A town house in Malaysia is in the limelight not for its exemplary business activities but for an extraordinary sequence of burglaries, which have destroyed the peace of #61.
Malaysia is very rich in natural resources. The British brought a workforce from India to convert the jungle to cultivable land. The Chettiars, a small community from South India, who had business interests in Burma, Ceylon, and Indochina, tracked their way to Malaysia in the 1860s. They engaged in moneylending and later expanded to running plantations. From 1860 to 1960 they thrived and lived in prosperity.
Their business flourished. Unfortunately in 1967 there was a big upheaval and internal riots. The Chettiars panicked, hastened to close their interests in Malaysia, and sold their properties for a throwaway price. It was a distress sale. But a handful of them remained.
One such group, which continued its business, occupies #61. The father was one of the ones who had the grit to remain. Wisdom was the basis of his decision. The family is doing very well even today thanks to the father’s determination. His sons are in the business now.
As in every family, differences arose among the three brothers. The second one moved out to 57, two buildings away from 61, before matters became worse. The other two continue the show assisted by a manager who is also an Indian. The two brothers do not stay permanently in Malaysia but travel here on and off to supervise the business. They have entrusted their holdings to the manager who they feel is a trustworthy person.
A week ago, with the manager out during the mid-afternoon, a burglar glided down the steps, grabbed 500 dollars that lay on the table, and left the way he came. The manager returned after an hour. He did not immediately find anything amiss. Later in the evening when he was closing the accounts, to his dismay found that money was missing. He was shocked. For reasons best known to him, did not reveal it to anyone. The following day at the same time he heard noise in the rear. He cried “Who is there?’ Learning someone was inside, the thief left.
The third day was uneventful until the clock struck one in the afternoon. The manager left the office for a short stroll. People in the street were looking at the window sill on the top floor. The manager looked and saw a man clinging to the window pane, but before anything could be organised he had disappeared from the scene. The youngest of the brothers arrived in the evening from India. An upstart who talks absurdly and behaves audaciously, he pooh-poohed the whole affair.
The next day was a lucky day for the burglar. Once again he made his appearance when the manager and the youngest brother walked out for lunch. He stealthily crept in, seized three mobile phones belonging to the youngest brother, dashed a laptop on the floor, and ran out, all in 15 minutes. After heavy lunch the two unlocked the door When the youngest brother saw his laptop on the floor he sprang to his table and found all his mobiles gone. Crestfallen he complained to the police, wno took their own sweet time to come, then registered the report and conducted on-the-spot examinations. They said they would investigate.
The fifth day dawned. The manager and the boss were busy checking the accounts. The elder brother was on his way from India. The two had to go out for food. Waiting for this opportune moment the burglar, along with his aide, barged in and tried to break open the safe where valuables and documents are kept. Before they could open it they heard a noise at the entrance, so bolted away in a hurry. The eldest brother had arrived at the worst hour. He was shaking in fear while the other brother uttered empty nothings truly not befitting the situation.
The sixth attempt was the best for the burglar. In the morning the brothers drove to Ipoh to meet their lawyer. They had instructed the Manager to draw 6,000 dollars from the bank. This was done and the manager kept the cash in the shelf. At the stroke of one in the afternoon he went to have his lunch. The thief broke open the rear door, slammed the middle door, advanced towards the office area, took the cash, broke the shelf, and fled with both money and the shelf. After a heavy lunch the manager lazily walked into the house. He was horrified. The brothers rushed back.
The police and the public are astounded. The brothers are in a state of disarray. The eldest is almost torn into bits and looks haggard.
Does it not sound strange? Does it augur well?
Rains lash for days together. The sun scorches for months together. Now robbery has assumed the same magnitude.