“Doesn’t look so good.” Marsh’s eyes were still scanning the images.
“You kiddin me?” said Jenkins, plonking down his coffee mug. “They’re horrible.”
The images sure looked eerie and sinister. ‘The Indian subcontinent’, the label revealed. Although the areas occupied by its immediate neighbours seemed quite clear and free of any blemishes, India’s hinterland had what seemed like veins running all over it. The veins bore countless perforations.
“What on earth are these? “ Jenkins asked, pointing at the perforations. “Craters? Mines? Extra-terrestrial markings?”
Marsh nodded. “Call them what you will. Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever the hell those things are, they’re all over the place.”
“We’ve got to warn their government ASAP. Whadda you think?”
“Negative. The State informatics department would never let us do that.”
“Why not?” Jenkins snatched the pictures out of Marsh’s hands. “Don’t these satellite images mean anything? We’re talking about the second largest population in the world here.”
“Information sharing agreements”, Marsh contested. We don’t have any such agreement with their government....or even their agencies for that matter.”
Jenkins protested, “You mean you’re not gonna give them the slightest hint? You’re not gonna tell them that something strange is happening?”
“Not right now.”
“That sounds like never.”
Marsh smirked. “Sorry buddy. We’ve got to follow protocol here. Besides, they have a huge satellite programme of their own. I bet their government is already in the know. It’s not a dot somewhere. It’s a whole lot of dots all over.”
“Hmm.” Jenkins agreed.
“What surprises me though..”, said Marsh, signalling that he wasn’t finished yet, “..is that if these things are so obvious, why aren’t they doing anything about it?”
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE...IN MUMBAI
Two project engineers are peering into a 4-by-4 feet crater.
Mhatre adjusted his soda-glasses. “Is this the biggest one?”
“I think so sir” quipped his assistant, Jaiswal. “But I guess more are in the making.”
“What do you think is in there?”
“Locals say a Tata Nano, a cow, three pedestrians and probably even a BEST bus.” Jaiswal burst out laughing.
Mhatre was serious. “It’s not funny Jaiswal. I wonder what our country’s road network looks like from outer space.”
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