I married for the first time at age twenty. Nobody’s aware of that little tragedy; it’s a well-guarded secret. My father did away with that marriage and we’ve never spoken of it again.The second time around, I swore things would be different. This time I would marry for all the right reasons; money, manipulation, and market shares. My second husband is none other than Luis Helu’, infrastructures tycoon. I’d never considered dating a Mexican immigrant but on the occasion of our first encounter he said something that struck a nerve with me. His words were, and I shall remember them forever, “I own this place.” You see, my company rented a suite of offices overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The location was ideal for business, the rent obscene but , I was managing my future, not my present. I opted for the high-rent space and in two years my struggles had paid off. I still complained about the rent but at least now I could actually afford to pay it. When Luis asked me to have dinner with him, I viewed the situation as the beginning of price negotiations on the rent. The first time I slept with him I viewed as effective budget planning, and by the time I let him spend the night, my company had gained and additional one hundred and eighty-thousand in additional revenue, the total annual rent payments formerly paid to Helu’ and Associates. Luis was married when we started dating. Eventually I let him know I had no intention of remaining faithful to a married man. This was of course a bluff but it worked. We’ve been married for three years now and my name is on the side of this building. At our wedding, while he was toasting me, I was silently toasting NAFTA for making my husband the richest immigrant alive. Things were going along quite well until another foreigner entered my life. One morning while preparing Huevos Rancheros for Luis, I overheard him yelling in Spanish to one of his partners. Not that he never yelled; he was a very passionate man but rarely did that yelling extend beyond our bed. “Los idiotas! Los combates en las calles como salvajes! Esto me está costando millones. Llame a todo el mundo. Nos vemos en la oficina.” Luis barely touched his food. “Mi señora, perdóname. Tengo que ir.” He kissed me on the forehead and left without explanation. If there is one word Luis has taught me to respect its costo. His demeanor made me uneasy. Always one to watch my own investments, in this case my husband’s money, I went into our study and flipped on Luis’ computer. I’d memorized his password or should I say his keystrokes some time ago and realizing it was his mother’s middle name and the year of his parent’s wedding, I was able to access almost any of my husband’s things. Laptops, Blackberry, whatever, I was in like a virus. There in his recent history was an article from The Huffington Post‘s business page about Gutma Mhaiskar, chairman of India Infrastructure Limited Liabilities. Mhaiskar Pulls Out Of Deal With Helu’ Industries Citing Pressure From Prime Minister, Singh. I skimmed the article to get a clue about my husband’s behavior. I knew India was a huge deal for Helu’ but could not understand why what seemed to be a temporary setback, would anger Luis in such a way. I dressed. Donna Karan and Jimmy Choo; these two should have a kid together. Feeling fully confident I headed for work but somewhere in the back of my mind there was a feeling of nervousness. Arriving at my office just past ten a.m., I immediately noticed the calm. Not silence, it was always silent; I demanded it. The calm I’m referring to is that feeling that something as just happened and you are the only person unaware of it. “Where’s Samantha?” A noticeably nervous receptionist pointed to the conference room. Samantha, my assistant of five years was sitting in the head chair, staring at the television. “What’s going on?” Samantha seemed startled by my appearance. “What are you doing here?” On the television was a mob of protesters. I could not make out what they were protesting about. “What do you mean, why am I hear?’ We’ve got Allied Pharmaceuticals coming in a few hours.” “Yeah, but I assumed since all of Helu’s board members were meeting, you’d be there too.” You’re still on the board, right?’ “What board meeting?” Luis had made me an honorary board member but I never attended anything official. Samantha still seemed puzzled. “Haven’t you seen the news?” “No,” I said cautiously. “What news?” Samantha adjusted the sound on the television. “Protesters take to the streets as Prime Minister Singh calls for foreign investors to leave India amid concerns of corruption and greed. At the center of this debate is the recently gone sour deal between India Infrastructure Limited Liabilities and Helu’ Infrastructures and Associates. Helu’ Chairman, Luis Helu’ has been accused of bribery and forgery by IILL. IILL says Helu’ made payments to India’s prime minister of highways, to IILL employees, and to several of India’s infrastructure contractors in an attempt to monopolize India’s infrastructure market. HIA has invested an estimated one hundred forty million dollars in India’s infrastructure future and by all estimates stood to make one trillion dollars had the deal gone through as planned. Federal prosecutors have vowed to investigate Helu’s dealings in India and seek charges if any applicable laws were broken. We’ll update you as this story unfolds.” “Well, that all absurd. My husband does not need to bribe anybody. They’ve been dealing with these guys for months. We’ve had dinner several time with the Chairman IILL and his ugly wife. And what do they mean, forgery?” “It sounded unbelievable to me too but you know how the media loves to embellish.” Samantha could be so accommodating. “So the staff knows?” “Yeah, it’s been all over the news.” “Well, I’ll go straighten all this out with my husband; you handle Allied until my return. And Samantha, if even one person in this office speaks to you or anyone on this issue, fire them immediately. Are we clear?” “Yes. I’ll see that business is conducted as usual.” I regained my composure and headed for the elevator. Luis would clear things up.
- India economy to sustain growth (bbc.co.uk)
- You: Corruption tarnishes shiny India (search.japantimes.co.jp)
- Singh gives way on Indian telecoms probe (ft.com)
- India orders cross-party probe into massive scandal (cnn.com)