It was the last day of our training. After the morning session, I came back to my room. Harish was already there, wiping his sweat with a Turkish towel.

“Hey Jagannath” with a mischievous tone he asked, thinking about the posting ?”

Harish had been my favourite friend for six months in the training centre in Indore. We came in the same batch to join CISF training. He was from Maharashtra and I was from Odisha.

Harish a jovial boy with positive mind was my stress reliever during the training period. He knew my personal life very well. I was always worried about my ageing parents. They were living in a village Barunai, in the district of Khurda. My two elder sisters had left the house after marriage and I was far away.

“Hey don’t worry tomorrow our posting list will be out I am damn sure you will be posted to your home state”, Harish told.

He new pretty well, his words didn’t cheer me up. He again said “ Are Yaar you will see, you will be definitely posted to your state. Your mothers prayer will never go futile”.

Harish new very well that my parents wanted my company they were not happy about my joining CISF. They would have been very happy if I would have been a school teacher.

But I for myself felt very fortunate to be selected for CISF. Although I grew up with two sisters I was of a very sportive and active type of boy. Always staying outdoors, busy in swimming, playing football, cycling and climbing trees. Whenever I heard the sound of a flying plane, I used to run out of the house to watch it. As our village was near to Bhubaneswar, planes were regularly flying low over our village to reach the  Aerodrome I considered myself lucky to live in such a blessed village.

The day of getting appointment letter arrived. The morning burst with anticipation, rather apprehension as to where our posting would be.

We were standing in a queue out side the office building. Our appointment letters would be given to us.

I was praying fervently to Lord Jagannath, “Hey Jaga Kalia post me to an airport, not to any atomic centre or sensitive building”

“Jagannath Tripathy, I got startled by the call of the officer, This is yours. He handed envelope to me.

I went out to the garden in the campus. Under the shade of a tree, I stood and opened the letter. The two expectant faces of my parent flashed in front my eyes.

“Jagannath Tripathy, you have been posted at Biju Patnayak International Airport Bhubaneswar. You are assigned to guard the departure gate and assist the Sub-Inspector   Mrs. Punam Singhania at Terminal 2.

I could not believe my eyes. I reread the letter O My God, O My God, Hey Jagakalia you have listened to my prayer. My joy knew no bound. I ran to Harish to show the letter. The happy Harish seemed more happy that morning. He had been posted to Tarapur Atomic centre which is in his home state Maharasthra.

We embraced each other in he thought of our easy marriage as both of us are going to our native places.

The day I reached home my father suggested to buy a bike. He thought, it would be very easy for me to attend my duty, as I was to cover 25 Kms. to reached the Airport.

Within a week of my joining, I became acquainted with every nook and corner of the beautiful Airport. My boss Punam Mam was very happy with my work. At the gate, I always assisted old passengers with pushing theire trolleys to the scanning point. I also used to take kids in my arm to boarding desk, there by helping their mothers. These acts of mine impressed my Boss very much.

During my duty at the departure gate, a very peculiar thing came to my notice. I saw a young man of about 25 years waiting in the arrivals every Tuesday. When all the passengers came out he would wait there for 15 minutes and glance through the glass pane at the conveyer belt. Then with a heavy sigh would leave the place. He was always in a T- Shirt and Jeans.

I watched him like this for a month. Then I mustered the courage to report this matter to Punam Mam. She listened to me patiently. “Jagannath, You do one thing next Tuesday you follow him. See how he comes to the Airport – in a Bike, Car, or a Cab and tell me”

“ But Mam how can I leave this gate ? “

“ No no Jagannath don’t worry I will manage”

The next Tuesday again I saw the man. I prayed to God “ Hey Jagakalia, now I am in a mission please bestow me with good result”. The cop inside me got thrilled at the thought of following a person. I followed him keeping a distance. On the way talking to others but my eyes were fixed on the man. I followed him op to the parking place. There I waited to see the choice of his vehicle. I saw him opening the door of a Maruti zen. He sat in the driver’s seat. “ Oh He is driving on his own. When he drove through the parking gate, I wrote down the number of the car.

I ran to Punam Mam and showed the number. “Well done Jagannath. Next Tuesday you follow him by your bike and see where he is going. I am sending the car number to the city police control room.”

I was eager for his presence at the arrival nest Tuesday. “ How would these six days pass? Would he come or not ? Finally the day arrived. Yes he had come. After all the passengers had left the place, he went near glass window to have a look at the conveyer belt.  Again heaved a sigh and started to go.

In the mean time I have changed my uniform to a civilian dress. I followed him with my bike, keeping a reasonable distance. After 5 Kms. on the main road, he turned to the left to a residential area. It seemed to be an affluent area right in the centre of the city.

His car stopped near a one storied house. It had a long compound wall with a gate. He opened the gate and got inside the house.

I parked my bike near a Pan shop. Then I went walking op to the house. I could hear some heated arguments inside. Some three to four persons were talking.

I went back to to the Pan shop and ordered  two pans for me. I started talking to the shop keeper. His name was Gopal and he was a middle aged man. He seemed to be very interested in talking. I took the chance to get information from him. I pointed to the house and asked him whether I would take the house on rent. I posed as if I was searching for a house in a posh area. “ No Sir, It has been already occupied. The owner Bimal Babu stayes in cuttack and he had given this house to three students on rent.

“ Oh then the house is gone I liked it very much, but tell me do any of the occupants own a car. You see there is a car over there.

“No Sir how can students own cars ? They are studying here with their fathers’ money. But yes, a young man comes here every Tuesday with his car. May be he is their relative” by that time he had finished preparing my pan. I handed over the money and took down the house number. Then I left for the Airport.

When I gave my reports to Punam Mam, she unfolded a serious matter before me. In Bhubaneswar, Drug pedalling was going on in a rampant way. The intelligence bureau and the excise department were working day and night to find the drug hide outs.

Since one year there had been chain pulling from ladies on their morning walk. Even Smartphone’s were being snatched. The police made some arrest regarding these thefts. The culprits turned out to be engineering students and with enquiry and interrogation, it was found that they did those crime for money, so that they could purchase drugs. Since then the police had been on their toes to find the hide outs.

The vehicle number and the house number, which I had given to my officer unfolded a great mystery. A racket of drug peddlers were caught. The excise officials raided the house which I had mentioned.

And lo ! they seized one quintal of opium, ganja and heroin worth one crore of rupees.

Now the mystery of the young man waiting at the arrival came to lime light. He was waiting there for a drug supplier. This young man, while doing his Ph.D, in Delhi University met a person from Dubai. That man introduced this young fellow to drugs. After submitting his ph.d papers, he came back to his home city Bhubaneswar. The fellow from Dubai was supplying him drugs every Tuesday.

For the last two month the drug peddler didn’t turn up, for reasons unknown.

My curiosity and the encouragement of my boss helped the police, Excise and intelligence bureau in unravelling a massive racket in the smart city. The students residing in that house along with the young man who was waiting at the arrivals, were arrested.

In recognition of my efforts I was awarded the MOST OUTSTANDING JAWAN OF THE YEAR. The CISF chief came down from Calcutta to Bhubaneswar to reward me with a medal and a citation. It was on 15th Aug. The Independence Day.    

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Written by Charulatha Panigrahi

Charulata Panigrahi is a homemaker. In her free time, she likes reading the works of Indian authors. She is also fond of gardening.