anger on any of us. Alright ?”

I stood up silently nodding my head. She looked at me standing like a guilty school kid and smiled, ” Hey, don’t get so sad. It’s just between you and me as friends. Now lets get this stuff lined up before she comes up.”

I nodded brightly and got to work at once Sometimes I glanced at her through corner of my eyes as she arranged clothes on shelves hoping to find those blue shorts I so desperately needed. She seemed different but I couldn’t place my finger on it. It was only much later that I realized that she was not blind after all. But that was a really long time after. At that time, I was totally obsessed with finding those blue shorts in that right size for the pretty girl. Thankfully I didn’t had to wait long before finding the box that contained them. I gave a little whoop of joy and picked up a few pairs in my hand looking for the size she had requested. Fortunately, there were three.

I must have seemed really happy because Anny asked about it but I changed the subject. It was almost lunchtime and I was really hungry. I wolfed down 2 sandwiches and a mug of coffee and was back on my place much before lunch break was over. If Anny or boss found it  strange, neither of them said anything. Grabbing hold of my chair, I placed my phone on the table and stared at it waiting for it to ring. I also kept an ear open in case the shop’s land-line phone rang downstairs. It rang 3 times and I sneaked down every time wondering if it was her. The time was middle of the week and business was slow. Only one customer came up to my section  and she too left without buying anything . I kept waiting for the call getting impatient with each passing moment. I mentally kicked myself for not asking for her number. I could have asked for it without sounding creepy. After all so many people leave their numbers with us for exactly the samepurpose that she had. Now I despaired if she’d ever call. Seconds ticked by and soon it was 07:00 pm, only an hour to go before the shop closed for the day.
I paced the floor slowly repeatedly glancing at the blue shorts that I had sorted out and placed separately. Just when I was convinced that she was not coming I heard someone climbing the stairs and before I could turn around to see she was there standing there with a quizzical smile on her face. She seemed tired. Before she could say anything, I exclaimed, “I thought that you were not coming at all. ”

I thought she was slightly surprised, ” Sorry, I got stuck somewhere and couldn’t come earlier. ”

I probably grinned like an idiot and said grandly, “Oh, please don’t worry about that now. I’ve got your shorts in just the right size for you” and placed them with I thought was a dignified flourish in front of her.

Her face brightened a little as she picked up the 2 newly unpacked pairs and read the labels. Without saying anything she turned and locked herself  in the trial room as I mentally followed her every movement.

“What wouldn’t I give to be there with her I thought to myself and strangely was not surprised. I spent next few minutes day dreaming about the thought till she came out and placed one pair on the table. “I’ll take this one.”

I was slightly disappointed that she didn’t ask for my opinion like before. But I nodded brightly and congratulated her on her excellent choice, then again watched her as she took her time looking at the new arrivals that me and Anny had arranged just a few hours back. Apparently nothing else caught her fancy and she turned to me, ‘Umm, I think that’s all I’d like to buy today. Can you please make a bill for it ?”

No bargaining , It was a bit surprising.

I nodded brightly and took the shorts myself to the counter to get it billed. There were less than 10 minutes to our closing time and I noticed that Anny had already left. Only the boss was there behind the billing counter, stretching lazily like a cat. Thank god her face was not visible from where I was coming. I made more noises than usual while coming towards her, hoping that she’ll stop doing that.
Thankfully she composed herself and started generating the bill without asking any questions. She just raised her head to glance at her customer when she came down and stood by the counter. The girl paid full amount, nodded a thanks at me and walked slowly towards exit as she looked at the clothes at display. My  attention was broken by boss getting out of  her chair and rattling out orders at me. “Closing time. Gather your stuff and don’t forget your pills this time.”

I looked somewhat longingly at the girl as she ambled towards exit and sprinted up the stairs to gather my stuff. I was back in a jiffy. Boss seemed a bit astonished to see her orders being obeyed so enthusiastically. “That was fast.” She mumbled while locking the counter and gathering her own keys.

“Only following your orders ma’m” I shrugged to myself.

She gestured towards the girl as she stood near the door admiring a blouse and asked in a lowered voice, “She isn’t going to buy anything more, is she? I have to get home at time today for a change and its raining outside. I hate getting stuck in traffic jams due to rains.”

I had no idea about the rain but I didn’t care. I never resented a little walk in the rain. The girl was now pushing the door open and I could see a steady drizzle soaking up the sidewalk and road beyond it. She glanced back at us once and realised that it was our closing time. She stepped out of the shop and took shelter beneath the sun shade looking a bit impatient .  Boss nodded at me, “Hurry, hurry. Let’s go too.”

She shuffled hurriedly to the door and locked it as I stepped out staring again at the girl. If my boss noticed, she gave no indication. She just locked the door and asked if I need a lift. It was just a formality. My place was barely 10 minutes walk from the shop and she  had to drive to the opposite side. I had never been inside her car the  whole time I had worked there. I shook my head and she immediately
turned to sprint towards her car parked just in front. I watched the  fat woman run awkwardly in order to spare herself getting splashed by a few drops of water
on a walk of 3 meters. I wondered what’d happen to her fat body if she slipped and fell. I was sure that I’ll never be able to even help her up stand on her feet, let alone carry her to her car or somewhere.

The girl must have guessed what I was thinking, I don’t know how. Maybe by the worried smirk like expression on my face. She just remarked in a casual manner, “I’d be careful if I were in her place.” I looked towards her and grinned, Don’t worry about her. She is pretty experienced.”

She smiled back and said, “I sure hope so.” Then stretching her hands out of the shelter of sun roof she remarked, ” Looks like this rain is not going to stop anytime soon.”

I shrugged, “Who knows ! Do you have to go somewhere far ?”

” It isn’t that far. Just 12-15 minutes from here if you walk. But it’s raining  a bit too hard for the walk and I can’t seem to find a taxi. These idiots just disappear when you need them the most.”

I nodded sympathetically, “Happens. By  the way, if you don’t mind, would you like to join me for a cup of coffee  ? The shop is very near and they probably have the best coffee and donuts in the city.”

She chuckled and shrugged, ” Sure , why not ! Beats standing here and getting splashed by second hand rain water.”

I nodded enthusiastically and pointed out the coffee shop as best as I could. “There is that shop. I guess we’ll have to make a dash for it just like my boss if we don’t want to get wet.”

She laughed, “My god. Of all the people..not like her ! ”

We both rushed out of shelter of the sun-roof together and scrambled in to the coffee shop without getting too wet. The place wasn’t crowded at the time and we found my favourite table near the  glass window. We spent next 20-30 minutes talking over over coffee and doughnuts. I don’t really remember how they tasted. I was simply too occupied by our conversation to remember any other detail. I told her a little bit about where I lived and my home town along with a few other details. Turned out, she lived just 3 streets away from me in a rented house. There was a lot more that we told about ourselves to each other then and later, but I don’t remember too much of it. Another portion of my good memories seemingly lost.

The part I remember is both of us looking out of the window and waiting for the rain to stop which it never did. A steady drizzle kept on falling down all the time we were there. It didn’t looked like it’d stop any time soon. Somehow, I was happy for it
 We finished our coffees and donuts and were nibbling on last of our muffins, when she asked me, ” Do you like walking in rain ?”
I looked at her with a grin slowly forming on my face, “Of course I do. But we’ll not find any cab or auto now..”
She shook her head impatiently, “You are such a dumbass. Didn’t I say walking ? Or are you really afraid of a a little water ?”
I don’t think I was so sure but I didn’t want to give her a reason to complain, ” If you have no problem, I’m all for it. Lets take a walk.”
She giggled and picked up her bag, “Lets go then. I don’t want the rain to stop before we get out.”.
We stood on the door of coffee shop and looked at each other once, then I pushed the door open and we both stepped out. A whiff of wet cool air immediately hit us followed by hundreds of drops of rain. We both shivered a little and laughed. I think I was a little bit nervous but can’t be so sure now. Anyhow, we both stepped out in to the rain and nature greeted us with a big flash of lightning followed by deafening thunder. I’ve never been much afraid of thunder, but that one was big enough to give me a pause. She on the other hand seemed to enjoy it. She squealed with laughter and held my arm as zigzag lines of light tore in to the sky and the sound hit as a few moments later. The rain had drenched me cold to my bones by then but I could still feel the warmth of her hands on my arm. I saw her laughing and felt he voice in spite of thunder and I have never felt so content with my life ever since.
     Our plan was to walk a bit forward from my place towards her where we’d both part ways. But the rain increased it’s tempo and we found ourselves on the door of my flat soaked to our skin. I shivered  and struggled like a drunk to fit key in to lock. It was a mess inside but she made no comment.
 Walking with shoulders hunched, we searched for a clean towel to dry ourselves with. She rubbed her arms and moaned, ” All my clothes are soaked ! Wish I had worn shorts instead of these stupid jeans. “
I kept rummaging through the pile of clothes in cupboard and said, “Well, you had one pair right in your hands all this while.”
She probably rolled her eyes as she said this but I didn’t see, ” Where’d I changed smart ass ? In that cafe or on the road ?”
I finally found a spare clean towel and tshirt and tossed them on bed. Pointing them out to her I answered, “What about here, now ? Or you can have my shorts or anything else you find clean enough. “
She picked up the towel to dry her hair, “Not a bad idea. Where is your bathroom ?”
I pointed it out to her and she closed the door behind her. I was a little bit disappointed, again. I was still staring at the door when I heard her from inside, “Hey, don’t you have any mirror ? “
I answered, “Uh no. It broke a few days back.”
I still had the scars on my hand to show for it.
I shrugged off my stupor and changed in to some dry clothes of my own before she finished.  She came out a minute later dressed in one of my white tshirts and her blue shorts. Although the tshirt was a little big for her, she looked beautiful dressed like that. Her damp hair half covered her face and neck. I think I fell in love right then.
She saw me staring at her and raised her eyebrows, “What are you looking at ? Don’t I look horrible right now ? My hair is a mess and you don’t even have a mirror ! How can you live without one ? “
I raised my hands in protest, “No no. You look very beautiful like this. Really, I swear.”
She looked doubtfully at me, “Yeah right. Even a cow will get the same lines from you folks.”
I feigned a look of hurt innocence, “I’m hurt by your comment. I really think that you look beautiful and you think I’m saying this because I work at a sales counter ? “
It was her turn to look surprised, ” No… I didn’t mean that. I just thought that you were saying this just to preserve my feelings.”
“I know, I know. I was just kidding. But you really look great. Why’d I lie anyway ? Would you like something to eat or drink ? “
She looked out of the window at the pouring rain and thunder, “I’m not sure. I should be at my room by now.”
Just then a loud bolt of thunder struck and our windows rattled. Even I jumped a little. “Wow! I don’t think you’ll be able to go anywhere for quite some time now in this weather. It’d be better if you stay till it clears up “
She shrugged, “Yeah, it’s not like I can go outside in this weather anyway.”
I tried to remember if I had anything edible left, it wasn’t much. Still I asked, “Would you like anything to eat or drink ?”
She looked doubtful a and thought for a while before answering, “I’m not hungry at all. Those donuts and coffee filled me up. But still, something hot to drink would be nice.”
  There wasn’t much that I could offer her except the usual coffee and tea. She shook her head and said, “Naa, let’s just leave it. I’ve had enough caffeine for one day.”
I then said, “I have one bottle of vodka lying around. We can have that if you’d like.”
She looked pleased, “Really ? I haven’t had any booze since ages. “
I fished out the bottle from my cupboard and poured drinks for both of us. She first took a small sip, then emptied the glass in one go. She made a face then squealed, “Bottoms up!”
I looked doubtfully at my own glass weighing my choices. What choice did I have anyway ? I too held my breath and emptied it like her.  I hadn’t drunk anything in a really long time and the vodka virtually burned through my insides. I choked a little and she laughed out loud.
“No more alcohol for me tonight” I managed to croak out, causing her to make a face at me again. “You are much much older than you look. But I’m going to have one more.”
I nodded, “Yes. Be my guest.”
I held the empty glass in my hands and watched her pour another drink for herself. She held the glass in front of her nose and sniffed it like a wine connoisseur. Then she took a small sip and made a show of tasting the vodka by swilling it inside her mouth. Maybe I got drunk too soon, probably that’s why I held my stomach and laughed like crazy. She laughed hard too and squirted some of her drink out of her mouth. I think we were too drunk at that time to care or may be we were just too happy. It didn’t matter that time.
 She was still giggling when she exclaimed, ” Damn ! I spilled some on your tshirt ! I’m so sorry !”
I waved it away non-nonchalantly, ” Don’t worry about it. I have plenty to last me a lifetime. Just grab another from my closet.”
She nodded her head sagely, “Yes, yes, I know that you have your own shop. No shortage of clothes ever. Right ?”
I nodded back with a straight face, “True. Now why don’t you pick one for yourself. I feel too lazy to get  up and pick one for you.”
“As usual.” She pouted a little and walked up to the closet and picked 2-3.” Which one is OK ?”
I shrugged, “Not sure. Take any.”
She looked over one tshirt after the other and finally decided on a gray one. She put it against her neck to check it’s size to which I said, ” They are all the same size. If that one fit, this will too.”
She threw the rest on my face and picked the gray one. ” I’m going to change in to this one. Don’t try to look, pervert.”
She turned towards the wall with her back in front of me and took off the wet white tshirt.  I think I’m a pervert because I looked. Right now, when I’m thinking about it, I should have not done that. I can’t really say if things would have been better if I had not sneaked a look. But they could’ve been different. Whether for better or worse, again I don’t know.
Now these people tell me that I again had a relapse, because I had skipped my medications and was drunk. I know that no one will believe anything I say for my defense and it really doesn’t matter much anyhow. I just hope that … well, I don’t know what I hope for now. It all seems like a really strange dream. The kind of dream you suddenly wake up from and only remember fragments. You wake up and wonder for a while if it was real or not. Shudder or smile a little over what you remember and it”s memory goes away on it’s own moments later
Anyhow, coming back to my story, she was taking off her tshirt facing away from me and I could see her dressed only in her new shorts. My gaze went up slowly as she pulled the tshirt over her head, first over her ass, then her slim waist and then what seemed like a pair of white tree-branches attached to her shoulder blades. Flakes of some white thing that looked somewhat like clumps of disfigured feathers  were hanging haphazardly over them. It looked as if a beast with sharp claws had tried to rip off the wings of a dove but had been too lazy to perform a clean job The dove had escaped badly wounded and disgustingly crippled.
  It looked hideous and I gagged.  I put my face to the pillow and tried to fight off that sickening feeling. A few moments later I heard her voice but she seemed so distant that I couldn’t understand. Then I felt her hands on my back and head and heard her voice again. But I still couldn’t hear what she was trying to say. I felt scared and tried to roll away from her but she held me by my arms and tried to get me to answer. I put my face away from her and clenched my eyes shut as tightly as I could. I could tell by her grip on my arms that she was getting really worried and probably a bit scared too. But I don’t think that she was half as scared as i was.
 She tried to shout in to my ears and slapped my face in desperation. I think it was that moment when I completely lost it. Suddenly I threw her off me and jumped off the bed. I grabbed the bottle of vodka by the neck and smashed it’s bottom against the wall. She looked petrified as I walked towards her with that jagged piece of glass in my hand. Shards of broken glass pierced my soles but I walked over them. I could see her eyes wide open with fear, her mouth half-opened in a scream that was trapped in her throat. But none of that registered, All I could really see were those ugly, broken wings stretched across her shoulders over her head.
I tried to reason with her with my voice broken by scared, angry sobs, “Please, let me do this. These things don’t belong to you, you need to get rid of them.”
She slowly backed up against the wall and shook her head as panic slowly built up inside her, “Whaaat ?” She stuttered, “What things ?”
“The wings !”  I screamed, “Those damned ugly broken wings !! Get rid of them. Let me get rid of them for you.”
She looked even more startled, “Have you gone mad ? What wings ?”
I walked a couple of more steps towards her shaking my head. Some more shards of glass pressed deeper in to my feet. “Please let me help you. This might hurt a little but you’ll be more beautiful than ever after this.” Then I jumped towards her and tried to grab her. But she was quick and scampered out of my reach. But the broken bottle in my flailing hands managed to land a nasty cut on her left arm. She screamed with pain and jumped over my bed to the other side. “You’ve gone completely crazy ! Let me go ! Let me go and everything will be all right.”
I paid no heed to her pleas and climbed on bed. I stood up on my knees and shuffled slowly towards her. ” Don’t you see ? I’m the one trying to make everything all right. Please …”
I couldn’t finish what I was about to say as I was suddenly blinded by extreme burning sensation on my eyes and face. Somehow she had managed to grab hold of her pepper-spray can and had sprayed it all over me without me knowing she even had one. Glass fragments on soles were one thing, but a pepper spray on eyes blinded me immediately and I fell on my back howling with pain. Last thing I remember is something heavy hitting my head 2-3 times. Then I passed out.
Now I’m sitting in this white tiled room with my hands and feet firmly strapped to this uncomfortable chair.  A man in white doctor’s coat is sitting in front of me with a thick file in his hand. Somehow he looks familiar. I squint my eyes and try to remember.  I try really hard, then I feel too tired and let my neck go limp to my side.  I focus my eyes on tip of my nose and smile. I can see another vague shape in white standing just behind the doctor. I try to bring that shape in to focus. It turns out to be a nurse. Thick, fat one at that. I smile again at her. I see her mouth moving as if she is saying something and gesturing with her hands. I look towards the direction she is pointing to and I see the doctor holding a newspaper clipping right in front of my nose.  He too is saying something but his voice is tinny and coming from a long distant tunnel.
I smile and shake my head but both seem earnest that I look towards ths clipping. I roll my eyes in a good natured way and try to read that paper that they seem to be so concerned about. headline of that news article reads, ” Crazy salesgirl assaults her own customer”
I shake my head slowly in mock sympathy.  I want to say something but don’t feel like it. But they still are not satisfied.  The doctor pushes the paper closer to my face and I focus on it again. It reads,
  ” A young woman was attacked last night by the sales girl of a local clothing store in latter’s house. According to the sources, the salesgirl had met and befriended the victim yesterday in the clothing store. They left together after closing time and stopped in salesgirl’s home at night due to heavy rains. There, they both had some alcohol following which she suddenly broke the bottle of which they were drinking and attacked her new friend. The victim managed to overpower her attacker with the help of a pepper-spray but suffered a few nasty cuts in process. Apparently, that salesgirl  had a long running history of mental illness and had been on medications which she apparently skipped. As of now, she has been placed in an undisclosed institution.”
I smile and shrug. Both the doctor and nurse look at each other and exchange some words. He gets up from the chair and walks slowly to my side. He pulls out a photo from his file and puts it in front of me. It’s her. I smile and nod. Now, I hear him say, ” Do you remember her ?”
“Yes.” I nod my head.
” Was she nice to you ?”
“Yes.” I nod again.
” Did you ever had any argument or fight of some kind ?”
This time I shake my head, “No.”
“You read and understood that news clipping I showed you, right ?”
“Yes.”
He takes a deep breath and asks in even more gentler voice, ” She, your friend that is, says that you attacked her with a broken vodka bottle for no reason. Is it true ?”
I turn my neck to look at him in the eyes,”I didn’t attack her. I just wanted to remove her ugly broken wings. I just wanted to make her beautiful.”
Doctor and nurse both exchange glances again. Then he says again, “You’ve been saying that ever since you got here. But that girl never had any wings to begin with. Everyone who ever knew him says the same. Humans don’t have any wings.”
I shake my head and reply, ” But I’m telling you doctor. I saw her hideous wings with my own eyes. She is so pretty and they were just rotting off and looked hideous on her. I thought maybe  I could get rid of them from her. I don’t know how she thought that I wanted to harm her. I’ll never hurt anybody you know.”
He crouches down to bring his face to my eye level and looks closely at me, ” Do you remember who am I ?”
I remember it right then and answer, ” Yes ! You are the doctor from that ugly hospital who gave me those pills. They really helped !”
He smiles at me with a painful expression and turns his face towards the floor. As he runs his hands through his hair I hear him exhale deeply, “Apparently not enough.”
 I think I didn’t hear it all and first look at nurse then again at the doctor who is still rubbing his head, “Huh ? “
He stands up and smiles with the same pained expression. “Nothing really. I need to go right now. I’ll be back to see you later.”
As he pushes all of his papers inside the folder I look at him and say, “It’s nice to see you again.”
This time he doesn’t looks at me when he says, “It’s been nice to see you too kiddo.” and turns to leave.  A piece of paper slips from the file and lands near my feet. It’s the same news clipping that he had made me read a few minutes ago. I think there is a thing common between the two. Both don’t seem really truthful. I shrug to myself, “Hmmm… It’s not like I can do anything about it.”
The End


Previous Part1015 Hours
13th November 2012
India

DM finished reading the thick 100+ page file that contained bulk of agreements signed between India and China, closed his eyes and leaned back on his chair. He had been working like a mule for last two weeks and it was the first moment in many days when he felt that he could relax. Even then, he couldn’t help but think about the deal that was about to be finalised with Chinese. Initially, Chinese negotiations team was really stubborn and inflexible, but Indians were quite a match for them and had succeeded in getting a favourable agreement after mostly acrimonious talks that lasted almost a week. But owing to unprecedented extraordinary circumstances, it was finalized in a record time.

As was expected, the talks had started in a very hostile environment. Chinese armed forces had suffered horrendous losses without much to show for it. Additionally, they had been forced to cede ground to supposedly numerically and technically inferior enemy. Their humiliation was made even worse by the capture of 2 nuclear missiles along with 100s of soldiers and capture of an intact nuclear submarine followed by sinking of another two even before the hostilities had begun. Unlike the conflict in J&K-Tibet; area that followed later, these incidents had been milked to their last drops by Indians on world stage. PLA officers which formed the bulk of Chinese negotiations team were none too happy for that. They had shown their displeasure over what was termed as”lack of maturity and foresight” by India, which was promptly rebutted by their Indian counterparts.

As was expected, Chinese had brought up every outstanding issue including status of Tibetan rebels, Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin etc., many of which had little to do with the task at hand. These tactics were meant to throw Indians off the guard but Indians too had good experience in such matters and the negotiations had dragged on for days before USA and Russia had put in all of their resources forcing the two belligerent nations to hammer out a compromise. Chinese were loathe to admit that India had successfully used tactical nuclear weapons on four of their bases and had vigorously denied all such reports. India on it’s part maintained a stony silence. But within days of the attack, proofs to this effect had been released in public domain. There was much brouhaha in the usual circles, bringing even more pressure to get an effective ceasefire.

Chinese had agreed to Indian claim on Pakistan occupied part of J&K; earlier, but balked and nearly walked out when Indians staked their claim on Shaksgam Valley and Aksai Chin. Indians on their part pointed out that Shaksgam valley was more or less under Indian control and so was almost 40% of Aksai Chin. Indian offensive had been halted just a few 10s of KMs from the vital Chinese National Highway 219. But Chinese in spite of putting in best of their efforts had been unable to push back Indians from any front except a couple.
After much heated and prolonged talks, Chinese had agreed to hand over control of Shaksgam Valley to India, in exchange of Indian pull back in Aksai Chin which was hotly contested by Indians leading to another deadlock. This was broken off after much haggling and heart burn on both sides.
After many such deadlocks, gist of some important agreements were:

1) All of J&K; except Aksai Chin under Indian control. All of Pakistan occupied J&K; and Shaksgam Valley under sovereign Indian control accompanied by removal of all Chinese personnel from these areas.

2) India withdraws forces from Aksai Chin back to their previous positions. Indian team spent longest amount of time on this as the territorial gains made in the sector was substantial. . Indians agreed to only a partial withdraw and refused to abandon their new and advantageous positions The issue was not solved to satisfaction of either party and left for future talks.

3) Assurance by both nations over non-interference in each other’s internal conflicts. In nutshell, all Indian support to Tibetan rebels inside China ceases. Similarly, China stops supporting Naxals and separatist groups in north-east India.

4) In spite of their best efforts, Indians were unable to get anything agreed upon Chinese claims on Arunachal Pradesh. The matter too was left undecided pending further discussions.

5) Unconditional release of all the prisoners from both sides. Considering that Chinese formed almost all of the group, they were rather keen on it and willing to get it over with as soon as possible. The issue of two nuclear missiles and submarine was contested by India as winner’s right to the war trophy. India later agreed to hand over the weapon systems back to China (after suitable investigations).

6) Chinese delegation was put under considerable pressure by Indians over the issue of extradition and trial of Chinese personnel responsible for nuclear attack on India. India never had any kind of extradition treaty with China and they used this loophole to wriggle free. Only consolation available to India were assurances “set in stone” that the guilty people will be tried and punished under international observation

After a while DM opened his eyes and called for Defence Secretary Pillai. He was one of the most senior members from the Indian negotiations team and had drafted a significant part of the recently signed agreement himself. DM had picked up the file again and was leafing through the pages when he entered. Pillai greeted the minister and waited for him to speak. DM put the file down and said, ” “Well Pillai jee. Seems like we’ve done not a really bad job after all .”

“Not the best, but could’ve done worse. Got most of what we wanted in J&K;, but couldn’t get anything done on Arunachal and extradition. A mixed bag if you ask me.”

DM nodded, ” Nobody ever gets everything. They refuse to handover those criminals, we refuse to go back from Aksai Chin.”

Pillai looked at the file on table and said, “That’s what is troubling me. Don’t you think that it’ll provoke them in to engaging even more mischief than usual.”

DM stood up and walked to the window of his office. After staring outside for a while, he turned and faced DS., “We’ve been dealing with their mischief for decades now. One time we stood up to their bullying, they back down like a whipped dog. After what we’ve gone through, I’m not afraid of anything. If they have any problem with our attitude, too bad mate. But that’s how things are going to be from now on. ”

A surprised grin formed on Pillai’s face as he heard somewhat undiplomatic words coming out of possible Prime Minister of India. “So, we’re signing it right now ? ”

DM nodded, ” Yes. No point in delaying it further. I also need you to prepare a press release and a speech for the press conference. I’ll need you besides me there. ”

“Yes sir.” Pillai stood up to take his leave.

Epilogue

3 February 2013
BNT News Release

Emergency workers and rescuers have found no trace of General Kong and retired CPC member An Wang, after the yacht they were sailing in disappeared in South China sea, just a few KM away from coastal city of Shantou . Till now, only parts of the yacht have been discovered floating just a few km from the area where it was last reported to be 36 hours before. It had lost contact with mainland and other ships in middle of the night during a low intensity rain storm.
Search for the yacht and it’s occupants is still going on. According to one rescue worker, it’s nearly impossible for a yacht of that size to disappear just like that without any one seeing it at least once. Each passing moment with no trace of survivors makes any chance of their survival extremely bleak.

Although it was never declared publicly, these two were some of the senior most Chinese officials forced to resign from their posts over the role they had allegedly played in incidents that had lead to a nuclear conflict with India.

6th February 2013
Xinhua News Agency

3 PLA personnel lost their lives in a tragic road accident in Dagze. a small town near Lhasa. Dead include General Chan , his aide Major Kong and driver Corporal Fai. According to witnesses, Corporal Fai lost control of the car they were traveling in while negotiating a sharp turn and hit a road barrier. The car turned turtle on hitting the barrier and rolled down the slope to the gorge below killing all it’s occupants on the spot. Their bodies have been recovered and sent to their families for last rites.
General Chang just had just assumed command of PLA’s Dagze supply base and was on an familiarisation tour when the mishap occurred.

1223 Hours
8th Feruary 2013
PM’s Office
New Delhi, India

NSA chief Angad, entered the office of India’s newest PM and handed him a file, “Last night, Chinese forces again shelled some of our posts in Aksai Chin. No causalities, but seems like that they are making a routine of it.”

“I suppose, some people in China are getting scared.” PM Shivendra smiled and started browsing through the file. “What is going on with our Tibetan friends ?”

“They’re getting restless now. They say that they’ve been lying low for long enough. I think they are right. They’ve had ample time to train, regroup and gather supplies.”

PM nodded, “I know. Tell them to wait just a little bit more. Also send my personal thanks for their help in our little mission in Dagze. They deserve whatever we can offer them.”

Angad nodded his head in agreement and stood up to leave. Apparently, war was not over yet.

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Previous Part

0100 Hours
6th November 2012
Somewhere In India

Just like the last time, Chinese President came to the point of interest immediately, “Mr. Angad, I must strongly protest your army’s actions in Aksai Chin and Shaksgam Valley. I thought that we had an agreement on not escalating the violence till we catch and punish the criminals on our side. “

DM Angad shot back, ” Are you that ignorant of what your military is doing right in front of you or are you just playing with us Mr. Peng ? Also, our armed forces are acting under our direct orders and our orders were to not to take any further attack lying down. Your army attacked us without any provocation near Shaksgam Valley, then fired 16 cruise missiles at us. You think that we’ll take all that provocations lying down ? I had warned you earlier against any further misadventure which you ignored.”

“That helicopter of yours was shot down by some over zealous guards when it seemed like it was going to cross over to our side. It was an honest mistake.”

DM grind his teeth in anger, ” Honest mistake ! Your men not only shot down the helicopter which was 10s of KMs away from territory occupied by you, but also ambushed our soldiers who went out to help the survivors. Your men were no ordinary border guards. They were well trained special forces operatives and were under specific instructions to sabotage and harass our military personnel. We have their dead bodies and identity papers to show for it. Don’t you lie with me on this one Mr. Peng. We all know who was responsible for what.”
Seeing uncomfortable the look on other people’s faces present in room, DM took a deep breath to calm himself then continued, “Even if you were not at fault there, who is going to take responsibility for firing off 16 missiles at us ? Was that one of your investigative tactics ? “

Chinese President answered with a menace in his voice, ” I don’t think that you understand what is at stake here. Your country has already suffered one nuclear attack. I don’t even want to imagine what a full fledged nuclear war will do to your beautiful nation. “

This was the last straw for DM who shot up from his chair and hissed in to the mouthpiece, ” If you are blackmailing us with your nuclear toys, then you’ll do well to remember the fate of your Pakistani poodles. They tried playing the same game with us and see what that brought for them.You make one stupid move and I swear that your fate will be worse than Pakis. You must be extremely naive to think that I’m making empty threats.”
All the pretense of diplomatic speech was gone from the conversation.

Seeing the move backfiring, Chinese Pres immediately changed track , ” I hope you understand that we are not fighting over a personal issue here. Lives of one-thirds of the world’s population are at stake here. Any hot-headed decision will be catastrophic for the whole world. “

” Please don’t lecture me on this. It became personal for me and for everybody else when we saw more than thirty thousand fellow Indians burn to death in an instant. What surprises me that you still have the gall to call and threaten us.”

Chinese President’s voice assumed a conciliatory tone, “I completely understand what your country is going through, but you must understand that the attack was a conspiracy between Pakistanis and a few Chinese rogue elements. We can’t let isolated incidents disrupt peace when so much is at stake.”

“I’ll tell you what is at stake for you. If you don’t agree to what we demand, then be ready to say good bye to your China as you know it. With Pakistan, we limited our strikes to military targets. We wouldn’t be so considerate in your case. Every single city of your’s in our range will be burnt to ashes. I’ll personally start the massacre by firing off your two missiles that we captured from Gilgit. I had warned you of what we are capable of in our last conversation and trust me, I’ll do exactly that. “

“We’ll do exactly what we agreed upon in our previous conversation, as soon as you call back your soldiers from our territory.”

DM answered with a twisted smile, ” I’m sorry to say it to you, but Aksai Chin and Shaksgam Valley don’t belong to China anymore. Even as we talk, our soldiers are pushing back yours to reclaim what’s rightfully ours.”

“We don’t have much time to play such games. I’m requesting you to put an end to hostilities and recall your soldiers. Otherwise things will get nasty real quick.”

Ignoring the threat DM continued, “I hear Tibetans and Uighurs are giving you lots of trouble. Also, US is right at your throat over that Taiwanese F-16 incident. I suggest you forget about Aksai Chin and Shaksgam and concentrate on rest of your trouble spots.”

“You must know that we have the capability of doing much worse with your dissidents than what you can do with ours.” was the predictable reply, which most people in the room just shrugged off.

Everyone in the room watched the verbal duel between the two leaders with bated breaths. Indian blitzkrieg in two sectors had routed the Chinese defences. In Aksai Chin, two pronged attack by Indian mountain divisions had over run most of their defensive strongholds and taken control of vital highways that Chinese had constructed. Indians had preferred bypassing Chinese forces and encircling them wherever possible instead of engaging in pitched battles. Shaksgam Valley which had only token military presence too was overrun without much trouble. Guerrilla attacks by Tibetan rebels helped in no less deal by SFF had disrupted Chinese supply lines and thrown most of their battle plans out of order. Even if PLA succeeded in pushing Indians back over the next few days, it’d still be a major embarrassment for much hyped Chinese military might. And as of now, PLA looked too disorganized and disoriented even to put up a decent fight.
Indians had been bracing up for an attack further south in Arunachal Pradesh, but so far the fight had been limited to artillery duels with neither side committing to a full scale fight, which suited India just fine.
After the successive setbacks, Chinese had at realised their own precarious position and were looking for a way to save their face. Everybody knew that Chinese President was on phone only because he was on the verge of a very embarrassing defeat.
His aggressive posturing was nothing more than false bravado and attempts of intimidation, which had no effect on Indians. Seeing all of his attempts of bullying Indian leadership in to submission, Peng changed tracks.

“Listen Mr Angad. We all realize that a war is not in our interest. We need to end the conflict before it expands and turns nastier. Nuclear weapons have already been used. So far, only military targets have been attacked but you know we have to end this before either of us are forced in to some thing even more destructive. We need to wind all this down”

DM leaned back on his chair and looked around the room at the people surrounding him and spoke, “What are you offering us ?”

0700 Hours
6th November 2012

BREAKING NEWS

India and China have both agreed to a ceasefire to the conflict which was threatening to put the world on brink of a nuclear war. The news has come as a major relief to whole of the world as the battles between two nuclear armed rivals started to escalate and spread to multiple fronts.Both nations have agreed to cease hostilities and hold immediate negotiations to resolve their disputes. A Chinese delegation will land in New Delhi within next few hours to this effect.

As many of our viewers already know, India had accused China of hatching a conspiracy which culminated with 2 nuclear missiles being launched from Pakistan, one of which killed more than 25000 people in Rajasthan. Other missile targeted towards Mumbai was intercepted and destroyed in midair by Indian home grown missile defence system.

In retaliation, India had launched a massive nuclear and conventional weapons based attack on Pakistan which all but wiped out Pakistan from world map, causing millions of causalities. Hours after the attack, Indian military had captured a Chinese nuclear submarine just a few KM south of Gawadar port and two Chinese nuclear tipped ICBMs from a tunnel near Gilgit from Pakistan controlled part of J&K.; Based upon the evidence collected, India had accused one senior member of CPC identified as Admiral (retd) Xedong of masterminding the nuclear attack on Indian soil. China had first rejected Indian demands of handing over Admiral Xedong and 7 other CPC and PLA officers and put Admiral Xedong in custody. Xedong was considered by many to be one of the likely candidates for the chair of Chinese president after Peng’s terms got over next year in August. Massive riots had broken out in many Chinese cities after news of Xedong’s death in custody had leaked out.

Two days after the incident, advancing Indian forces in Pak occupied Kashmir were involved in a conflict with Chinese forces near Shaksgam valley. The small fire fight quickly escalated in to something much worse as China launched more than a dozen cruise missiles at Indian bases in J&K;, causing serious damage to Leh airfield. In retaliation, India attacked dozens of Chinese bases in Aksai Chin and Tibet. Although, both sides are tight lipped about it right now, some reports suggest that India used at least two nuclear tipped missiles in the attack.
Chinese forces in the area which were already battling resurgent Tibetan and Uighur rebels were unable to withstand the subsequent blitzkrieg of Indian air and ground attack and were forced to abandon their positions in Shaksgam Valley and Aksai Chin.

According to experts, Chinese forces were stretched too thin due to their ongoing operations against domestic insurgency which had disrupted their supply lines in the remote and rough terrain. Additionally, Chinese government had came under immense international pressure after another conflict with Taiwan and USA seemed imminent brought upon by downing of Taiwanese F-16 fighter plane by a Chinese warship. After the incident USA had dispatched two of it’s CBGs to help Taiwan defend itself against any further Chinese aggression.
Although no official confirmation has come in yet, it’s believed that Indian, Chinese and US submarines were involved in a shooting match east of Andaman islands which resulted in sinking of at least one Chinese submarine.
All of this has seemed to helped Indian forces in their war with China as they overran Chinese defences in Shaksgam Valley and parts of Aksai Chin, before their advance slowed down due to pressure on their supply lines and fierce Chinese resistance. Before the declaration of ceasefire, Indian forces in Aksai Chin had penetrated up to 110 km in some sectors

Right now, it’s unclear whether India will hand over the captured territory back to China. Although China has agreed to Indian claim on Pakistan controlled part of J&K;, both parties remained tight lipped over the Chinese controlled areas. It’s quite likely that India will drive a hard bargain with China over it and probably try to get a favourable agreement on long standing border disputes. Considering that Indians have a fully weaponised Chinese nuclear submarine and crew along with at least 350 Chinese soldiers and civilians in their custody, it seems that they will have an upper hand during the negotiations. Also under present circumstances, world opinion seems more or less to be on Indian side. Though it remains to be seen how it’ll affect the negotiations .