Dan loved the English summer .He loved the countryside, the river Thames, the meadows, footbridges, tall trees and the velvety green carpets at the banks ..
In the little spare time he found as a reputed award winning journalist, he loved to lie under some shady tree, watching the vast blue sky above .Sometimes he would spot a lone eagle soaring high, and track it, till it vanished from sight.
Today was one of days when he was free to do what he liked to do best. He had perched himself on a strong branch of an old tree besides the river and was watching the breathtaking beauty around him.
He loved trees and the vantage point they offered .He would sit there watching the life around him, with anyone really knowing about his existence.
The diary lay on his lap. He had read it many times .He closed his eyes, gentle breeze caressed his shoulder length hair.
He was successful, handsome, trendy and devoted to the social causes, he was fighting for.
Life was good and he was on a mission, his biggest assignment and something that would change the very course of his career as an investigating journalist.
He was unearthing the third most lucrative organized crime worldwide after drugs and arms trafficking.
He had been trailing the trafficking routes, methods, Transportation, Profiles, Geographical areas, every thing that would help him in his project .He had been living in a suitcase since last one year and had hardly got a chance to find time for himself . The in depth face to face interviews, meeting people who could give him leads had taken a toll on him but he was happy and satisfied. The progress was unbelievable and the results very promising.
Today’s mail had got him an important link and he was all set to travel to his home land. He had not told his family there and intended to keep it as strictly business trip. He did not want any distractions.
His flight was tomorrow night and he wanted to relax before the long journey that lay ahead of him.
The sun was slowly slipping behind the trees and Dan decided to drive back home. There was packing to do among other things.
The plane landed on time and Dan went straight to the hotel his friend owned. He had little time at hand.
Krish told him about the night party and how he will get him to meet one of the men who could lead him to some big fish.
The party was at it’s peak ,when Dan entered .He was always a crowd puller and today he looked like a Greek God .He had best of his parent’s features .He smiled to himself ,noticing the whispers around him .He was used to all the attention .
Krish got him a drink and led him to a group of men sitting and smoking cigar at the far end. He won hearts easily .Over drinks, cigars and food, the discussion turned to women .He made his first kill by showing interest in Indian dusky beauties and how the west was drooling over them. There was much laughter, lewd jokes and an offer to meet some willing women.
Dan did not show much interest just to avoid attention .After the clock stuck four in the morning; he excused himself to his room.
An invitation was extended for the club house meet and he graciously accepted.
He was a rich Londoner, on vacation. He was all game for fun.
In a short while he made his mark in the party circle of Mumbai.
One evening Krish came to see him, beaming with excitement.
“We have hit the jackpot “he said, unable to hide his excitement.
“You have been invited to Mahmood Khan’s party at the beach house.”
“He is big and everyone knows he has contacts in the Middle East .He is The man behind most of the trafficking that takes place ,drugs ,women ,arms ,you name it but his record is clean so no one touches him .The old man is a sucker for money”.
“How old is he”? Dan asked
“Must be around seventy”. Krish winked. “He himself does not do anything apart from holding these lavish parties, his men do the deals .He makes clients here in these parties” Krish explained.
“How do you know him”? Dan was curious.
“Hospitality industry you know, we get to meet them all”.
“Be ready at ten sharp, he likes to see his guests on time”.
“Sure, buddy” Dan thanked his friend.
He knew Krish was putting himself in great danger by helping him and he appreciated his efforts.
Mehmood Khan turned out to be an old fellow with great charm and warmth. He had eyes of an eagle and nothing escaped his notice.
Dan knew he had to be very careful.
He enjoyed the party as the others and mentally kept a note of everything and every one and struck a chord with the old man, who seemed charmed by this hip young man.
The days were passing quickly and Dan had to return to work soon .He was getting impatient and wondering how to go about his investigation, when opportunity struck.
Mehmood Khan invited him for high tea to his mansion .Dan knew the time had come.
They met in the luxurious drawing hall of Mehmood’s massive house. They talked about various issues ranging from oil to stocks, Liquor and antiques which were incidentally Mehmood’s business.
Dan told him how he has to travel due to his work in the oil industry and that’s why never thought of having a wife or children.
“You look Asian to me “Mehmood said casually.
Dan laughed “I call myself a Global citizen, do not much believe in all that”.
Mehmood gave a soft side smile, his eyes still on Dan.
He was standing by the window, cleaning his pipe.
“You surely are a Muslim; I can see a taveez around your neck “He said.
Dan smiled and touched the locket around his neck.
“That’s a token from my mother .She gave it when I left home, it is not a taveez ,”.
“Interesting “remarked Mehmood looking at him closely.
Dan did not show any sign of discomfort, he was a great player at it and that’s what made him one of the best in his field.
“Have a look”, he offered, taking out the chain.
Mehmood took the thing from his hand and noticed a clasp .He released the clasp and the locket clicked opened revealing two photographs.
“My parents” Dan said with a smile.
For a second Dan though Mehmood was having a heart attack .He looked pale, his face chalk white and he stumbled but managed to grab the chair.
“Are you alright, sir, should I call for a doctor? He asked showing concern.
Mehmood had gathered himself by that time.
“No, I am fine .Am fine.” He mumbled.
Dan picked up the chain and the open locket from the ground where it had fallen.
I must take your leave .Take care and thank you for your hospitality “He said graciously.
The old man just nodded.
Danish knew he had found his man.
Mehmood had recognized his niece Rabia.