Tanushree and Ajoy Podder’s Decoding The Feronia Files is a climate fiction thriller that takes the readers on an international roller-coaster ride. An excerpt:

Covert Action Division,
ISI Headquarters, Islamabad

‘As- Salaam-Alaikum, Maulana,’ the stocky, smartly dressed officer stood up to greet his visitor, who entered the room without seeking permission.

The Maulana had direct access to the Brigadier Hamid Qureshi at the Covert Action Division (CAD) at the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Headquarters.

As usual, the tall and reedy cleric was reeking of cheap attar, which spread through the room in a trice. The Brigadier switched on the fan to tone down the effect of the strong jasmine scent. The smell was a small price to pay for the support of the bigoted maulana, who was crucial to CAD’s plans of stoking the jihadi flame against India. The continuous flow of young men willing to blow up themselves was a direct outcome of the cleric’s successful indoctrination in the string of madrassas run by the maulana and his brethren. These men eventually landed up at the training camps in Azaad Kashmir, known as ‘PoK’ (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) by the Indians.

The continuous flow of young men willing to blow up themselves was a direct outcome of the cleric’s successful indoctrination in the string of madrassas run by the maulana and his brethren.

The thin metal rimmed glasses over a pair of wild-eyes, poised precariously on an aquiline nose, slipped fractionally as the zealot bowed his head to return the greeting.

‘WaalaykumAs- Salaam, Janab,’ the Maulana curled his thin paan-stained lips in a semblance of smile. ‘I have learnt of something quite shocking.’

‘And what kind of ‘shocking something’ have you heard about, Maulana?’ the Brigadier’s eyes twinkled mirthfully as he imagined the material that could have shocked the bigot. It had to be something to do with sex, he was sure.

He enjoyed interacting with the preacher, whose quaint views never failed to lighten his day.

‘It seems that some foreign countries have invented a technique that is more dangerous than the nuclear bomb.’ The Maulana’s eyes were shining with excitement.

‘Are you referring to chemical or biological warfare?’

‘Those are old technologies,’ the cleric dismissed the suggestion with disdain. ‘Nahin Janab, I am referring to something more dangerous than chemical or biological warfare. It is now possible to own both the sky and the earth if a country possesses the expertise, I have been told.’

‘Nahin Janab, I am referring to something more dangerous than chemical or biological warfare. It is now possible to own both the sky and the earth if a country possesses the expertise, I have been told.’

The ISI man’s laughter rang through the room. The moron was really funny.

‘Oh Maulana! Not content with earth, you are now aiming for the sky. I must say your ambition knows no limit.’
‘I am not joking, Janab. Imagine possessing a power that would enable you to wipe out everything. It could help us get rid of infidels around the world. We could annihilate India in no time. I am referring to HAARP.’

‘For a man of religion, you are quite well informed,’ joked the ISI officer.

At first glance, it was impossible to believe the officer was the dreaded Brigadier Hamid Qureshi, who had been instrumental in killing hundreds of people in the last decade. The short and heavy man with a bald pate and genial smile was in fact a seasoned intelligence officer, who had worked with Colonel Imam, the commando-guerrilla warfare specialist, who had trained Mullah Omar and played a key role in the creation of Taliban.

For the past decade, he had painstaking cultivated the likes of Maulana Ahmed Ehsan, who was a master of mind control. He could brainwash a donkey to go on a suicide mission. A rabid Islamist, he would stop at nothing to convert the world to his way of thinking. The recurrent dream of a Caliphate world dominated the man’s nights.

As an officer of the Covert Action Division (CAD), a fearsome arm of the hydra headed ISI, Brigadier Hamid Qureshi was responsible for covert operations in India. He was an expert in collecting intelligence in impenetrable and hostile environments. Most of his operations were conducted behind enemy lines. Sabotage was his speciality as was espionage.

Most of his operations were conducted behind enemy lines. Sabotage was his speciality as was espionage.

‘A man of religion has to be well informed,’ retorted Maulana Ehsan.

‘So you would like us to start a project on ionosphere heating?’

‘Is that what it is called?’ The Maulana seemed unimpressed by the jargon. ‘No matter what it is called, it must be acquired by Pakistan immediately.’

Insha Allah, that day will also come, Maulana. I promise you, it will come sooner than you expect.’
‘Ionosphere heating! Can it be worse that the flames of Jahannum?’

Excerpted with permission from Decoding the Feronia Files by Tanushree and Ajoy Podder published by Readomania.

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