Mission Muniraju I

Massy was chewing some wire in her royal seat, she was woken up by new irritating ringtone that Sanjeev had on his new cellphone. Sanjeev was drying his long hair, picking some flies for his insectivorous plants from his hair and the curious Weimaraner rambled to him twice. Sanjeev asked Massy what was making her so restless, she uttered a hundred words but not ‘cellphone is ringing’ or not even ‘change the damn ring tone’. Sanjeev miraculously comprehended her german accent and leapt on the irritating ringtone strung by an unknown BSNL number anxiously waited to be heard in the middle of the night. It was one of the wildlife rescue calls, like any soldier Sanjeev tied his still-to-be-dried-hair, pulled his sleeves, cocked his backbone, heads up, wore his pants and he ordered his neighbour to hitch a ride from Bangalore to remote village in Tumkur. Massy thought it would be her night out like her frequent assignments during Sunny’s snake rescue missions within Bangalore, but Massy had to be left behind in her couch for several reasons, one of it was the seats of the borrowed car- Das Auto.
It would be two hours drive in the dead of the night, Sanjeev and Kshitij tested the car for its speed. Their bravest deed was to negotiate an immovable Indian Nightjar which challenged the animal lovers. The other brave, rather cautious task was to avoid the mines planted by villagers by the/on the road – the evening community based toilet. The most awaited time of day for villagers, the trivial discussions, the creative plots, the astronomical conclusions, the proverbs, the anxieties have matured to the evening, the day makes it cooler, the sweeping breeze between the ass cheeks makes the conversations of the dark sober and passive. Occasional car lights is warned by the steel water jug or a used plastic water bottle. The bowel churners here can talk anything, from food, land, mortgages, ministers, banks, wives, husbands, their secrets, even resolve or dissolve relationships. In some villages a time is fixed for men and women, in some villages the ends are fixed, the gender biased defecators append the village before or after depending on the Panchayat decision. All knights of the round table keeping their swords in their sheath this hour and it is time to lower their brain in deep shit; everyone speaks, everyone listens.
At 1 am, three gentlemen whose guts didn’t oblige during the ceremonial moment went for the quarry to lighten themselves, Kshitij panicked at first but Sanjeev pointed out the plastic bottles. After an hour drive they could see more people, lighter by mood, lighter by Raja whisky and Old Tavern whisky tetrapacks swinging from little crowds that gathered around a fire. There were nearly hundred fifty plus men, boys, older men in small groups divided by families, cattle sizes, boot on the rummy but what united them all was a leopard on a coconut tree!
Kshitij’s muscles strained on his shoulders and ankle, all this while the mines they missed had to be taken; slowly. They were directed by villagers to an open field, beyond the farmlands, it was grazing piece of land for shepherds. A small stone temple stood, the dazed deity inside faced east, peeped through the grills in which he was guarded and detained, the only light was its sodium vapour lamp post that bent on the right flank of the temple’s roof. Its light spilled over teams of highly skilled 13 card rummy sportsmen who accomplished with great efforts and dedicatio. Each time the Old Tavern nerves a loss to Common Muniraju, he stood to size a stone in his fist, in an instinctive and inebriated swagger aim the only coconut tree. When he hauled his hand to catapult he took the name of the leopard’s mother, and then he arched himself and expedited the stone yelling ‘pussy’s mother’s pussy’. The leopard promoted to the coconut leaves higher, beyond the drupes, beyond the sight of the Old Tavern.
This palm was planted decades ago, the coconut grew gregariously with other coconut trees, the notorious palm weevil drove into every trunk but this solid tree planted with devotion was spared in the large scrub land like the manholes erupting in any Bangalore road which is bodaciously decorated by Cassia leaves alerting new riders. The mighty palm stood the rains, the lightning, the weevil legions, in senescent age, yielding egg like nuts. The villagers spared the tree in justice to the barren landscape and as memorial of Late Common Muniraju I.
That evening leopard had killed a goat which is now claimed and taken down with Rajas and Tavern and Rajas of spade, clove, hearts and diamonds. It did piss Common Putraju off, the one who has 44 goats, the one who counted 45 until that noon, the one who loved his lamb, yet the merciful Putraju forgave the Leopard. But his younger brother, Common Muniraju III offered the goat’s meat to his Panchayat friends, he bought tetrapacks of whiskys from previous Ganesha festival funds and he raised the toast and prepared their bravery to massacre the Leopard. 
The officious Ranger had parked his new Mahindra Bolero, white, the seat covers still on, the dashboard smelling the new polyester blend with the jasmine that his driver Common Muthuraju had tied around the rare view mirror. This vehicle was procured by the tax payers money of the city dwellers, now waiting to be returned by villagers if the ranger and Sunny didn’t catch the leopard. The pact was to bring down the leopard, file a charge sheet with all legal clauses and sections, execute it by beating up in a net and tie its four legs on a bamboo pole and parade it gloriously from the temple to villages and eventually burn for the gods and women to be pleased.
Sanjeev paused at the situation, the moon was almost full, the late Muniraju I tree commemorated like a boner at his death. For hundreds of meters there were no trees, no bush, no coriander for the leopard to leap. It has several Common and even Uncommon Munirajus expressing their rummy loss with a stone at the leopard. An intelligent Common Nagraju suggested that the snares and nets used by Boar hunters can help in trapping. Sanjeev requested Nagi to get the team who only had to emboss from the Taverns. The Boar poachers claimed a sense of authority now, the men who had disguised all this while from the officious Ranger. Puzzled and helpless Ranger Babu had to budge. Argus eyed Sunny noticed that the villagers were preparing with staves and stones while the poacher’s net was being tied. He requested the ranger for some police force to control the mob, but Babu had not bought such powers, he needed approval from his bosses who would have partied in some rest house and dozed. Babu could not succeed in waking any. Through his contacts, Snake Sanjeev asked for some force at 4 am, It took a while for them to arrive only to be out numbered and show the solidarity of Mission Muniraju the First.
It was closing to dawn, there would be the morning shift of poopers now, and there would be more people to handle once the shit from the brains are cleared. Sanjeev had to act fast, he called the fire brigade who took nearly a hour. He had asked for a 45 feet ladder to be rested on the tree that can allow the leopard to unhoist, he anticipated that the leopard would jump away from A-team and make an exit, the Boar poachers had their nets cast to the exit to catch it. The miserly fire department’s ladder telescoped only a 25 footer. Which aimed only till the Muniraju’s drupes, the leopard had to be convinced to get lower and the villagers had to be convinced to go farther. Sanjeev and ranger Babu were discussing on how to handle two unconvinced wildlife just then Muniraju the First resurrected and dropped an old nut to the ground giving a thud, the crowd ran in an harum-scarum. Under the tree popped nervous Sanjeev and Kshitij. Ranger spun himself into his Bolero. The leopard could now see strewn footwears for few meters around the tree. The cops could now hold back and the villagers also agreed to stay back. Sunny assured that he will catch the spotted pussy and ask her to surrender. He asked the firemen to spray water, to jet the water in force and create rain over the leopard so that the cat comes down to the ladder. Just as he scripted, the leopard walked down the leaves and touched the ladder, the leopard-inexperienced firemen let the nozzle of the hose free, the jetting water frenzied like a chopped gecko’s tail. It pulverized the brave crowd and their unity, it smashed on the Babu’s car leaving no opportunity for the villagers to take You tax payers windshield. Kshitij ran to the valve and shut it while a Herculean villager tried to pin down the Hydra, the draining Hydra in its last breath struck the Hercules’ left jaw! In this madness, the leopard glided its claw backwards, then forwards and leapt into the net. Sanjeev tried to undo the net to let the leopad free and as the mob rushed towards the leopard, the spooked cat jumped off the nets and escaped. The mob chased the goat’s slayer: the tail raised Leopard dashed towards the lantana behind the temple and made a sharp turn through the bush, the mob scampered straight into the bush surprising the morning shift defecators while the Leopard’s skin buried its sprint in another direction! In that hiatus Sanjeev and Kshitij escaped in opposite direction when they saw the villagers come running after them. The mutilated Babu’s car and Kshitij’s car keys were taken by the villagers. The roar and fury of losing pace with the cat, the now awake from the Raja and Old Tavern, the invincible villagers surrounded the Ranger Babu. Demanding the surrender of now dried-long-haired Sanjeev. At a distance, somewhere with an alarmed and drenched leopard in the scrub jungle, panting Sanjeev told the gasping Kshitij to get back and play the press reporter and show his camera in style and tell them that he had only tagged along Sunny to get coverage. Kshitij had to hear the resentment and revolt against the adversary Leopard. It didn’t end that soon! The plight of the villagers were all to be reported by Kshitij, the leopard has caused power cuts, it has caused the bumpy roads, the leopard has caused the mosquito swarms, unavailability of kerosene, delay of Chief minister’s bags of rice, the leopard decided on price dropping of tomatoes, the leopard is the sole cause of every last problems until that day! Celebrated Kshitij asked them to turn their TV on that noon for a half day exclusive Mission Muniraju I program.
Sunny was picked up beyond the village roads miles away by Kshitij, they sped away from scene and few hundred meters away the Comrade Leopard dashed across the road ahead of their car into a safe jungle.


3 thoughts on “Mission Muniraju I”

    1. The theme was interesting, the characters busy..
      Liked this and can see my old friend Asura is back.
      Thank you for reading my poems and leaving “likes” considering I never saw them until now.

      Best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It reminds me the Britishers days when expert was summoned to catch maneaters. Description of characters are of present day villagers and officials that reflect the cult of the day. words are chosen to describe events and characters, nature, traits are chosen only author is capable of.i wonder how such words are chosen to describe!. it amazes me.
    Leopard at the end has its say is great escape with alertness which is well reflected. how each one is concerned on their own and blaming game… is well narrated.
    keep writing. enjoy.


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