The Grip of Infamy. Episode 8. Serialised Story by R. Sittamparam
Episode 8 (Go to the Literary Section and scroll down to read the earlier episodes of this serialised Malaysian Indian story)
On his arrival in Kuala Lumpur after more than a month in hiding, Thana was careful not to let the media circle reach him although news of his arrival had already leaked out. He had switched off his mobile phone and instructed his personal assistant at the Urban Empowerment Department to inform anyone looking for him that he was still on medical leave.
True the wound to his shoulder was still troubling him and although it had healed with the stiches removed, his left arm felt weak. The joints of the arm especially the elbow joint began aching badly whenever the weather grew cold during heavy spells of rainfall – brought with greater frequency now by the Northeast Monsoon.
Thana wanted more than ever now the services of his personal assistant, Thivya Chin, the daughter of his long time brothel manageress, Rose Chan. For Thivya was an expert in Thai massage among many other techniques of the courtesan she learned from the young women from Vietnam, Thailand, China, India, Eastern Europe and Russia who come and go at her mother’s brothel.
Her coaching in these sciences was not scheduled or intentional and definitely not under guidance of her mother. Certainly not, as Thivya was a free spirit and her sole policy in life was not to be like her mother. She learnt these sciences spontaneously just as she acquired the skills of dexterity, memorisation, wittiness etc through her childhood games.
The 19-year-old learnt from her foreign brothel friends – with some of whom especially the younger ones, she had in her childhood played girlish games including congkak, hopscotch, mock cooking and making up each other’s faces – that there were two categories of pleasure women.
The majority forced into prostitution due to poverty while a selected few as seen in the annals of history took to it being naturally endowed with physical attributes and skills to make a vocation of pleasing and putting at ease men. In particular serving men in positions of power, intellectuals and artists, and men of great valour such as warriors, administrators and rulers. Some had even served as muse and source of inspiration to their men and in some instances women benefactors.
In most traditional communities around the world these second category of pleasure women who were naturally attractive – possessing great wit, poise and charisma beyond what was needed to attract ordinary man and settle into marriage – had existed and found their way into the corridors of power as courtesans.
With the breakdown of the feudal system of governance and spread of democracy, men of great valour, intellect and artistry lost out to mundane capitalists and terror mongers. These men who then formed the clientele of modern day courtesans thus eventually downgraded the latter via their machinations to the category of gold diggers.
Thivya however desired to become a courtesan full of grace, wit and benevolence and totally shunned the bad name the gold digger category was getting for the courtesan fraternity of old.
It was in this respect that she chose to keep Thana at bay despite his constant alluding that she play a more intimate role than as his personal office assistant. And Thivya was firm in her view that Thana did not deserve her services.
Her heart was set on Thiagu whom she placed much, much higher than Thana in the role as a true man worthy of her astute attention and servility.
In Thivya’s view Thiagu with his flamboyance and true grit would get on to secure greater success and prominence if given the chance Thana got.
In fact she was quietly expectant of seeing a quantum leap In Thiagu’s fortunes in the very near future although she knew not of Thiagu’s current opportunity to take over the reign of gang 202.
The lanky, dark olive complexioned Thivya was rather disgusted by Thana’s advances – regarding him uncouth and unimpressive and found every excuse to avoid any physical contact with him.
She however remained grateful to her boss for hiring her considering her poor SPM results while also not denying her mother’s role in getting her employed.
But Thana’s intention in hiring her was only too obvious. It was a way of getting her under his influence and literally within arms’ reach.
Thana had recognised Thivya’s charm and verve from the time she was about 12 years of age. His admiration turned to lust as the daughter of his late former gang boss blossomed into a lovely young woman whose beauty rivalled that of his wife.
Living in the tiny apartment with her mother – freely moving amidst prostitutes at the brothel – unaffected by the lascivious goings-on there Thivya appeared highly seductive to Thana – like a shining pearl lodged in the fleshy innards of an oyster.
Thana arrived at his office at 1.15pm knowing well that Thivya would be there alone as she daily brought home-cooked lunch of boiled and sauteed vegetables with rice.
Entering the staff area and seeing Thivya enjoying her meal while peering through a woman’s magazine, Thana quipped, “You’ll get stomach ache if you eat alone in front of me, Thivya.”
Looking up with a start her thick pony tail of jet black hair bobbing to the left, Thivya replied with a smile, “Boss, you won’t eat this. Too bland. Not spicy.”