It was 10:14 am, Sunday morning. It started raining again around 7:15 am after stopping for around an hour. There were no rickshaws or city buses plying and the Sunday mass-goers had lot of trouble awaiting them. There were potholes on the roads and water was clogging from every direction. One could see a whole lot of umbrellas turning upside down due to heavy winds. The drizzle continued… The area outside the Bendur church was very much blocked by flowing water. The municipality had done as much as they could do under the prevailing circumstances.
The mass-goers were seen with umbrellas covering their faces and walking in discipline like a flock of sheep guided by their shepherds. The Sunday mornings are indeed a good visual delight, for it shows the class of Catholics in Mangalore. By 10 am the elders are at the mutton shops, or pork shops buying the day’s quota required for a leisurely afternoon lunch. One could see the faces of uncles and aunts and some divine happiness in their eyes while negotiating with the mutton/chicken vendors. Once the lunch shopping is taken care of, then men will pay a visit to the Wine shop for the liquor shopping. When they reach home, it will be around 11 am. And now the day’s Newspaper or TV will keep the elders engaged and the women will get busy in the kitchen and savor Konkani songs of Wilfy or Claude, else English music as to pep themselves while working in the kitchen! Well, some male members lend their help in the kitchen too. It is not easy to finish cooking in flat two hours, as there is a lot of work to do.
Marshall was also in the mutton shop. He had a bad drinking habit. So, He swallowed a nip of cheap liquor in the morning itself. His reason for drinking was his wife’s sad demise six months ago. He never wanted to be called a drunkard, but he was rejoicing now, for a unique reason of course. The evil, wily Rilsy Vaz was after him. Any one will be surprised as to what this drunkard Marshall can give to Rilsy! Basically, the story is a very lengthy one, which Marshall never wants to recollect or share with others. His only daughter was studying in Bangalore and was living in the convent hostel. His house (ancestral property) was near Kankanady market, in one and a half acre of land. It was near the main road and a pleasant place to be in.
Adjacent to his house were some small tenements, where the tribes were living. They used to work as rag pickers and work in Marshall’s yard to help him in plucking fruits such as Mangoes, Jack Fruits, and Custard Apples, and also look after the progress of Jasmine and Vanilla flowers. They used to work on a profit sharing basis with Marshall and it helped them a lot with kind remuneration. Of course, he was very polite with them! This cunning Rilsy was after Marshall. He wanted Marshall to convert these uneducated poor people and show their photographs to his US boss’ of his religious organization to get monetary help. This had been his modus operandi! Risly and his wife; Lolly Vaz, both were after Marshall’s wife. But, Marshall was reluctant even though he was an easy prey and he was trying to avoid the duo. He used to drink and pretend as if he was mourning his wife’s death and avoid Rilsy.
However, as Marshall was weak and devastated, since Rilsy was putting pressure on him and his family, he had arranged for his daughter’s education at Bangalore. Marshall was a distant cousin of Xavier; who was a very influenced person around and used to get things done for people. One day, when he had come to his place, Marshall mooted the idea and immediately Xavier had arranged for his daughter’s education in Bangalore. Thus, Marshall was relieved of daughter?s education and her future as well. But, wicked Rilsy had other plans. He was pestering Marshall to sell his property to Rilsy?s Bible society. He wanted to offer a very good price, and convert that place into a hostel for the newly converted Christians. Rilsy is the person who will kill two birds in one stone!!
He will get the 15 odd people staying nearby Marshall?s house to convert them into Christianity and get money and appreciation from his bosses in US for the missionary works he is doing in India. In addition, he will get funds from them to buy prime property pegged around 40 lacs for very low price and then construct a hostel for newly converts. His intention is to make more money from donations and register the property under his name to avoid any questions from anyone.
Marshall always used to crisscross Rilsy?s path as a drunkard. He could dodge the question from him about his property. Rilsy used to get angry like hell!! Under any circumstances, he wanted to brain wash Marshall into parting away with his property. The jackal, Rilsy was positive that like any others before him, Marshall too would fall before him like ninepins and he would have a winner in his hands this time too!!!
“Hi Marshall, How are you?” Marshall turned around and saw Rilsy right behind him. He was dumbstruck!! The mutton shop where Marshall stood was agog with customers. It was really a pathetic situation to be in!! Marshall silently prayed to God. Rilsy came and stood in front of Marshall. As Marshall turned around, Lolly was also there! All of a sudden there was chaos! Within seconds, there were some seven guys with choppers and swords who surrounded Rilsy. Rilsy pushed Lolly “Lolly, run…” and started running…”attack him; break his bones….” the guys with the swords were shouting. They swung their choppers and swords. One attack made Rilsy cry in pain. His right hand had come under attack. As Rilsy ran out of the mutton shop, he got another blow on his left leg!! The darkest guy among the group had flung his chopper on Rilsy?s leg. Writhing in pain Rilsy fell down and crawled on the road. There was a sizeable crowd, which had gathered on the road and police arrived immediately.
The seven members of the gang fled by the Toyota Qualis had arrived, but not before jostling with the hostile crowd. The mutton shop guys and the crowd arm-wrestled the gang but, all in vain. The rowdies were successful in their escape….Lolly was unconscious!! Her left hand was battered and the blood was all over her clothes. Police took the couple to the hospital in their ambulance.
In Mumbai, there was celebration. Yashwant, Abraham and Kudwa, along with their lawyer Nitin Parekh, were raising toast. They were at Xavier’s house and very happy to know that they had taught the cunning jackal Rilsy, a good lesson. However, they were still not satisfied as they found less damage. But, Lolly was totally devastated. This was a big bonus! They had earned their brownie points. Cheers!! Up went their glasses with Royal Challenge in it…
To be continued..
Author: Donald Dsilva- Mumbai