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Monday, August 06, 2012

Mooch Nahin Toh...

This is actually a really old one. Done when I was in Class XII or something - about the time they reported Veerappan finally being cornered & killed. Just found it again!


In the sandalwood jungles of Karnataka, notorious dacoit Veerappan was reclining masterfully on a hammock with a chilled nariyal-pani, watching Sholay on the Japanese-make DSL large screen satellite television set he had stolen from that film star’s house. He was making a concerted effort to get engrossed in the film (now in a special digitally remastered format), but was somewhat hampered in this by the squat, oily man who crouched next to him. Not that Veerappan really had anything against squat, oily men, but you really can’t concentrate on any movie – even your favourite – when a squat oily man is making tally marks in a notepad at your elbow and periodically running a comb through your resplendent moustache. With a snort that made the comb tremble precariously, Veerappan reached for the remote control and rewound the film for the twenty-seventh time. He was just starting to focus on Gabbar Singh’s inspired dialogues when the comb snagged rather painfully and jerked him back to reality – quite literally. Anyone who has tried to comb their moustache while reclining masterfully in a hammock will know what I mean.
          A short, strangled noise – one would have called it a yelp in a less masterful person – escaped the bandit’s lips as he sat up and complained to his squat, oily lieutenant – “Tell me, Lallan, how are you going to get an accurate count of my moustache hair if you pull half of them out while counting?” Lallan whined a response, “Not my fault, Sir, it’s just the hammock that complicates things – yes I know I started in the morning when you were on a solid sandalwood bench, but you can see how it’s taking time… Aah, what’s the point of counting anyway, that scoundrel will just fudge his figures after he’s seen my final count! Do you know, Sir, he had the nerve to go around telling the villagers he has a longer moustache than you…”
          At this point Lallan had to cut his rant short – having to dodge a gourd full of chilled nariyal-pani has that effect on most people. Veerappan had risen to his feet, a dangerous glint in his eye. The movie ran on, neglected now. “You never told me this,” he muttered, and neglecting Lallan’s nervous muttering about not wanting to disturb his esteemed leader’s repose, continued – “Such audacity! Fine! We will have a fair count – simultaneously and face to face. Go bring him here…” Suddenly the rage left Veerappan, to be replaced by a curious glee. Lallan had seen this kind of good humour in his master earlier – it reminded him of childhood tales of the hyena, which laughs as it rips out your liver… “…And you never know, if that rascal does turn out to have a bigger moustache, then I have just the prize to give him…”
          B. Subramaniam, the “scoundrel” and “rascal” of the above exchange, was a simple village youth who had stumbled upon some plant growth hormones in a can. The stuff looked oily, so he used it to oil his moustache – and suddenly “Bala” was famous for the most luxuriant facial appendage in all the Deccan forests. He was just reflecting upon – well one could call it serendipity, but then Bala didn’t know that this was the correct term - when Veerappan’s summons reached him. It came in the form of a blanket thrown over the head and a couple of sharp punches to the ribs. By the time he had regained his breath he had been carried, inside the forest, to Veerappan’s lair, where he was confronted by the bandit lord himself.
A large smile glistening under his resplendent foliage, Veerappan told young Bala to be seated and explained that it was time to settle once and for all who had the longest moustache. Bala was scared at first, but eventually relaxed and began to enjoy the special show of Sholay the bandit lord had put on for him - it’s hard not to relax when you are being plied with choice liquors and fresh fruits by young damsels dressed like sylvan nymphets. That squat oily guy combing through his moustache was a bit of a dampener, but all in all it wasn’t so bad…
Many, many bottles of liquor and three reruns later, in the early hours of morning, Lallan had to reluctantly admit that Bala beat Veerappan, 67,890 to 66,945. With a broad smile upon his face, Veerappan told Bala he had a special prize for him. The dazzled recipient, who was seeing triple by now (and that is a lot of dazzling white teeth to see), gladly allowed himself to be led away, his mind full of triplicate visions of similar luxury, liquor and nymphets mingling with Gabbar’s face grinning as it asked him “Ab tera kya hoga, kaliya?”

         The next day newspaper headlines read
Conspicuous moustache gave away bandit despite a clever disguise…

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