Konkan Connections – 7

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Abraham was not in a mood to speak with anyone. Since yesterday, Kudwa had parked himself at his old house in Dhobi Talao at Behram Mahal, opposite Lalit Bar. He was ashamed to return to his house and face sniggering remarks from his wife and son at this juncture. He has given them very good life and has suffered a lot in the bargain. His stay in police custody for four days had drained the inner strength of Abraham. He never had bargained that he will be ill- treated in this manner. Each and every person has his own ego. Under any circumstances, he never would like to become vulnerable to any problems whatsoever. But, in the police lock up, there was no one to help him. The investigating officers were very harsh and rude to him. He does not know, who has given the information to the police. Good that he was bailed out from the bad situation By Kudwa and Yeshwant in the nick of time. All of them had doubts on Xavier, but he himself went into hiding. And more over, was doubly terrified and dis-engaged himself from all contacts.

“Hey, D’costa, take it easy man..” Kudwa could not take the silence any longer. Since 8.30 pm, Abraham is looking at the ceiling and lost in his thoughts. His glass is still half finished with Smirnoff vodka. Meanwhile, Kudwa had downed two pegs already. Probably, a smart alec like Abraham, who thinks that he can never be caught, or who happens to think that he is always above the law, when caught with his pants down and humiliated by the cops….oops..will definitely be dumbstruck!! said kudwa’s mind.

“ummm, moaned Abraham, “..I  am still thinking how it all happened”

“Finish your drink, pal…There is a hidden enemy. Yeshwant was  also mentioning this  today. Xavier is not picking his calls. There is someone trying to get us one by one. “He by force pushed the contents from the glass down Abraham’s throat. He prepared one drink each for both. Abraham nervously gestured that he was already full. But, Kudwa will have none of it.

“D’Costa, have you ever thought, what must have transpired in the minds of our freedom fighters during British rule. They were imprisoned for years. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was in Mandalay prison for 15 years. Veer Savarkar was in Andaman for 20 years. Also, Gandhiji, Nehru, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan, Sardar Patel..he was going on and on.

“Stop it my dear friend, you always get into a sentimental mode. I appreciate the fact that our leaders who fought for independence went through long sentences and had gone through hell. But, what about today’s politicians? Has anybody  been imprisoned? Has anybody been sentenced? Today, we find some movie actors landing behind the bars and are being charged with various offences. That is the only solace. They used to go scot free earlier! Kudwa.. You are a sentimental fool”

Kudwa was rejoicing. He knew, how to get this Abraham into a good fighting mood. Xavier is old and almost finished. He is of no use. But, this Abraham, if properly buttered and coaxed into for any shady deals, will never back track. This time, he had a shock of his life. But, he will recover and will recover fast. Because, soon the construction has to start on the Oshiwara land they acquired. More over, the Vikroli and Kanjurmarg plots need to be sold. Kudwa was a shrewd businessman. He always admired the two sworn enemies, but only liked Abraham more, because, he never had any family problems. And  was ready without thinking for any business for his close friends. Unlike, Xavier, who after two pegs will start withdrawing into a shell. He will start thinking about his son and daughter, his grand children. Again, he will get jealous about Kudwa, Abraham and Yeshwant, how their families are together with them. Then, again he will try to win every single argument in his favor over drinks and than will purposely delay his payments to their real estate business. Only for old friendships sake, or else, Kudwa had had enough. Even Yeshwant and Abraham  were surprised about Kudwa’s endurance. How long, one can tolerate Xavier?

“Hey… D’Costa, Yeshwant and I have decided that we all three have to meet and chalk out plans for our future. We have to have a meeting with Xavier. We need to catch the culprit who has leaked the information.

“Wait a minute,” Abraham was getting into form, he gestured to Kudwa to fill up his glass and with one swig poured down the entire liquid remaining in the glass down his throat.

Ever helpful, Kudwa obliged with tongue in cheek expression, as he had succeeded in kicking the fear and agony out of Abraham’s mind. Now, it will be a very easy task to propel him to do what already, Yeshwant and himself have thought about.

“I have to contact Santu and  Mangesh, Koloor Ali , Abdul and also Raju. Our job needs to be done discreetly and with amazing alacrity. First three are in gulf Countries, and the other two are  in Kenya. It is not possible to do the job otherwise. . We need to act fast and get the job done precisely.”

Kudwa was savoring just what the doctor ordered. He knew, deep down Abraham is very courageous and only Xavier was not digestable to him Like they say enemies from birth. But, still they both listened to Kudwa and Yeshwant. Xavier had a penchant of solving small time problems like, Silvi, Attu and other host of pedestrian issues. But, Abraham was always choosy in picking up issues for settlements. One has to be little bit careful and should not go about venturing like ‘Marlon Brando’s character in God father. One can not solve all the problems of the world. One should leave these problems for God to solve was his logic. At times, one should take a lead and get things done, but not always.

“Kudwa, Lets start meeting people.  I have to pay a visit to Crime Branch office at Crawford market every two days. So You and Yeshwant have to do the needful. First we have to see who is behind these things. Then, lets meet that Xavier..”

Kudwa shook his head in admiration. If it were Xavier, he would have said no. There is always wisdom in Abraham’s actions.

“D’Costa, Finish your drink, lets go for dinner to Khyber. I will see if I can meet James of Colaba fishermen’s colony there. He knows and has the first hand info about happenings in the city. He with his Swedish Girl will be at Khyber.” He still runs successfully his  night club at Strand and guest house at Regal.

Abraham got up. He had to play a role in shaping up the future. He gathered the car keys.

(To be continued)

Author: Donald Dsilva- Mumbai

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