Perl and the Sacred Ashtray

Volume-1 in the Perl's Script Series

Perl and Hari meet, start a technology company and are immediately embroiled in the crossfire between two warring yoga gurus.


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Blurb

The Old Goat hits back…


Two leading city gurus fight it out for the spiritual TV ratings in the Indian city of Bangalore.Things have reached such a bitter pass that Sri Sri (or is it Sri Sri Sri?) Bobby Shankar – the Art of Kidding chap – habitually refers to his rival as That Old Goat. That Old Goat, meanwhile – or Shy Baba to use his official name, he of the permanent bad hair day, calls his spiritual adversary Stupid ol’ Bobby, boorishly eschewing all the Sris in the prefix.


Bobby seems to have the upper hand with his corny jokes and his Sacred Ash gimmick, until his deadly rival of the holy cloth comes up with the Sacred Ashtray. This naturally makes Bobby bite the lemon and take a jaundiced view.


Enter Perl and Hari – the intrepid technologist-entrepreneur duo. Can they invent a sacred ashtray machine for Bobby to outdo that of Shy Baba?

But they get more than they bargained for in this particular project. Their technological research soon lands them into a bubbling, frothing spiritual gumbo of food critic murderers, overweight German spies, kidnapping,extortion, sex scandals… can Perl and Hari extricate themselves from the holy soup with their sanity – and bank balance – intact?


What leading book critics say about Sacred Ashtray:


Telangana Herald: As far as we can make out, it’s a book of some sort…


Farm & Ag Review: A remarkably clear, concise exposition of the scientific rearing of goats. Belongs in the library of every diligent goat farmer.


Daily BJ: The word Sex appears just once in over 300 pages, that too in conjunction with Babies. What kind of a novel is this?


Good Grief, what do you care what book critics say, anyhow? It’s pleasant, it’s funny, and while it won’t change your life forever, it’s worth the price as mentioned on the sticker. Buy it, you won’t regret it.



Extract:


Perl was already back, looking like a spray of dew-drenched sweet pea when Hari crawled into Ruby Storm. She was seated at a speakerphone, ready to open negotiations with Bobby. She waved him to a couch and pressed Dial.

“Art of Kidding,” said a soft feminine voice. “Which leg would you like pulled today? Press one for –”

“I’m going to do the leg-pulling, kid,” said Perl like ice cubes made audible. “Put me through to that rat Bobby.” 

The receptionist had been trained well. She did not miss a beat.“Sri Sri – or on certain days Sri Sri Sri – Bobby Shankar does not take calls.”

“He’ll take this one all right. Tell him it’s about the ring.”

There was a suppressed gasp – the news had obviously gotten around the ashram. There were confused rattles, clicks and whispered conversations. Then Bobby came on the line.

“Yes? Who is this?”

“We have your ring.”

“What?”

“You heard. – If you want to see your darling finger-joy alive again, leave a million rupees in unmarked bills behind the third garbage can under the R.K. Puram Bridge.”

“What?”

“Unmarked bills. One million. R.K. Puram Bridge.”

“What?”

“Oh Good Grief!” said Perl impatiently. “Didn’t your English teacher tell you about the other interrogative pronouns? There’s also Who, Why, When and Where. Anyhow, putting the whole thing in a concise nutshell, we’ve ringnapped your ring – your ashtray machine is in our custody. And you, rat, are in a fix.” 

There was a choking, gurgling sound.

“Perl? Is that you, Perl?”

“It’s your nemesis, kid. And in case your English teacher didn’t teach you words like that, a nemesis is not a nice thing to have.”

A furious cry – like that of a TV Baba who had nicked himself shaving – engulfed the speakerphone.

“It was you! You broke into my ashram last night and stole my ring!”

“The one you didn’t pay for,” said Perl frostily. “This is called repossession, kid. Not stealing. Banks and credit card companies do it all the time.”