Poetry & Short Stories, Short Story

Roopa’s Diary: The Other Side Of The Tall Dark Figure – Static In Motion

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, of courseBinoy Dutt was his name. He was a new entrant in my class. Every year 10 percent of students from other schools would get admission in our school. But it happens only for 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th standards. Army School, Kolkata is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in East India. I am in the hostel because my father’s current posting is in Anantnag. And usually, nobody likes to leave this school. Binoy’s father is a new transfer from Jaisalmer to Kolkata. All children in this school are from Indian Services families. My father is in Indian Army at the rank of a Colonel. Obviously, Binoy’s father is also in the army. But nobody knows which regiment and what rank. He is quite a serious guy. It is his third month in my class but we barely had a talk. He is a tall dark figure.

In fact, Binoy rarely talks to anyone in the class. He is brilliant in studies. He is an expert in Chess, Swimming, and Volleyball. These were three areas where our school was lacking solid representation. So with Binoy’s entry in respective senior teams, these gaps exist no more. I was representing our school in fashion, singing, and dance competitions. As usual, I was Miss North again this year. In seniors section, we were top in Beauty competition. In sports, for a change, our school was champion in teams competitions in swimming and Volleyball. All credits to Binoy. Binoy was soon popular as Binu the tall dark figure. Binu was static for a few seconds when he saw me in a bridal dress during beauty competition rehearsal. Those were our first lonely moments together. And probably it was a moment of truth for both of us. We were in love.

I fell in love with that Tall Dark Figure

But neither of us would admit it. In fact, we were hesitant in giving words to our feelings for each other. Two years were long enough to give it a proper shape but for us probably it was too short. We were busy in excelling in our respective fields of interest. By the end of two years Binu was a champ in shooting and paragliding. For the last time we were meeting at school farewell party. Between drinks and dance in which everybody else was busy we two were standing in front of each other, eyes locked, static with tall dark figure. Five years after school. I am in the final year of Army Medical College, Pune. In fact, life is moving at its pace. But where is Binu? Does he remember me? Does he remember those static moments? After completing graduation I plan to join Masters in Neurosurgery.

Tall Dark Figure
Photo credit: Paco CT on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

In fact, it is my father’s retirement tomorrow. There is a ceremony at Governor’s house in Chandigarh. I have to take a late night flight. It is half past midnight. The whole city is sleeping. Even the airport is almost static.  As a matter of fact, hardly a few flights are there tonight. I could see a tall dark figure in uniform crossing me at airport. Just a flash clicks in my mind. Is it Binu? I want to take a chance. “Binu”, I call. The face turns back. And everything becomes static until Binu waves hand in front of my eyes. Bringing back to normal. “Hey, Roopa. How are you? I have to rush. This is my number. Call me sometime.” He rushes towards exit 5 after handing over me a piece of paper. We had a talk after few days for around half an hour. He is in Indian Army in the special task force.

The tall dark figure has become an anti-terror expert

He has become anti-spy and anti-terror expert. As a matter of fact he is on secret missions most of the time. Mostly in disguise. That night he was flying to Bangladesh on a secret mission to find out details on mass infiltration from adjoining countries through sea route. Three more years. After completing my masters my first posting is in Army Base Hospital, Siliguri. That tall dark figure, those static moments still haunt me. A static body of a soldier is lying on front of me. It is found at border by our soldiers. It is of a neighboring country’s soldier.

There are still some chances of life in the body. The body is static but still somewhere inside something was alive. His heart was pumping but brain was not responding. I could see an image in his mobile. He was standing with a tall dark figure. The other person was none other than Binu.

That tall dark figure was in other country’s army uniform

But Binu in other country’s army uniform? It means he was disguising and was on a critical secret mission. Reviving this soldier back to life was important for me. Breaking this person’s stillness was important to find the person of some precious static moments of my life. Finally, after 8 days, I was able to revive him. He was one of the soldiers from Indian Army working with Binu on a project of Rohingya Muslim infiltrators from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Actually this was a conspiracy to divert our Army’s attention. Their actual mission was to divert our attention and attack from the other end. “Where is Binoy the tal dark figure?”, I had to ask him. “He is a part of Bangladesh Army who are helping us to crack this conspiracy. But Rohingya terrorists group have taken a group of Bangladeshi soldiers in their custody. Binu is one of those.”

That was shocking, in fact. But I was confident that my Binu will come back. A group of Indian nurses and doctors was going to Bangladesh Army Hospital in Dhaka to offer medical help. As a matter of fact, this was a chance from God to find Binu. Within 20 hours we were in Dhaka. 16 out of 35 soldiers were rescued from the terrorist group and Binu was not among them. That means he was still in their custody. Hence, we prepared a plan.

It took time to accept my fact of life with that tall dark figure

With the help of an NGO and a media person as a mediator, the NGO was able to convince terrorist group to send a group of nurses and doctors to them for their help. After all, it was a question of 19 soldiers in their custody. More than that it was Binu the tall dark figure. We were a group of 20 nurses and five doctors. 3 doctors and 10 nurses were actually army men in disguise.

The plan worked. It took 12 hours to overpower all the 70 terrorists and rescue our 18 soldiers. Plus Binu, of course.. It was the recreation of those static moments for a while again when Binu saw me here. But then this time both of us couldn’t afford to stay silent and static. The static tall dark figure.


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