Kaalkut. Chapter 20

9 February 2020

Pokhra, Nepal.

Padam Giri took an appreciative bite of Tbetan Balep bread smothered with butter and chased it down with hot butter tea at his cousin’s small guesthouse in the hills. Normally, it’d be full of tourists but Corona virus related restrictions had been bad for business. Only two servants, one cook and another cleaner who also worked for the household remained on the payroll out of usual six.  His cousin was somewhere in the farm pruning trees since early morning. Even if tourists were missing, the farm work afforded no breaks. 

Rajat Sinha, the only other guest in the establishment came in to have another cup of chai in the small dining area overlooking the beautiful mountain farm. He sipped his tea meditatively watching birds jumping around from one tree branch to another. Giri took a seat at his table and offered him a cigarette. “It’s been a long time Sinha sahab. Haven’t seen you for a while.”

Sinha smiled and shook his head, “So long that I’ve stopped smoking.” Giri nodded and put the pack back in his pocket, “Maybe I should try stopping too.”

“Your lungs will thank you for this.” Sinha inhaled deeply. “The air here is much better than Kathmandu.”

“Perhaps, it’s all the same to me.”

“That’s one reason why you should go slow on cigarettes.”

Both men sipped their tea in silence for a few minutes and watched the scenery. The cook came in to clear their tables and left another pot of freshly brewed tea. Sinha filled their cups and asked, “How’re things at work?”

“You know, more of the same. Some people are quite happy, some are very sad and some don’t know what to feel. The usual circus.”

“But stable I hope?”

Giri took a sip of tea and sighed appreciatively, “As stable as the snow you see on those mountain peaks. It’ll stay as long as the temperature remains cold, some rock doesn’t shift or whatever wind or sun allow.”

Seeing Sinha smile he added further, “And I am guessing that you want a bit of warm weather?”

“Not really, unless it’s absolutely necessary. But there are some people who are making things worse than they need to be.” 

“Kedar Rana, Srijan Mathi and associates? You know who actually controls them. Uttam Maharaj hasn’t been the Prime Minister he expected to be for quite some time.”

“Northern neighbour must be paying well enough.”

“They also have his balls locked up somewhere in the middle kingdom.”

Sinha chuckled and leaned back in his chair, “We need him to get those back. We want him to either help us or stay out of our way. Things are going to get hot and we can’t afford an enemy stronghold in Kathmandu.” 

Giri shook his head, “Haven’t you tried already? He is more like a viceroy rather than a PM at this point.”

“It leaves us with only one option.”

“Don’t forget about Dutta family.”

“That’s been taken care of already. The young Trilochan has always been way too indiscreet for his own good.”

Giri finished his cup of tea and scribbled something on a piece of paper. “Amounts and accounts. Should take around 12-14 days once I get the go ahead.”

Sinha read the note,”It’s quite a lot you are asking for here.”

“Chinese spent twice this amount during the elections.”

Sinha folded the paper and put it in his pocket, “I’ll have to get approval of my seniors for this.”

“Sure, but try to make it quick. By the way, which agency do you work for, I don’t know anyone who knows. Is it RAW, IB, NIA, CBI or CIA, ISI , which one is it? 

Sinha  laughed politely, “I’ll tell you if you take off one zero off this figure.”

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