Monday, March 13, 2006

Globalization and the Modern Indian Woman


Revenge of the Flying Panda

There were bodies strewn all around the clearing. Not all were covered with blood, though. Some were totally unmarked, if one discounted the faces contorted in agony. Somehow, though, they told of greater suffering.

He stood at the edge of the moonlit meadow. It was a beautiful night. His gaze swept the clearing, resting for a moment on each fallen warrior, allowing himself the slightest glint of satisfaction at each pause. For a moment, however, sadness nearly overwhelmed him at what he had done, at the havoc he had wrought upon this once peaceful glade. Yet, in spite of all this, he sensed a strange sense of peace about the surroundings, as if what had happened, all the death and destruction, was not wrong. Yes, he told himself, that was it. The sense of inevitability. That brought the peace. That might explain, he realized, as to why they understood. Maybe they lived by the same rules too.

He shook his head, as if to clear his thoughts. There was still work to be done, one final obstacle to be overcome. The answers would come later. However, this much he knew for sure: there was honour in this.

                                                     * * *

“How did you get away?”

“I hid behind a bush.”

“And they didn’t find you?”

“I am not without training. And my teachers were the best; all of them Pan-SAS.”

“Not good enough. The Reds were better.”

“No! They were the best. But we didn’t expect treachery. At least, not direct contravention of the Convention.”

The older one turned away, disgusted. “They are Reds.” Venom in every syllable. “You were naïve.”

When he spoke again, it was in a softer tone. “You saw it, didn’t you?”

The younger one looked up, eyes burning. “Everything.”

“Describe it to me. Every single detail. Leave out nothing.”

“My parents didn’t scream at first, you know. But the shoots, they were too long. That was what defeated them. And they couldn’t stop, once they started screaming. The Reds didn’t stop even after it was clear that they were dead, and could no longer feel pain. Every inch, relentlessly. Sometimes I wonder if they were aware that I was watching.”

“What of your twin?”

“I don’t know.” He shrugged, beyond pain now. “I suppose they killed him as well.”

“They took him. They made a mistake; do you understand that? It was you they wanted. They took the wrong twin.”

“I don’t understand you.”

“How do you think I found you?” He smiled, and tapped his nose. “You fart mightily, boy.”

Incredulous now. “You don’t mean-? The prophecies? Us?”

The older one said nothing. He merely smiled again.

                                                     * * *

“What do you think?”

“I have taught you all I know. You are a worthy student, in that you have interpreted what you have learnt in the light of your ability and experience, and not merely accepted and understood. You have surpassed me in skill, as every successful disciple must. You have watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and can now jump over and around bamboo shoots at will, like a bleeding chimp. You have read Hitchhiker’s, and mastered flying from it, with my guidance. Maybe someday you shall have a hot she-panda cavorting in the air with you too, like Arthur Dent did. You have read Lynne Truss (a champion of our cause), and as a result, you are more than proficient in the exquisite art of punctuation.”

“Will that be enough? Against him?”

He was silent for quite some time, choosing his next words with care.

“I do not know what will happen. It is good that you have doubts, for it never pays to make assumptions, especially in cases like these. But I have noticed this in you: you have passion for your art. Your art is an end in itself for you, even though you use it to seek vengeance. I have seen it in the way you move when you practice, in the way your eyes light up when you talk of it. The Reds have no use for such passion. It is a mere tool for them, a mighty weapon in their quest for power. They have desire. You have passion. That might make the ultimate difference.”

                                                     * * *

The waiting had come to an end. He could see him approaching.


“Mr. Panderson. Surprised to see me?”

He took a step backward, reeling from the shock. He didn’t know! He had no idea as to the true identity of his adversary!

He took a deep breath. So be it, then.

“No. Not really.”

“Your death is inevitable, Mr. Panderson”.

His hand tightened over the shoot. “My name is Pneo.”

Author's Note: This is exactly the kind of corny, completely over the top stuff (I can't bring myself to call it crap) that I'm crazy about, in print and on the screen (I'm talking The Matrix, Kill Bill Vol.2, the Dune Chronicles and stuff like that). I had amazing fun writing it. Please bear with my indulgences, Gentle Reader. And Pushkar, my friend, I hope I have not disappointed you. The Panda deserves better, I know.
However, this much I know for sure: there was honour in this.