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Macbeard and the Unholy Grail – All Episodes

All episodes of Macbeard and the Unholy Grail:

Recounting history the Macbeard-way – A series of allegories inspired allegories of yore.

Episode I – Preamble

I am probably among the few who was happy to see the posters; not because of its sick contents but because people who had earlier supported Macbeard both within the Ashram and in the SAICE alumni are now having serious second thoughts. At last the scales are beginning to fall one by one; it is evident now that the halo round this creature’s head is not made of true inner stuff but of un-recyclable cardboard. Even my large friend circle in Pondicherry who are not part of the Ashram are now asking/commenting ‘How can your Ashram tolerate such a scum?’ or (this one really hurts) ‘Did he really study in your school?’ or ‘Wasn’t he the kid who meditated for hours under the guidance of M.P. Pandit? No doubt he has gone a little cracked’; so much for the local support for his (mis)cause in Pondicherry.

What led such a glib manipulator to lose his real strength,- the power of public opinion so tenderly husbanded part by subterfuge, lies and threats, and part by corrupt manipulation of the political bureaucratic  machinery? I think one can sum it up in one phase, – OVER-VAULTING AMBITION WHEN FRUSTRATION LEADS TO DESPERATION, THEN DEFEAT. We are witnessing the beginning of the end with Macbeard running out of tricks which gets dirtier with passing time.

The genesis of Macbeard’s tragedy began a long time ago; I am told, Madhav Pandit, in one of his lighter moods, promised him ‘I will make you the Super Trustee of the Ashram’. This must have gone into his soft impressionable head; that is when the seeds of this calamity were sown. Not unlike Macbeth, Macbeard by striving to fulfill the ‘promise’ made by others, becomes an active agent of his own destruction and ends up a hapless victim of his own machinations and his stupid spiritual ambition. It is an eternal saga that repeats itself in the history of humankind in infinite variety. In the past we have seen this story in its epic form and proportions, now we are witness to the septic version where the common scum’s relentless ambition leads him in the end to the cesspool of everlasting Night.

In the next mail I will describe Macbeard’s tragic flaws and the dangerous journey he undertakes in search of the ‘Unholy Grail’ or the promised land of ‘Super Trusteeship’ and the exciting misadventures that wait those who are too foolish or too blinded by their ambitions; Macbeard is both.

Episode II

In this part of the Macbeard saga we hope to understand some of his tragic flaws which are sometimes defined as character flaws, inherent defects or shortcomings of a tragic (anti)-hero that leads to his downfall. We are all too familiar with Macbeard’s recent zeal for self-promotion and the untenable ambition that is eating him up. But what caused it? Where is the genesis of this grand ‘error of judgement’ which irresistibly eggs him on to his sad demise?

Tragic or not, popular psychology often traces a single event or a flaw during early childhood of a person that informs his/her ‘terminal’ character.  We, for example, know what had happened to Obelix when he fell into the ‘potion magique’ accidentally, changing him irreversibly for life; similarly we see a domineering Napoleon, towering over Europe trying forever and futilely to exceed his shortness in height. What cardinal inner insufficiency does Macbeard deal with and fails, which scars him for life? We can only guess.

Judging from the early records available, it would appear that he did not fall on his head the day he was born but no one could give a plausible explanation, including many spiritual scientists, as to why he had such a large tadpole like head. Many novel theories were forwarded; some thought that the evolution which every foetus undergoes in the womb got arrested at the frog level. Others, in line with the prevalent superstitions, were certain that it had something to do with seeing a large frog during a lunar eclipse when he was still in the womb. The controversy was finally put to rest by a world renowned tantric in South India who was especially called for this purpose. ‘He must be naturally very fat headed’ was the expert conclusion.

Seeing through the eyes of to his childhood ‘friends’, we see Macbeard as of a pathetic scrawny little cry baby (this tendency to cry was to remain part of his psychological makeup for the rest of his life. Even in his early adulthood, he would burst into tears every time his brittle ego ruptured; he needed constant attention and consolation which was provided mostly by his present co-conspirator Mr. J. Depthcharge) who would squirm at the very idea of sports and outdoor activities, and at the same time remarkably impervious to anything that excites the brain. He is mostly remembered by his peers for sporting a dumb blank stare and a half insufficient smile.

Episode III

In this episode of ‘Macbeard and the Unholy Grail’ we see the exceptional events that partly transform Macbeard from a pathetic scrawny little cry baby ‘naturally very fat headed’ to someone more resolute and foolishly ambitious, aspiring to become a world ‘guru’. Happy reading

Being zero in sports AND in studies, Macbeard was an easy prey to tauntings by his ‘friends’ and the butt of their dark humour. To cope with this, we are told, Macbeard drifted rapidly into a world of fantasy where he, the knight in shining armour, kept saving ‘les belle mademoiselles sans merci’ who promptly ran away once they were saved, preferring to remain eternally ungrateful; even in this world of pure fantasy, a hip jiggling Bollywood ending of fulfilled love eluded Macbeard, such was the macabre frame of his being.

Very quickly on, he graduated to ‘seeing’ fanciful stuff such as flying saucers etc. hoping this would lend him greater respectability but alas he managed only to be at the receiving end of every gag. (The ‘seeing’ business never really stopped and continues to this day. The story goes that the day M P Pandit passed away, Macbeard saw a light emanate out of Pandit-ji’s body and enter his. ‘From which hole?’ asked his peers much to his deep annoyance) If you think Macbeard’s ‘seeing’ had anything to do with spirituality or hallucinogens then you are greatly mistaken; he had this inborn propensity to fib; he would remove all stains of truth when reporting a situation, serving it gift wrapped in several luxuriant layers of lies.  Even when he said simple things it was always laced with a lurking soupçon of falsehood. ’Telling truth makes me constipated’ he is reported to have said many times ‘I need bucketfuls of isabgol every time I speak it’

One day while he was being pestered without J. Depthcharge to console him (he was down in bed with ‘interview pox’, a rare virulent virus that, unless treated, makes you repeat ‘Sagorika can you hear me? Can you hear me Sagorika?’ for the rest of your life) he decided to hit back; he just had enough, ‘I will get even with you all one day, just you wait.’ A major transformation overcame him. He saw himself to be a world ‘guru’. The ‘guru’, he reasoned, need not be super good in sports or specially good at academics yet the learned, the rich, the powerful bow down to him; all that the ‘guru’ has do is to give some ‘gyan’ convincingly.

Macbeard didn’t have to go far to get the material for his ‘gyan’ and started in earnest mugging up the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He didn’t dissipate  his energy in understanding what he read, what was of primary importance  was only to ‘appear’ to understand, and con people into believing that these were HIS words of wisdom based on direct experience.  He also paid great attention to imitating the mannerism of M P Pandit when he lectured, and applied himself diligently to learning popular magic and hypnotism with the sole aim to mesmerize his poor would be victims.  ‘This is how I will get back at them. They will all fall at my feet,- all of them’ was his constant refrain. His life had a mission now.

Episode IV

In this episode we see Macbeard metamorphoses into a spiritual ‘tota’ and readies himself for the journey in search of the ‘Unholy Grail’ with his faithful followers Sir Sighkick and Lady Unable, his horses ‘Evereddy’ & Nevereddy’ and his devoted poodles Gowind, Daewoo and Srichappal. Happy reading

Macbeard quickly transformed himself into a ‘spiritual tota’, he sported long hair and a beard, put on Fab India khadi kurta pyjama and a jhola round his neck like a noose (the Blackberries, Apple Ipads, Handicams came later when he had earned his black belt in conning people). He deliberately cultivated the ‘sadhu baccha’ image, he lived on raw food or at least that is what he wanted everyone to believe (there were recurring reports of what looked like remains of tandoori chickens in the garden outside his room trice a week for which the neighbour’s tomcat ‘tiger’ was regularly blamed).

Macbeard also began practicing sitting in different meditative poses in order to fool people (including M P Pandit who took him under his wings) into thinking that he was a serious meditator or a rare ‘advanced sole’. Some teachers in the school were led to believe that he had a very developed ‘psychic’ while others strongly opposed this view. We must remember that these were early days much before Kulok Pande launched his small scale industry in psychic certification or Almond Reddy his pseudo-spiritual gymnasium. So the issue couldn’t really be concluded one way or the other. The controversy did wonders though to Macbeard’s self-image and encouraged his ego to bloat like the putrid belly of a ten day old dead cow and pushed him now to promote himself actively until it became a serious addiction.

‘Why wait for anyone to praise me?’ he thought ‘Why not ‘engineer’ the praise myself?’ As he proceeded, he found compliments from others had greater acceptability than his own. To make his self praises look authentic Macbeard created a large number of fake mail IDs in different names and ‘posted’ praise mails to special websites designed for this purpose attempting to create a larger than life persona of himself. But even with this resolute effort he failed to expunge the image of the cry baby, the ambitious fat head, the incorrigible liar and manipulator which was now an indelible part of his character.

With all the tragic flaws in place, Macbeard was at last ready to undertake the futile and difficult quest for the ‘Unholy Grail’ and the journey to the promised land of ‘Super Trusteeship’. He was not alone in this quest and was accompanied by his ever faithful horses Evereddy & Nevereddy, Squire Joshua Depthcharge, Sir Sighkick, Lady Unable, and his devoted poodles Gowind, Daewoo and Srichappal.

 Episode V

The journey to the promised land of super trusteeship was far more chequered than Macbeard had bargained for.  In the next two episodes we follow the ‘inner’ journey of Macbeard and his companions, first to the ‘mound of the dead’ and then to the Uppalam Drain. Happy reading

On a dark night of the soul Macbeard and his motley group leaving behind the sunlit path and the warmth of the Mother’s infinite love headed for the Forest of Gloom in search of the Unholy Grail. After many days of listless march through virtual darkness (except the little light that filtered through the endless fog of their mind and the poisonous fumes of hate that emanated from their heart to blur their vision), they reached a large mound in the middle of a shadowy clearing.

On closer examination they discovered that the mound was but the skeletal remains of people who had lost their way in this forest earlier following their untempered ambition or their insatiable greed. From the tattered clothes that still clung to their bleached bones they could identify some of them; a few were businessmen known for their greed, others identified were highly corrupt bureaucrats who amassed great wealth by embezzling government funds earmarked for the welfare of the poor, many were those of politicians who following their self-interest did great harm to their country and great injustice to those who voted them to power. But some too were of people who were led to this place of doom goaded by their spiritual ambition and the betrayal of their gurus, their school, teachers and their Ashram.

Sir Sighkick who was the bravest of them of them all (he retired as the senior loo inspector from the army) was so frightened that he ran on all fours and forced his head in the hollow of a dead tree; Squire Depthcharge for some reason wanted to put his head in the same hole as Sir Sighkick; Lady Unable bust into a long high pitched wail only to hear an eerie echo of her rant that sent shivers down everyone’s spine. Poddle Srichappal in sheer fright climbed over whimpering Gowind and Daewoo before losing control over his bladder and getting them very wet and miserable. Evereddy and Nevereddy neighed nervously and loud which in that vaporous air sounded strangely like monotonous phrases in human voice ‘He is a taxi driver, he is not a scholar… he is a taxi driver, he is not a scholar…’.

Episode VI

In this episode Macbeard and his companions leave behind the Mound of the Dead and reach Uppalam Drain their “spiritual” home. There they meet the Specter, the resident Evil of Uppalam Drain. Happy reading.

Macbeard sat on top of the mound, his face blanched with fear, frozen by the howling cries of anguished souls trapped in this nether world. Did he make a mistake? Is this the right path? Wouldn’t it be wise to turn back at this point? He looked within and searched for absent light. A loud voice came booming instead from the darkness around, stinging to life the secret worm of ambition within. ‘Hasn’t he promised you the Super Trusteeship? Steel your heart you wretch and move on till you meet the Specter  he will show you to the way to the Unholy Grail and the twisted path to your destiny.’ This shook him out of his introspective torpor and lulled the rest into a sense of security that comes from a soul numbing daze.

For seven days and nights, Macbeard and his party, accompanied by eerie screeches and hoots, advanced through this steamy and dark landscape, walking through bogs, eating marsh rats to ease their hunger; sleeping on high branches to avoid snapping crocodiles. On the eight day the forest began to thin and they came to the bank of Uppalam Drain through which flowed the filth and garbage of all the three worlds. Its stench, even from a distance, had the power to destroy souls but to Macbeard and his band, the stink was deliciously irresistible, and its dark noxious silt was like hot chocolate on vanilla ice cream.

Macbeard and his fellow creatures wallowed in the drain. Supervised by Sir Sighkick and using the unique properties of the Drain water, they washed away with diligence the last stubborn patches of conscience and truthfulness that somehow clung to them even after this journey.  While the rest were thus absorbed, Macbeard sitting by the bank suddenly become aware of a Dreadful Presence. They were alone no longer, a huge dark amorphous form hovered over them – Specter  the resident Evil of Uppalam Drain – and enveloped them all with a pervading sense of ill being.

Episode VII

Macbeard’s conversation with the Spectre at the Uppalam Drain. Happy reading!

‘You are in search of the Unholy Grail and the promised land of Super Trusteeship?’ said the Spectre once Macbeard explained the purpose of his visit. ‘Ha Ha … Ha Ha Ha’ he roared with laughter, not unlike a Bollywood villain about to molest the skimpily dressed heroine innocent and alone in a rose garden. ‘You worthless creatures, you traitors to your cause, you scums without values … you pollute Uppalam Drain by your presence. Why should I help you?’ continued the Spectre ‘What do I gain?’

‘The Dark Voice in my heart guided me here and promised me that you shall guide me to my destiny!’ told Macbeard.

‘Your destiny you dung beetle? Do you have what it takes to get the Unholy Grail? You need first to destroy the Fortress of Light created by the Divine Mother.’ the Spectre said ‘Even with our Flaming Host in two Great Wars, with exceptionally capable and pliant instruments, we could not reach the moat beyond which the impregnable Fortress stood. And you want to raze it? With your motley horde that is nearly as fearsome and formidable as chicken in fried rice?’

‘One advantage we hold within our grasp O Dark Spirit which has eluded you’ retorted Macbeared ignoring the sarcasm ‘we are Insiders, we come from within the Fortress of Light and have been nurtured by its Love; we were brought up in its tender care and are familiar with its inherent weaknesses, – absence of rigid hierarchy, unquestioned freedom and unsurpassed tolerance. We don’t have to assail it from without; we can erode it from within. The Council of Elders are old, weak and badgered day to day by petty affairs. There are murmurs of discontent amongst the acolytes, some are indifferent if not hostile to their superiors; there is strife within. With wild rumours and wily manipulation we can engineer a revolt;  squatting on the pavement beneath Mother’s Balcony sporting ‘Cling to Truth’ bands round our arms, we can present ourselves to be the ‘Faithful Defenders’ and take over the management to become Super Trustees. Only the Alumnus can pose some danger but it is too divided and too preoccupied to be an effective force. Once the Fortress is destroyed in a holocaust of fratricidal war, the Unholy Grail is ours. But success is not assured if we fight our lone battle from within; we need the assurance of your support from without.’

To be continued.


By ‘Bulu’ a former student of the S.A.I.C.E.

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