Lal Salam meaning Red Salute is a communist greeting used by the Communists of Kerala. Comrade Kuttapan is an ordinary Joe, a lower cadre party worker. All day long apart from party work and being a Red Guard (a volunteer guard) he is unemployed. He is also sex starved because he is being supported by his wife who works in affluent Kuwait in the Middle East and who rarely comes home. Kuttapan’s educational qualifications are not too impressive. He is a tenth grade drop out. The funny thing about Comrade Kuttapan is he is ambivalent about his ideological position and that being a die hard orthodox Christian and also in no lesser hide, a conscientious Kerala Communist.
Comrade Kuttapan’s room is surrounded by posts of Communist stalwarts like Marx, Engels, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Cheguvera, EMS and many others. Early morning he drinks a cup of strong black coffee and smokes Charminar the strongest and cheapest brand of cigarettes. After bath, he comes to the photos surrounding his wall and lights incense on Communist idols and in the same vein also lights incense to the idol of Mother May hanging on the wall along with Communist party leaders. Comrade gulps many mugs of black coffee prepared by his daughter who is also a nursing student.
By the time it is morning and all the birds chattering on the road. Comrade Kuttapan is bicycling to the Communist Local Committee office. Comrade Kuttapan reads only the official newspaper of the party: The Martyr. The Martyr to his satisfaction carries news tinged with bias to towards leftist ideology. In the international section it is written President Barrack Obama has ideological affinity for Communism that is why he has opened the doors of America to Cuba for establishing diplomatic relations and also has removed travel restrictions for Americans wanting to go to Cuba. He wonders in his mind: Is Obama planning to make America into a Cuba? He giggles at this crazy thought. For Comrade Kuttapan, Cuba is the ideal country which has nurtured staunch Communist values. Comrade Kuttapan feels disheartened about China which has deviated from Maoist ideals to market friendly capitalism while retaining Communism as a name sake label. Comrade Kuttapan labels Michael Gorbachev who with policies of glasnost and perestroika destructed USSR and made it a debris Soviet Union of market economics. Yes Gorbachev was a CIA spy, a betrayer who put tons of dollars into Swizz Banks and there goes his zany surmises.
For Comrade Kuttapan, international news on Communism comes first and then National news, State news and local news. Kuttapan is deeply worried about national politics which has become Hindu fascist in its ideological agenda. Kuttapan somehow irrationally believes in his heart that one day India will become a Communist Nation. He ridicules himself again and contradicts himself because he knows that Communism is confined to certain pockets of India. The leftist newspaper glares about the Congress govt. of Kerala stinking with scams. Yes mutters Kuttapan: ‘corruptions are mounting one by one and soon us as an opposition party will make inroads of Communist victory next elections’.
The irony about Comrade Kuttapan is that he does not even raise his little finger on local issues. In his local area committee office he reads the memorandum of poor villagers who lack drinking water. After they go he quietly crumples the memorandum into the dust bin. Again Comrade Kuttapan is least concerned about the menace of stray dogs. Comrade Kuttapan does not even lend an ear to the people, bar employees who lost their job due to the closing of bars (alcohol) in four star, three star and two star hotels. Comrade Kuttapan’s Communist vision is global in nature and he is solely concerned about Cuba and pays only lip service towards local issues.
While cycling back home when the sun has slipped into pale glimmer of light, Comrade Kuttapan has to go through a narrow footpath barely enough for a person to walk. Suddenly to his surprise four thugs of a rival party: The Saffron Brigade push him from his bicycle and stab him many times and leave him to bleed to death.
Next day: The Martyr blares: Comrade Kuttapan Martyred. Kuttpan stabbed to death by miscreants of a communal party: The Saffron Brigade.