The Grip of Infamy. Episode 7. Serialised Story by R. Sittamparam
Episode 7 (Refer to the Literature Section for the earlier episodes.)
Thana and his family stayed a whole week at the Madhavan household spending the time well to bond together with Asha’s family members who appeared to hold Thana in high regard obviously awed by the expensive presents the couple had brought from India for them. Asha had over the month of her family’s stay in Chennai at the house of a business associate of Thana’s, drummed into her husband the need to forge closer ties with her family members.
My five siblings are all professionals she had told him and they are respectable personalities in society. Best of all they are now living in various states all over the country. They will definitely be a boost for your climb in politics. Anyway it’s time you changed your image to play the role of a family man in the public arena. You should surround yourself with my family members who will open up many opportunities for you to blend into the social elite group of our community. I have had enough of the low class goons you are associating with now. Come out clean. Distance yourself from your dark past and the poverty ridden society you were raised in. You have enough money and the political standing to move among the cream of society.
Asha also categorically warned Thana that she would not have Thiagu or any of the gang members coming near her sister Nisha any longer. I don’t want my dear sister to go the way I did she had added. I’m not saying I regret marrying you, only that your gangster background has been most unnerving for our family. See where it has landed us now.
If you really love me and care for our children make a decision now to cast aside your gangster activities and clean up your act. You are no more an individual, you have family and good hope for a bright future ahead for all of us. And I don’t want to lose you. This latest assassination attempt on you has really got me worried. I don’t want to end up a widow and our children to become fatherless.
Like this, Asha had gone on and on for days until Thana had no avenue but to agree with his wife and make a solemn promise that on arrival back in Malaysia he would loosen his hold on his gang and gradually step out of the underworld fold.
The ramifications of Thana’s promise to Asha had started showing about a week before his family left Chennai for Malaysia. His phone calls to his lieutenants had reduced from three times a day to once in two days. Even with these calls his henchmen realised that his former interest in seeking details on their activities and his sharp rebukes on their failings if any, was fizzling out.
Thiagu’s anxiety over the thinning communication link and lack of fire in the words of his boss and senior underworld comrade whom he had not seen since picking Thana’s family from the airport – and sending them to Sabak Bernam town – began building up. At the same time he had sensed a growing confidence in the inner recesses of his subconscious mind that the time had come for his imminent rise to the top of Gang 202. While in the past Thiagu regarded his ambition as mere wishful thinking – now seeing Thana’s gradual distancing from gang activities and himself getting to handle more and more of his boss’ personal duties – he could now taste the fruit of his long held desire to become another Thana.
Thiagu missed Nisha whom he had not seen since the day before the shooting incident. The six-pack abs physique bearing 28-year-old received information that the 22-year-old lanky lass with her darting doe eyes and enchanting smile had been sent to Asha’s elder brother’s house in Seremban, the day after the shooting incident. He knew Nisha liked him as well but had been too cautious in confessing his love for her. With a heavy heart Thiagu sensed that Nisha would now be lost forever for him.
From the beginning, Thiagu had discerned Asha’s shunning any mention of the poor neighbourhood her husband had grown up in. She had also categorically distanced Thana and her children from his aged parents and siblings by appointing a servant and driver, to look after their needs. The family household including Thana’s two youngest brothers and a sister, was conveniently housed in a newly purchased apartment within their old neighbourhood, on request of the parents.
ln consequence Asha also disregarded Thana’s childhood associates such as Thiagu. It was her idea to appoint a newly graduated cousin of hers as Thana’s personal secretary but her husband was more practical and appointed Thiagu, his head honcho instead.
It was obvious that Asha tolerated Thiagu’s presence only because of his position and was quick to take snipes at him at every opportunity. And being aware of Thiagu’s eye for Nisha she had ensured that Thiagu was never left alone with her sister thus the lack of opportunity for Thiagu to express his feelings of love even after more than a year of his appointment and the chance to see almost daily the pretty girl of his dreams.