Kuttappan’s Moon Mission Continues..
For several days and months, the village only spoke about Kuttappan. Kuttappan and his sudden disappearance intrigued them beyond imaginations. The village split into two factions. One who believed his disappearance was part of a big magic trick and the other who believed he was simply dead.
Meanwhile, somewhere far away in a country called United States of America, a group of physicist, scientist, researchers and space travelers together, in an organization named NASA, started a mission to set foot on the moon. Years of scientific struggle followed with no apparent possibilities of landing on the moon.
During this time, a boy from Kuttappan’s village braved the storms of illiteracy and emerged a scholar. After spending considerable time in India under various scholastic roles, he was invited to NASA to be a part of the moon mission. His entry to NASA was a historic moment for the people in his village. Primarily, for the sheer achievement of someone from the village associating with an organization like NASA and for some other people, it meant the story of Kuttappan reaching a wider audience.
Only a few days after the boy joined NASA, Kuttappan’s moon mission was the most laughed about topic in NASA. Kuttappan was soon a celebrity within the walls of the organization. The laughter subsided only when the government ordered disassembling of the project for the sheer inability to make a progress in the moon mission. Suddenly the mood changed and the laughter waned.
Being the last recruit, the boy from the village was the first to be released from the project. After a brief stint at the NASA, when the boy returned to his village, he was in for a major surprise. As he set foot in the village, murmurs and chit chats surrounded him. Kuttappan’s name was heard everywhere. He sharpened his ears to the murmurs. He could not believe what he heard –
Kuttappan was back!
The boy rushed to Kuttappan’s house. However three strong, stout men stopped him at the gate. They wrapped the boy and threw him off the limit when he tried to sneak in. As news of Kuttappan’s re-appearance spread, people from different parts of the village thronged his house. Kuttappan was tired of questions hurled at him. Kuttappan was forced to quickly hire three strong men to safeguard his house and stop unsolicited people from entering his house.
For a long time, people surrounded his house expecting to hear something from Kuttappan about his moon mission. Kuttappan remained strongly silent. People lost interest real fast, and Kuttappan got off their minds quickly.
One morning, Kuttappan appeared in the tea shop for a morning bite. People who were convinced that Kuttappan won’t reveal any details, didn’t bothere to question him. It took a child’s innocence to run up to Kuttappan, pull his shirt and ask – “Did you really go to the moon Kuttappan uncle?”
Glasses fell down and broke. Snacks and food slid off the plate. The conversations stopped and a scary silence broke in. A chill ran down the spine of the people around. Ignoring the scores of eyes and ears placed on him, Kuttappan bend down and uttered to the child.
“Yes I have been to the moon”
The people went numb. The silence remained, not knowing how to react to his words.
“How is it in Moon?” The child asked the question that skirted on the lips of all the people around.
“There is nothing in the moon child. Just rocks and rocks and….. rocks.” Kuttappan said, and walked away from the people who had a million other questions.
The child’s innocence played a part again. What Kuttappan said somewhat didn’t satisfy the inquisitiveness of the child.
“Just Rocks? No… Moon is beautiful. Kuttappan uncle is lying. He has not gone to the moon. He is lying… He is lying… ” uttered the child.
People celebrated the child’s conclusion. They were relieved that Kuttappan had not gone to the moon as they feared. “I knew from the time he disappeared that he had not gone to any moon. He would have gone to his father’s house” said one among the many who had started laughing loudly.
Once again, Kuttappan, for no fault of his became a laughing stock. Whenever someone passed by him, they joked “Have you bought any stone from the Moon, Kuttappaa?”
Kuttappan ignored them and tried to live a secluded life.
Around his time, the USA revived their moon mission under a new leadership. The years of struggle, finally bared fruit. A manned moon mission was finally accomplished.
In the village on the other hand Kuttappan was getting exposed to more and more pranks and fun.
The manned mission, as they returned from the moon was given a warm welcomed with hefty celebrations and appreciations galore. A detailed report of their finding in the moon were submitted to the Director at NASA. One of the findings mentioned about a carving on the stone. It read like this:
“Kuttappan was here”
Surprised by this, the entire crew of NASA rushed to meet the once laughed about Kuttappan. They landed at the village and requested the boy who worked with them to take them to Kuttappan’s house. As they steadily moved towards Kuttappan’s house, people joined them from either sides of the road. The truth about Kuttappan slowly made its way to everyone in the village. Some bend their heads in shame. Some who supported Kuttappan felt proud. Like a procession they moved towards Kuttappan’s house.
When they finally reached Kuttappan’s house, they were startled. The house bore a deserted look. The officials and the villagers who barged into the house, returned back with a gloomy face.
Kuttappan had disappeared again.
The village is still waiting for Kuttappan to return. Not to make fun of him, but to ask him how he achieved his mission. NASA instructed the boy to report the moment Kuttappan returned so that he could be questioned how he achieved his feat. A stone that they recovered from Kuttappan’s house was kept for display at the NASA museum and they named it the Kuttappan’s Moon Stone.
Meanwhile, NASA kept spending fortunes to visit various planets. NASA’s ambitions streached far and the latest of them was the Mars Mission. Thanks to his excellent contributions, The boy from the village was made in charge of the new Mission. After years of hard work, research and space studies, the boy from the Village landed at the Mars. Landing was tough and risky. The boy, however, showed sheer brilliance to survive a landing disaster. Thanking all his stars for the safe landing, the boy stepped out of his spaceship. He kept one foot on the Mars and the next moment, it was all over. The boy dropped dead on the soil of Mars, surrendering to a sudden attack of the heart. The base station did not get any further messages from the boy. The mission was marked a failure.
The boy became the first human to be buried in the soil of Mars. He was buried in a nice place next to his abandoned spacecraft, just few meters away from a board that read – “Kuttappan’s Tea Stall”