The Ganesh Chaturthi Affair

celebration

© Lavanya

“This is fabulous, Ian. You’ve been to Ganesh Chaturthi here in Kolkata before?”

Ian Dennis could barely hear his assigned companion Victoria Craft over the celebratory yelling, music, singing, and chants as different representations of the elephant-headed god Ganesha appeared before them.

“Yes, Victoria. Over the years, the job takes you all kinds of places.” He felt a bit strange having an escort half his age, but he was her trainer and this was her first op. The two MI6 agents had been instrumental in preparing for the cessation of a forty-year dispute between India and Bangladesh over a common border that demarcates the eight divisions of Bangladesh and the Indian states.

She leaned up so he could feel her breath in his ear, “Do you think it will end?” He knew she meant the shoot-on-sight policy of India’s military on illegal immigrants crossing over from Bangladesh.

“That’s why we’re here. The pact will be signed in three days. If the killings continue, we put a stop to them. Meanwhile, pretend you’re on holiday.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of February 13, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words. My word count is 174.

The image of the god Ganesha is distinctive, so it wasn’t hard to trace it to the annual Hindu celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. You can learn more about it by reading 14 Most Ingenious Idols Of Lord Ganesha This Year! and What is Ganesh Chaturthi? Why is it celebrated?.

Since the image of Ganesha in the photo appeared to be a float with the date 2011, I decided to set my story then, specifically on 2 September. I looked up the year and lo and behold:

September 5 – India and Bangladesh sign a pact to end their 40-year border demarcation dispute.

I also looked up when the celebration occurred in 2011 and it was held between the first and the eleventh of September, which was perfect.

The disputes over the Bangladesh–India border have historically been very difficult (and that’s putting it mildly) including this:

The border is used as a route for smuggling livestock, food items, medicines and drugs from India to Bangladesh. Moreover, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh cross the border to India. Because of a large number of illegal immigrants crossing from Bangladesh into India, a controversial shoot-on-sight policy has been enforced by the Indian border patrols. This policy was initiated with reports of violence between the illegal migrants and Indian soldiers. The border has also witnessed occasional skirmishes between the Indian Border Security Force and the Border Guards Bangladesh, most notably in 2001 (emph. mine).

I know a lot of people in my country complain about President Trump’s stance on illegal immigration from Mexico and other Latin nations, but frankly, that’s not nearly as brutal as the situation described above. You can click the link I provided to learn more.

Once again, I dusted off MI6 agent Ian Dennis last seen in the flash fiction piece The Bristol Connection and showcased in the short series The Mauritius Robbery Affair. In this case, I’m involving MI6 in covertly “facilitating” the India-Bangladesh agreement, which I’m sure the Indian government especially wouldn’t appreciate given Britain’s colonial history in their country.

I set the action in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) since it is relatively near the India-Bangladesh border. Ian needed someone to interact with to further the plot, so I invented an agent-in-training Victoria Craft. Perhaps we’ll see more of her in the future.

Oh, I apologize in advance if I’ve mischaracterized the celebration, Ganesha, any individuals, or the nations of India and Bangladesh. I’ve never been there and am getting all of my information on the internet, so any errors in this wee fictional tale are mine.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Advertisements