First Line Friday: December 21st, 2018
By Neel Anil Panicker
The radio was playing the oddest song. It was odder than the oddest song one could have ever heard.
Little Chikku was first off the block in detecting it; he suddenly woke up from his post prandial and started to cry___the longest, shrillest wail since his two month old arrival on Mother Earth.
His grandmother followed the trajectory of his tear stained cheeks and spotted the source of all the early morning sound pollution that had invaded the peace loving and pious minded much venerated Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family.
“Aiyaiyoo…what depressing song is that song!” she cried out, her spectacles sliding down the bridge of her nose.
Soon, voices and noises, all disoriented, a few high pitched, erupted from distant corners of the huge seven room ancestral village house.
Within seconds all had congregated in the L-shaped hall; all faces registering nonplussed quizzical expressions, craned necks looking upwards, all eight pairs of eyes staring transfixed at the source of all the early morning turbulence.
“It isn’t jazz, nor grunge. Dammit, I’m not able to place it. The radio’s gone mad,” blurted out fifteen year old Raghav.
“The baby’s not stopped crying. Will somebody turn off the damn thing, please”?
Appa, who had just waded in, freed as he were from his morning hour long rumblings in the toilet, rushed in to comply with the order from his missus.
For him every wish was a command. Always a humble slave to omnipotent master__ that’s how he had managed to survive over three score years as Mr Saubhaya Suresh Swaminathan Iyengar.
At that instant the blare from the radio stopped, and a voice, strange, all steely, as if devoid of all emotions, invaded the already stilled atmosphere.
“HELLO YOU EARTHLINGS, WE HAVE TAKEN OVER. FROM TODAY ALL OF YOU ARE OUR SLAVES. WE DICTATE YOUR LIVES. TO BEGIN WITH, EVERY MORNING AT THE CRACK OF DAWN WE WILL PLAY THIS SONG. IT’S YOUR WAKE UP CALL. ALL OF YOU MUST GET UP INSTANTLY, GATHER AROUND THE RADIO AND WAIT FOR OUR NEXT COMMAND. AND NO ONE GOES TO SCHOOL OR OFFICE. YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER. WE ARE YOUR BUSINESS. YOU DO AS WE TELL YOU. THOSE WHO DISSENT WILL BE PACKED OFF TO OUR ENEMIES FROM ANOTHER PLANET. AND IN NEED TO TELL WHAT FATE AWAITS THEM THERE. NOW WAIT FOR OUR NEXT ORDER”
A stunned silence erupted all around; no one moved, or even breathed for a while.
Ten year old Kannan was the first to puncture the void.
“Wow! No school. I just love this dude whoever he is”.
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