The Grip Of Infamy. Episode 24. By R. Sittamparam

Episode 24 (Scroll down the Literature section to read earlier episodes of this serialised Malaysian novel)

Thana was one of only three MVP candidates who survived the Angkatan Penyelamat sweep in the elections, scraping through with a simple 501 vote majority.

MVP’s biggest election loss was that of its chief Sanggaran Velu who was delivered a shameful death slap in the face by voters of his Sungai Keli constituency in Kerapi state.
Sanggaran Velu’s self esteem was further crushed with everyone of his veteran CWC members kicked out by voters in other `safe seats’.

MVP’s surviving candidates were younger untested ones like Thana, Datuk T. Thangavel who won the Serkam state seat and S. Thiagarajan who took the Kamat Highlands parliamentary seat.

While appearing to grieve for the sad election ouster of his party chief and other leaders, Thana was thrilled seeing the opportunity laid out for him to move up party ranks, possibly even capture the president’s post.

In a voicemail to Asha after attending the post mortem meeting at the MVP headquarters Thana expressed his exhilaration over his bright political future.

Darling, good news. Ur wish come true. MVP No 1 or 2 post can try now.

His wife’s reply to this caused Thana to break out into a visible blush, his face lit up with a discernible smile.

My darling. Great news. I’m waiting eagerly to shower you with my hugs and kisses. Love you so much dear.

Thana’s gang members decided to celebrate his big step into the House of Parliament with a bash at a prominent Chinese restaurant in a resort at the seaside town of Port Higgins just about 30 km from Mereka city.

Despite her initial reservations regarding Thana’s gang, Asha was filled with pride at her husband’s latest achievement in politics and was ready to accept anything associated with him.

She gamely followed him dressed in her best saree and jewellery to the celebration, well attended by underworld overlords in Mereka city who had made good in the corporate world.

Her intentions were clear. All she wanted now was for her husband who she had dressed up elegantly in a Marco Ponzi suit for this occasion, to ultimately clinch a place in the upper echelons of society by whatever means.

Besides, some of Thana’s business ventures where he invested his ill gotten wealth in, were doing well and could earn him a place in the corporate world.

But politics was by far the best option for Thana to move up in society, Asha had decided.

Attending the dinner changed Asha’s view of the underworld. She found the VIPs there remarkably well behaved and delightfully polished.

She found no real difference between them and the general wheeling and dealing corporate crowd she was accustomed to so far.

Rosalind Cheong seated beside Asha in the main VIP table was particularly delectable in all her flamboyance and great beauty.

The young Rosalind of mixed German-Chinese parentage and married to the proprietor of Merekasia’s Benteng Casino and hotel group, looked exquisite in her green emerald sequin body hugging off-shoulder gown.

All eyes were on Rosalind and Asha noticed Thana’s roving eyes but shrugged off any jealous notion as she herself was flaunting her good looks soaking in the admiring glances of the other men.

Rosalind spoke very little but smiled a lot. Asha attempted to chat with Rosalind but all that came out of her mouth were single word answers.

Though she was friendly and paid attention to Asha’s words Rosalind would go no further than to utter “Yes”, “No” or give a whole-hearted smile in response to Asha’s attempt at banter.

Being the wife of the guest of honour gave Asha the privilege to whisk away Rosalind to the resort garden beside the restaurant while the men gathered at the cigar bar.

Alone with Asha, Rosalind suddenly opened up to her. Apparently the 28-year-old spoke very little English, raised in Germany by her parents.

Besides German Rosalind was well versed in Mandarin taught by her Chinese mother, a Mandarin lecturer in Hamburg, Germany.

In her halting English she told Asha she recently married Tan Sri Goh Cheng Huat 15 years her senior, shortly after he wooed her at a wedding dinner in Hamburg.

Goh had invested heavily in manufacturing concerns in Hamburg and other German cities with Rosalind’s parents now managing these investments.

Coming close to Asha’s right ear Rosalind started whispering, her eyes darting about as if looking out for eavesdroppers.

You hubby gangstar also?

Asha was visibly shocked hearing this. Her palate dried up and the throat began choking up unable to digest the whack of Rosalind’s candid probe into the reality of her undeniable social status. But she was not prepared to injure her dignity as yet.

Thana’s a politician. He just won the Timbang parliamentary seat. He’s an MP now.

All the events and characters portrayed in this serialised novel are fictional and any parallel with real life persons is purely coincindental.

Sittam Param

Writer, poet, dramatist and former journalist. I have passion for art in all its forms hence my involvement in this portal.

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