“O Wizard,” boomed Ravan’s voice loudly, “I need your help.”
Gappi was astonished, flabbergasted, flummoxed, speechless, gapped…I mean, zapped! But he somehow gathered a little bit of courage and said, “Greetings O Demon King. Before I attempt to respond to your request, may I please ask a question?” Seeming slightly amused, Ravan replied, “Yes, of course.” So Gappi boldly went where no man (or wizard for that matter) had gone before, and asked, “What are you doing in 2017? And that too in Nallasopara…Also, weren’t you like…dead?”
At this, Ravan started guffawing loudly in the typical Ramanand Sagar Ramayan style, and replied, “These are actually three questions, O Wizard, not one.” To which Gappi instinctively responded, “It does not matter if the questions are three or one, I am still a great wizard, and you…” And then he realized that he was not talking to his maid Diana, but to the greatest demon of all times, who, if he wanted, could instantly turn him into a baingan ka bharta, without the bharta of course!
So he tried to salvage the situation with a tame, “…and you….and you…and you…are an even greater demon!” Saying this, he smiled ingratiatingly, hoping that Ravan had not noticed his clever course correction (The 3 Cs that Wizarding School always taught students to diligently follow, if they wanted to avoid getting turned into bharta every second day due to their natural exuberance, recklessness, insouciance. and incompetence, that is.).
Ravan replied, “OK, to answer your questions one by one, this may be 2017 for you, but I exist beyond time, since I am a great demon. That also answers your third question…I am not dead because I cannot die. And coming to why I am in Nallasopara…” But Gappi couldn’t stop himself any longer, and interrupted, “Ek minute ek minute Sir, how can you be immortal? You were killed by Lord Ram in a great war.”
Ravan again laughed loudly, and said, “That was just something I staged to remove the international diplomatic pressure that I was facing on abducting Sita. Poor Ram never had a clue that he had been the victim of such a massive con. My mole Vibhishan convinced him that I could only be killed by removing the amrit from my naabhi, so he shot me there, little realizing that the only damage that arrow did was to tickle me silly, which was not as small a challenge as you might think, because I had to pretend that I am grievously injured and dying. Bursting out in laughter at that precise point would have led even Ram to smell a rat.”
Gappi’s face had become ashen white on the discovery that everything he knew about Indian epics was built on a lie. Ravan continued, “And coming to what I am doing in Nallasopara, after I left Lanka, I needed a new base for my operations. So I searched high and low, and realized that nothing could be lower than the Nasty North, and so, decided to settle down here for all eternity. Till now, that is. And if you will stop interrupting me every two seconds, can I tell you why I need your help?”
Gappi replied in his most ingratiating tone, “Of course, please tell me your tale” and to his horror and dismay, Ravan’s face went red as the Red Wedding, and he shouted, “DO NOT USE THE WORD TAIL IN MY PRESENCE….PLEASE!” Gappi realized the faux pas he had committed by touching Ravan’s raw nerve, and said, “I said Tale Sir, T A L E, as in story, and not T A I L, Tale as in Hanuman’s poonchh, but I am sorry nevertheless, please continue.”
So after a detour of just over 600 words, you, dear readers, will now finally come to know what was troubling Ravan. I think you should take this up strongly with the narrator, who keeps digressing without a moment’s notice! Ohhh, sorry, I forgot, I am the narrator. So please ignore the last two lines, I am sure the narrator has your best interests at heart.
Ravan said, “As you now, I am now a respectable outlaw, earning my living operating outside the law, just like any normal, law-avoiding Nallasopara citizen. Diana’s sister Shipra is my daughter-in-law, and takes care of the entire household with an iron fist” (Narrator’s note: Iron Fist, by the way, is a horrible show, please don’t waste your time watching it). Ravan continued, “But lately, for the first time in my long and illustrious career as first the Demon king, and then an outlaw patriarch, our way of life is facing a grave threat.”
Gappi said, “What could possibly threaten you?” To which Ravan replied, “Sony Mony, the godfather of the Japanese Yakuza. He wishes to take over Nallasopara, as it is such a lucrative market for smuggled goods. If it was just him, I could have handled him easily, but he has enlisted the help of a legendary wizard from your school, who is shielding him and his people from Demon magic. I need you to help me fight his magic, since you would know the counter-spells to his spells.”
Gappi was aghast at this request, he did not want to fight against a fellow wizard. But he also knew that maybe he could refuse Ravan, the Nallasopara outlaw, but he could not refuse the sasur of Diana’s sister. So, he asked Ravan, “Who is this wizard who is helping the Japanese?” Ravan replied in a grave tone, “That wizard is Starttgappi…your father!”
Will Stoppgappi be able to survive this blast from his past? Will he and his estranged father be finally united, or will one of them disintegrate during this epic confrontation? And what role will the Japanese Yakuza godfather Sony Mony play in this battle? To find out the shocking answers to these sensational sawaals, keep a lookout for the third and final chapter of this seemingly eternal saga (Petrol khatam hi nahi hownda!), coming soon only on your friendly neighbourhood blog. Till then, Sayonara Sayonara, vaada nibhaaoonga Sayonara…