Kabir couldn’t take his eyes off the game in progress. The sight of the polo players astride their horses, moving as a seamless entity, while steering the ball away from their opponents made him restless. He hadn’t ridden a horse or held a polo club in his hands for years. He had to use all his self-control to stop himself from rushing on to the field, pulling down one of the players and laying claim to his horse.
The memories came galloping back from the deepest recesses of his mind—Chetak with the brilliant white star in the middle of his forehead. What a dream team they had made. Chetak could anticipate his every move on the polo field even before he could think of it. They had never lost a game, making their perfectly matched combination the envy of every player in Rajasthan. If only they hadn’t been such a success on the polo turf…maybe things would have been different. Kabir’s heart burnt with longing and regret and the emotions bubbled within him like a dormant volcano beginning to stir up again.
Taking a deep, self-sustaining breath he raised his telephoto-lens equipped camera to his eyes, more to hide the dampness in his eyes. He focused on the spectators stand as he tried to reorient himself to his mission. He was here to get information on Ranveer Khanna, a known polo aficionado. It was the final day of the annual championships hosted by the Army Polo Club and Khanna was bound to show up.
Suddenly, two men appeared in the camera’s view finder. One of them was definitely Khanna while the other was a taller, stockily built man in his mid-twenties.
Kabir snapped a few pictures in quick succession. The younger man seemed to be agitated and was waving his finger threateningly at Khanna. He also didn’t quite fit the typical characteristics of a polo enthusiast. His attire was a little shabbier than what the other patrons of the club sported at such an elite affair. Perhaps, he was a chauffeur or a helper? His attitude though was far from servile. In fact, Khanna looked a trifle intimidated. After a couple of minutes, Khanna said something and turned to go inside the club.
Kabir took a few more random shots as he saw a waiter approach Khanna and say a few words to him.
Just at that moment Kabir’s cell phone beeped in his shirt pocket. It was Zayed—his new partner! Smirking at the thought, Kabir answered the call.
“Our man is here. Found out from the concierge, Khanna has recently acquired two stallions and is also a patron of a polo team in Argentina. It seems like he is either partnering with some other loaded investors or is a front for them.”
He waited to hear out Zayed’s response and swallowed the oath that sprang to his lips. “Zayed, if you already knew it, why you didn’t tell me?” Seconds later Kabir burst out, “Don’t give me that bullcrap. You and I are supposed to be on the same team, remember? If you had any doubts about my capabilities you should have spoken up at the meeting. If we have to work together, we share information, got it?”
Kabir felt his blood pressure rise up a notch as Zayed disgorged some more intel. Apparently, the NCA had informed him that Girls Rock! might be a money laundering front for Khanna.
“Someone from Girls Rock! is supposed to meet—hello? Are you there?”
Kabir cursed as he checked the screen of his phone to find the network signal had dropped. Moving away from the bleachers, he walked towards the club, trying to reach Zayed. He paced around a bit outside the entrance, waiting for the network signal to show up. Not even one blasted green light. He stormed into the club house in search of a landline phone. What else was Zayed not telling him? Clearly, Zayed’s reputation of not being a team player was quite accurate. It seemed like he needed to lay down some ground rules with his partner soon or else this investigation was doomed.
Scanning the lounge area, he spotted Khanna talking to a woman whose back was turned to him. After a few seconds, he saw her get up and follow Khanna out.
Kabir’s glance froze on the woman. She was petite, with the same china-doll-like figure, the same sexy gait, the same sway to her hips that made his heart pump harder. He raised the camera to his eyes, zooming in on her face to get a closer look but she was looking away. Nevertheless, he got a couple of shots before she disappeared down the corridor towards the inner sanctum of the club.
Was it her? Watching a polo match after all these years had sent his mind into throwback mode. He must be hallucinating! Get real, Kabir!