‘Wish I could be a fly on the wall when X and Y meet one-on-one’. This is an ardent – and not very uncommon – wish among those who must know ‘what is really going on in the world’. X and Y are of course two global power-mongers – of the greater or the lesser kind – who imagine that they hold the future of mankind in their hands.

In the absence of the wish coming true, ardent knowledge-seekers are left with no ‘raw material’ except ill-informed and uninformed speculation, to be garnished liberally with flights of fancy and hints of the mysterious. This is how common folk are led to think ‘they know what is going on’ – by those who think ‘they know more of what is going on’.

Nobody expects the ‘fly on the wall’ wish to come true – at least in the next hundred years, regardless of amazing advances in genetic engineering and nanotechnology.

But last night a truly mind-boggling event occurred! Your humble correspondent had his ‘fly on the wall’ wish fulfilled!

Naturally, what this particular ‘fly on the wall’ witnessed must be reported forthwith – as being of utmost and paramount significance to the future of mankind. Accordingly, this is your mind-boggled correspondent reporting, much more reliably than CNN:


The fly sat on a wall of a luxury suite in a five-star hotel in Vienna. It had been a dull and uneventful day for the fly until – a little before sunset – three grim and purposeful elderly men entered the suite, for what proved to be a tension-filled working meeting.

True identities of the men could not be determined. Judging by their accents, the three men were of British, Middle-eastern and East-European backgrounds – represented here by letters ‘B’, ‘M’ and ‘E’ respectively. The men made frequent references to someone they called ‘Numero Uno’; their references to others were in some kind of code.


E: Welcome to the quarterly meeting of the strategy group.

B: Let’s start. I don’t have all night for this.

M: Me neither.

E: Standard protocol turning ON. No interruptions allowed until the meeting ends.

[Click sound.]

E: Proceedings are now being recorded with copy-protection. The only copy will reach Numero Uno; no other record will exist.

M: I’ll go first. Lack of funds is a huge problem for us. Fighters need salaries, spares, ammunition. Promises were made.

B: We’re working on it. Preachers are being sent to boost morale.

M: I repeat. We need money. Preachers are useless.

B: Money doesn’t grow on trees. There are many claimants. We also know how much of it gets diverted to personal accounts. So don’t push it.

M: I know exactly where the money comes from and how much. You know that my friends are the biggest sources of funds.

B: Don’t push it. I will speak to Uno.

[A few moments of silence.]

E: Money is always a problem; there’s never enough of it. Can’t the fighters learn to make do with little – like the Taliban do?

M: Ha! Can you fight like the Taliban?

E: That’s ad hominem.

M: Yes – intentionally. Unlike the Taliban, our fighters have bought into the ‘western good life’ story. So we get far less bang for the buck.

E: This is a difficult situation.

M: Do we just leave them to their fate?

E: No comment.

B: Some matters will have to be given a very quiet burial – and the opposite PR spin. Remember we represent ‘western values’ today.

[Sound of laughter.]

E: The charm of ‘western values’ is wearing thin. A new narrative is needed to ensure our intellectual and moral dominance.

B: We’re on it. Uno is funding a couple of dozen scholars to explore plausible narratives supporting the coming historic transition.

E: Find some from India. The verbosity may prove useful. You never know.

B: Agreed. We may get good value for money there. Their heads are overflowing with all kinds of potentially useful notions.

M: I’d say keep away from that lot – full of metaphysical notions of oneness and compassion and what not; subversive notions for us.

B: But useful in subject populations.

E: Yes. I’m funding a few scholars in our own outback.

M: Let me tell you the hard fact, my learned colleagues. Nowhere do I see any promise – not in religion, not in ideology, not in philosophy, not in mythology. And that’s why I recommend raw power – money, media, law, police, military – whatever form power takes.

B: Many disbelieve so-called ‘western values’. Face it. Over the last three decades, our tactics have been very badly executed, starting with Russia.

E: Yes, a nett loss. And now DT is not even trying to sustain ‘western values’.

[A few moments of silence.]

E: ‘Western values’ do carry weight in Eastern Europe. The prevailing world-view there is early twentieth century. We must sustain their useful illusions using soft power. After all, man does not live by bread alone, right?

M: Of course not. An illusion is also needed.

E: Point taken. Let’s start a ‘Together for Liberty’ campaign in eastern Europe.

B: Even then, how do we square the circle globally? We need to create – how shall I say – a shiny new cover, which casts its allure far and wide, all around the world.

M: There you go rambling again. Listen. There’s no need to square any circles. Just ram our vision down their throats – wherever and whenever that is necessary. Ram, ram and ram. Make sure no alternate version of any so-called truth survives. After all, nobody objected to the ‘post-truth’ meme, right? In fact many seemed awed by it.

B: Our PR guys in London came up with that one; all Oxbridge, by the way. One even claims to have ‘blue blood’ – would you believe it?

M: This ‘blue blood’ thing is most useful to us. That’s Uno’s greatest contribution to the cause. Humour the old lady.

B: Wish we didn’t have to wear ludicrous robes and headgear now and then, though.

M: Goes with the territory. I had to wear grass-skirts and headgear in Africa once. A guy must do what he has to do.

E: All for the cause. But the blue blood thing may one day outlive its utility.

B: Contingency plans are ready. Rest assured.

E: How about a grand unification based on the Christian thing itself?

M: Nah … That’s impossible. Too many schisms have occurred already.

[A few moments of silence.]

M: The Confucian message may work, I think, when combined with the right spin – peace, social harmony and what not. Add total surveillance, and it’s sewn up nice and tight. That would be a truly historical pivot to the east – unlike what BO of the flashy teeth did. We have already started a ‘Dialogue for Global Harmony’ campaign in China.

B: You do have all the answers, don’t you?

M: Sure I do – if you can live with that.

B: You might have to die for that.

M: Noted.

[A few moments of silence.]

E: That reminds me – how effective is our targeting team now?

M: Within a month of a verified signal, we can get anyone on the planet. The protocol is that Numero Uno sends the signal. We also moonlight when that makes good business sense. Two hundred special recruits are under training.

B: Do you inform Uno about the side jobs?

M: Depends. He knows that the profits are huge.

E: He has other groups, including one on global finance.

M: Yes. They’re the ba***rds who think they own the world. I bet they are the ones blocking my funds.

B: No comment.

E: There’s much chatter nowadays about the impending financial crash. Any updates from the big centre of global finance?

B: The proven formula is still in play. Shake the tree only when the fruit is ripe. A major tactical change is planned post-shakeout.

M: I hope funds will then be more plentiful.

B: I’ll then head twenty-billion dollars worth of projects in southern and eastern Europe.

M: Care to share some details?

B: Only if you kiss my a**.

M: We should handle a part of any work in that region.

B: I said only if you kiss my a**.

[A few moments of silence.]

E: Are we done?

B: I have a message from Uno: Avoid rash actions. Avoid excessive loss of life all at once. But do keep up constant pressure. Good results are expected post-shakeout.

E: Didn’t we hear that the last time?

B: The message is to be repeated; or it will be lost in disputations.

M: What the h*** does “excessive loss of life” mean? We do have a goal, after all. Should we or should we not achieve our goals?

B: Rash actions are giving rise to opposing forces. In such situations, actions prove counter-productive and the goal recedes.

M: I thought loss of life on the other side was totally permissible.

B: The situation is changing much faster than anticipated. The consulate murder has created a huge disturbance. Turkey is gifted an ace it could only have dreamt about.

M: Surely PR can re-align that story to match our goals?

B: Yes, but the fact remains your associates are savage in their ways.

M: We’ve known that all along, haven’t we? Need I remind you guys about the collateral costs of being in the conquest business? There’s no room for timidity here. Of course we could have done that journalist job without any trace. It would’ve been a piece-of-cake.

E: Possibly they wanted to make a big statement.

B: Well, it misfired.

M: I don’t understand the practical implications of Uno’s message. We must project implacable strength. I need a one-on-one meeting with him.

B: Go ahead. I meet him every Tuesday. He has thousands of sources. His vision of life is amazingly deep and far-reaching.

M: Flattery will get you nowhere.

E: Can we not drop this line of talk, gentlemen?

M: I’m no gentleman. I have a goal to reach and I am going to reach it – whatever it takes. What others think of me is of no consequence to me. My hands are soaked in blood already.

B: All for the cause.

E: I shall call this meeting to a close and turn off the recorder. Agreed?

B: Agreed.

M: Agreed.

[A few moments of silence.]

M: What are the arrangements for dinner and recreation?

E: Each to his own suite. Dinner and recreation are arranged as requested.

M: The woman last time talked too much.

E: We’ve sent you another this time.

B: I had requested a repeat. In fact, I’ll make that handsome young man my Special Executive. Wife will also be satisfied.

E: Buy one, get one free.

[A few moments of silence.]

B (LOUD): Damn! What’s this bloody fly doing here? In a bloody five-star hotel?

E: What! At three thousand dollars a night! I’ll call the manager!

M: I’ll swat the damn thing with this newspaper!

[Loud sound of newspaper hitting the wall.]


That morning, the delivery boy threw the rolled-up newspaper rather hard at my front door. The loud bang woke me with a start. From being an unwelcome if tiny intruder in a five-star Vienna hotel, instantly I resumed my life as an ordinary Indian on an ordinary Indian bed. A zero-star bed, of course, but comfortable and familiar nonetheless.

To say that my mind was boggled would be a huge understatement. In that luxury suite in Vienna, I had heard how wannabe world-conquerors build their grand visions and map out their grand strategies. I was more horribly shaken up than I had ever imagined was possible.

After a sorely-needed hot cup of tea, and in the interest of historical accuracy, I wrote out the entire mind-boggling experience with as much fidelity as humanly possible. However, even as I wrote, I was certain that no reader would feel the sheer terror of the event as I had felt it.

[Published originally at the site]









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