Their return to Cotonou was greeted with more despair when the others saw that Boomi had flown nowhere. They appreciated that Rajeesh had truly believed that the plan would be realized and saw no point in heaping more pain on his anguish, all sharing much the same fate. The men all demanded to be sent home. They had nothing of consequence with which to threaten Emil, but they hoped to scare him with talk of going to the Indian embassy. However, Emil was well aware that they had no proof that he had committed any crime, and that they were equally guilty of holding false documents. Nonetheless, Emil took all their doubtful documents and their genuine Indian passports one last time to arrange their return tickets to Mumbai, but the men had to pay another fee of Rs 6,000 to extend each ticket.
One of the men, Rajkumar, called his wife on the phone to offer instructions in dealing with Rajeesh’s family, who lived nearby. Invite them for a meal, pretend that you want to thank them for taking such good care of us, boil up a big pot of water to have ready. When they arrive at the door, hurl that water at all of them, he commanded her. This was not as serious as pouring boiling oil on them, and not as messy to clean afterwards. This would shake them to their senses, or at least extract revenge by forcing them to sharing the misery.
Other men had their own way of dealing with the situation, though most were faint-hearted and discussed asking and pleading before inflicting harm. Rajeesh’s family might be sitting on piles of money that they can use to pay us back. It’s better not to make enemies of the people whose assistance you might one day again need.
Their wrath also turned to Liady Furaima, that lying cheating corrupted gangster criminal. That black bastard low-life depraved stinking gorilla. The Indian men may have lost everything but they still had wit enough to pour scorn on Liady Furaima. Liady Furaima, ever ready with excuses, declared that he himself was a victim of his contact in the Canadian embassy in Ghana. He had been cheated and defrauded, not them. If they were so fatalistic that they would give up and go home, he could arrange it. But if they would give it one more try, he could definitely get them to Britain. They would have to move to Nigeria where he knew fine people who could arrange the trip. In fact it was his own brother who works in the British High Commission in Nigeria, an impeccable and trustworthy connection.
“You want to take even what little we have left? You’ve cheated us of every last rupee, you’ve taken everything we’ve earned, saved, sold, borrowed, and pawned. You’ve stolen our past, present, and future. And still you want to extract more. We have nothing left to give but our kidneys and this too you’d be delighted cut out of our bodies.” This was how Rajeesh considered their situation.
It would cost US$4,000 for each person, but for them, because he has known them for so long, Liady Furaimo would do this for only $2,500. Rajeesh made arrangements to meet Liady Furaima outside the house one last time. Boomi and the men were hoping that this meeting would enable them to capture the black bastard and escort him to the police station where the police officers would hear their story and justice would be done. Rajeesh went armed with the two biggest and toughest of the group to meet Liady Furaima at the arranged coffee shop. They waited hours before giving up.
Rajeesh contacted Liady Furaima over email, the conversation immediately deteriorating into vulgarities. Rajeesh called Liady Furaima a monkey; Liady Furaima labeled Rajeesh’s parents monkeys. More animals were used to identify female relatives and references to bodily functions; body waste, sexual undertakings and defecation were used to describe each other’s behavior. Liady Furaima stopped responding long before Rajeesh had run dry with his zoological, sexual, and scatological insults.
Maybe it was because he was Christian that Liady Furaima treated them like that. Boomi and his group had had little interaction with Christians, but they did know Muslims who lived and worked in their town in Tamil Nadu. The Muslims would pride themselves out loud about their honesty and integrity. Boomi thought the boasting was tasteless and unnecessary, but he admired the quality. He knew little about Christians, maybe they didn’t advertise their virtues, but this one at least flaunted his connections and talents in a way that didn’t give the religion a good name. He knew only that they thought a great deal about the end of the world and the events that would herald the End. He had seen the pictures and read about the next world where Christians received their reward or punishment. As satisfied as he was to think that charlatans like Liady Furaima, Crystal and Emil would be punished according to God’s judgment, that didn’t solve his problems. Maybe because they planned to cheat all they could in the short time they had in this world and it wouldn’t count in God’s books that they had cheated Hindus.
India was well known for corruption, but in India everyone shaved off only a bit, so that everyone could shave a few rupees and everyone stood to gain. This system worked and always left some shaving for the guys at the bottom of the economic food chain. These Africans would devour you alive, take every thing you had and ask for more.
Of the Rs 8.25 lakh that Boomi paid for the journey, he’d had to borrow most of it — Rs 7.75 Lakh at 5% interest a month. He has been paying Rs 38,750 or US$250 each month from the time he left India at the start of 2011. Three men went back on 6 June 2011. Another four returned a few days later, the last four not long after. Boomi was among the last batch to return because others thought he was somehow responsible. He was more confident and clever and should have been able to rescue them earlier. It’s been about180 days since they left India in January.
Rajeesh stayed behind to kill Liady Furaima.
It takes determination or extreme hopelessness to want to kill. Boomi didn’t believe that Rajeesh would be capable of doing that, seeing the way he’d always deferred to their African fixers. Rajeesh understood that he was held responsible for the money that the eleven men had lost and could think of no other way to recover this money than to threaten to kill or actually kill Liady Furaima. Rajeesh was afraid to return to India knowing that these men would be waiting for him, and growing impatient the longer their debts remained unpaid and the larger their debts grew.
Boomi doubted that Rajeesh had the courage to kill. He’d never even had a real confrontation with Liady Furaima until everything had fallen apart. It was a ragged solution and it was an escape. Boomi couldn’t afford to leave the discussion about money unfinished and he wasn’t afraid to antagonize Rajeesh’s family. He would first attempt to approach Kothandabani, the husband of the sister of the recruiter Siva (who was also Rajeesh’s brother), for the money that he’d lost. He would ask nicely, then insist. If that didn’t work, he would grab the man and lock him in his house until his family produced the money he had paid. He wouldn’t harm him or let him die, but no one would blame him if he confined the man until his money was returned. He had to take some action, and he would plan carefully and work deliberately. His marriage, his house, his future depended on it. He swore never to go abroad for work again.
Boomi reflected on his faith in his fellow man. He had a charming way with people and he liked the company of friends. He had met many good people, people who had gone out of their way to befriend and assist him, people who genuinely liked him and whom he liked in return. But those good people were not compensation for the money that the truly evil people had swindled from him. Most of the money that he had lost was lost to deliberate scams and frauds, and looking back, he wondered how he could have been conned by the enchanting tales of Rajeesh, Siva, Liady Furaima, Emil, and Crystal. He had grown old in these past few years and could not conceive of how he might recover the money from this latest scam that stranded him in Africa.
But even if friends could not reimburse him for his losses, he would continue to treat people as trustworthy and reliable, and he would look forward to the gentle conduct of his future wife who would love him and bear his children. She would have to accept the unfinished house and the unpaid debts, but she couldn’t expect much more being married without a dowry.