Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Talking Puppets: Part 4

                              The Talking Puppets :Part 4

"There would be three demands on our agenda:
  • Total discontinuation of the discarding ritual. Puppets won't be discarded anymore
  • The painting ritual to happen once in a year. And after painting, Puppets would be bathed in sunlight for a whole week before they are part of shows again
  • Puppet consciousness to be recognised and respected. Puppet opinions to be given fair consideration in storytelling "                                                                                                         
It was evident that The Rebel had given the entire Movement a fair deal of thought. The meaning and ramifications were still sinking in when the Aide's booming voice resonated in the background.
"To PuppetLand" he egged the gathering on. And further thoughts drowned in rousing cheers....

The Doctor was summoned for the first time. He had been a passive spectator in the Movement thus far. However, his services seemed critical now. The Philosopher was the first to notice that all of them had started becoming pale. The Rebel initially had brushed this aside. However, even he was forced to acknowledge the growing paleness, after his black attire reduced to almost pale grey overnight.
The Doctor sat down with the Rebel, Aide, Thinker, Philosopher and Historian.
"Could you confirm this paleness never occurred earlier?" The Rebel asked the Historian.
"Not in my memory or my records. And they go back quarter a century, when the Puppeteer first performed. I did not exist then. But I have talked to comrades who existed at the time." "Comrades" was a new word the Movement now used.
"There was one instance though, when the Puppeteer was unhappy with a Puppet called the Merchant. He was not able to use him well in any of the performances. So the Merchant turned pale. He got a couple of coats of paint. I still remember him wheezing for two weeks. And one day, he never returned to the bag. Infact, he was the only one who was never discarded, but just faded into oblivion." The Historian said.
A silence followed. "Could it be that, our paleness is linked to the Puppeteer's emotions. His feelings about us?" The Thinker thought aloud. "If I'm not wrong, it is you and the Aide who have lost most of your colour" He said, pointing to the Rebel. "The Magician doesn't look good either. However, in general, all of us are fine. We have all lost a little bit of color. I assume that's because he is apprehensive about what is going on  right now." 
"Yes...and I don't feel good at all." complained the Rebel.
"We are living on borrowed consciousness...Comrades". The Philosopher said. "Nothing belongs to us. I still feel we need to suspend this Movement, for our own good."
"There is no turning back now." Opposed the Rebel vehemently. "Not after we promised our comrades that we'll bring about a revolution."

The Rebel turned to the Doctor. "I heard you performed a curious procedure some years back, when the Puppeteer wasn't well?"The Doctor shuddered. He knew it was the Historian who must've told the Rebel about the procedure. It was not something he intended to do again - not after what had happened last time.

He remembered those days well. There were a few Puppets who claimed supremacy over the others, because they were the ones frequently chosen by the Puppeteer to lead his stories. The other Puppets were sidelined. It was the first time anybody had witnessed the negative emotions that ruled the human world threatening the Puppet world too. The Puppeteer had fallen ill suddenly. His physical strength and emotional stability were sapped. And as though responding to that, the Puppets started turning pale. The lead Puppets were the first ones to experience this, probably because the Puppeteer attached a lot of value to them. The others experienced paleness, but it was not strong enough to affect their consciousness and depress them.

It was then that the Doctor under supervision of the Wizard (An ancestor of the Magician, in Puppet History) devised a method that restored the health of the lead Puppets. It was a forty eight hour procedure in which the energy and the emotional strength from the healthier puppets was transferred to the lead puppets till the energies of both of them were in equilibrium. And the emotions had to be transferred through a pin sized tube that was connected between their bodies, near where the human heart is located. It was painful and laborious. Most of the puppets who transferred their energies remained depressed for more than a couple of months. It took the Puppeteer experiencing a lot of positive emotions for them to draw energy and nurse themselves back to health. Even the Historian had recorded that event as "The Great Depression" and had added a note that this procedure must never be invoked again, in the interest of the Puppet community.

"Didn't we decide that we were not going to invoke this procedure again?" the Doctor asked the Historian.
"I'm afraid the circumstances have changed, Doctor. We want to rewrite our History. I want to script it when I'm still a part of this Movement." There was a gleam of selfishness in his eyes.
"At any rate, we have volunteers this time round. Comrades who have decided to sacrifice their health for a few days to serve the cause of PuppetLand"
The Old Man and the Son stepped in front. The Philosopher, Thinker and Doctor stood there, aghast. They were sure that the two of them were carried away by the moment and the spotlight it was showering on them.

"But a small change this time. The energy transfer would happen till the donors have just enough energy to survive for a week. I'm sure the Movement would have succeeded by then" The Rebel said.

"That would mean almost killing them!" The Doctor exclaimed. "A minor fluctuation in the time period or the emotional intensity of the Puppeteer could kill them."
"Sacrifices are necessary. If my death can free PuppetLand from oppression, so be it!" said the Son with passion.
 "This is insane. Why don't you tell them that this is not right?" The Doctor shouted, looking at the Philosopher, Thinker duo.

"There are no right or wrong actions. There are only consequences. And those  consequences would already have been set in motion by destiny" The duo walked out of the gathering.


 The Rebel, Aide and Magician felt invigorated. They felt the forty eight hours of pain worth the energy and feeling of positivity now. The Old Man and the Son lay in a corner, almost unconscious. But they had served their purpose.

"We need to get the message across...strike fear in the Puppeteer's heart. Only then will he recognize our existence" The Rebel said, still looking at himself in amusement. The black of his attire had returned and he felt cheerfully angry....which was his natural state.


The Puppeteer's nights were getting increasingly uneasy. He could not forget that night when he saw or dreamed about those eyes without a face. And his own voice speaking to him saying he cannot discard Puppets anymore.

The discarding procedure of the Son was proving to be tough as well. He never remembered having spent so much energy on chiseling out the hand of a puppet, like he had to with the Son. And every now and then in the night, he could now hear squeaks from the Green bag. Once or twice, he opened the bag immediately after he heard the squeaks. But there seemed to be nothing in the bag apart from the Puppets. He noticed the Rebel was turning pale. He could still not fathom if it was a smile or frown on the Rebel's face originally. But the smile now put him off completely. He was not willing to accept that puppets could have a consciousness of their own. He would be the laughing stock if he even hinted this to people around him. He himself felt it was an impossible idea. But then, recent events made him question his own beliefs.

 It was a little past midnight when the he heard those war cries again. The Puppeteer broke into a sweat. He tried to get up from his bed and check the Green bag. But he discovered he couldn't. He couldn't move his arms or legs or get up from his bed. There was nothing binding him. Yet he could not. He then focused on the war cries and realization dawned.

 "Yes. The Cry of Immobility" The Magician drawled, as he walked on the Puppeteer's chest. The Puppeteer realized that it was his voice. Only it was the Magician who was speaking. The Cry of Immobility was a cry used by the Puppeteer as part of his narration. In his stories of war, the cry immobilized the opponent's army, giving the troops enough time to invade and destroy the enemy. Only a select few Puppets were capable of this Cry and the Magician was one of them.

 "The last time we spoke, you ignored our existence. Do you still have doubts?" The Magician asked, maliciously, his red eyes now not just menace, but pure evil. The Puppeteer was forced to accept and acknowledge Puppet consciousness now. For the first time, fear triumphed over his defiance and he was forced into submission. He wanted to get out of this episode. He wanted his movement back.

 "What is it that you want?" asked the Magician.

"That is more like it." The Magician said sarcastically, as he whipped a parchment out of thin air. The parchment already contained all the clauses the Rebel had laid out in the agenda.

 "Sign it. With your blood. We'll come back midnight tomorrow". In a single jump, the Magician disappeared into the depths of the Green bag.

                                                                                                   - 17th March 2016,
                                                                                             (To be continued)

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