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Excerpt from Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Temporary People

by Deepak Unnikrishnan

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan X
Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan
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    Mar 2017, 272 pages

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But Moosa was now standing trial on corruption charges.

After years of being feted by his patrons, Moosa woke up one day and had a change of heart. He doctored his seeds and didn't tell a soul. The new formula produced Canned Malayalees designed to prioritize reason, minds difficult to tame. "Cantankerous twits," leaked Ministry memos observed. Moosa also improved their immune systems, increasing their lifespans. In March 2006, a large number of these redesigned canned Malayalees took to the streets near what was going to be the tallest structure in the world and went on strike in a country where dissent is not tolerated. As the men rioted, onlookers, startled by actual rioting, fished out their cameras and took pictures.

Moosa's hand might have gone undetected if word hadn't gotten out, tipsy laborers overheard boasting in a roadside cafeteria, that some men in an undisclosed labor camp were discussing overthrowing the present regime and forming the newly independent nation of Mallu Landoo, Proud Nation of Malayalee Man. "Think about it," urged one of their leaders Puncture Daniel on clandestine MALLU Radio, "...if every Malayalee stopped work in this country!" The men were apprehended by alarmed authorities in an undercover sting operation and in no time discovered to be fruits. A calm Moosa confessed when the secret police brought him in for questioning. However he refused to explain why he did what he did.

Quickly, an executive decision was made by the Labor Ministry to abandon using MALLUS in the workplace. Head of Intelligence got demoted. Large consignments of seeds were ordered to be driven to the desert and destroyed. Vociferous MALLUS were captured in droves and driven to the desert so they would join comrades who had died of natural causes.

***

For six years Pinto, Tinto, and Vimto worked as truck drivers in Dubai for a Pakistani manager they called General Zia in the city's Jebel Ali Free Zone. They put in 15-hour shifts, 6 days a week. Once a month they waited in line with chums to bang Sri Lankan hookers smuggled in for entertainment. The afternoon following the workers' riot, the trio were ushered into General Zia's office along with other colleagues. They were briefed and told to make the journey to Musaffah and drive top-secret cargo into the desert where waiting workers would unload its contents and destroy the seeds in a massive bonfire. The three men were paid 600 dirhams each, a princely sum for a day's work. They also decided to keep one crate a piece. Why? Vimto had a plan.

Vimto's old schoolmate, Mukundan, had worked at Sultan Mo-Mo's palace as an electrician for five months, and over a plate of chicken biryani and Kingfisher beer one Friday night told Vimto he thought the sultan would be willing to do anything to ruin Dubai: "Because of its proximity to Dubai, people don't even know Mo-Mo's country exists. He's embarrassed." Vimto asked Pinto and Tinto if they wanted to make a little extra money.


July 16, 2006

11:00 a.m.

"What will you do with all this wealth?" a beaming sultan asked the three men.

"Purchase bling from Gold Souk. Then leave. Start business back home, stay indoors, wipe the sun off my face" grinned Pinto, his knees rattling.

"I have four girls, another baby's on the way, Your Excellency. Must talk to wife, make plans," confessed Tinto. He felt embarrassed, thinking the sultan had caught him staring at those famous eyebrows.

"See Yourope, Disney Land" shared Vimto. "Taste women," he whispered in Malayalam to his mates, "bathe the first-born, hold him." Vimto also confided to his friends a turquoise yacht was on top of his wish list.

"Half the money's here, gentlemen, wiring the rest, my staff will take care of the extra crates you have for me," concluded the sultan, gesturing with a wave of his fat right palm that there was nothing left to discuss. "Rahmat will drive you. Rahmat!"

Excerpted from Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan. Copyright © 2017 by Deepak Unnikrishnan. Excerpted by permission of Restless Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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