The sea of protesting laborers cleaved like butter under a hot knife as Kamathmaam’s chauffeur-driven A/C ambassador car entered the factory premises. The sloganeering stopped and the crude posters denigrating Kamathmaam were lowered. Today was an important day in the life of all the 75 laborers who had gone on a strike for the sake of better wages.
They were led by Munna Bihari, a paan-chewing bhaiyya who never missed a chance to start a fire. He wasn’t quite concerned about the state of the rest of the laborers but he enjoyed being the eye of the storm. Now, as Kamathmaam stepped out to address the gathering, Munna Bihari smiled sardonically and inadvertently rubbed his hands in anticipatory glee.
Kamathmaam’s enormous belly preceded him to the stage and his bald head glinted with sweat in the afternoon sun. He looked at the gatherers with scorn and cursed them for fixing an afternoon for this announcement because he always preferred a siesta after his favorite dal and fish meal. He had to end this crisis today and he had planned drastic measures.
“So what have you decided, Kamathji?” giggled Munna Bihari.
“I’ll be brief. Whatever I declare now will be final. I am not yielding to your demands. All pay hikes will be based solely on performance and this untimely demand can’t be met with. People in the workforce who are not in agreement may leave and their dues will be settled immediately”, declared Kamathmaam solemly.
A lull fell over the assembled workforce. Till now they had relied on Bihari but now they realized they were wrong. Bihari, seeing that his plan had gone terribly wrong stepped on the stage in a fit of rage. He was surprised when he saw 5 muscular guys materialize from nowhere. Soon he was thrashed like a villain in the final scenes of a masala Bollywood film and the rest of the workforce resumed work like nothing had ever happened.
Kamathmaam was happy to see the result. He had finally resolved the matter.
Anjali is worried sick from the past one week. Never before had her dog, an Italian greyhound, acted so strangely. She was worried if it might be terminally sick but the vet, despite charging handsome fees, kept iterating that there was nothing wrong with him.
She had a woman’s instinct – an instinct that could know when things went wrong. Her dog was a very jovial creature and always enjoyed her company. From the past few days, he kept to himself, ate very less and declined all invitations to play with her. Things were going very wrong.
Suddenly, the door bell rang, disturbing Anjali’s thoughts. Her woman’s instinct again told her that it must be her worthless husband back from work. She knew he would be dead against any idea of going out for dinner.
“How about having dinner outside today?” she asked, knowing full well the answer.
“No. I am tired”, came the response. This was all she needed to throw her tantrums.
“I am tired of your moods. You never have any time for me. It’s not my fault if your darned factory is having a strike”, she yelled.
“Now stop it. It is not in my hands.”
“I don’t know, I don’t care. You better end it tomorrow”, came the ultimatum.
The moon is shining over the streets and there is not a sound to be heard. Alberto silently walks by the pavement, headed towards the rendezvous. The Don is waiting for him and he better not be late.
He reaches the spot and waits by the dump yard for the Don to arrive. In fact, he can see the Don walking towards him.
“I am glad you came, Don”, admits Alberto.
“What is it? How can I help you, Alberto?” asks the Don in his slurry accent.
“I want you to teach my boss the lesson of his life. I want justice”, pleads Alberto.
“What has he done to you?”
“He ill-treats me. Kicks me about in front of everyone like a rag doll. I am tired of it. You are the only one who can help me”.
The Don thought for a while and said, “OK. It shall be done. Leave it to me. Meet me here in 5 days. Same time.”
Kamathmaam is on his way back. He is elated that he could end the protest so easily. He is sure his wife too will be equally happy to hear this.
“Anjali! I have done it! The workers are back at work and my bodyguards sent Munna Bihari straight to the hospital. The way they bashed him, he should be in for a good one month. And I have even lodged a police complaint against him. So that should take good care of him”, he beamed.
“Woof! Woof!” barked the dog and Anjali was pleasantly surprised.
“That’s great! Finally things are getting back to normal. The strike is resolved and it is the first time in the past 5 days Vito has been so excited. See, he is no more his gloomy self. Look at the way he is wagging his tail!! Thank god for everything!!” she replied.
Alberto is back at the dump yard waiting for the Don. He knows the Don never fails.
“He is taken care of Alberto. Beaten so badly that they had to take him to the hospital. A police complaint has also been registered. Hope you feel Justice is served”, slurred the Don.
“I am so greatful to you Don Vito. I don’t know how to repay your kindness”, replied Alberto.
“Don Vito only asks for friendship. Don’t forget me in my time of need.”
“I will forever remember your favor and will be ready to help you in your time of need”, replied Alberto.
The moon shined down on the two dogs as they headed back to their respective homes.
Note: You didn’t get the story? Click here. It is a spoiler, so i suggest you read it again. Your choice.
PS: No offence to Mario Puzo or any of the millions of Godfather’s fans. Though I don’t appreciate the story and the way of living advocated by Don Vito Corleone, I am very much an admirer of Mario Puzo’s terrific portrayal of the character of Godfather and needless to mention Marlon Brando’s fantastic enactment. All other disclaimers mentioned here apply.