When the movie ‘Enter the dragon ‘entered India, I also entered into the passion for Kung Fu and Karate like many at that time. I wanted to become another Bruce Lee. I tried many Kung Fu / Karate schools and I become a bruise lee instead of Bruce lee with lot of bruises all over my body. The Karate masters used my body as their testing ground to improve their skills. Then I decided that I should find a suitable master for me who will not inflict even a single injury on me. I tried, tried, tried and at last I could find one.
As you know, there are different schools of Karate. Chieu Chieu Karate, Bieu Bieu Karate, Ching chang Karate, Dissum Dissum Karate etc. Our master teaches a different form of Karate. That is called ‘Cockroach Karate’.
When I entered the room of my Karate master, I could see him keenly watching a closed glass jar. I could see that there was a cockroach inside the jar moving here and there. I approached him. Suddenly this cockroach stopped moving.
Karate master looked at me and smiled. ‘Look. How intelligent this cockroach is. On sensing your movement it stopped moving and taking position’. ‘What position Sir, it must be afraid of me ‘
‘What. Cockroach and fear. Never. Have you ever observed how cockroach reacts when you guys try to hit it with some poisonous gas or liquid? It never goes back. It comes straight towards you. That is called cockroach approach. That shows that cockroach is very courageous. Now look here. It is taking position.’
‘What position sir. It is flat in horizontal position.’
‘You fool. Bend down and look at the rods of steels hidden below its body.’
‘Sir I am not seeing any rods there - only the feeble legs of that cockroach.’
‘Again, you are mistaken. You need to see the technique being used by the cockroach. Not the feeble legs. Iron rod technique’.
‘OK Sir’. I started thinking about the zoology lab where I dissected the cockroach. Hope you would still remember the pungent smell of that dissection box and the cockroaches and frogs you dissected in the lab. It is all the more, very difficult with the cockroaches. You have to place it on the thin wooden board inside the water tray and slowly spread the legs and pin them on the board. In this process, possibilities are there that the legs would snatch away from the body and would start floating on water.
‘Be watchful. Look at the front legs now.’ The master roared like a lion. ‘These are the techniques I learned from cockroach. It bends the legs back and then push in front of the opponent.’ This is cockroach punch. And look at the backend leg. This is cockroach kick. ‘
‘Sir. Great Sir. I have never observed cockroach with this perspective. Oh. What a kick Sir. It seems that its legs are now going down inside its body. I could not see that Sir. Seems it is taking position Sir.’
I was very impatient. My teacher was very happy on seeing my enthusiasm. ‘Be calm, my dear child – oh sorry – my dear old man. ‘
‘Sir, this horizontal position, no- karate position is very frightening, Sir. It is going to do that cockroach approach again.
Suddenly the cockroach attacked the glass and fell down inside the jar. ‘Sir. I am saved. Had the jar not there, I would have been attacked. Sir. I am very much afraid.’ I said in feeble voice.
‘Don’t worry. I am here to protect you.’ My master’s protective voice.
‘Now you have learnt three techniques called cockroach techniques. Cockroach approach. Cockroach position, cockroach kick. ‘
“Have you seen the movies Spider man, Batman?’
‘I am planning to take a movie ‘Cockroach man’ and I am the hero there demonstrating the cockroach karate techniques. If you learn well, you could be one of the villains in that movie’.
‘Oh villain no Sir’. Then I pacified myself. After all today’s villain is tomorrow’s hero. Master interrupted my thought process. ‘Now go home and practise this. By the by, do you have cockroaches in your home. Or else I can donate few cockroaches to you'. ‘What?' I have heard about donation of money, food and even blood. But cockroach donation. Something new to me.
I politely refused.’No Sir, I have few cockroaches in my bathroom. ‘
‘Then you are a blessed man. Go to that bathroom. Learn few techniques from that cockroach and come back next week’
‘Sir I also take bath in that bathroom. Will it disturb the cockroaches there? Is it OK Sir’
‘No never, not in future. That bathroom is the Shaolin temple of cockroaches. It is your training ground. Don’t ever use that for taking bath. ‘
‘Then where should I go to take bath Sir. May I come to your house and use your bathroom’
‘What. You idiot. Even the beginner like you have few cockroaches in your bathroom. I am the master. I have plenty of cockroaches in my bathroom. I go to my neighbor’s house to take bath. You can also try that. But don’t use your bathroom which is a sacred place.’
‘OK sir’. I left him and reached home.
I entered the dragon- sorry -entered the bathroom. I was in a cockroach mood to learn the cockroach techniques.There, in that bathroom, I could see one cockroach, and my wife with a ‘hit spray tube ‘pointing towards it.
I said ‘Stop’
She said ‘Why ‘
I said ‘Cockroach ‘
She said ‘Yes ‘
I said ‘No’
It was like a Manirathnam movie ( in India) with fewer words embedded with lot of meaning.
Then I narrated my karate story to her.She looked at me angrily. She thundered ‘Me or Cockroach’.To be with my wife or To be with cockroach – that is the question now.