Trying my hand at longer stories. This is the first part of a series, inspired by a bunch of stuff I’ve heard/read over the years, so its not original in any way. Hopefully it will still prove an entertaining read 🙂
Cafe Coffee Day, Chennai. 3 PM.
Indra couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Lavanya sat back with an satisfied expression on her face and sipped on her Tropical Iceberg.
“What’s the motive, though? One does not dump 500 billion dollars into the US market for next to nothing and cause worldwide economic collapse without a reason.”
“That’s our job to find out. Whoever they are, they operated through several dozen companies. So far attempts to trace the source of the money have led to shadow companies and untraceable accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.”
“As expected. People who have that much money won’t leave a trail.”
“Yes. We have to tackle this another way. Selling all those dollars at 1 percent of their value has reduced international value of the dollar by almost half. When the dollar goes down, a lot of economies go down with it. But who stands to gain?”
Lavanya gazed off into the distance with a far-away look in her eyes. Indra knew that if anyone could find them, Lavanya would. She was one of the finest investigative journalists in the country. Her father was a rich industrialist, which opened many doors for her; especially in elite social circles which are usually barred to journalists. And it didn’t hurt that she was so pretty as well.
Her face had that indescribable quality that some called kalai. That kohl around her big eyes. Lustrous hair in a ponytail. Her slim figure. The only flaw, if it could be called that, was that she was dusky. In a land where fair skin is venerated, she pulled off the dusky look with ease and made herself seem something exotic and dangerous.
But Lavanya was more than a pretty face. Her razor sharp intelligence and wit were well known. Indra had heard tales of how rich suitors had tried to approach her at parties, only to leave after a few choice words from the lady. Lavanya had friends in the unlikeliest places, and she knew about a lot of things that people would rather keep secret. All this had contributed to there being this unapproachable quality about her.
As if she had made up her mind about something, Lavanya suddenly stood up.
“Sorry da, I have to leave now. I just thought of something. I’ll give you a call later. Bye!”
Indra watched her leave with a mild feeling of anxiety. Lavanya was known for prying where she shouldn’t be. He was tempted to accompany her, but he had his own assignment to complete. He wondered if newspapers tomorrow would be filled with articles about the collapse. He wondered how many families it was going to wreck.
He paid for the mocha and the tropical iceberg – Lavanya always did choose drinks with fancy names – and left for his interview.
Dwaraka excavation site #42. 11 PM.
Arun was excited. He could hardly sit down in one place. It was a long time since he had felt this way. But then, it is not everyday that your team excavates perfectly preserved palm leaves from over thousands of years ago. This was exactly the sort of thing that he had been looking for in Dwaraka, the legendary city of Krishna. They had been at it for over six months without finding anything of value. Of course, this was delicate work, requiring patience, but their corporate sponsor seemed unusually impatient about this particular dig. If these palm leaves were what he thought they were, they could count on his funding for a long time to come.
He set about dusting the manuscript and trying to decode it. Palm leaves were notoriously hard to understand; they often had multiple meanings depending upon how you read them. Sometimes if you skip words you got alternate meanings. It was hard to say definitively that one specific decoding was the intended meaning.
So far as he could read it, the manuscript seemed to be talking about the avatars of Vishnu. Vamana avatar, Rama avatar.. There had to be some mistake. The leaves said there would be four Krishnas in the Dvapara Yuga. It made no sense. He supposed Balarama could be counted as a sort of second Krishna, but four? Could the meaning of krishna be different when this was written? The manuscript seemed to predate the Mahabharata war, so that was quite likely. But he needed to read more to understand this particular mystery.
The story continues in the next part here.