Monday, June 13, 2011

Chapter 13: Sagar's seven (part 2 of 3)

Previously on Sagar's seven here

Bandit 1: “Booty squad? Alright I’m in.”
Sagar: “We will hit the palace on the day after the Sweet Sixteen party for the princess. We are going in as the cleaning crew. The booty squad has already penetrated the palace and has been working as the princess’s maids. They have paid off one of the security guards to let us in and out of the palace. But the security guards change shift very often so we have to time this just right. Once inside the palace, we have10 min to get to the bedroom, break into the dressing room, grab the loot and get the hell out of there.”

A soft-skinned lotus eyed woman enters the room and all the men turn their attention to her. Sagar walks over to her.

Sagar: “Booty Queen! I’m glad you made it safely?”
Booty Queen (amused): “How cute? If only I had a gold coin for every patronizing man I met. Anyhow, I’m afraid I don’t have too much time to chit chat. The princess will notice if I am missing for too long. Here is the key to the dressing room. It took me a month to get the copy made. Put it to good use. Good luck.”

Booty Queen leaves as quickly as she had appeared.

Bandit 1 (whistles): “What a woman!”
Sagar (snaps his fingers): “As I was saying. It is very important to not lose focus in the dressing room and leave within the allotted time. Got it? Game on.”

A skinny boy knocks and walks into the room.

Boy: “Shiru is here to meet with you Boss”.
Sagar: “Go over the plan again. I don’t want any mistakes. I’ll be back soon.”

Meanwhile at the palace, King Devapann and his council are discussing Yayati and his saggy balls.

King Devapann: “This is why I don’t go around seducing women along the river banks or in the jungles. It is so risky. How can you trust some random stranger you met at the river bank?”
Minister 1: “To top it off, King Yayati managed to piss off Sukracharya in the grant application season.”
Minister 2: “Yeah, don’t mess with those yogic mentors with their woo water. If you do, your ass is grass.”
King Devapann: “I don’t know what he was thinking. You have to use your common sense to stay out of trouble. If you are the king you can order whoever pleases you to well come to the palace and please you. All this running around behind women like sissies. Where are all the men I say?”

And then King Devapann uttered the famous last words that so many of us have foolishly uttered.

King Devapann: “And running into trouble with yogic mentors? Please that could never happen to me.”

The cruel universe with a twisted sense of humor let out an evil laugh and thought ‘challenge accepted’.
D-day arrives. Sagar, Bandit 1 and Bandit 2 are dressed up as the cleaning crew and haul their cart full of paraphernalia to the main palace gate. At the first security check point the guards screen the goods in the cart and pat down the men to check for concealed weapons. The guards look visibly tired from the late shift of the Sweet Sixteen party. They do a half ass security check of the goods in the cart. The high pitched screaming of teenage girls had taken its toll on the security. The bandit crew makes through the first security check point.

Next they have to go through gate 12B which was the entrance to the dhobi square. The security guard at gate 12B had been paid off to let them through. Sagar spots the guard who in turn gives a slight nod of recognition. Just as the cart gets closer to Gate 12B a burly guard stops the cart.

Burly guard: “Where do you think you are going?”
Sagar: “We are the cleaning crew to clean up after the party. We were told to report to gate 12B.”
Burly guard: “Do you have the work approval scroll?”
Sagar: “Why yes. The work approval scroll.”

Sagar spreads his palm in the direction of Bandit 1.

Bandit 1: “Work approval scroll.”

Bandit 1 spreads his empty palm in the direction of Bandit 2. Bandit 2 scrambles inside the back of the cart and digs out a scroll. Sagar hands it over to the Burly guard. Burly guard inspects the scroll.

Burly guard: “The seal looks authentic. But you are headed in the wrong direction. You have to report to gate 14 first.”

Sagar not wanting to push his luck decides to follow the guard’s instructions and heads to gate 14. After rolling in the direction of gate 14 bandit 1 sneaks a peek at the burly guard. The burly guard stares back at bandit 1. Bandit 1 manages a smile and looks toward gate 14.

Bandit 1: “The guard is still watching us.”
Sagar: “I guess we have to make it through Gate 14 and catch up with the Booty squad…somehow.”
At gate 14 there are 2 guards stationed. They seem to be in a cheerful mood.
Sagar: “Excuse me sir, we are the cleaning crew. We were told report to you.”
Guard 1: “I wasn’t told to let any cleaning crew through today. Do you know about this Jaggu?”
Jaggu: “Nope. No cleaning crew news.”
Sagar: “Well may be there was a mistake in the paper work. The pigeons were sent out at the last minute by the ministry.”
Guard 1: “Well then sucks for you. No orders, no getting in.”

Sagar gives a vacant stare at his accomplices who have equally vacant expressions. An impeccably dressed man walks up to the security to get through.

Guard 1: “Salaam Raoji. Last night was spectacularly managed.”
Raoji: “Thanks. Who are they?” (referring to the crew)
Guard 1: “Cleaning crew. No orders came through for letting them in though. So we are sending them back.”
Raoji: “Oh thank God! I’ve been begging the labor ministry for years. The papyrus work finally went through.”
Guard 1: “You know about this?”
Raoji: “I am not letting you send them back. I desperately need extra hands in there.”
Guard 1: “Okay, so long as it’s not my head on the line.”
Raoji: “I will keep an eye on them personally. Come along boys.”

The bandits can’t believe their luck and start unloading the cart.

Raoji: “Oh no, you won’t need those ghastly bourgeois brands in there. I will give you all the supplies you need. Now hurry along, we don’t have all day.”

Raoji starts walking at a fast pace. Afraid of losing their chance to get in, the bandits run along Raoji’s side.

Raoji: “The guards are always so paranoid. Anyway, we had to get one dozen elephants for last night’s party and they have made a terrible mess in the stables. So I want you to clean up the stables before the western breeze kicks in and starts blowing the ghastly smell into the palace.”

The bandit crew is now reluctantly following Raoji with visions of giant piles of elephant poo.

Raoji: “Here you are. This is where you report to me, in the main servant quarters. Gopal will show you where the supply closet is.”
Booty Fool: “There you are Raoji.”
Raoji (not pleased): “I’m very busy today.”
Booty Fool: “I don’t mean to take up too much of your time. But the princess would like the sheets in her room changed again. The staff put in pink sheets but the princess would much rather have the mauve ones.”
Raoji: “Everyone is busy. Her room was made up to her request. We have a full schedule today, the staff will get to it as soon as they can.”
Booty Fool: “I don’t see these men doing anything. I can take them off your hands.”
Raoji: “They are about to sanitize the stables.”
Booty Fool: “Oh I’m sorry. I will let the princess know that the elephant stables have a higher priority than her room and I am sure she will be very understanding.”
Raoji: “Grrr! Okay fine take them. I don’t have time for this. You three, report to me as soon as you are done with the princess’s room okay?”
Booty Fool starts moving away in the same hurry as Raoji. Bandit crew catches up with Booty Fool.
Bandit 1: “Phew! That was close. We were…”
Booty Fool: “Sshh! Keep some distance behind me, your head low and follow me.”

Booty Fool navigates them through the palatial labyrinth. As they make their way up the stairs Booty Fool confronts the bandit crew.

Booty Fool: “WTF were you doing at Gate 14? I specifically told you to go to Gate 12B.”
Sagar: “Something came up okay. But we made it in didn’t we?”
Booty Fool: “Well hardly. You would be picking up elephant poop if it hadn’t been for me. I will take you to the princess’s room because God knows the Booty Squad wants to get some money and be done with this maid stint. So don’t screw up.”
Sagar: “Don’t worry. We have it under control now.”
Booty Fool: “Alright. Here we are. The dressing room is the first door to the right. Good luck.”

The Bandit crew opens the door to the princess’s bedroom. The three bandits enter the palatial room. Giant windows lined with silk curtains. In the center of the room there is a plush bed with a thousand pillows of different colors and sizes, the bed posts are covered with fresh flowers and the butterfly motif runs through the walls. A fragrant lavender perfume pervades the room.

Bandit 1: “Girls…yeesh!”

The bandits swiftly move to the dressing room. The door is locked. Sagar thrusts his empty hand in front of Bandit 1.

Sagar: “The key.”

Bandit 1 thrusts his hand in front of Bandit 2.

Bandit 1: “The key.”
Bandit 2: “I don’t have it.”
Bandit 1: “What do mean you don’t have it? I gave it to you to keep it safely, remember?”
Bandit 2: “Yes, and I did. It is safely tucked away in the cleaning supplies.”
Sagar: “Are you fucking serious?”
Bandit 1 (smacks Bandit 2 on his head): “You idiot.”

The room reverberates with a mysterious voice: “I-diot”

Sagar: “What the hell was that?”

Bandit 2 stands closer to Bandit 1 and they all look around feeling a bit tense.

Bandit 2: “I heard the palace was haunted. Maybe it’s true.”
Sagar: “Alright, we don’t have time for this superstitious nonsense. But if we don’t figure out how to get through this door soon, we are going to be screwed.”
Mysterious voice (reverberates): “Screwed!”

The bandits are now visibly tense.

Bandit 1: “It’s probably best that we leave.”
Bandit 2: “Should we clean the room before leaving.”

Sagar gives angry stares to Bandits 1 and 2. Suddenly, the bedroom door springs open and two shadowy figures walk in. The bandits quickly grab things closest to them and assume fight poses. Sagar stands on one leg in a coiled position with a pillow in his hand, Bandit 1 points a vase like a sword and Bandit 2 holds a chair over his head. Booty Queen and Booty Luscious enter the door.

Booty Queen: “At ease soldiers.”
Sagar (sheepishly): “Oh thank God.”
Booty Queen: “So everything in order?”
Sagar: “Well…would you happen to have an extra copy of the key to the dressing room?”
Booty Luscious (disgruntled sighs): “I told you they were not reliable.”
Booty Queen (miffed): “It took me one month and some unspeakable favors to get the key forged. One month! And yet here you are without the key. The one key! Alright this is the final time Booty Squad comes to your rescue Sagar. If you fail, I swear we will personally hunt you down.”
Mysterious voice: “Hunt!”

Sagar and the bandits look startled.

Booty Luscious: “Oh relax. It’s the parrot.”

For the first time Sagar and his goons notice a parrot perched up on a ledge in the ceiling.

Booty Queen: “The parrot has the original key on the necklace around his neck. The bastard will only answer to the princess. No matter, I know how to deal with him.”

Booty Queen brandishes a slender wooden tube concealed in her waist band, aims it at the parrot and as soon as she blows into the cylinder a dart darts straight towards the parrot and lodges into the parrot’s neck. The parrot plunges towards the floor as the word “screwed” echo into the room in the same mysterious voice.

Booty Queen and Booty Luscious leave the room and the bandits hustle to get the key. They open the dressing room and furiously pack all the jewels and clothes into the laundry bag that Raoji had so graciously provided.

Sagar: “Wrap it up boys. We are running out of time.”
Bandit 1: “Done, let’s scoot.”

The three walk in a hurry with overstuffed laundry bags.

Bandit 2:  “Which way are we going?”

Sagar (pulls out a papyrus): “This way.”

They navigate the palace successfully to get to the gate with the paid off security guard. He lets them out. They hurry out to the cart by Gate 14.

Sagar: “Load the stuff, quickly.”

All of them scamper into the cart. Just when the cart begins to moves, it is stopped. Raoji appears to have caught up with them.

Raoji: “And where do you think you are going?”
Sagar: “Um…”
Raoji: “Is that the laundry in the cart?”

Raoji eyes the cart carefully. One of the overstuffed cloth bags had ripped open to reveal some jewelry.

Raoji: “Is that? Guards! Thieves!”
Sagar: “It’s jail or bail boys.”

Sagar whips the horses into action. The horses speed through the main gate as the guards prepare to give them a chase.

Vyasa: “That’s it for now, come back next week for our next session.”
Ganapati: “What?! You can’t stop now.”
Vyasa: “I can and I will.”


Crystal Blur said...

Sorry for publishing this multiple times (if it shows up multiple times in your feeds). I am having some formatting problems which are not showing up on preview mode.

Rajavel said...

Good to see that you are at it again ! I always relish the parting shots like the “Should we clean the room before leaving.”

Hilarious ! Will have to start reading the series from start !

Crystal Blur said...


Yes! I am so excited!! I had forgotten how much fun it is to write this. Thanks for the encouragement, it motivates me to write some more.

Pankaj said...

Hi Crys... Have been a long time fan and reader of your blog. Love the way you put your personal twist to this gr8 story.
Just a couple of comments which are purely my personal opinion and your other readers may not agree with that.
a) A spoof works better and is well received by the audience, if it is a spoof on something which is known by the reader. I am assuming your readers are predominantly Indians, in which case most of them are referring to B R Chopras Mahabharat which most of us saw on TV. The initial chapters were based on incidents covered by the TV version, whereas the new chapters are probably not(if my memory serves me right). It would be better if you could post individual chapter links for the background story. (I knw am being too demanding). But I still feel it would work better that way.

2)One more suggestion. While narrating the story would you want to keep it linear in terms of timeline.

But I should not be the one one to question an artist (Thats what I feel you are), so keep doing whatever you are doing.


Crystal Blur said...

Hi Pankaj,

Thanks for your feedback! It is great to hear from readers like you because it gives me a perspective on the plight of my poor readers who have to suffer through my chaotic writing. So thank you for sticking around despite the long absences on the blog.

With my MB spoofs, a lot of the humor comes from Vyasa-Ganapati interaction and grad school humor. I believe that even though this series is a spoof (in that it is derived from pre-existing material), the humor and the plot can stand on their own, even without the familiarity with the original story. In fact my hope is that the readers haven’t read the original stories and that they enjoy the plot afresh. I want these stories to serve as a starting point for exploration of the original version (which most likely has inspired several versions over time).

About the timeline issue, there has been some method to the madness in that most (if not all) of these stories are about the birth of the main characters of MB. In fact, as I had mentioned earlier in one of the CCSL posts, I was going by the structure of R. Gopalachari’s English translation of MB (which was/is available freely on the internet). However, I quickly discovered that I was then drudging through many of the stories and it was not an enjoyable experience for me or the readers. So I have now come up with this erratic method of writing wherein I pick up whichever story catches my fancy and go with the flow. So, I apologize for all the confusion. But eventually, when this MB project comes to a close, I intend to put all the chapters together in a coherent form and publish it online as a PDF. But until then you will have to bear with me. Although, in the current format, the series can be enjoyed as a collage of different stories…or so I hope.