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As our vehicle carries me past Chandrapur, right into the heart of Naxal country, I know what to expect in the coming few days. I would be walking the sweltering Dandakaranya jungles in the company of the banned People's War Group guerrillas, surviving on what the tribals can get us past police eyes and running the risk of malaria. If it rained, I would be wading through leech-filled sucking slush. And sleeping in the open on plastic sheets, an easy prey for any snake or centipede that cares to crawl my way.

As bonus, I stand a good chance of getting shot by the cops. Or, if more fortunate, catching the wrong end of their rifle right in my face.

Yet, all I can feel is exhilaration.

Days later, as I write this in Bombay, soothing my arms that have become a mass of mosquito bites, I can feel the adrenalin pumping. My fingertips tingle as they rush over the keyboard. Is being on the wrong side of the law always so thrilling?

Yes. There were moments of apprehension. Once we had to flee camp to dodge an encounter with the law. That manoeuvre curtailed my trip to a little over 80 hours. Then again, on the way out with incriminating notes and photographs, the bus we were travelling in was surrounded by nearly a dozen policemen. But that is not to say there are regrets. There aren't. And if the countless mosquitoes that feasted on my petty bourgeois blood gift me malaria, so be it.

Page design: Dominic Xavier

   DAY 1: Lizard for dinner!
   DAY 2: They shoot first; ask questions later
   DAY 3: Women make better guerrillas than men
   DAY 4: We will meet again. If I live...