MALABAR AFLAME : Lesson 31 – (Karoor Soman)

Amazon Best Selling Novel “Malabar A Flame” in Lima World Library


31. The Conspiracy

Winter is in its final lap. Can spring be far behind?
New Year celebrations overwhelmed Christmas of 2000.
Queen Elizabeth opened the millennium dome to welcome
the new millennium.
After leading the usual evening niskar (prayers) at the
masjid, Alihaji returned to his home. He opened his private
chamber when he heard Nabeesa wailing In between she was
sobbing too. His son Akbar was with her. What is wrong? He
tiptoed to the door of her room and listened. Why does she
cry? He wondered.
“Ente rubbe (my God) … my sibling’s life is ruined.You
became engineer to kill humans by bombs?… Allah … Is it
not a crime done by terrorists? … Did you visit Kashmir for
joining the terrorists? What is wrong with you?” Nabeesa’s
questions seemed directed against Akbar.
Ali haji opened the door slightly and looked at them
Akbar was sitting in front of her mother unmoved. There
was an element of stubbornness and determination on his
face. He faced his mother with a stony face.
Alihaji was shocked. He scratched himself whether he
was numb or dumb. Did he hear her correctly?
“Ammi, (that is how addressed his mother), I say all this not to make you desperate. See today I am a soldier of a holy
brigade al Kashmir front. We have a goal, a holy war against
all infidels. We won’t allow them to run the new train from
Kings Cross to Europe. What do they call it, the Eurostar?
Tomorrow, we would blast its track at Ashford before it takes
off to Europe,” he shouted in a frenzy. “We won’t let them
rule the world and rules the waves in their empire days,” he
Akbar was an engineer working in the British Railways.
He was a bright student while in the college and had won
prizes for innovative ideas. Once he developed a gadget
that could prevent derailing by monitoring the tracks at a
long distance in advance. Alihaji as a proud father attended
the annual ceremony when the minister for transport and
railways himself presented him the prize, a trophy and 100
pounds.. A boy of such track record is out to sabotage one
of the country’s most ambitious projects—a direct train to
Europe under the English Channel? Ali wracked his head
in disbelief. What has Akbar become after a series of visits
to Kashmir in the guise of visiting his lost relations. Who
recruited him in to this diabolic scheme? Alihaji stood there
simply unable to guess.
Nabeesa fully covered in her hijjab prostrated before
her son “Akbar, my son, don’t commit a deadly sin. What
crime did this country do to you? Is it the reward for teaching
you to be an engineer? You are going to endanger the lives
of hundreds who have stood in the queue to get tickets to
travel on the first train? There might be plenty of women
and children too.May be some of your class mates too. If
you have any grievance against the railways, go and fight withthem. This is not the way to wreck vengeance on a nation,”
Nabeesa tried to put some sense in her son’s head.
Alihaji ‘s mind razed against time. He silently stepped into
his portico and then to his drive way and then to the wide
road. It stated raining. First it was a drizzle but it grew into
a heavy drizzle. Alihaji had no umbrella or rain guard with
him. But his mind was burning and no physical weariness
could stand in his way. He walked in brisk pace. There was no
vehicles n the road. No stray walkers either.
But he felt he had no stamina to run. Most of his time in
his old age was devoted to cover the short distance between
his home and the masjid and back. He always chose to walk to
the place of worship and walk back. He had no vehicle of his
own. Whenever he had to intervene in matters concerning
his worshippers, he travelled in the cars they brought or
hired. That was his routine. But now he must have walked
more than three kilometers in 15 minutes. Legs wobbled.
Pain in the muscles. He could stretch his legs too far. Doctors
had proscribed cumbersome exercise or prolonged walks.
But this time there is a purpose that drove him on the road..
He wondered what led the new generation to such heinous
acts. He was pleased whenever Akbar chose to come to the
masjid and attend prayers. Lately his son had been wearing a
cap and sporting a beard as though he had become a devout
Muslim. He used to recite his prayers aloud and engage in
conversation with his fellow youngsters on a range of issues
that plagued the world, in Europe, in West Asia, in Egypt,
Libya and Iraq. He felt proud that his son unlike many of his
compatriots was a rising star in the community. But alas, now the table has overturned. Akbar changed his
course and has become an extremist who is in an overdrive
to change the world. He wanted to rock the very boa he was
travelling. He said it was a revenge on the nation that gave
shelter to his parents and nurtured him. Is it not suicidal? As
for him, he has done many things wrong in hi younger days
for survival. He did many things for furthering his ambitions.
But when he grew older and wiser, he repented and tried
to make amends. But he has never been a killer, a day light
murderer of the innocents.
Never ever. Allah’s fiat is to save innocents. Not to slain.
A genuine faithful should not have thought so. It should be
nipped in the bud. By massacring the innocents in England,
they want to celebrate in Kashmir! There might be Muslim
also in the inaugural train, possibly with kids. They will all
perish in the massive explosion they were hatching. It will be
a blot on the high image he was able to build in the minds of
the Saudi leaders of the Muslims in London.What about the
image of the Muslims among the entire British society?
Alihaji reached the gates of his old friend Antony
and rang the bell. Both had arrived in England together
immediately after the World War. They worked together for
the largest horse stead in England. Their employer Peter Scot
is no more and the horse farm itself is in ruin. Antony started
as a manual worker for the railways and retired as a senior
employee in the British Railways. Obviously, he was the best
railway man he could consult. He rang the bell.three times at
a stretch.
It was Mary who opened the door. At first she was takenaback by the strange figure of a bearded man dripped in
water. “Oh mole, I am the old Alihaji. Don’t be afraid. I
just want to you’re your father-in-law Antony on an urgent
matter, “ he said. Rachel recognized Abu’s father and opened
the door and invited him in.
Antony had gone to bed early. But he was awake and came
out when he was told who the visitor was. He was at first
surprised to see who the person was. Alihaji told Antony in
hush hush tones what was going on and what was going to
happen. Antony was taken aback. They had no time to waste.
He called Rachel to call Danny over phone. Danny had not
come home yet. He had just been promoted as manager of a
division of the high-tech company working for the railways
on contract. In fact he was in a division involved with the
new railway project of the trans- channel train to Europe.
So for many months in the recent past he would be late for
It took a long time for Rachel to track Danny as he was on
the move shuttling from place to place notably in and around
Kings Cross and St Pancras International from where the
inaugural train was to run from London to Paris. Finally she
got him. She told him that his father wanted to meet him
Danny was very busy as there was only a day left for the
historic train to move out to Paris ending Briton’s isolation
from Europe. He said he could make it only by midnight.
Ask father to go to bed and we could meet and talk early
morning before he leaves for office again. Rachel tuned to
Antony and told him softly how it was near impossible for Danny to come home. Antony took the phone from her and
said into the phone, “Danny, rush home, Alihaji is with me
on a matter of life and death”.
Danny explained his helplessness. Once again. Antony
was sure that he could not tell him the details of the plot
being hatched to put a bomb on the new rail line. Not over
phone. All that he could tell was that it concerned something
connected with railways. Danny felt whatever it was it could
wait till morning. “No son it is about a diabolic plot against
what you are doing now, “ and hung the phone.
Danny was the head of a team that was giving the final
touches of a communication system that networked the
Eurostar trains till they left the English landmass at Ashford
on the eastern coast. On the other side of the English
Channel, from Calais to Gare du Nord in Paris, it was
handled by a French counterpart of his company, The Fast
Track LLC. Everything was in order but for the hell of a call
from his home. He could not concentrate on anything. He
called Colin Clarke, his second in command to his side and
said confidence, “I have to rush home. My father called me
on an emergency, I will go, look after things till I rush back.”
“Now what is it? was the first question that flew off his
mouth on his arrival. He was surprised that nobody including
Rachel had gone to bed. He was all the more surprised when
he saw his father and Alihaji huddled together in a corner of
his drawing room. Alihaji rushed to him and started at the
very start. “Akbar, that cursed boy of mine is planting a bomb
on the track of your new train. Do something immediately or
the lives of thousands will be in danger!”. Danny was dumbfounded. When he heard what really
transpired between Akbar and Nabeesa and about Akbar’s
trips to Kashmir and about the brainy prize winning
engineer’s capacity to execute what he thought right. Long
time since he met the boy. “Where are they planting the
bomb, any idea?” was his next question. “Somewhere in
Ashford. They are planning it a day ahead probably tonight,”
said Alihaji. Danny took up his phone immediately to flash an
alert to his technical vice president in charge of the English
operations. Flash messages flew over the very net work they
had just installed. Scotland Yard was also alerted. Dogs squad
joined the track check between Ebbsfleet and Ashford.
In 15 minutes, a crack team of the London police arrived
at Alihaji’s place. Wearing masks and trotting guns, the team
surrounded the house and called out, “Open the door, this is
police”. Akbar was in his own room giving final touches to
his dream bomb. He was trapped. There was no way to escape
on a bike he had parked behind his room. When the police
threw his door open, they found a home-made lab where a
number of flasks, metal leads and liquids were placed on a
table. Experts among the team realized that a chemical bomb
was being perfected. The metal leads proved that it could be
triggered off a small hand-held remote. “Brainy boy,” one of
the crack team’s bomb specialist told himself.
Nabeesa did not know what to do when the boy was led
away to the police car. She tried to call Jamal, her secret lover
and handyman. But he was away in hospital. His daughter just
had a miscarriage. Jamila was just 14. She was impregnated
by her classmate, a Nigerian. Was three months pregnant
when she started bleeding. “I am ruined. Don’t call me anymore. May be we have sinned. I am being punished by the
almighty,” Jamal told Nabeesa and switched his phone off.
Scotland is no short of resources in quizzing a suspect.
They produced a list of Eurostar’s inaugural travelers from
in and around East Ham. There were just about a hundred.
They sleuths asked Akbar to scan the list. To his surprise
there were all kinds of Indian ethnic minorities, Malayalees,
Bengalies, Biharis and Kashmiris. At the fag end of the list,
he saw Jimmy Sara Rajan and his sister Zareena Rajan. Then
there was Zakeena, his own flame in the engineering institute.
A lightning passed through his brain. Zakeena, oh dear! I was
about to blast you into smithereens!
The police left him with the computer print out of the
passengers list for almost an hour. When they returned, they
saw him shivering unable to speak. He had written a list of
his al Kashmir jihadists spread out in London, Manchester,
Liverpool, Galasgow and Edinburg.

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