29 November, 2020
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A Secret Sortie

A sick Taslima, a despairing Centre and a hush-hush meeting

A Secret Sortie
At 2.30 am on January 27, alone in the AIIMS coronary care unit, her wrists strapped to tubes of running saline and life-saving medicines, watching with the expert eye of a former medico as the monitor showed her ECG, pulse and blood pressure dance and soar alarmingly, Taslima Nasreen had only one coherent thought. "If I survive this night," she told herself as she felt her body going numb and feather-light, "I will talk to my friend, Pranab Mukherjee...perhaps he'll see how this tension is killing me and send me back home to Calcutta." The external affairs minister was the only face in the central government Taslima had come to know and trust, especially in the last two months of her (in)voluntary confinement in the government safehouse on the outskirts of Delhi.

But with her cellphone left behind in the safehouse in all the confusion of her fainting and being rushed in an ambulance into the CCU, Taslima waited for the arrival of the man whom she called Contact...



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