Saturday, June 26, 2010

Animated, Inanimated & Partially Animated

I don’t know whether he was at the right place or the wrong one when he got that phone call, or whether he started drinking before that phone call or after that. He did react to it exactly the same way I expected. First he decided to throw his mobile off from the cliff and then he thought he should throw himself off. But he didn’t follow either of those instant thoughts but sat down sipping his sixth peg of Gin and Lemonade, smoking the last joint left in his hands.
Joy Kuttan was born as ‘JOY KUTTAN’ for those proud orthodox Christian parents from Kottayam district of Kerala, who believed them to be the successors of one of the disciples of St. George. Unlike the other babies born around the globe at 10.30 AM on 21st Dec 1982, he was considered as a surprise… He surprised everyone by a laugh instead of cry as if he was so excited seeing the first light outside. Doctors claimed that he came out much early too. The next thing he did was winking at the nurse who cleaned him. The priest, Mani Achan, from the nearby church who happened to be there by chance, with all heart, wished him with the name ‘Joy Kuttan’. All the Malayalies thus started calling him ‘Joy Kuttaaaaa….’. For a few years he lived as ‘Baby Boy. Joy Kuttan’. When he once shared screen with Superstar Mammootty for a film as a child actor, his name was scrolled in the credits as ‘Master. Joy Kuttan’. Since then it took many years for him to grow up to the status of Mr. Joy Kuttan.
This is the history, geography and cultural background of this character. I had to stop for a while to clean the utensils in kitchen. While doing that I was thinking on what made him plan his tour in his dirty modified Mahindra Classic Jeep to the suicide point of Kodaikanal from his rich rubber estate in Kottayam… and that too all alone. I really don’t know… may be some kind of instinct. Well, we all do follow instincts! Don’t we? What do you think is the basic instinct behind Cockroach’s plan of writing about one Joy Kuttan in joy that no one seems to enjoy?
Though his intention was not clear, he was obviously not in the mood or the mode of killing himself. But the phone call did knock him down. The intoxication of Gin was so tight too. The phone call could be a rude one, an unexpected one or an unexpectedly rude one… what ever. He smiled at the sky and the dead-end for his jeep and the life, lying down alone at the tip of the cliff. After a while he did something really crazy. Even I didn’t expect that.
He opened his bag and pealed a paper off from the book that first got caught in his hand. (I forgot to say that Joy Kuttan was an avid reader.) It was the first page of ‘Broken Glass’ by African writer Alain Mabanckou where he had written the golden phrase ‘in Africa, when an old person dies, a library burns’. He hardly bothered to read it but scribbled “good bye” on the empty sides of the paper and said this loud in an insanely shivering tone “Thanks for those tiny indecent reasons of your own, that I am on my own from now on.”
In a few seconds, a paper rocket flew up from the suicide point of Kodaikanal. It had no emotions. It sailed in the sky- in the air- so aimlessly. The paper didn’t know the meaning of any African phrase. But it had a rich history of its own. It was once the part of a forest tree at Valayar region in Kerala. The tree was stolen and exported as forest wood, later cut and processed at various places. The paper that became the rocket in the hands of Joy Kuttan was once that portion, thrown as unwanted useless priceless pieces, carried away as waste wood and processed at Punaloor paper mills. A different fate was waiting in the hands of small time printers who sold replica of famous books. It thus became the first page of ‘Broken Glass’ of Alain Mabanckou carrying the famous phrase from Africa for a reader like Joy Kuttan, who never believed in gathering knowledge for big money. As I said earlier, that paper didn’t have any emotions by itself. With the wind it continued its journey towards yet another fate… as it was been always…
Neither the emotional Joy Kuttan nor the emotionless paper rocket found the presence of the third character in this story - ‘Joy Kuttan, The Rocket and Chinnu’. Yes, it is Chinnu, I don’t know her exact name so let me call her Chinnu. Well, we humans have this weird habit of giving names to anything and everything without their permission. (I am thinking of all those pets in our lives – David the dog, Ruby the kitten etc…) For my convenience I am taking the liberty of calling her Chinnu. She was a beautiful black ant, and the queen of her colony. Just like her companions she was living a simple life gathering food and bringing up her children. Her fate was quite simple and certain, until Joy Kuttan threw her into the complex and uncertain. It was not intentional. She was caught in between the gap of the paper rocket.
Chinnu’s colony was very near to the place where Joy Kuttan’s jeep was parked. She was disturbed by the noise of jeep while feeding her children, and thus came out to face the intruder. The tyre of the jeep was very near to her colony. She was not capable to understand what would have happened if it was parked one step ahead. For that matter, she was not familiar about anything else other than her little world around. How many of us actually know the ‘Actual World’? How much of the world can be explored by a small little ant, who has nothing other than a colony that can be placed under the tyre of a jeep, living with less than a hundred adult inhabitants and a probable thirty little ones.
The wind carried Chinnu caught in that paper rocket, to her uncertainty… I can’t explain what was going on her mind during the journey. Being a nonliving object, I am pretty sure that the journey didn’t make any sense for the rocket. But the black ant is a living being capable of thinking. May be she is not as intelligent as a human being, but she definitely had emotions. Chinnu was the protector of her children and her colony too… May be she is a creature not capable of keeping memories on their realities… but she definitely had a reality and the sense of existence.
The paper rocket floated up in the sky like a feather. A lot many times huge birds like the eagles and vultures tried to grab it confusing it to the pigeons and sparrows. But it escaped with the difference in the pressure of wind as they approached each time. Swinging and swaying it took nine days for that rocket to reach the surface of land… a village nearby… but by then Chinnu was dead and dried, stuck to the surface of the rocket…
I did imagine a situation a few years later… One day Annamma Saira Philip who was by then Mrs. Joy Kuttan, discovered a black stain right on the nose of the photograph of famous Dr. Joy Kuttan featured in an article that came in the Sunday Suppliment of Mathrubhoomi Newspaper. There was no more African Phrases by Mabanckou except for an always-dull photo with a black stain on the nose … and the paper didn’t have any emotion to carry by itself…

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