The (very) strange case of Karadahalli Krishnappa

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: It was in the early 1980s. Doordarshan was slowly making its existence known to the whole of India. The television set was the talking point in many a home. And the model you possessed was the subject of much analysis and envy, if not an indicator of your status.

It was in such times that Karadahalli Krishnappa went on to become a famous man in his village! Especially the day his wife handed him a chit of paper with the grocery list on it. 

Among the many items on the list was a novelty. Something that the wife had seen being regularly advertised on their television. Black and white to be sure.

Krishnappa dutifully picked up a bottle. 

The next day, soon after his bath, Krishnappa dressed up well to attend a function in the neighbouring village. And just before he bade goodbye to his wife, she affectionately smeared a lotion on her husband’s head for the ‘crop’ to set well. And herein hangs a tale!

Krishnappa seemed adequately groomed for the occasion and kick-started his motorbike. No sooner had he slipped into top gear than it began to drizzle. Krishnappa rode on nevertheless.

A little while into the journey, the drizzle turned into a slight shower. And his head began to get wet. Krishnappa nonchalantly wiped off the first few drops of water. He sensed that his fingers were unusually sticky. Even that didn’t deter him from riding on.

As he went on his way, the rain began to intensify. And so did the stickiness on his head. The lotion had begun to take full effect.

Eventually the rain stopped. But the frothing of his head didn’t. Krishnappa did not know what was happening to his hair. He decided to wash off the lotion at the Visvesvaraya Canal flowing nearby.

As he braked to a halt and got off the bike, he couldn’t wait to rinse his head in water. Grumbling, muttering and cursing his wife under his breath for having applied ‘some’ lotion on his head and spoiling his day, Krishnappa began to wash.

His friend Tejasvi, who was passing by, asked him why he was washing his hair so furiously, especially with his shirt on. Krishnappa could only say that the hair lotion that his wife applied just before he left the house that morning had turned into a fizzy, bubble-filled froth!

The friend knew what it was. He laughed in convulsive bursts and went his way.

Much water has flowed down the same canal where Krishnappa washed his hair. He is into politics now. And every time there is a local election, the placards, banners and posters of his campaign obviously have his name displayed in bold. But with ‘Shampoo’ beside his name!

Just that voters can instantly identify him. And also perhaps in remembrance of the day when Karadahalli Krishnappa became ‘Shampoo Krishnappa’ for ever!

ps: Karadahalli is in Mandya district. And ‘Shampoo’ Krishnappa lives on to fight another election! 

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