We begin our serialised story section with this first episode of the story: The Grip of Infamy.
Thana’s control of the city underworld was now complete. Now that he had been elected a vice president in the Mangalam Varuka political party and the ruling government had named him the Indian community’s overseer in the Urban Empowerment Department. Also in the offing was the promise of a ministerial appointment after his recent naming as a senator.
He would no doubt empower the urban Indian community with special attention to its business development of course and fatten his bank accounts in the process. The way his mentor, Sanggaran Velu the dictatorial party president had done but definitely a notch higher in aspects of self-enrichment and the play of villainy.
Villainy was firmly entrenched in the stocky Thana’s life and blood, that which helped him grow his illegal business dealings and firmly establish himself in the northern zone of the city as a drug trafficker, scamster and pimp. Also the fact that he had an early start to his career in crime, from his early teens. The long prominent scar on his forehead and other scars elsewhere on his face were testimony to his confrontational and violent nature.
The rise of his political career was unintentional though and he never had any inkling that he ever possessed the mental capacity or charisma to convince the general populace to entrust him with a leadership position but it dropped on his lap all the same.
But he learnt that his early Tamil education was the edge he needed to take the fortuitous career leap from gangster to politician. He discovered the power of Tamil oratory in swaying the allegiance of his displaced community.
A community that was cut off from its roots in India and ancestors’ legacy in dawn of civilisation in Merekasia and Southeast Asia, losing its cultural identity and faced with a dire need to salvage at least, its mother tongue.
His political rise was assured as he chose to emulate the exploits of his political mentor who after initially hiring Thana to provide thugs to do his dirty work and supply him with pleasure women, had roped in the charismatic gangster into his party to shore up his dictatorial legacy.
Political fibbing and claims delivered in the Tamil language was simply too easy for one schooled in the nuances of spoken and written Tamil from primary level. The literary beauty and crisp phonetics of the language bore the power to make even the most deceptive of suggestions sound truly majestic to the ignorant masses.
Becoming adept in politics, Thana’s underworld activities were carried out incognito spread out wider through a network of young lieutenants and their local gangs fully backed and protected using party resources and machinery including its various affiliated NGOs.
Today afternoon, Thana was meeting all 23 of his trusted lieutenants at the conference room of an Indian restaurant in Sental at the heart of the capital city. The feedback received was an ego boost to the son of a government mortuary attendant a survivor of a torrid childhood holed up in the cramped flat unit within the neighbourhood of a government quarters area in the city.
Dividends from the host of illegal and semi-legal businesses operated by his lieutenants had begun pouring into his proxy held bank accounts and that of his wife and children in the past few years of his entry into politics. Thana was well pleased with his henchmen.
However a disturbing turn of events in the northern border of Mereka City reported at the meeting by his most trusted lieutenant, Sippu Anthony caused Thana’s anger to erupt and he banged the table with all his might shouting, “Shit! Shit! Shit!”
“Whose kawasan is that?” he demanded with a wild fling of his clenched right fist, his eyes becoming bloodshot instantly as if red hot fire was smouldering within.
A relatively meek looking six footer seated at the far end of the table hesitatingly stood up, his head hanging in shame and unable to meet his boss’ fiery face.
“You son of a bitch. What is the use of your big size if you can’t even safeguard your own territory! Do you want me to throw you out from there?
“Now tell me how this happened. How could a gang 211 team from Sungai Baloi collect protection money from shops in your kawasan? Are you and your team sleeping?” shrieked Thana punching his fist in the air.
The accused Gali Muthu blurted out in a soft voice, “But we have got all our collections. It seems the 211 team forced some of the shops to pay to them a second time. I also just found out about this. We will investigate this matter today itself boss.”
Thana pointed his finger at the visibly shaken Gali Muthu giving the order, “I give you one day to catch the 211 team involved and teach them a lesson. Otherwise you are finished.”
In fact this isolated incident involving gang 211 was just a ripple in the wave of a serious upsurge in the city by a relatively new gang comprising a team-up of local petty thieves and burglars and an international menagerie of hardened criminals from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, South America and Africa. This gang was blatantly breaking all the territorial borders of the country’s organised crime network.
Thana called off the meeting unable to continue as his anger choked his voice and he was unable to think rationally. He grabbed his suitcase and stormed out of the conference room.
Author: R. Sittamparam
All characters depicted in this story are fictional. Any resemblance to real life characters is purely coincidental.