Sitting in his car in the back seat, Xavier was lost in deep thoughts. He knew he was an intelligent man. He wanted to be present in this bar every day to note down the happenings. His clients were Mafioso guys, whom he knew since their teens. He was running a ?paan? shop in his youth at Mohamed Ali Road. He went into many businesses before settling with Automobile spares shop and real estate. Now, he was a millionaire. He had been to Dubai, Israel, Kuwait and also UK for conventions. All his three children may be ill-fated. After his wife died, he was staying alone with an old chef for company. He poached him from the seminary from Mangalore. His classmates were priests scattered all over India and one was a bishop in Italy. ?Well, I only studied up to 8th standard, but still I am a popular and powerful character among Konkans in Mumbai.? Happy with the thoughts he mumbled something and laughed. ?Jee saab, Kuch kaha aapne? the loyal driver whispered. ?Nothing, idiot, look at the road, stop at Delhi Darbar and pick up the parcel? thundered Xavier, more so because the driver interrupted his sweet thoughts.
HSBC bank, Vile Parle. It was choc a block! Abraham D? Costa was in the Queue. He urgently wanted to withdraw 2 lacs cash. He knows the manager, so what, many of them knew him too! The best remedy is to act as a noble peace loving guy and stand in the queue. Street-smart Abraham knew well how to conduct himself in public. He has to give it to Rashid Ansari urgently.
Bewakoofs call it hawala, he laughed to himself. It is difficult to stop this trade, especially when money is changing hands between two individuals. Xavier had two wives. Now the other one from Dongri is alive. She is the main conduit for hawala. I should beat him to this. I am brilliant too. Some day he will acknowledge in public that I am very brilliant and not a womanizer like him. But, I too am a guy with high connections. ?Sir, may I have your cheque?? Abraham came to this world. Well, Mr. Mehta was in front of him politely gesturing to hand over the cheque to him. Abraham obliged. ?Please be seated Sir? Mehta left. Abraham smiled, looked around and saw some jealous glances from young girls and housewives. He need not worry at all. A proud smile escaped his lips. He went to the sofa and crossed his legs and sat starring at the ceiling. Wow! How influence and power works in this country! His mobile rang? Hello, yeah Rashid bhai, jee send your driver to my office at Fort. Yeah, same, ?super couriers? yeah, yeah. ?Jee, thank you Ibrahim bhai. Arre, no problem, yaar, Hum kiske liyen hai phir?? ?What a surprise, Muslim guys always call me Ibrahim! Eh!!? Abraham was thinking aloud.
Xavier was in his shop at 8.30 a.m. sharp though the city was not alive yet. Since his youth, he had made it a habit to rise early and go for a walk up to Mount Mary church and come back. He stayed next to ?Le Peppeyone? building, yeah, the same building where Jackie Shroff resides. He used to jog in the mornings, nowadays, God knows, what he is up to? Well, he was my son?s friend. Archie used to go over to his house. ?Salam Saab? The chaiwala brought his morning cuppa with lots of milk. Xavier did not say a word. His eyes were on the Marathi newspapers. He got all the English dailies, but did not know how to read – only for show baazi. At times he feels sad, very sad. If only I knew English, if I had education even up to HSC, I would have taught nice lessons to these English speaking dogs who are in their twenties and thirties. Xavier laughed to himself. So what, his children were all well educated. They are settled in states. They call him often. But, personal pride keeps him away from this. Two sons and one daughter are happily together with only their mother?s garlanded photo with them and father?s phone numbers. Hehe! If one does not have children then the world makes mockery out of such people. He himself has made fun of many people.
And, when the same children grow up, they develop wings and fly away. Yeah, yesterday someone, well, yeah, that jackal Alvarez was barking these lines. After twice getting admitted to Lilavati Hospital in the span of three months, he now at times forgot names, words, thoughts. But, come what may, ?I need to teach Abraham a good lesson, so that in future he will never open his mouth in public.
Trnnng??Trnnng?..?Hello, yeah, yes, Kudwa saab, tell me, how come this early morning you called me? Sheesha ho ya Dil ho?.? with sarcasm dripping Xavier laughed loudly. ?Xavier saab, mazak ka waqt nahi hain? Abraham has been caught for his illegal money dealings yesterday night.? Day before, police in civil dress had come to Alvarez?s joint after we left. He told me ? ?You know, Abraham is very jealous of you. Be careful. That bastard will reveal your name at the slightest excuse to the police.?
?What!? Xavier experienced a mini heart attack! ?Arre devva?, he started speaking in Konkani as he didn?t want his staff to understand his conversations. He started sweating profusely in the morning winter. Twice he grabbed the phone, which fell down from his hands?!!! Abraham, Kacha Khiladi? Every time wanted to give competition to me and now in trouble! Deep troubles! Arre, Sanjyaa? He yelled at the top of his voice. The driver was chatting away with glory to other staff about film stars he saw in the morning while driving to office. ?Abey, gaadi nikaal jaldi? Xavier shouted at the top of his voice. Pin drop silence. Staff thought, definitely there is gadbad. In five minutes Xavier was in the car. Marwe bungle pe, jaldi?barked Xavier. Toyota Corolla zoomed in full speed.
Author: Donald Dsilva- Mumbai