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Raju Ganapathy



Raju Ganapathy


Mahabali Vs Bond, James

Mahabali Vs Bond, James

6 mins 200 6 mins 200

Ajit Vodal, Chief of the Indian Intelligence Agency, knit his brows while reading the cryptic message. The attack was imminent and the target was the VVIP. He looked at the calendar. Down south was a major festival that took place annually. It was called Onam. Malayalees all over the world celebrated the event with gusto. Kerala was preparing for it entirely, notwithstanding the COVID.

He decided to chuck the 'vocal for local policy' not when the VVIP security was involved. It had to be Bond, James bond. The spy who had the license to kill and was code-named 007. He dialled the coded number.

Bond took the next flight by Emirates. He was unusually dressed; not in the suit styled by Tom Ford but a mundu (a white garment draped around the waist in Kerala) and a white shirt made in Gandhi's favourite Khaddar. He looked more like a left-wing comrade and dressed for the occasion. Ajit Vodal had briefed him well and of course, the rest of the details was available on Google.

It was early morning as he disembarked from the flight at Cochin airport. James Kurien, the local IIA man was supposed to receive him with a placard bearing the name Nambiar. As he stepped out of the airport, he was shocked to see the black flag demonstration led by the inimitable Aruna Proseroy who wrote the God of All Things. The placard read to go back  James Bond.

Bond was gobsmacked to see of all the persons Thuroor of the English accent fame also waving a red flag. Later Thuroor explained it was all political posture while having a coconut toddy shaken with Bond back in the hotel bar at lunchtime.

Bond at the hotel unpacked. He had this time not brought his pack of the blue pills. He didn't want to mess with the Indian women, Sithas, who were well known for their chastity, unlike the European women who would jump into his bed at the first sight.

Bond slurped the combo plate of Idli, sambar and coconut chatni. He wondered what was the recent controversy about Idli in social media. Then James Kurien quickly briefed him; The biggest event of the day was at the closing ceremony of the world-famous boat race when the VVIP was expected to attend. James told Bond that he expected something eventful to happen there and they must at once proceed and inspect the place. Further, in spite of all the precautions taken against COVID, he didn't expect social distance to be kept. Kurien anticipated that this event would begin the downfall of the Kerala state in her fight against the COVID virus. What a pity? Exclaimed Bond. Bond ready once again in his mundu and tucked in his Glock. He sported the inventive goggles (also a binocular) and the pen (can fire darts) on his shirt pocket designed by Q. The umbrella he carried can be turned into a weapon at the press of a button courtesy Q once again. Bond and Kurien then set out for the Fort Cochin jetty where the boat race was to finish.

Mahabali, rather his spirit, was not in good spirits. Onam was his exclusive annual event celebrated on the day he was supposed to visit his own country. The visit of James Bond and the VVIP served to distract the attention and focus of the people away from his visit. Added to that was the COVID virus. There was extra security and need for social distancing every-where. The boat race culmination usually provided the icing to the cake so to speak. But this time the security arrangements for the VVIP took away all the gaiety. Instead of celebrating the state government got busy with security arrangements; they have planned a demonstration against the visit of VVIP and to add to all this was the leak of the visit of James Bond. There was speculation rife that some big threat was imminent to the VVIP. The VVIP should have cancelled the visit instead, Mahabali thought and he was hurting. He mulled over the matter and made up his mind. The event was in the evening at 6 PM. He would enjoy the Onam sadya (special lunch), a spread of over 18 types of food including the payasams and chakkapradaman (jackfruit kheer), enjoy his siesta and set out for the Jetty.

Back at the hotel after a detailed inspection Bond joined Thuroor for lunch. Kurien had excused himself as he wanted to have lunch at home. Bond whispered to Thuroor that he was unable to keep his eyes off the Malayalee women, dressed for the occasion in their Kasavu, and decked up in jewelry. Thuroor warned that Indian women were direct descendent of Kannagi, Sitha and Durga and advised Bond to keep his 'inclination' in check.

Kurien came at the appointed hour at 5 pm and this time they took the boat to reach the jetty faster. James continued to bond with this mundu and in fact, he had taken a liking for the comfort it provided and also helped merge with the crowd. He had chosen a vantage point near the dais where he could have a 360  degree view of the place. In addition, he had the binocular vision and the dart pen handy. He was ready for any eventuality.

At the stroke of 6 pm when the VVIP entered the dais, the crowd went berserk in slogan shouting. It became clear to Bond that this VVIP was not much liked and he heard go back slogans overpowered anything else that was chanted. He adjusted his 'binocles' and focussed on the VVIP. He thought he saw an apparition behind the VVIP but was not sure and wiped the binocles clean.

Then the VVIP began his speech. He started saying in Malayalam Onam Ashamsakal when the crowd started booing especially for the unnatural accent. Bond once again focussed on the VVIP. The VVIP continued his speech. He said" on this auspicious day of the Vamana Jayanthi" (birthday), when the hell broke loose and the crowd started shouting in a crescendo 'go back.' Mahabali who was positioned behind the VVIP, reached the tipping point of his anger when he heard the mention of Vamana Jayanthi. He gave the VVIP a push. That was at the exact moment when Bond once again noticed the apparition. He blew some darts from his pen. The VVIP had fallen forward and the bodyguards were all over him and formed a protective ring. The darts hit no one in particular and Mahabali made a quiet exit.

Bond texted a message to Ajit Vodal. Mission successful, VVIP saved. Later when he was reading about Onam, Bond wondered if the apparition, he saw, was indeed Mahabali. Bond chuckled over his glass of Martini and said to himself a protest well made by Mahabali in the land of non-violence.

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