The Cigar City of Cuba; Pinar Del Rio was spell bounded by the tropical breeze flirting with palms, steely grey shades adoring the skyline, the froth kissed white sands in the foreground and waves crashing across. Frank Carter was driving through this tropical paradise island from Havana Airport for cracking off a deal. Being 27 he successfully steered the business of repairing & selling luxurious yachts in Miami. Every deal he made was a success but never kept close contacts with his clients as most of them came either from the Hollywood with hell lot of snob or the mafias with litres of bloodshed. Frank was a man of words; he knew to keep the promises and stressed in getting transparency in the business. He loved working with people having transparency in their businesses but rarely met such individuals. This deal was an eye opener for him stating that there exist noble men just like Don Vito Corleone.
It was almost 15:00 hrs when Frank reached the quaint town of Playa Maria La Gorda. The Casa Particulars of the city dated back to colonial eras and the architecture magnificence of Villas too depicted Spanish influence. The two storied houses with recessed porches, balconies and a small interior courtyard were adorned with carved wooden brackets and ballustrudes. The colonial houses had double hung sashed arch windows with Italian stained glasses replicating the scenes of late 70s. While the waves crashed against the rocks near Marianne Villa, the palm trees swayed to the breeze with leaves ruffling in the background and the seagulls well played their part of percussionists. The warm sunrays brightened the town and the colonial Marianne Villa that crowned the beach town. He parked the sedan outside the villa and headed towards the main door. The brawny guards escorted him into the villa, further strolling towards duplex office of Antonio Gonzalo; well known as the cigar king of Cuba. He was believed to be the most influential mafia or the godfather of Navajos in Cuba and supposed to have great hold in the government and rapport with politicos.
Frank was asked to wait at the top floor of the villa where the office was set up. Decked out with antiques, right in the middle below a glass chandelier was the meeting table and in the corner surrounding the small tea table were the English wing chairs. The extended balcony gave a panoramic view of the coastline with sun kissed magenta skies and multihued waves of the blue. While he was engrossed in absorbing the whole setting of the office, a well built man in his mid 60s appeared like a casino owner. Dressed in a 3 piece beige suit and a white hat, he introduced himself as Antonio Gonzalo with a smile and welcomed Frank prior retiring in his chair. Faint yellowish complexion, white whisker with long hair well defined his Navajo origin and his manners sketched him as a seasoned Cuban Mafiya.
Antonio Gonzalo was considered as The Guardian of the tribal communities of Amazon. He helped these tribal folks to earn their living, offered food, shelter and in return these tribal people cultivated and maintained tobacco, sugar and cocaine plantations for Antonio. Famous as a Cigar King of Cuba he was admired for being honest, inculcating certain principles and transparency in his business even though a few illegal business were included under his empire. He was highly respected and was a man of words.
He spoke in his gruff voice “How have you been?” I hope the journey wasn’t troublesome eh?” I know the Cuban climate is not favorable for the Americans but you see it is less hot when you guzzle down a Classic Cuban Mojito and a nice senora at your side haan?” to which Frank replied “ True!! But post the deal is done, the currency notes provide soothing effect that’s incomparable” and they both had a hearty laugh.
Soon the conversation was transferred from the small tea table to the meeting table. The papers were handed over of the yacht which Antonio had recently brought in to Cuba from Miami. Wasting no time Antonio ordered his consigliere to transfer the whole amount at the earliest in Frank Carter account. While they had a chat over the maintenance and repairs of the yachts a beep sound in Frank’s cell phone alerted him of the amount being transferred in the business account. And this moment on Frank was glad to know that Mr. Gonzalo adhered to honesty whilst being in a black collar business too. Once all the formalities were over they both sat in the balcony with a few Russian Labels for the company.
While sipping off the drink Antonia lighted a cigar and said “You know all this money of no use unless and until you do a bit of charity to cover your sins”. “I didn’t get you” said Frank to which Antonio said “Carter! My father was a Navajo community leader. What’s the use! He used his authority for big people and politicians and did no good for us and for the community”. “And today I am capable to do good for my community and I do it for the tribesmen down in Amazonian, hoping that my father’s sins too will be washed away”. I am a superstitious man Frank, when it comes to my family and my ancestors”
Frank smiled and said “Mr.Gonzalo, it’s a long time now that you mustn’t stress yourself about the past so much. Let it go as it is”. Gonzalo replied “You see we had a big family house back in Navajo Regions of America. My ancestors and grandparents were renowned people. I and other kids of the community grew up listening to my grandfather’s sagas of courage valor & honesty. But it was sad to see my father unlike my ancestors misusing the authority for own.”. “ Frank! I am ruling the island but there is one power that rules all of us and one day everyone has a meet with Him. And I too will be questioned for my deeds so I do as much as I can for hungry and the poor in some or the other way”
While conversing Gonzalo’s narrated his childhood , Frank was surprised to see a Mafia like Gonzalo who idolized his grandfather, was proud of his ancestors, believed in good deeds, had principles to govern his businesses and by some or the other means helped the Navajo Community and also other tribes down in Amazon Basin. For frank it was as good as having a preaching session from a spiritual master other than a mean business deals that he cracked in the past. Frank learnt a lot about Gonzalo, his wish to change and uplift the life of the tribal in Amazon, conditions of Navajo in America and his sons’ attitude. At the end it was a bit emotional for Gonzalo to express well wishes for the youngsters of the community and harmony for the tribes. The western shoreline of Cuba was now painted with magenta hues and
They both were strolling towards the meeting room. Frank thanked Antonio Gonzalo for hosting him at the villa and concluded “Mr.Gonzalo you are the captain of the island and I regret not being like you.” To which Antonio Gonzalo smiled and said “Don’t regret my son, don’t. I regret at times being at such a pinnacle of the success. Everyone is hungry for your fortune and taste the power. Power corrupts mind. One has to use it properly. I wonder what I wanted to be and what I have become. I aspired to be a sailor and sail all my life. Now I fear that for the position I hold might be snatched away by my sons who are competing to rule. Hunger for power is not good Carter.” Soon they parted their ways and as usual Gonzalo known for being hospitable too sent a convoy for Frank Carter to see him off at the airport.
Westerly horizons were turning magenta hued with shades of lavender and crimson coloring the waves golden. The tropical island was awaiting the dusk to charm the revelers while Frank Carter left for Miami with a heavy heart that weighed much heavier than the amount paid by Antonio Gonzalo for the yacht.
Posted by: Aditya Naik
Originally Posted on http://thoughtborne.blogspot.in