Flight 19

The crew and plane of "Flight 19." (Credit: The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Flight 19 crew

It was a clear day at the Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on December 5th, 1945. Five Grumman Avenger TBMs(Torpedo Bombers) were ready for take off on a training mission. These group of five planes were given the designation “Flight 19”. Flight 19 was eventually called the “Lost Patrol”. The Avengers first entered service in 1942 and saw action in the Battle of Midway. It was the heaviest single engine aircraft of WWII. It could carry a payload of 2000 lbs of bombing munitions with a range of 1000 miles. Flight 19 was led by Lieutenant Charles Taylor who had 2500 hours of flying experience. Taylor had 13 trainees with him on that training mission each with around 300 hours of flying experience.

Image result for Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station the origin of “Flight 19.”

Grumman Avenger TBMs

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Flight 19 mission path and the probable path it took

The mission plan was simple. Head out east into the sea up to Hens & Chicken Shoals to practice a bombing run. Then proceed further east on to the Bahamas and turn North and fly about 73 miles. After that turn back and head straight to the Naval Air Station in Florida. At 2:10 p.m. the flight took off on the designated flight path. The weather was cooperating well with the flight plans. At 3:30 pm, Taylor radioed the control tower saying that his compass was malfunctioning and reported seeing a chain of islands which he thought was Florida Keys. Florida keys are located down south from the Naval Air Station from where the Flight 19 took off. He believed that they had flown South due to the malfunctioning compass instead of east.

The control tower instructed him to fly north towards Miami only if he was sure he was over the Florida Keys. He complied and turned north. It was not clear as to what made Taylor think he was over the Keys. He had actually started off correctly towards the east but now he had turned north and headed out further into the sea. At 3:45 p.m. Taylor contacted the control tower again, this time sounding worried. He could not see any land mass and was confused about his bearing. At the same time, another transmission picked up a trainee pilot saying that if they headed west, they would reach home. But the flight commander apparently did not agree.

Image result for Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station the origin of “Flight 19.”

Ft. Lauderdale Naval Station

Those were the days when GPS was not yet invented. The pilots then had the starting point, time, speed and the compass to calculate the location and navigate.There is another interesting piece of trivia here. Though Lieutenant Taylor was an experienced pilot, he had a history of getting lost. During the WWII he was lost thrice out of which twice he had to ditch the plane to be rescued. At about 4:45 pm, it was evident to the personnel at the Naval base that Flight 19 was lost and Taylor was instructed to hand over the command to one of the trainees but apparently he refused.

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Martin Mariner rescue seaplane

At 5:50 p.m. the communications center did manage to trace the Flight 19 on radar. Apparently, they were east of the Smyrna Beach, Florida. However, by now the radio communications had almost broken down and the weather too was getting heavy. The Avengers were now running low on fuel and if they did not locate land soon, they would have to ditch in sea. All contact was now lost with Flight 19 and the authorities at the Naval Station dispatched two Martin Mariner planes in search at 7:27 p.m. Search operations continued throughout the night and the next day but none of the Avengers could be located. To complete the double whammy, both the Martin Mariners too were lost and never found!

The next 5 days the Navy used more than 300 boats and aircraft to search for the missing Flight 19 aircraft and the rescue aircraft but failed to find any oil leaks, broken parts or any wreckage. In fact, to this day none of the Flight 19 Avengers or even the rescue planes could be found! A Navy board set up for investigation too could not arrive at any conclusion and attributed to loss to “causes or reasons unknown”. Incidentally, a major part of the Flight 19’s planned flight path falls within the Bermuda Triangle and in the absence of any plausible explanations, many theories about parallel dimensions, alien abductions and magnetic and gravity anomalies are being floated.

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Along with the disappearance of Flight 19 itself, there are other strange questions that remain unanswered. Witnesses claim that Lieutenant Taylor arrived several minutes late for the pre-exercise briefing and requested to be excused from leading the mission and trying to get out of that flight. Another unexplained  fact is why none of the members of Flight 19 made use of the rescue radio frequency or their planes’ ZBX receivers, which could have helped lead them toward Navy radio towers on land. The pilots were told to switch the devices on, but they either didn’t hear the message or didn’t acknowledge it. Whatever happened that evening has cemented the Bermuda Triangle’s reputation which continues to intrigue us even today.

Contrails

 

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Aviation never ceases to amaze! One of the wonders that aviation offers is contrails(condensation trails). Yes, you must have seen them or continue to see them. Beautiful lines drawn in the sky when an airplane passes high above. Sometimes the lines remain for hours together or disappear after few minutes. What are these trails and how are they formed? Well, they are something similar to vapour formed when we exhale through the mouth on a cold winter morning. Contrary to the popular belief, contrails that we see are not the hot jet exhausts. Commercial jets typically fly at altitudes in excess of 25000 feet. Jet exhaust basically contains carbon di-oxide, water vapour, soot and unburned fuel. All these components are released at high temperature and pressure into the atmosphere. The ambient temperature at those altitudes is typically between -41 to -44 degrees C and the pressure is around 0.37atm.

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The water vapour and some impurities in the exhaust like soot in extremely fine form act like condensation nuclei facilitating formation of a linear cloud. However, this isn’t always the case. The formation of contrails depends on a few factors. When the air at the altitude at which the aircraft is flying is wet and cold, the chances of contrail formation are more and they can stay around for a longer period of time. Sometimes the trails spread and stay around for longer time assuming different shapes resulting in what is known as “chemtrails”. Now chemtrails is a conspiracy theory but for now let us not venture in there. Not all aircraft flying in the same airspace create contrails. The factor that is in play here is also the type of engines. The aviation industry has gradually moved away from the turbojet engine to the turbofan engine. Turbofan engines are more efficient. They have  a higher bypass ratio which releases cool air around the hot exhaust gases through the core. A study by Ulrich Schumann has shown that such engines operating at higher propulsion efficiency reach conditions which result in higher relative humidity for the same ambient temperature resulting in formation of contrails.

AirCrossroads

 

To test this theory, two large commercial jets, a A340-300 and a Boeing 707 were flown together, wing to wing, at designated altitudes during ascent and descent. The A340 is powered by CFM56-5C4 high bypass ratio(6.8 – more efficient) engine whereas the Boeing 707 is powered by JT3D – 3B low bypass(1.4 – less efficient) engine. The ambient conditions and the contrail formation was observed from a research aircraft. It was found that the A340 created contrails in many more instances than the B707. Since early days of aviation, military planners were interested in the formation of contrails. If an aircraft is forming contrails and if it flies over enemy territory, it can easily give away itself and would thus help the enemy take counter measures. A scientist named H.Appleman devised a chart that could predict whether a jet plane would or would not produce a contrail. This chart named as the Appleman chart is still used widely across the world to predict the formation of condensation trails.

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Another factor that affects the contrail formation is the distribution of wet and dry air in and around the clouds. Inside the cloud, the concentration of wet air is much higher than outside. However, this is not just limited to the clouds. The variation in wet and dry air can be found throughout the clear air. So a jet flying through wet air to is lot more likely to produce contrails than the one flying through dry air. This is the reason why a jet flying at a particular altitude leaves behind contrails while another one in the same vicinity does not. Sometimes the wet and cold air can co-exist within few feet of each other. Sometimes, rockets flying vertically up have been known to demonstrate this. as soon as it hits wet air, it can be seen tracing a contrail. As it enters dry air, the contrails disappear.

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Contrail left by the Solar Dynamics Observatory Rocket

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So next time you see a jet streaking by with a beautiful white trail, just take a few minutes out to savour the sight.

Tunguska Event

tunguska2Morning time, 07:14 a.m., June 30th, 1908. Location, the stony Tunguska river in eastern Siberia, Russia. The morning calm is shattered by a monstrous explosion, the most powerful natural explosion ever recorded in history. It is said that the explosion was a 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The area is sparsely populated and hence human casualties were minimum, one local deer herder reportedly died. However, there was extensive damage to the flora and fauna. The explosion flattened an area of more that 2000 sq.km(770 sq miles). Hundreds of reindeer were reduced to charred carcasses.Some of the eyewitnesses reported seeing the entire sky engulfed in fire followed by deafening explosion and then noise like stones crashing or gunfire. The shock wave was registered by seismic stations across Eurasia measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale. It also caused fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure that were detected in England. Here is an eyewitness account as recorded by Leonid Kulik’s expedition.

“At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara Trading Post [65 kilometres/40 miles south of the explosion], facing north. […] I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul’s Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest [as Semenov showed, about 50 degrees up—expedition note]. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn, a part of the iron lock snapped.”

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However, there was little immediate interest shown by the Russian Government which could be due to the political strife and the impending Russian revolution. It was only after about 20 years in 1927 that an expedition led by Leonid Kulik visited the spot to investigate. What he found was a large area of flattened trees about 50 km wide in a strange butterfly shape. He surmised that a meteor had exploded above the area but curiously there was no crater at ground zero. Later, to explain this he suggested that the ground was covered in swamps and was too soft to hold the debris. It could have been buried few meters deep. In 1938, he wrote in his conclusions that they would find the substances usually associated with such meteors at a depth of about 25 meters. Russian researchers later said that it could have been a comet. Comets are commonly made up of ice and dust and it could have evaporated while entering the earth’s atmosphere which made sense since no alien substances were found. But an exact convincing explanation still eluded the researchers.

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In the absence of a convincing proof, many interesting theories were put forth. One such theory was that the explosion was caused by matter and anti matter collision. If that happens, particles get destroyed resulting in release of extreme bursts of energy. Another one suggested crash of a huge alien spaceship! In 2008, an Italian team of scientists suggested that lake Cheko, 5 miles north-north-west of the explosion’s epicenter could be the impact crater. Curiously, this lake was not on the maps before the Tunguska event. Luca Gasperini of the University of Bologna, Italy believes that there is no other way to explain the origin of that lake. However, other scientists were quick to dismiss this idea pointing to the well grown and unaffected trees all around the lake. In the event of an impact, the vegetation around the lake would have been completely destroyed. Another interesting theory attributes the explosion to Nikola Tesla! And why not??!! Tesla is known to have done things that amaze us even today. As it turns out, Nikola Tesla was working on his most ambitious project yet, the Wardenclyffe tower. With this, he envisaged worldwide wireless communications, worldwide transmission of free electricity and a defensive directed energy weapon.

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However, funding for this project was stopped by J.P. Morgan who obviously did not want free energy to be distributed throughout the world. It is said that a disillusioned Tesla wanted to demonstrate the power of his directed energy weapon and aimed it at the at the North pole. But a calculation mistake resulted the weapon overshooting the North pole and ultimately Tunguska had the bear the brunt. In the absence of concrete proofs there are numerous theories floating around, some plausible, some bizarre. Since 1908, more than 1000 scholarly papers have been published on the event and the event still continues to be investigated. Whatever it was, the jury is still out as to what exactly happened that morning on 30th June 1908.

 

 

Beyond The Obvious…

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UFO Sighting

It is very natural and easy to get stuck in the normal and the mundane. We all go about our lives performing humdrum tasks having found our comfort zones. However some events in the world do stir up our curiosity, we read about it, discuss it and then quickly go back to our routines thinking that life goes on as per our preset conventional notions and beliefs.

THINK AGAIN!

pbbThe sudden evolution of modern man from the apes(yes there is a significant and unexplained gap), strange weather patterns, tsunamis, earthquakes, the Phoenix and the Hessdalen lights, the Bermuda triangle, UFO sightings, the Roswell crash, the great Northeast blackout in 1965 in US and parts of Canada, Nikola Tesla inventions, the Tunguska event in 1908, the Philadelphia experiment, AREA 51, Kapustin Yar(Russian equivalent of AREA 51), the cattle mutilations in Colorado, sudden and blinding advances in the microchip and digital technologies, list is endless, but we hardly care since these events do not directly shake our tree. But let us not be so naive to accept things as they seem. There is a hell lot more than meets the eye.

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Nikola Tesla

Check out Lloyd Pye Jr.’s YouTube talk on the evolution of the modern man or read about Nikola Tesla’s inventions and thoughts. Dig a little bit about the Phoenix and Hessdalen lights or the riveting tale of Flight 19 over the Bermuda Triangle. If you think, we are alone in this universe, take some time out to read about the Roswell crash or the cattle mutilations in Colorado. If you think, the elected Government in the US has complete control over the military or its programs, do a bit of research on AREA 51, military industrial complex and the Illuminati. While the aerospace industry, the software industry and the electronics industry has leapfrogged many years ahead, ever wondered why the rocket technology is still almost the same even after 50 +years, using the same old solid booster rocket technology?

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HAARP

If you Google or search YouTube about Anti Gravity and ElectroGravitics or Zero point energy, you would find that the conventional physics taught to us falls flat on its face and fails to explain how these exotic technologies work. Check out Stan Deyo’s(many people debunk him) lecture on YouTube about UFO technology, anti gravity and free energy. It is also disconcerting to know that a scientist like John Hutchison(does the Hutchison effect ring a bell?) is forced to live life in penury when the effect named after him could cause metals to jellyfy, levitate and deform. It is said that once he was the cynosure of the US and the Canadian militaries and allegedly invented the Hiroshima batteries capable of creating free energy. But like many earlier inventors of devices for free energy, who either died under mysterious circumstances, disappeared or were made to look like frauds, Hutchison was called the mad scientist.

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USS Eldridge was used in the Philadelphia experiment

Powerful governments across the world have black budgets to sponsor black projects and they are rarely acknowledged. It is said that the US department of defense cannot account for $2.6 trillion in transactions and yet such projects not only exist but flourish.Certain governments and elite scientific and establishments have been operating and continue to operate covert projects which are way too exotic and ahead of our times and are never acknowledged. Iron Mountain, Montauk Project, HAARP, Manhattan Project, Philadelphia experiment, Project Blue Book, Operation High Jump, to name a few, is like barely scratching the surface.

The truth is out there but it is lot darker than we can imagine!

 

The unsung hero of 1962 war – Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat

Writer, Coffee and Stories

In 1962 Indo-China war, when the troops of Garhwal Rifles were given the command to return back from Battle of Nuranang, a Braveheart from Uttarakhand refused to leave the battle ground. He held the post and gave a tough time to Chinese soldiers with his dare-devilry. It is said that the brave Indian soldier had slain 300 Chinese soldiers with his rifle. But when the Chinese army got the hint that it was not a massive army, but a lone soldier who was holding the post, they decided to retaliate with a vengeance. In the battle between the Chinese troops, Jaswant was outnumbered and realizing that his capture was imminent, he shot himself. The Chinese battalion was so furious of this Indian soldier that they chopped his head off and took it with them. Later a ceasefire took place between India and China. The Chinese army was so amazed by…

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If time travelled backwards

nature-images-86Sometimes I get weird ideas, so weird that they qualify to be labelled as thought aberrations rather than ideas. But the mind refuses to be reined in and continues to run amok. One such thought aberration was what if time travelled backwards? Now Einstein would be surely turning in his grave saying it’s all relative and there is no such thing as forward or backward. However, with my current frame of reference and the way my mind is programmed to think, “clockwise” is time travelling forward and “anticlockwise” is travelling backward. With that issue settled, let’s embark on a journey “back in time”, literally.

I would start my life as an 80 year old, with standard complement of medical complexities, whiling away my time, cursing others, creating occasional nuisance and ogling at women third my age, boys will be boys! Not a bad start, considering the fact that I would already be retired and the onus of my responsibility (actually burden) would be on my immediate family rather than other way round. After spending couple of decades, I would have gradually regained my health and would be about to join the workplace.

The medical complexities would have ebbed and I would be joining the workplace at the pinnacle of my (erstwhile) career, with its full baggage of pressures, responsibilities et al. It would be cool to have all the knowledge and the experience prior to joining the workplace. No interview, no tests. Over a period of few years, I would gradually “move down” the corporate ladder.

Though I may have a settled life, the customary midlife crisis would make it appear as if I am the most unsettled and the most unfortunate of them all. While desperately trying various options for course correction including retirement, I would essentially stay on the same course just procrastinating. While the midlife crisis would die down, I would still be doing the tight rope walk trying to balance my personal and professional life.

Meanwhile my full grown, full-fledged family would be progressively getting younger each day. The kids who had just got a job and were independent would now be attending college and then “graduate” into school. While in school, wouldn’t it be amazing to show them their own photographs and videos when they were older? Same would go for me and my wife when we would look at our photographs and videos when we were old and have a hearty laugh. One immensely satisfying thing would be to lose the flab around the waist and get the foliage back on the head.

As I would progress back in life, one day I would get married and the next day I would be a bachelor! Oh how I yearn to be a bachelor….if my wife reads this, am sure to get killed or maimed. Subsequently, it would be the good old college, sun in my eyes, wind in my hair, no studies, no worries….just friends, fun and movies. Next, it would be time to go to school. The energy, the insatiable desire to learn new things, the innocence and excitement would return. I would find joy in small things like jumping in puddles, playing in dirt, chasing insects and butterflies, making paper boats and airplanes.

Getting younger and younger, I would lose weight and height, would start wearing colourful clothes with images of cartoons, slowly losing my vocabulary. Instead of saying full words and sentences, would start blabbering in monosyllables. My routine would now be eating, sleeping, crawling around and again eating and sleeping. The diaper would take care of the rest. Finally it would be time to say goodbye to the world and get into my mother’s womb!

 

Walk in my space

IMG_20160308_104835852_HDRIt has been a few months now that I started my early morning walks. Well, at 10am, it is not exactly early morning when most of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood are well past their early morning chores, having reached respective schools, colleges and offices while some are on their way. Thanks to my work hours, which allow me to call it a day not before 12:00am and my inefficiencies which allow me to wind up only at around 12:30am and the icing on the cake is provided by the 1 hour commute time from office to my abode.

Once at home, my confused body clock still thinks it’s too early to sleep and then my newfound hobby(?) of reading a book or freshly published blogs takes over. I manage to barely get past few lines when the eyelids revolt and begin dropping down. I do offer a symbolic resistance by reading next few words even though they appear like some smokey figures and before long, am knocked out.

The next thing I remember is getting up bleary eyed at around 09:00 am in the morning. By this time my daughter is already halfway through with her morning school and my wife after having despatched our daughter to school tries to make the most of the ‘space’ she gets subsequently. However, we do exchange customary updates over piping hot tea which I call my turbocharger, that carries me through at least in the morning.

Another thing I do religiously is read the newspaper. However, even after reading it regularly every morning, I find my general knowledge and awareness going down. I have no qualms about blaming it on the lack of genuine news and the burgeoning advertisements. The habit persists, though it is not adding any value.

After devouring the breakfast, I am ready for my morning walk. Isn’t that what I started talking about at the begining of the post? Glad that I came back to it, thought I almost forgot!! Well, my morning walk is what I call ‘my space’. That’s because this is the time am on my own, all by myself, esconced in my thoughts. The weather is usually pleasant at that time in the morning though the sun does make an effort to make it difficult for me. However, its efforts are thwarted by the multistoried building where I live and the adjacent trees.

The walkway encircles the housing society and is lined with well grown trees. The gentle breeze creates a rustling sound as it blows through the trees which has a soothing impact over the frayed nerves battered by the previous day’s travails. The trees are home to a good number of birds and squirrels. The chirping of the sparrows and the cooing of the cuckoos is pure music to ears. The squirrels too descend down from the tress to nibble at anything they find interesting and scurry around from one place to another which is nothing short of poetry in motion.

These morning walks have now become ‘my space’ where I can take stock of my life, gather my thoughts, try to think something new (though I haven’t had my eureka moment yet) or just observe the surroundings and watch life go by.

 

Pour Your Thoughts On the Paper

Writing“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”. Beautiful quote by none other than William Worsdworth. This exceedingly simple yet effective quote applies not only to writers but every one of us. After all, writing is about thoughts, emotions, feelings and ideas which we humans have in abundance. Based on the situation and the state of the mind, these are expressed through talk, gestures, facial or physical expressions and writing. One thing is for sure, there is a writer that lurks behind the curtain of inhibitions in each one of us.

He has to be coaxed out from the sideline into the spotlight. Most of the times, it is the brain that controls our decisions or what we do but for something as creative as writing, let the heart call the shots. With a bit of resolve and determination, once the thaw sets in, the earlier frozen thoughts, emotions and ideas begin to flow in a trickle and slowly but surely turn into a steady flow, charting out its own course in form of beautiful descriptions, plots or stories.

But then writing is not for the faint or the broken hearted. It takes herculean efforts to overcome the initial blocks and lot of blood and sweat needs to be spilled on the paper before the rainbow comes out. It takes persistence of the ocean waves that ram into the rocks over and over till they smoothen out the rough surface or change shape or that of a river that carves out a valley or a canyon between mountains. Once you persist and overcome the initial hurdle, the next thing you do is identify the ‘sweet spot’ or the ‘zone’.  

This is the time, the place, the conditions or the trigger that make your thoughts flow effortlessly, something like an F22 Raptor does when it flies at supersonic speeds without afterburners(extra power) or a car that cruises at 60mph on an autobahn. When you are in the ‘zone’, the words flow with utmost ease like a brisk breeze in an open field. It is as if you are possessed and driven by divine power. However, it takes significant effort and patience to find out the ‘zone’. The sooner we find it, the better; I am yet to find it though.

But there is no denying the fact that writing can be immensely satisfying even for greenhorns like me. There would be times when you feel like writing for an audience, craving for that praise, raking in some moolah, getting huge views and likes on your blog which would eventually happen but your best would come out when you are writing for yourself and no one but yourself. So just sit back, relax and unshackle the horses of your imagination and let them run wild.

Here are some beautiful writing quotes:

“There is no magic trick to good writing. Writing is soul searching. Once you empty your soul, the words will appear.” – Natrietia McClendon.

“Write drunk. Edit Sober.” – Ernest Hemingway.

 

A stab in the past

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Even though some characters are real, the story is purely fictional.

The door bell was ringing frenetically and persistently. Igal reached out for his clock at the bedside and his strained eyes could barely manage to catch the glimpse of the unearthly hour, it showed 02:30am in the morning. Suddenly, he was shaken out of his slumber by the loud and violent pounding on the door.He instantly froze, knowing fully well that it was the SS, Schutzstaffel or the German Secret Police. Before he could gather his thoughts and composure, there was a loud thud, indicating that the door was now broken and in the darkness he could make out four dark figures armed  with semi automatics right in his room. Two of them pushed him to the wall, got him handcuffed and the third one brusquely did a body search. In no time, he was bundled into a waiting truck full of other Jews including women and children, some crying some wailing and some too shocked to react.

As the truck began to move towards the concentration camp, loud beeps were heard in the background and the images began to get hazy and blurred. The beeps seemed to increase in volume until Ofir was completely stirred from his uneasy sleep. Ofir squinted to catch a glimpse of his watch and strangely enough it showed 02:30am in the morning. He was shivering with the effects of his nightmarish dream, his mind still struggling to decide which one was real. He got up and turned on the lights, his pillow still damp with the perspiration on his face.

Ofir  belonged to a generation that was born after the holocaust but felt very strongly about it since the SS took away his grand father Igal and grand mother Yael. He had heard about the horrors of the concentration camps from some holocaust survivors. Since then, he had been regularly suffering this nightmare. But he was no ordinary Israeli citizen, he was a Mossad Agent, determined to correct the past.He brushed, took a quick bath and headed straight to the Mossad headquaters.

The present world situation with ominous terror threats had forced many governments to embark on certain secret programs like time travel and mind control to counter this menace. The CIA, KGB and Mossad had made some progress on these initiatives in collaboration with respective cutting edge tech corporations. Like many holocaust survivors, Ofir and some of his colleagues harboured an ambition to correct the past.

A unit within the Mossad was a entrusted with the ultra secret mission to send someone in the past to eliminate Heinrich Himmler and his deputy Reinhard Heydrich. Himmler was in charge of the SS and was responsible for implementing the “final solution” envisioned by the Fuhrer.

Ofir had readily agreed to volunteer for this dangerous and almost suicidal mission. Though the scientists had succeeded in sending a dog and a sheep in the past, both were never retrieved. They had mastered the logic and technology of sending a subject in the past with accuracy of within an year of the targetted date and few miles of the targetted location or that’s what they thought. However they had yet to find a way to verify this or get the subject back to the present.

Ofir was made well aware of these factors but he agreed anyways since the only thing on his mind was to avoid the massacre of millions of people.He reached the Mossad headquarters at 04:00am sharp and proceeded immediately to the remote corner of the building where the secret lab was located. The doctors did a quick check of his blood pressure, heart beat and other vital signs. He was briefed about the mission, given photographs of Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, their addresses in Berlin(of old times) and also the address of SS headquarters. He had to memorise all the addresses and photographs to carry out the execution with any means available and possible.

The lab was now buzzing with activity, the super computer at the corner was crunching huge amounts of data and alogorithms. The huge screen in the middle of the lab had a split display with one side displaying the relevant information with the current time and another with January 1929 timestamp and maps of old Berlin. This was the time when Himmler had assumed the position as head of SS. By taking out Himmler and Heydrich during that period when SS was being expanded and given sweeping powers, Mossad planned to change the course of Jewish history.

The activity in the lab had now reached a feverish pace. The IDF chief was now in the lab after getting a “Go” from the political leadership to personally oversee the operation. Ofir was now taken to the chamber called the time capsule which had an array of instruments lined up and sensors connected to Ofir’s body.There were lights blinking all over the lab and a palpitable tension was felt all over. After all this was the first time travel mission undertaken with a human as the traveller. The chambers door was closed and Ofir gave a thumbs up to indicate he was ready to go. The time travel equipment now came to life, all eyes were rivetted on the chamber. It was filled with a bright flash of light and after a few seconds, Ofir had disappeared. The chamber was now dark and empty.

There was hushed silence all over the lab and all eyes anxiously shifted to the huge monitor in the middle of the lab. After about 2-3 minutes which seemed like eternity, a bright blip appeared on the map of Berlin. Everyone let out a sigh of relief but they also knew that they had no control over what happens now.

January 1929, Berlin……

Ofir felt a mild headache and was thirsty. He opened his eyes and found himself sleeping in bed in what lookied like a bedroom in a small apartment. It was a cold wintry night. The room was dimly lit and the furniture looked like in the 1920s. His vision seemed blurred. He rubbed his eyes and looked around and found a pair of circular glasses beside the bed on a small table. He put them on and it seemed to help but the room was still dim so he fumbled around the room trying to locate the switch for the lights. Finally he located one besides the cabinet with a mirror. As he was switching on the light, in the cabinet he saw a military uniform with a ‘swastika’ sign on it. With the light turned on, he glanced in the mirror and found Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler staring back….!!!

 

 

Expectations

 

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The word ‘expectations’ like the meaning suggests is pregnant with expectations! All kinds of expectations, without limits, no boundaries, adjust themselves according to the context, are situational and are potentially infinite. It is like the universe, ever expanding, infinite and unbounded. Expectations are all pervading and no one can escape from them. Everyone has all kinds of expectations from life, from their partners, friends, job, society and ultimately life. It is one of the most basic instincts in all living things even animals and insects. Just look at a spider waiting in its web expecting a prey to pass by and get trapped. Look at the crocodile waiting in water, with just eyes out, expecting a calf or a deer to stop by for a gulp. It is amazing how it is built into our psyche, we don’t need to be trained or instilled with it.

Expectations start right from infancy and keep growing as we grow and later assume unexpected proportions so much so that they start driving our life. The nature of expectations too changes as we grow. During childhood, they are innocent limited and most flexible. The child of a beggar on the streets is happy with an odd snack or a broken toy. However, a kid from a well to do family expects a pizza or a burger for a snack and a remote controlled toy or a tab to play with. Here the situation has shaped the expectations. However, expectations have an uncanny ability of growing exponentially. As we grow, the expectations start growing like water hyacinth, slowly but surely until the entire lake or pond is covered. Just picture this, in school, we expect our parents to buy us a better school bag, better compass box, better stationery, better tiffin box, better story book etc. In college we expect better clothes, better accessories, better shades, better bike, better girlfriend etc. Further in life, when we start earning, we start expecting a better job, better pay, better car, and better house and now we find ourselves completely trapped in our own and others’ expectations! That’s right; now others also start expecting from us, our boss, our spouse, our children, our colleagues and even our friends. Day in and day out, we are under the spell of expectations. Our boss expects us to perform better at workplace, put in more hours, more effort and more innovation. Even the team that rolls up to you starts expecting you to fulfill their expectations!

After a hard day’s work, when you come home to relax, you face the brunt of your spouse’s and children’s expectations. Just when we expect the expectations to reduce, they bounce back with even greater force and on a larger scale. However, they are not always bad. If they are nurtured and handled properly, can have a positive influence on the situation. God forbid, but if you find yourself in a bad situation, expecting the situation to improve can help in cultivating a positive outlook in that situation. It is kind of a double edged sword, you have to do a tightrope walk if you want to come out unscathed. If you drill down a bit, expectations are results of attachment. Our attachment to things, our near and dear ones, places and situations triggers expectation. Humans by nature are selfish and they expect a reciprocal gesture for every deed, feeling and action. Being part of the society, we are all caught in the web of expectations, all the time. Even God has not been spared of our expectations. Don’t we always expect good health, wealth and life from him irrespective of our deeds? This becomes the cause of our misery. Now we cannot get rid of all the expectations but can certainly keep them minimum and in proper perspective. Not expecting at all or expecting the unexpected seems to be the mantra here. I can’t help but quote Alexander Pope:

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”