Even the frogs have brains

Even The Frogs Have Brains

It’s Prometheus’s fourth book, and suffices to say that it could as well have been his first! While most writers improve over time, with Prometheus it’s the opposite. He is forgetting what little he knew about the art of writing. It would have been so much better if he were writing non-fiction, because at least then he couldn’t be accused of lack of creativity. But this — The Other Half of Frog’s Brain — is worse than its title. I can understand Prometheus’s envy with the frog for its tiny but existent brain, however to write a book like this is insulting the intelligence of the readers. It’s a testimony to the sorry state of today’s literature that something like this sees the light of the day. I regret to say that there is an endless tunnel at the end of light….

Prometheus started reading the review of his latest book with a sense of hope, however going by the past record he knew that a bad review from Shiva would mean an instant best-seller. Not again, he thought. For Prometheus was going through a rough phase in his life. He always considered himself to be an intellectual: someone above the level of masses. But three straight books on the best-seller list had really sullied his reputation, and shaken his confidence. Before he could understand what was happening, he was a popular writer, and the masses were loving him!

He was sitting in his study, thinking about it all, and sulking. His reverie was broken by a loud knock on the door. He considered for a moment if he should feel angry about this disturbance, but decided otherwise. After all, he wasn’t in the middle of writing. He opened the door to find a clean shaven tall guy with a revolver in his hand.

“What do you want?”, Prometheus managed to babble.

“Shut up! And don’t move, or I’ll kill you”

That was ‘Kala Kauwa’ alias ‘Tatya Tapkayega’. His illustrious crime career consisted of two unsuccessful attempts to raid co-operative banks in remote parts of state — because both of the times as the cash was handed over to him, he kept the gun down and started counting the cash.

“Well, it was written there — Count before you leave the counter“, was his defense. But  then bank robberies were just a diversion. Tatya had bigger dreams.

“No, don’t shoot! Take anything you want, money, those books that I’ve signed… anything… Just don’t kill me. I don’t want to be mourned as a popular writer!”, Prometheus pleaded.

“Huh? Shut up”, roared Tatya, “Listen to me carefully. I’m Tatya Tapkayega. I’ve murdered twenty-one people so far. Twenty-two is no big deal for me.”

“…”

“Listen, I want you to write the story of my life. Aren’t you that famous writer?”

“Yes”, Prometheus said dropping his shoulders further.

“And if you don’t write exactly as I say, I will kill you. Don’t even think of going to the police, because my gang would kill you and your family. Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes”

“So when do we start?”

“Well, first we need to decide on some sittings when you will have to narrate me your experiences, and then we can think about how we want to present it … ”

“What are you talking about? I don’t have that much time. I don’t care about the details; just write about the twenty-one murders. And I want it done by the end of this week”

Fantastic, Prometheus thought, twenty-one murders!

“Any rapes, sir?” he tried sarcasm, against his alleged better sense.

“Put in couple of them. But don’t be too graphic. I want the book to be for the general audience”

“We will be publishing it under your name, right?”

“Are you crazy? Who’ll publish it? We will publish it under your name, and when it’s a best-seller, you’ll give an interview and tell that it’s a true story: Tatya’s story.”

“But what if it doesn’t become a best-seller?”

“Oh! All your books have been best-sellers. That’s why I’ve come to you. So it better be a best-seller, or else… “

 

Twenty two is not a big deal for you…”.

 

Exactly!”

“God! Why do you do this to me! Now, if the book becomes a best-seller, I’m further slotted, and if it doesn’t I’ll be killed!”, Prometheus thought.

“Okay Mr. Tatya, you’ll have the first draft it by the end of the week. Is it okay if I cut out a few murders, twenty-one might be a bit too monotonous?”

“No way!” Tatya shouted, “Not a murder less, not a murder more. I want 21 murders. I’m Lord Ganesha’s devotee”

“Hi Darliiiiiiiiiing….” announced an excited female voice, only it chocked at the sight of Tatya and his gun.

That is Sakshi, the beautiful model who never takes part in beauty contests because she doesn’t like to wear a crown on her head. Make no mistake about it; if she does, she will have that crown on her head; she’s that beautiful. Sakshi’s main problem in life is that she wants a really ugly guy as her boyfriend. Well, what’s the problem, you ask? The problem is that they develop a deep inferiority complex, ruining the relationship. Manoj Dhingra (that’s Prometheus) is her latest boyfriend, and he’s really ugly.

“Don’t move, or I’ll kill you!” Tatya threatened her, which was unnecessary as she was already pretty threatened.

“Okay, now I’m leaving. You take care of this darling of yours, and make sure she understands! Otherwise, twenty three is not too much for me”

With that, he was gone.

“Who… who the hell was that?”, Sakshi finally found her voice.

“It’s a long story. Right now, I don’t have time. Just remember not a word about it to anyone, or he’ll kill us both”

“No! Okay. But what happens to our date?”

That was our date!”

“Let’s go somewhere, and you can tell me what happened, darling!”

“No. Not right now. In fact I can’t meet you for a week at least”

“No! You can’t dump me like that!”

“I’m not dumping you”

“You are too! Everyone dumps me”

“I don’t have time for this now!”

“There, you’ve already made up your mind!”

“OK! Now will you let me work?”

“But why are you dumping me. Is it because I’m beautiful?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Then what is it! Tell me, I need to know”

The phone rang, providing Prometheus the much needed respite.

“Who was that girl in your house just now?” it was Tatya.

“Oh, she’s my girlfriend, Sakshi.”

“Oh! She’s gorgeous. Could you introduce me to her, properly I mean?”

“She’s my girlfriend!” Prometheus said, trying to sound calm.

“I was!” Sakshi cried.

“What you guys already broke up? Fix me up with her! Or I’ll kill you”

“Who is it?” Sakshi asked.

“Oh, the same guy who was just here”

“What does he want now?”

“He wants me to fix you up with him”

“No, he’s too handsome”

“So what’s your bloody problem with that?”

“Oh, I don’t like handsome guys”

“Hello, are you listening to me?” Tatya cried

“Listen Kala Kauwa, I’m trying to talk to her here, about you I mean”

“See, you have already abandoned me!”

“Will you shut up?”

“I will kill you, if you talk to me like that ever again!” Tatya again!

“I’m not talking to you”

“Okay, I’ll meet him. At least he won’t have a damn inferiority complex like you losers.”

There, thought Prometheus, my girl-friend’s broken up with me, and now I’ve to write a book that will decide whether I’ll live with a stigma of being a popular writer, or I will die!

******

Shiva was sitting in his office with a copy of Fractured Skulls, by Prometheus.

 

“What are my options?” he contemplated. “Either I condemn this piece of trash and see that stupid loser laugh his way to the top of the best-sellers list? Or try the unthinkable?”

After along deliberation that lasted a minute, he chose the latter.

 

Genius Comes Out Of Hiding:

It’s a pleasure when a critic has to eat his own words. Prometheus’s latest book Fractured Skulls is nothing short of a work of genius. In a surrealistic recreation of the most grotesque of the violence that goes around in the dark alleys of our cities, Prometheus has redefined the very norms of fiction — blurring the boundaries of reality and the abstract. It’s a stuff that Burgees and Kubrick would be proud of. The book has twenty-one chapters, arranged into three sections, symbolizing the trinity. The sections themselves contain eight, seven, and six chapters respectively: symbolizing vices, luck, and the devil. Prometheus has captured the dilemma of a cold blooded murderer by profession, who is a romantic at heart. It’s the saga of human mind: its hopes, its aspirations, and the play of light and the darkness within….

Fractured Skulls was published by Walrus India Publications, with lots of publicity. However it never made it to any of the bestseller lists.

It was the first time that a Prometheus book was rejected by the public.

Prometheus was hiding in string of shady hotels in remote towns, when Sakshi called him, announcing to him the news of her engagement with Tatya. She said they were madly in love and that she had convinced Tatya to leave the world of crime for good.

Tatya was more than happy to leave his illustrious crime career. Besides, Sakshi had assured him that her modeling career would take care of their financial needs, and that with his looks, she could get him in the line too.

Shiva is ecstatic that he finally managed to break Prometheus’s successful streak! Prometheus, three years junior to him had beaten him in a short-story competition in school, and this was his sweet revenge, after years of patient wait.

Prometheus is happy for two reasons: one, no one’s out to kill him; and two, he has finally managed to break the evil spell of success.

The word is a one heck of a happy place!

[Another old piece of writing, never posted]

 

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