The Grip Of Infamy. Episode 28. By R. Sittamparam

Episode 28

(Scroll down the Literature Section to read earlier episodes of this serialised novel)

Thivya ushered the new visitor into Thana’s room.

Little did she know that the Citizen Empowerment Ministry enforcement officer, Aruljothy Spykerman’s visit was a preliminary investigation for the subsequent closure of Thana’s office.

Earlier while waiting together with Dineswaran at the lounge, Aruljothy had introduced himself to Thivya as an unemployed graduate there to see Thana over government funding for a vegetable farm project.

Good morning YB. My name is Aruljothy. Here is my resume and application form as requested by your department.

Thana had just shortly ended Danial’s call and was still contemplating deeply on prospects of investing in the pharmaceutical industry.

Although facing Aruljothy, he had not heard a word uttered by his shabbily dressed visitor.

Thana’s eyes scanned the over shabby attire of the visitor in his early 30s whose polished countenance he felt, belied the authenticity of the get up he was in.

The tight fitting polyester long sleeved white shirt with a long orange coloured tie, shiny blue tailored trousers secured tightly above the navel with a large buckled dark brown belt.

He sensed something amiss even though he received the visitor’s forms, his face displaying a forced smile.

In Thana’s business, distrust and cautiousness were virtues that ensured one’s longevity.

And he was certain the tanned fair skinned mixed race man of medium height and lean physique was not who he introduced himself as.

Thana however played along with the dubious visitor’s ruse something he would otherwise not have done if he were true to his nature.

But his wife Asha’s nurturing had begun taking over his demeanour of late, infusing in him a touch of diplomacy.

Otherwise he would have caught Aruljothy by the collar and shook the truth out of him. Or thrust his revolver at the pretender’s forehead to scare the life out of him.

Aruljothy could feel Thana’s piercing gaze and trying to put on a humbled appearance, took to speaking in a pleading tone.

YB, you see, my friends told me about your great support towards entrepreneuurs seeking start-ups for agricultural ventures.

I am a city boy YB, now getting fed up with life in the artificial world. I want seriously to lead a natural life living off the land.

YB I want to start a tomato farm in Kamat Highlands. I have some funds and hope your department can top it up a bit. I hope you can also help me get a piece of land on lease.

Thana held back his reply a while gazing directly into the now nervous Aruljothy’s twitching greyish blue eyes.

Restraining his characteristic anger, trying hard to appear calm and composed he finally gave his reply.

Yes. You have come to the right place. We have been giving out grants to young entrepreneurs like you venturing into agriculture.

We will process your application and if everything’s in order we will call you for an interview.

Is there anything else you wish to know. If not, goodbye. Hope to see you again.

Thana was being very courteous. He didn’t want to stretch his patience any longer.

The visitor however was not finished yet. He had his official SOP to fulfil.

Aruljothy though riddled with fear noting Thana’s steely eyes and the perceived aggression in his lightly concealed inner thoughts, pressed forward his agenda by force of routine.

YB, can you push forward my application. It is urgent. I am willing to cooperate in any way you would suggest.

Thana who was already seated at his desk and about to open his diary looked up hearing this and blurted out in an angry tone.

What would I suggest Mr Aruljothy…. Are you saying you can bribe me to get your application passed. Is that what you’re saying Mr Aruljothy….

The officer at once realised his cover was blown. Seeing no way out he chose to continue the charade.

No sir, I didn’t mean that. Maybe there’s an alternate method to quicken things. That’s what I meant. Sorry if I offended you YB.

Thana’s anger continued to rise. He clenched his fist behind his table merely a step away from thumping it down on the table top.

Aruljothy could feel the rising aggression building up in the subject of his undercover interrogation aimed at closure of the latter’s office within the Urban Empowerment Department.

The new government’s Ministerial Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister had already made a decision to shut down Thana’s office together with that of other racial minorities’ overseers all of whom were political appointees of The Alliance Party in the previous government.

OK sir, I will abide by your department’s procedure. I will wait for you to get back to me. Sorry again if I offended you sir. I hope to see you again sir. Goodbye.

Aruljothy was smiling as he turned away from Thana with the knowledge that in a week’s time an official announcement was to be made regarding the dropping of overseers like Thana.

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

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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