It all started in the small village in Kerala, 12-odd kilometers north of Thrissur and to the south of Jammu, called Gouthamanapuram. But the encroaching developments had transformed the face of this teeny little obscure rained-in-24×7-village into < bated breath … Asthma & bronchitis people please go easy> GOUTHAM CITY! It was a city that remained overlooked by the Kerala State Electricity Board till 2004, considering it as jengle-land. They were finally discovered during the State I&B Department’s Cellular Rural Availability Programme <CRAP> Campaign. After much hoo-hulla and a brief powerful display of power to light up 15 zero volt bulbs, KSEB had started load-shedding. This being the powerless history of a powerful dark city, (once again for brand recall) GOUTHAM CITY!
The Man / The Mon:
He was born Bloomingkumaran Atapatachatathomveetil Todallyawesumeshwara Megadethmetallikeyakkarin Odipoyipattikuttidath Nunson. And like all kids born with the aforementioned name in Kerala, he was lovingly called Clijju. If you were to ask me why he was so called, I could have in-turn asked you to go ask his Peppa, but he had died when Clijju was just Cli. I could have asked to ask his Memmy, but the day Peppa died, Memmy also rode along, with a one-way ticket to the dark side.
To say that Clijju was born with a silver spyoon in his mouth would have been an understatement. Like most affluent Mallus, he was born with a GOLD – Joy Allukas Limited editions one. Peppa was the local toddy-baron; he owned 8 toddy shops in central Goutham city, which only had 16 houses in all to begin with. By the age of 6, Clijju had his own toddy shop! Clijju was sent to school but every-time he sat for an exam, he was only able to spell half his name, before the time was up.
His childhood dream of being the youngest Marxist Party MLA by the age of 10 was lost amongst waiting tables in the toddy shops, even though he had strike-rate of 128 bandhs / year to his name. But even then Clijju had a much contended life, having fish for breakfast, fish for lunch and fish for dinner at night and late night drinks with Peppa and his school friends. Not to mention the wonderful Gazelle Nites at his shack, which he spent with Peppa, listening to famous tracks like ‘Toddy toddy piya karo’ and ‘Toddy si jo pi li hain’ …
That ‘black’ day, yes … it was ‘Rock-Night’ theme at Toddy HQ, their neighbour Thomachhan had called for yet-another bottle of liquor. Clijju knew that like the 234.5 bottles before,Thomachchan wouldn’t pay for this one too. But keeping in mind, Peppa’s standing instructions, on never saying no to a thirsty person, Clijju obliged. Clijju, knowingly handed Tom a bottle with a crack in it. Thomachhan was too drunk to notice anyway. On a high, Thomachhan, who was a ‘penk rogger’ by heart, started singing ‘I am the firestarter… I am the fire-starter’ and whirled around like a dervish, spilling toddy through the crack on all seated in that shop. It was like join the dots, except ’twas join the people. Clijju, aged 10, missed the spew, because of his tiny height.
Still angered at all the mess that was happening, Clijju, who was already high of his 10th bottle, threw a benananana peel purposely into Thomachhan’s orbit. But the prank went awfully wrong from here on. Thommachchan slipped and along with him the bottle slipped and landed near the kerosene stove. As predicted, he was indeed the fire starter. All around shop things start really heating up. No … I meant the other actual heating up … thermodynamically speaking, fire types. In a matter of minutes, everyone in the shop got lighted up like a lavangi during Diwali & the tape recorder symbolically gave a soulful rendition of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’.
The last words that Peppa told Memmy were, “You are really glowing tonight!” And Clijju could tell that, this time, he really really meant it. With tear–filled eyes, Clijju watched away as his Peppa and Memmy embraced each other and poofed up in smoke. All around there was gloom, the mood had gone deep purple … and instinctively the tape recorded played … yes you guessed right … no not ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (see italicised hint morons) … it played … err … ‘Fireball’.
The searing heat had vaporized all of Clijju’s tears. He promised, I will cry no more. I am not as lachrymally challenged as that wimpy Spiderman. The moody tape recorder quickly spewed Ozzy with ‘No More Tears’.
That day in the dead of the night, he took an oath of no return.
“I, Bloomingkumaran Atapatachatathomveetil Todallyawesumeshwara Megadethmetallikeyakkarin Odipoyipattikuttidath Nunson …”
(by the time he said this much the sun was up, so the rest of the oath continued the next night)
“I … err … the same guy as yesterday, will forever extinguish all the flames in my life forever, and forever I will embrace the dark forever and ever. Really … forever!”
As, Clijju, screamed into the night, unaware to him, all his anguish was being viewed by someone else. High in the nocturnal inkiness, a heartbroken Freddie chorused Clijju’s scream … the only emotion Freddie ever emoted in his life. Momentarily, Freddie got carried away, making him lose his grip and falling off the palm tree, he was frisking liquor from. Clijju, whirled around to see Alfred, his Peppa’s best toddy brewer, standing there … err … in his undies. Clijju quickly climbed up the tree and retrieved Freddie’s lungi, from amongst the palm fronds. After all what are fronds for … I mean … friends for!
It was then that Freddie spoke in his Cainian Mallu monotone,“That was fast Master , but I can tell that there is room for improvement. I can make Faster, Stronger … and definitely get you Higher”. With that, Freddie offered Clijju the fresh toddy he had just collected. He continued, “I know about the whole disaster… my heart moans with you. For me, your Father was like Dionysus himself, and your Mother gave me as much love…err … I mean respect, as much she gave your Father. Your loss … is my loss …” Suddenly Kapil Dev dropped out of nowhere and said, “Our Loss!”
After that supremely awkward moment, Freddie, again held out a bottle of his best brew and continued, “Endure, Master. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Clijju, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice … the right brew”
It was then that Clijju knew that he should hold no regrets … and that he had to stand true by his brew, and forever serve Goutham city!
He screamed again………..
“I am THE DARK KNIGHT… Bloomingkum…no let me stick to my initials…”
“I am B.A.T.M.O.N!!!”
Batmon & Batcove!
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