: You could also read : “The GOI Incident – I : Payback” :

Notice : Everything here is a figment of my imagination and bears no resemblance to any person living or dead. The names I have used are random names that came to my mind.

— 3rd Jan, 2013 – 7:30 AM – Hospital in New York City —

He kept hearing weird noises. His head hurt like hell. He wanted to open his eyes – he wanted to shout for some water to soothe his parched mouth. But, he could not open his eyes nor was he able to speak. He seemed to be lost in this never-ending nightmare. Once or twice, he could hear people speak … somewhere very near to him.

“Has he shown any signs yet ?”
“No, Doctor. He has been in the same unconscious state since he was brought here 2 days ago. But, since yesterday evening, one keeps seeing a lot of R.E.M – as if he is on a marathon dreaming session”

Andes was struggling to open his eyes, and to tell the people around that he could hear them speak. But, the nerves inside him seemed to have got so jumbled that he could do nothing.

— 31st Dec, 2012 – 6:45 PM – New York City —

This was it … since a long long time, Andes had wanted to celebrate New Years Eve at Times Square. And here he was, just a few minutes from Times Square, sitting and enjoying fine food at a famous Indian restaurant near 5th Avenue. In about an hour or so, his fiancee would join him, and they will together ring in the new year — with millions of other people, in Times Square. And what a way to start 2013 – the year in which he was going to marry his love of 4 years. The year in which he had been promised to be moved up to the next rung in the corporate ladder. He couldn’t wait for it all to be kick-started.

Few minutes later, he had stepped out. He was still wondering what to do for the next hour, when he felt a sharp sting in his leg – almost like a mosquito bite. In less than a minute, the tall buildings started spinning around him. And then the sidewalk came up to kiss him on his left cheek, with a painful thud.

After what seemed to be a long time, he came back into a state of semi-consciousness. Somebody, some masked guy, was asking him about the Gateway of India. Nothing was totally clear, but he could make out a few words — ‘New Year’, ‘Mumbai’, ‘2006’.

And he remembered – that night a few years ago they had all gone from the office straight to the Gateway of India. And how it had finally turned into something which they all wanted to forget. His thoughts were suddenly interuppted by the pain of beating & kicking. ‘The Mask’ had now started beating  & kicking him continuously – and with all his energy. And there seemed to be another guy helping the masked-fella. What a way to ‘kick-start’ everything ! Andes soon lost consciousness again.

— 6th Jan, 2013 – 9:00 PM – Apartment in Bangalore —

As he kept the phone down, Cypher could not still get himself out of the shock of what he had just heard.

In May 2011, Cypher had been the victim of a supposedly freak assault. Coming home after a late night at the office, he had been attacked by 2 masked guys on a bike. They had broken a few of his bones and left him writhing in pain, on the street just outside his apartment-complex. And before riding off into the dark, they had mentioned something about being at the Gateway of India in 2006.

Since the whole ‘black’ incident of the Gateway of India was not known to people other than close family & friends, Cypher had always stuck to his statement that the attack on him was most likely a case of mistaken identity by some gangsters.
Cypher was bed-ridden with a few plasters for a month. But, after that, he was back at his desk, fighting tight project deadlines and tighter budgets.

Then, one night in July last year, Abie had been gruesomely attacked outside a multiplex in Andheri, Mumbai. The doctors could not save Abie’s right arm from the elbow, they had to put a steel-rod in his left leg and he had to be under bed-rest for 4 months. The ‘attacker’ had again mentioned the Gateway of India to Abie, which Abie had revealed only to Cypher.

At that time, Cypher & Abie had become certain of one thing … someone out there was watching them & their friends. But they could not go out and tell the police about this. Because it would mean spilling the beans about what happened at the ‘Gateway’ in the December of 2006.

Nobody, except for some close family & friends, knew … and most of those family & friends had since stopped speaking to them. No one else knew about the incident, or about the 5 guys involved.

And, now there was someone out there. Someone who knew … and was after them.

These 2 had begun to worry about Smyth, Andes & Jonzy. The 5 of them had been the main perpetrators of the ‘incident’, even though later things had gotten out of control and lot more guys had joined.
But then, rest of the three were well settled in their respective lives in different parts of the world. Nobody could possibly reach them in London, New York or Toronto.

Not true anymore …. because Andes had just been hunted down … hunted down in New York !