Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Talking Puppets: Part 3

The Talking Puppets: Part 3

The Magician's eyes were now one nose distance from those of the Puppeteer.
"You won't be discarding any of us anymore. I don't know if you want to create more of us. But none of us....are going to die for your whims and fancies". Those red eyes lingered on the Puppeteer for a moment more. And before the Puppeteer could react, they disappeared. And so did all the other pairs of eyes surrounding the Puppeteer. The room was plunged in darkness. The silence was deafening.


The Puppeteer woke up in the morning. He could remember every minute detail of the previous night. Was it a dream? Or was it true? He remembered a line from his own narration. "In the depths of sleep, when it was too real to be a dream...and too dream-like to be considered real...." he would go on, to narrate one of his stories that was filled with mystery, laced with horror. His experience the previous night mirrored that statement to the hilt.

He quickly got out of his bed and rummaged the green bag. All his puppets were intact. But strangely, their colors were a little pale. The Rebel was still smiling. The Magician somehow looked more menacing than he ever looked in his life. He took the Son out of the bag. He had discarded many puppets in the previous years. Why were things turning so ugly when he wanted to discard the Son? Wasn't he just an other Puppet after all?

 Nevertheless, he never for a second believed that the Puppets had a consciousness of their own. He thought he lacked sleep. The Rebel's expression was now a constant smile. The change bothered him somewhat. But he chose to ignore it.

He proceeded to start with the discarding ritual for the Son. It would happen across 3 shows. Before the first show, he would severe a hand of the Son. That way, he was injured in the show. In the second show, the Son would be bedridden. In the final show, the Son would die, unable to recover from the illness that struck him since losing his hand.

The Puppeteer took out a hammer and chisel from his trunk. He placed the Son on his orange mat. The Puppets were all huddled in the green bag. A heated discussion ensued to decide what could be the course of action. Even the Rebel was out of ideas. He believed that the previous night's events would make the Puppeteer think before proceeding with the discarding ritual. The only instruction given to the Son was to show as much resistance as possible when his arm was being chiselled out of his body.

As each strike from the Puppeteer's hammer tried to dislodge the Son's arm, he shored up all resistance he could muster. He bore so much pain, that he cursed the consciousness that made him feel it. He wished he had always been a Puppet. The Puppeteer drove the chisel deeper, unleashing more and more force. The Son wondered if shedding some tears would ease his pain. But he could not do so. He shouted out in pain and he could hear his companions from within the green bag egging him on to hold on and show more resistance. The pain reached a fever pitch. And was gone. The Son fainted. The arm lay severed, next to him.


The Son received a war-hero reception when he returned. The male puppets spoke of him in high words, saying his staunch resistance and sacrifice were an inspiration to the Rebellion. The discussion then turned to what could be done to thwart the Puppeteer. The opinion was divided. A wing of the puppets, led by the Philosopher, argued that existence could never be perpetual. "The cycle of birth and death cannot be avoided, even by those so called human beings. We must never try to overpower these forces of Nature". This was met with an equally strong opposition from an other section - led by the Rebel. "If we have to die, let it be natural. We do not want the Puppeteer killing us. Look at the pain the Son went through. Do each one of you plan to go through the same? We must Rebel." The rebel was definitely more persuasive than the Philosopher. And what with the incident of the Son's arm being chiseled out still fresh in everyone's mind, the majority was with the Rebel and the idea of a full fledged rebellion.

"What do we do next?" asked the Old man, his eyes still on his Son's missing hand.


"Races, communities and nations have fought for their independence in the past...though I do not recollect anyone apart from humans who constituted such rebellion and uprisings. This would have to be a first"the Historian said. He had spent the whole afternoon trying to jog through every nook and corner of his memory to find out if there was a Puppet Rebellion in some part of history.

Both the opposing groups led by the Rebel and the Philosopher had decided to chart a course of action based on data and facts, without sacrificing instinct and the desire to build a new society, where puppets would be treated with respect. The seed was sown by the Rebel when the Son was being discarded. But now it was taking a full fledged form. The Thinker also joined the Movement, as he preferred it being called. "The Movement", this name gave the Puppets more conviction and added that tinge of legitimacy that wasn't present when it was referred to as a "Rebellion". Even the Philosopher had moderated his views and felt the Puppets' cause could be represented now.

"Every once in a while, there is a cause. And that cause justifies charting a new course in History. Only, the cause must justify itself. When history is read again after a couple of centuries, this Movement should be a beacon" The Thinker said. "The Puppeteer once talked about Orwell's Animal Farm. And that was again a landmark Movement, by Animals though. It was the first of its kind. And it did succeed...."

"Before the Animals succumbed to their own vices" interjected the Philosopher. "There was a justifiable cause, but the cause was defeated. And that was a story. Humans are unable to contain their vices even in their creations. We are living on emotions borrowed from those humans. Can we sustain this cause without being conquered by those vices?"

"There can be no evil in PuppetLand" shouted the Rebel. That was the first time the word was used in History and it filled the gathering with a sense of patriotism. It struck a chord with almost everyone who was present. Even the Philosopher felt something stirring from within. So far he was relegated to feel that the World had its own laws and nothing could ever be controlled. That day, he felt that belief shaking a little as the Rebel's words echoed through the green bag.

"There would 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.....

                                                                                                         -7th February 2016
                                                                                                        (To be Continued)