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Malapade Tankade July 4, 2007

Posted by K in Faction, Fiction, Uncategorized.

Malapade Tankade climbed a tree.

What? Were you expecting a story? This is not a story. Why should there be a story just because you expect one?

Why can’t a person just write ‘Malapade Tankade climbed a tree’ without carrying the invisible burden of expectations? Or not so invisible…you just said something, didn’t you? *Points accusing finger at you* You made a Tcheh! sound and said what crap is this, instead of a story I get an explanation of why it isn’t a story.

No matter, you can tcheh! and pah! away to glory, but this still ain’t a story. This ain’t even about Malapade Tankade. Infact, I don’t even know is there is a Malapade Tankade. Or if any parent would be crazy enough to name their child Malapade Tankade…

But then again, if parents can name their only offspring ‘Lona’ (as Lona will most unhappily tell you), then the existance of a Malapade Tankade is highly probable.

If(mind you…IF. This STILL ain’t a story, but IF it were…) Malapade Tankade would have existed, she would have climbed a tree. And decided immediately that tree climbing was not her cup of scented jasmine tea.

She tore her frock(yes, the silly fool wore a frock, and a white one at that…), scraped her dainty little knee and chipped a nail that promised to grow into a salon talon soon enough.

And she was all of three.

See, the kid was smart. At that that tender little age itself, she had figured out that there must have been a purpose behind her name (I mean, Malapade Tankade…??). She put two and two together( or atleast as well as a three year old can put ANYTHING together…) and reached te conclusion that her parents secretly expected tomboyish bahaviour from her. So she climbed a tree.

Everything in life has a purpose, and the purpose of this climb was to reveal to the world and its brother that Malapade Tankade would make a lousy tomboy.

Thus age three onwards, Malapade Tankade became a full-fledged girl. You know…the kinds you read about…nailpolish, hair care, sentiments, ‘softness’…It took some instruction…she did not become such a perfect girl naturally, as she herself will admit. She got on fine enough with the books, but felt the need of a tutor for certain concepts. ‘Softness’ for example…it took her a week to realise that it referred to physical softness And Other Things, and another to realise that ‘softness’ was a far-reaching, multi-layered concept that could be understood by very very few.

Everyone will admit that she was a worthy pupil.

Age three passed, and other ages came and went. Malapade Tankade grew. As a Woman.

Age forty four saw her in the process of enhancing the feminity of her femaleness. Don’t ask me…I didn’t create the concept…

“Look, Arjun! An invite!”

Grunt, went Arjun. (Who was Arjun? The boyfriend of four years. Live-in partner of four hours.)

“They have asked me to compere at a film premier!”

Grunt, went Arjun.

M. Tankade looked at the gold-embossed card and hungrily sucked up every word in it. Eventually-

“It’s an award winning film. An Oscar nominee!”

Grunt, went Arjun.
“Pass me the coffee,” went Arjun. The live-in partner of (now) four hours, thirty minutes.

Malapade Tankade will henceforth be referred to as M.T. It is too long a name to type, damn you. (What are YOU complaining about…you got your god-damn story, didn’t you?)

M.T got her hair done. M.T starched a saree. M.T went from door to door, tripping in anticipated glory.

The day dawned bright, the day dawned early. (The piece of log beside her lay naked, self-absorbed and happy.)

(Damn you.)

M.T was excited. Why was M.T excited? You’re so smart, why don’t you figure it out.

M.T bit her nails…M.T got ready to take the test of fire.M.T…got her first shock…her neck wouldn’t move. The bloody barber had superglued her hair strands to each other (It will look good, maam…sleek and perfect…)

(Damn you.)

Shock number two: the auditorium is empty. No, wait..she sees somebody come in. Oh, it’s a family. And they’ve brought a baby! A baby on her debut night! What if it screeched (it did)…?What if it did baby things(it did)…?

Shock numbers three and four came thick and fast: it was a Marathi film, and it had no sex,city or glamour.

Malapade Tankade(What? I made the rule…I can break it.) swallowed her disappointment with her spit and strode towards the stage.

“Where are you going, maam…the doctors must speak first…”

Malapade Tankade’s lips wobbled, but M.T soldiered on. Your Time Will Come, Eddie had told her( Had I been a character in this not-story, I would have stepped in at this point and told you tsk-tsking readers that Eddie was screwing with her. He just wanted a piece of her. Literally. There’s been a chunk missing from his posterior since Steve strapped him down during the X-Factor cover shoot. And then I would have pointed mockingly at you and laughed as you would, doubtless, have pushed back your chair in disgust, shot off a letter to the editor complaining about obscene innuendos and graphic imagery. So it’s a good thing that I ain’t a character, eh? Good for you and me; not so good for M.T, coz she don’t get to know that Eddie is screwing with her.)

So she decides to grab Time’s collar and haul herself up The ladder. She simpers on stage (Page 32, column 1) swishes her saree and coos to the audience (pages 2 and 3; both columns).Round One to me, she thinks, and waits for the movie to end.

The movie ends.

The sound of melting candy-floss assaults the ears of the movie-goers. They escape as the last bit about ‘hope’ and ‘true meaning of life’ struggles to sock them in the balls(Or places where the balls should have been. Women are a mistake, don’t you know…)

Malapade Tankade got off the podium.

Malapade Tankade exited the auditorium.

Malapade Tankade wished she had never met Arjun.

(What? Now you expect me to explain the ending? Pshaw…who DOES that?! Figure it out on your own. And remember to send me a postcard when you’re there. Use Owl Post. I’ll probably be out, roving for Love)



1. FormerPoet - July 5, 2007

Malapade Tankade is a beautiful name. No wonder she became a girly-girl. Her big mistake was in trying to climg the tree before she was ready. If she had waited until she was five, instead of three, she would have done it, and worn her wounds as badges of honor.

Her art would have been hard and political, and she would have eventually been killed for her beliefs.

Still that would have been a better life than the one she had.

Or would it?

2. sporadicblogger - July 5, 2007

FormerPoet(I hate calling you that!!)- It is good to see you here again 🙂 Thanks for dropping in.

I made up the name Malapade Tankade. I don’t know if either of the parts exist, but the name named itself in my head. It sounded very musical, had a rhythm to it. It sounded more like a boys name to me, which is why I put in that gender aspect.

I’m not sure things would have changed had she climbed the tree at five, or any age, for that matter. She’s a victim of a society that expects clear cut gender roles, and parents who wish they had a son, and when they don’t, wish to make a son of their daughter.
Finding oneself can become very, very difficult. How does one fashion oneself? Right as a school girl you are told to sit with your knees together and act ‘ladylike’. Boys are laughed at when they bake and bring cakes to school.

Girls don’t play sports and boys don’t NOT play sports.

It can be a tough world, and like Malapade Tankade, you keep waiting for that trial by fire and keep waiting to be told you’ve passed and can finally stop playing the game.

I must confess that I modelled M.T (and coincidentally, the name shortens to M.T. Empty. 🙂 ) on a compeer(sp?) we saw at a recent film premier 🙂

3. KnotKeats - July 5, 2007

I loved the story anyway, and missed the M.T. joke.

I was lucky growing up. Nobody in my family pushed me in any direction. Not sports, not academics. Anything I wanted to do was supported.

But I know the pressure you’re talking about. Most of my friends had it, and I expect that most people in the world are pushed by their parents, family, and society in one way or another to be one thing or another.

I think you are right about the FormerPoet tag. I wave my want and poof! It’s changed!

4. pallavi - July 6, 2007

hahahahahahhahahahaha this is soo cool man !!

5. sporadicblogger - July 8, 2007

KnotKeats- Thanks 🙂 (M.T…empty, referring to the values ingrained in her etc etc. I know. I’m mean 😦 )

I’ve been lucky growing up, too. The kind of space that I have had is something that I am aware is unusual. I am grateful.

But I have always witnessed the pressure…it’s there in the books you read, the music you listen to. You see it in people around you, on TV…its everywhere. It can suffocate you, because every now and again, because you don’t live in an insulated world, you encounter it.

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