Part – II

Ire of gods and sorrow of souls

Section 2: Gods admonish

Savior Lord

Get out of the room!

I met my boss at Basra routinely in the month of June. He was very cordial. There was no discussion about my study or final report being submitted shortly. Instead he asked me to be present at my   laboratory at the drill-site on a specific date and time for an important discussion.

I was only wondering about the purpose of Bully Brute’s visit 250 Kilometers away for a discussion in the desert when nothing extra was achievable in our discussion at the laboratory of the drill-site. All my documents and notes were at Basra, and running unnecessarily 500 Kilometers to and fro was just a wastage of time. Unable to get an explanation, I raised the haunting question before a friend. He was fond of reading Ian Fleming and conditioned to think like James Bond.

“Oh! It is a simple case; why did it not strike you?” My friend talked like a Sherlock Holmes instead of a James Bond.

I was looking at his face foolishly. What was a simple case for him was eluding me whole day.

“Evidence for your drastic conclusions is some microfossils, which are so small that they can be seen under a microscope only.  Isn’t?”

 “Yes,” I said.

“I have seen you keeping them in the slides during your study. Am I right? 

“Yes,” I was a bit uncomfortable with his quizzing.

“Now, listen. He will ask you to give the slides to him because he is your boss. You will obey and give him. He will throw away the rare fossils from the slides into dust on the ground; and, they will be lost forever. He will also not let you see the well samples again to re-generate your evidence.” My friend completed his imaginative story.

 I was stunned at the foolishness in his idea. Such an absurd situation was impossible under prevailing practice in scientific investigations.

The other day I was in my well-site laboratory, arranging the materials to be inspected or discussed by my boss.  

 Bully Brute visited me at drill-site laboratory dot at time with his assistant. He verified each and every slide of relevance for my conclusion. He was satisfied with my work. Then, he said “Specialists of Iraqi National Oil Company want to see your slides to verify your findings. I am taking your material with me to give it to them.”

His story had no legs to stand, I was clear. I had already discussed my results with Drs. Trumper and Solak of INOC, and they were satisfied with my work. Sherlock Holmes of Basra was right. I was facing two goons preparing to lift my slide box and moving out of my room within seconds. Unless I acted fast, I was doomed. My conclusions could be lost forever.

“You cannot take away my material this way” I was firm.

 “What do you want?” asked my boss.

“A proper entry of the material in a register for record,” I demanded. His assistant brought a register and work of entering details of my slides in the register commenced in no time. Soon the atmosphere was relaxed.

There was a quick move from me now. I lifted the slide box and moved fast towards the almirah to lock it there, declaring that the box would not be given.

There was a scuffle for box between Brute and myself. I won over him and locked the box in the almirah to the chagrin of the two robbers.

“Get out of the room now,” I commanded; and, my two outwitted and shaken seniors obeyed it. Good health and regular physical exercise pays on crucial moments.

I kept myself busy at the drill site for a few days for the final report. When I reached Basra, story of our scuffle was circulating.

I left Iraq on July 12, 1976.

 Management heeded to my report. The second well of Abukhema Field was not drilled. Asmat too was back to India soon. Destiny had taken him there only to show him a crestfallen Brute.

Asmat has a knack of making even serious matters jocular.

 After our retirement we met in the ONGC Hospital, and were chatting in its hall some thirty years after the incidence.  SNT, the then Head of the Exploration Institute of ONGC, also joined us.

“What are you doing these days?” He enquired from me.

“Astrology” I replied.

“Astrology! Not Geology?” He was a bit surprised.

“He has forgotten Geology since long after he ran into Bully Brute in Iraq!”  Asmat interjected.

Asmat did not know, however, that Bully Brute ended as an unhappy episode for SNT. He was grieving in 1989 at unceremonious departure of Brute  from ONGC.