Mr Plunab was a revered figure in a town of the religious; no sooner did he utter a few words than the boys inscribed them on a stone. The parks were full of rocks, stones, marbles and even Cosco balls with wise words enshrined on them. Of course, the inscriptions were hardly comprehensible especially the marble ones which lead one observant tourist to believe they were the Chinese’s cemetery. It was a daily custom for Mr Plunab to lecture the curious townfolk on ethics, morals and obviously, the deities. Charming man, he was, as attested by the elder ladies who accompanied him on his evening walks during which he recounted lessons of how the spirit made humans lay above the rest.
The fact that these walks culminated in orgies is irrelevant though a spirited Mr Plunab certainly ended up laying above the rest. He demystified such wild acts as part of his ‘experiment’ on the validity of Sexual Selection, a part of the theory of evolution.
This revelation made the townfolk wag their tongues in anticipation of something to tear through the nasty and gooey belief that Humans were transformed arboreal monkeys who shrieked a few mya.
Apart from the grasp on everything holy, His Holiness Mr Plunab had a vile temper due to which the children were instructed not to ask the meaning of his name. Yet, if any inquisitive rascal did, the Preacher would proceed to tell in a hypnotic way how the name is — pronounced.
“My child, white as the moon, as cool as Ab-raham from Dhoom it’s Plooon-ab.”
Naturally, the kids thought, “what a funny man!”, clearly having failed to spot a pedophiliac tone.
Mr Plunab wasn’t always the Godman. It all started when one day his father, a broke alcohol collecting enthusiast came home, gleaming. As if responding to Plunab’s puzzled look he said:
“There’s change of the silly bison”.
Assuming his father was taunting Plunab’s obese bullish mother one last time —someone he himself wasn’t fond of since he was weaned— Plunab thought he was going to get a new mother. Yippie!
But it took him some time to realise his father wasn’t slurring. Years of slurried speech had taught Plunab to decode it into coherent lines that were to be relayed to his mother but since that day he had to unlearn that art something which gave less exciting results.
“There’s a change of the syllabi, son.”
“You shall become one.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve, in the light of monetary assistance, shifted our allegiance to a different almighty. Better almighty.”
As he said this he glanced at the ancient ceiling which could’ve fallen right at that instant to reveal the sky dwelling almighty. Which one? He wasn’t sure.
Continuing, his father hauled a set of sacred books and pointing to a famous deity’s picture said, “From now on, this is the one you shall address in your prayers and intonations and hymns.
And yes, you ARE getting a new mother.”
“Yay”, Plunab’s joy knew no bounds.
Instances such as these made Plunab wonder how infidel and intelligent his father was and why he had to squander such valuable traits by guzzling down Johnny Walker.
Subsequently, Plunab wished to emulate his Father in the two former aspects and he did.
But just like his father, he had something that defined his actions —fear.
Yup, he was the scared, sacral preacher.
His whole life was a struggle to ensure a seat in heaven right next to his God. Indeed, the fact that he couldn’t pick out a single God to idolize was a troubling matter.
Out of innumerable Gods, he had to choose one; at best, he could choose one consortium of Gods but in either case the odds were brutally stacked against him. He feared if he didn’t advocate a certain deity his scholarly followers would question his wisdom; he feared betting on the wrong horse;he feared—he feared a freaking armrest would slay the spiritual connection between him and God if he were lucky enough to gain that coveted spot; he feared he’d be judged on his faith in Santa Claus or lack thereof.
Was Claus —the compulsive gift wrapper— an ally of the Almighty? Or was he a self-sponsored start-up whose lax ideologies God didn’t approve of?
On countless times, Plunab had pondered over what the status of dialogue between Santa and God would have been.
“I’m sick of you, Claus!” said God, indignantly.
“Why, O lord?”
“Cause you keep bestowing these children with gifts and here I am, keeping a tab on their deeds and blessing accordingly”
“But my Lord, my—”
“Shut up! Last week, I saw you wriggling through a window of a maximum security Juvenile Home!
What do you have to say about that?”
“But Sire, if I had gone through the chimney I’d have encountered the staff and—”
“Quiet!!” Thundered God, fuming. “There are delinquents, drug addicts, thieves.”
“My lord, they deserve a chance, don’t they? Like the drowsy one wanted a puppy plan.”
“To manage his companion…er…a dog—”
“Go through that a again, Claus” cautioned God.
“Puppy plan?” inquired Claus, his voice quivering.
“Is it cold for you, Claus?” asked God, despondently.
“No Sir, I am…um…from the North Pole, Sire.”
“Then, are you scared?”
“No—No… No, my lord”
“Well, you better be ’cause he had asked for a Poppy Plant!!!” yelled God, his voice reaching a crescendo.
“Scram, Claus. Scram!” admonished God, “Before I confiscate all your reindeer.”
Usually, Plunab dropped the thought at this stage of this divine conversation, scared of its hellish ramifications. The more he thought of these matters the more puzzled he became. Even the alternative, atheism wasn’t a worthy stand as if it were true, who would praise his prudence? The universe? The ‘kainat’, as SRK had once declared?
“What a wasteful stand”, he thought, “Might as well believe in the devil”.
So which God did he settle for?
Since choosing the ‘real’ God was tantamount to needle in haystack kind of a situation Plunab, very tactfully, chose His creation as the item of worship as whoever was the Almighty He’d surely acknowledge His creations being adulated. Thus, began his thoughtful voyage to testify any living thing as an incarnation of the God. It couldn’t be anything, of course. It had to be something majestic, something extraordinary like —the Hyena.
So, he told people of how the thunder of a storm was actually the Hyena laughing; how the Hyena was teaching people —through him of course— the art of resourcefulness via Its foraging methods —scavenging and hunting.
And finally, he enlightened people about a blessing that had come their way —a chance to meet their God who had manifested into this canid-like being whose serene abode boasted of his supreme aroma.
Naturally, he asked the masses to throng the park to witness His majesty —zoological park.
“It’s Him. It’s Him. The Hyena.”, roared the people.
The deity had a tuft of hair along His back, demarcated in the front by two pointy ears, that receded towards the rear end as His back arched to acquaint with the hind legs.
His protruding snout, lined by glistening beads of saliva, was dog-like and blackened toward the tip because —as someone rightfully remarked— He was from Africa.
As everyone was gaping at the God’s graceful features one man thought of decorating Him as a means of gaining one-upmanship.
He reached down for his wallet intermittently without so much as batting an eye or taking a leave from the sense of awe that had consumed all but instead of the wallet, his hand clutched his dangling dhoti.
Before he could frisk himself any further, people took note of this gaffe; their gaze turned toward him with impeccable concurrence, their minds lighting up at this man’s audacity— “Oh, he’z gon’ buy garland, is he? Rogue!”.
So, everyone feverishly rushed for the shops to fetch for the garlands.
One man, the fastest, on his return swooped up the Hyena’s face expecting some ‘kripa’ for his lively partisanship and getting it. His reward?
It was living the rest of his life as an amputee.
In a matter of nanoseconds, with supernatural swiftness the Hyena caught hold of the radius bone and with it half the arm that carried it was sucked in. The only sounds were those of the crunch and the saliva that gurgled around the meat.
The amputee fell on the earth with a thud, painting it in red.
The public, now absolutely silent, stood in disbelief, giving Plunab befuddled looks that sought explanations. Everyone could recall the custom of honouring Gods with the thumb or even any other less hallowed digit but this God right here had taken ’em all as if they were a token of no-pretence.
A dactylophilous God, Hyena was.
Garlands as well as the beliefs were soiled seemingly forever and just as—just as a feeling of dejection began diffusing, the earth itself was vocalized…
“Dhanya ho Hyena! Kripa mil gayi”,
proclaimed the amputee.