08 Feb Voyagers Into the Unknown by Ruchira Khanna
Dawn had risen over the historic Indian town of Agra. Agra was a city of monuments, which stood tall, their unmatched grandeur telling of their long and fascinating history. The morning air was filled with the sounds of roosters calling, birds chirping, and morning prayers and salutations. Dogs and cows were being hustled through the streets and errand boys on bicycles hurried along to their respective chores and deliveries.
Amidst this vibrant chaos, a man in his late thirties with an athletic physique, broad shoulders, and unkempt black hair was briefing his colleague in a quiet, affable tone. He held a bunch of papers in his hand, and the other man nodded obediently as he glanced through them, making notes on the pad in his hands. “So, are you all set?” inquired Raj, the black-haired man.
“I think so,” replied the other man confidently, as he took his seat behind the wheel of a mini-bus.
“Call me if you have any questions, Albert. You know where to reach me,” added Raj as he shut the door of the driver’s seat, giving his driver two thumbs up. Albert started the engine quickly and began to roll away from the curb. He was abruptly halted by a sharp knock on the door of the vehicle. The driver slammed on the brakes and looked to see who was doing the hammering. Raj reappeared on the other side of the glass with blank boards and a sharpie. Albert opened the door and reached out for the additional items. “Write the names of my birds on these planks. It will be easier for them to spot you,” explained Raj.
“Birds?” inquired Albert with a confused expression.
“Sure, Birds. Since they will fly back to where they are coming from in a week’s time.”
“Aha! Yes, boss!” Albert winked and started his journey.