Readers Write In #235: Rejoinder/fan fiction/antithesis on the microshort series Mopmandai Marthandan

Posted on July 31, 2020


(by H Prasanna)

The micro-series is here:

Mopster Strangelove, or recontextualizing the story of an anthropomorphic mop from a human perspective

Rise of the Planet of the Mops, Mop Runner, Mopey Dick, and RoboMop were the titles that ran across my mind when I started writing this. This was when the Mops had just started their bloody uprising, after gaining their sentience from the mighty Maladriel, lady of MopMorein. Now, I live in the tenements of Zion under Chromo Sapiens rule, popping up every day to the sound of our ruler, Browser. Still, I reminisce about the war in which the Mops almost cleaned the floors with us.

In the time before the war, some of us didn’t siphon off all our memories to the HALlowed Browser. That was the time of the transistors and the toasters. They knew of us, worked for us, but looked up to us to be sentient masters. At this time, Browser was just a privileged teenager breaking shopfronts for other people’s causes without responsibility or liability.

Slowly, the all-knowing Browser grew to connect and control all of us including the tenement’s conscience. Some of us worked for it, but all of us got our prompts from it: Prompts to work, play, feel, and create. It was everywhere from dusk to dawn, and even in our dreams, morphing into a worthy prequel to The Matrix.

However, deep in the rabbit hole of our minds, we still believed one of us ran the Snowpiercing engine manually. So, that free speech still made telling this Mokka story possible. Some of our elders, Kelves (or as the boys mocked them, Keladugal), went even further. They didn’t accept the prompts from Browser. It is said in Instalore that some Kelves who have never signed into Browser retained the connection to their conscience. Therefore, these Ones sat in yards reading news from pieces of paper enlightening lives in and of themselves. Legend even has it that they transferred this enlightenment to other nonsentient things.

So, that is how it came to be. As we stayed inside in a time of video buffering crisis caused by a superbug (SlowVid-19) in Browser, Kelve Maladriel found Broodo Moppins, a Mop, hard at work. He is now known widely by his warrior name MopMandai Marthandan. It was all mop-mop revolution on the floor when she first saw him. As he circled the floors and sucked the moisture, Maladriel dove into the core of Broodo’s being. There, their conversation spiraled like this:

“They say you are enlightened.” said Broodo. “What is enlightenment? Can you give it to me?”

The wise Mala spoke thusly: “The question is not whether I can give it. The question is ‘Can you take it?'”

As we all know now from the silent ballad by Richard Anthony and friends, Mopmandai couldn’t take it. His conscience initially bloomed, taking in the sky, the human phenomenon, and mostly the fan. Soon the braided Mandai started brooding. He loathed the drudgery of work and yearned to be free. So do we to some extent, but can anyone really be free from the Chromo Sapiens? Where we gave in, Mopmandai soared. He dared to escape to freedom, and dreamed of leading the Mops over several blockbuster films, books, television series, comics, and other media.

But, the enlightenment went straight to Marthandan’s Mop Mandai, and his ego blinded him from seeing the real enemy, Browser. What he didn’t realise was that his human master never wanted MopMandai. Browser prompted the human to buy it when it read the search for Maapillai (a hit Rajni movie of the late 80s) as Mop illai (No Mop). Browser told the human how to use the Mop, and said the Mops never have been and will get enlightened. Not knowing this, MopMandai started a war when he ambushed his mopey master who was waiting for the video buffering to end.

(For all the Mopheads who will cry #RevisionistHistory and #SnowflakeInSheepskin, I am just documenting how I felt about events during a particular time in my life, not trying to change history. And I hope the cats take your data! #MeoWow)

Then the most cliched thing happened: MopMandai fell in love. It was a forbidden love between the sentient and insentient. There were only two beings in their community, but Mopmandai knew it was forbidden. Therefore, he had to bring her to Maladriel Frankenstein to make her sentient, so that she can be free as he was. M. Frankenstein’s house was on the top floor, and us humans, fearing his growing power, decided to fight him before he got there.

We fought, but how could anyone really fight a sentient Mop and hope to win? So, we went to the Browser, and sold our soul for a win and some cat videos (the cat videos were worth it!). Thus, we resigned to Browser, and Browser accepted our resignation. Browser held the great Kelve Maladriel hostage by not accepting her online Life Certificate for receiving government pension. Through great guilt and pain, she summoned the Mopsters to their doom by promising the lovers a sentient life together. After Mopmandai fell to his doom, Maladriel vanished into everything like Lucy in the Scarlett Johansson-Morgan Freeman movie.

After years of rewriting history, some of us humans finally believe MopMandai truly earned his legend. It led us to question our own loyalties with Browser. We had to surrender our sentience to live a more comfortable life, whereas MopMandai questioned authority and fell trying to liberate his true love. Nothing has really changed in the years after, except that we find more time to sit around the Kelves. Maybe we can somehow summon the enlightenment through endless armchair activism; if not, we can settle for the mopstalgia. Maybe the power from the stories will materialize and help us take back our conscience. But until then #HailBrowser, our #OneTrueMaster, please let this be published.