L IS FOR LUST (A-Z CHALLENGE)
By Neel Anil Panicker
Located bang in the heart of Cochin City, The Greater Cochin Metropolitan Club is a strictly ‘entry by invitation only’ club; a club so exclusive that the waiting list for bagging an annual membership that comes at a steep fee of Rs 50 lakhs runs into a jaw dropping 1549 applicants.
But then all that’s on paper. In reality, these cast in stone 200-year-old rules that the British colonisers who had originally built the Club laid down were slightly bent to favour those who called the shots in society__ that segment of the populace who were comfortably perched on the higher echelons of society.
And so it was that over the years what was originally conceived as a nice little oasis of comfort in the middle of the everyday desert of mundanity turned into the favourite watering hole of the moneyed and powerful including the nouveau riche, the haves of society who ruled over the have nots as well as the the merry assortment of crooks and social climbers, both from the highly educated brigade and those who had risen to unimaginable wealth and who now held positions of unbridled power.
Thomas Chandy was one such exalted member. The 62 year-old pot-bellied forever safari suit clad figure who held the epithet ‘liquor baron of Kerala’ had only a couple of years ago entered the murky world of politics. But, such is the case with politics as with all other spheres of civic life that today he has a serving Minister of Heavy Industries and Enterprises in the prosperous State of Kerala.
Picking up the glass of Johnny Walker Black Label offered by the liveried waiter, he turned towards the man to his left.
“The case is coming up next week. I am banking on you. I am sure you will not disappoint me”.
Justice Abhimanyu Pathak winked at him from inside half rimmed glasses.
Dipping his fork into a piece of freshly cooked hal;f steamed lamb breast, the man of law replied, “Tell me Chandy when have I ever given you reason to complain?’
Though spoken in the interrogative the reply was more by way of rhetoric and induced the two men to break out in a hearty laugh.
“Hello, gentlemen, am I missing out on all the fun?”.
The two, the judge and the buisnessman turned around to look at the intruder.
Standing before them, the ubiquituous glass of whisky in hand, was none other than the person who held the top most post in the entire police department __K J Alphonso, the Deputy General of Police of the State of Kerala.
“Look, speak of the devil and he is here,” exclaimed Chandy who had an affinity to throw ill suited idiomatic expressions every now and then.
Unwilling to let an opportunity pass by and quick on the uptake, the Police chief retorted, “A devil in the midst of other devils”.
The night air pierced with the uprorarious laughter of the three friends as they back slapped and talked shop well into the night.
As the night wore off and the army of clubbers began to slowly thin out, the trio headed past the main hall area towards a narrow passage that led towards the a set of rooms marked ‘private’ ansd located a few metres away from the first floor gaming zone.
There at the fag end of the hallway, the three stopped and temporarily bid one another good bye for the night before retreateing into adjacent rooms.
Inside his room, DGP Alphonso unloosened his belt and hurled himself onto the master bed.
A moment later, he heard a click and turned around just in time to see the faint figure of a woman clad in a shimmering Kanchevaram silk saree step insied and bolt the door.
“It’s always my great pleasure to spend quality time with such a beautiful lady”.
First Class Judicial Magistrate 31 year old Bhagyalakshmi smiled in reply.
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