He becomes a myth, a spook story that criminals tell their kids at night: “Rat on your pop, and Keyser Soze will get you.” But no one ever really believes.-Verbal Kint
The Usual Suspects
I haven’t blogged here for one month now. I guess I’ve become less funny and more serious. (C’mon! That’s not like me!) I’ve been partial to my technical blog and devoting more time for that. Anyway, sparing the apologies, (yeah! Be thankful that I’m back!! Without even giving false punchline-promises like the Austrian-accented “I’ll be back!”) this one is a hilarious memory which was cued by another funny talk when I visited home last week.
For those who don’t know, “the first” is me.
Lets start with some prologues.
Prologue 1: Stupid is as stupid does
My mom says that I’m a bit stupid. I think I’m not, but my mom proves time and again that I am.
Prologue 2: The Legend
“Chaakku Mappilla” is an imaginary character often used in Kerala to scare misbehaving kids. It is similar to the boogeyman. As a way of controlling their children, parents will tell them about “Chaakku Mappilla” who steals misbehaving children. This guy supposedly carries a sack on his back. He catches all misbehaving children, puts them in the sack and sells them. He may be said to target a specific “transgression” or just general misbehavior. The funny thing is that it is believed in by children.
The big laugh
(To make things more sensible, I was oblivious to whatever I have written in blue italics below. Why? Because I was “thinking”)
That day, my brother was wreaking a lot of havoc in home. I was in the verandah, thinking as usual.
I heard faint noises coming from inside. It was my brother screaming and shouting to show his protest in whatever it was.
After some time, the noise grew louder. When I turned around, he was outside, behind me. My mother too had followed him to the verandah.
She was holding a plate with food, perhaps. The little chap was probably refusing to have food. (This was so unusual of him, mind you!)
My mother said, “Eat this like a good boy.”
My brother said, “No. I’m not a good boy.”
My mother said, “Chaakku Mappilla will come and catch children who starve.”
My brother was smart. He replied, “Chaakku Mappilla indeed. There is no such person.”
Then mom became desperate, turned to me and asked, “Tell us…You have seen Chaakku Mappilla, right?”
I probably didn’t see her winking, because I replied in favor of my brother, “No”.
I had never heard the name “Chaakku Mappilla” before. My mom, or my grandma never scared me with that name. (Maybe I never misbehaved 😀 ) So I thought it was the name used to address whoever carries a sack. I didn’t even doubt that she was acting.
Then a man appeared at the end of the road. Coincidentally, he was carrying a sack on his shoulders. I knew that man. He was the one who used to play “Thavil” (A type of percussion instrument) in the nearby temple. It was undoubtedly his Thavil inside the sack.
My mom jumped at the opportunity and told my brother, “See. There he is…Chaakku Mappilla. Now eat this or he will take you away.”
My brother was not ready to give in that easily. He boldly said, “He is not Chaakku Mappilla”, although he didn’t sound as bold as before.
He heaved a sigh of relief when the guy passed our house without even looking at us.
My mom’s next step in the drama was to ask me to go and call Chaakku Mappilla, so that he would come and take my brother away.
“Go and tell him that I have something for sale here”, my mom said.
I immediately ran outside towards him.
Panting, I said,
“Mr. Chaakku Mappilla… My mom wants to sell something to you.”
He looked at me for a few seconds with a perplexed face. Time froze for everyone except me. (Because I still hadn’t realized that what I had done was stupid.)
He frowned and continued walking. I looked back at my mom. She beckoned me to come back.
Everyone was laughing. I didn’t understand why. Call it the naivety of a 7 year old who doesn’t know the legend of “Chaakku Mappilla”
I became the laughing stock of the whole family for the next one week….and years to come! Poor me!