• ~ Mark Twain

    ~ Mark Twain

    "Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it."
  • luv 3

    Ma Luvoozia- Part III

    Continued from Part-II

    Luvoozia loved to publicly remember her dead husband. Panditji – she spoke the word the way a veteran teller of children’s tales utters the name of a demon who eats people alive, without adding even the essential spices. The uttering, meant to awe the listener, tended to suspend the belief that husbands are human and animal. ‘If Panditji were living today, he would…’ The dead man thus got recycled into a placeholder for the unthinkable and received, too, some provisional immortality.

    Did I tell you how Luvoozia picked up that fabulous name? I should have told. At the beginning. After all, I am writing a tribute to her spirit. I don’t mean she is no more. She is very much there, in a way of being that is rather more, far more than it ever was before. She flourishes. And I can say, on authority of eye witnesses, that her flesh also prospers. She looks like a much bigger old almirah now than she did ten years ago. A rectangular, stuffed up thing, with many more silver fish in the hair, and very termite-ridden. Children, it is said, smell rotting timber in her presence. They are pure souls, you know. They can smell what old noses cannot.

    So how did Luvoozia get to be called Luvoozia? A group of her clients from Mumbai – they like to be called bhaktas, devotees – put it into her head that she needed to use new management and communication techniques for the greater benefit of humankind. They begged her to organize her spiritual empire efficiently and productively so that it would embrace all waiting, hungering souls. ‘Leave nuts and bolts to us, Ma. Nothing works without public relations these days. We’ll hire the best corporate communicators,’ the loudest mouth chanted in Ma-bhakti.

    A man who must have got a red-chilly taste for irony offered to undertake her image makeover. He knew she had nothing solid to offer in an increasingly cut-throat market of spiritual wares. She could not discourse on spiritual matters. She had acquired no use of enlightened reason. She possessed only one thing that could be put to some use – her flesh-and-bone womanhood. Since she was no longer young, this in her case would make business sense only as motherhood.

    The man scripted a fine dream.

    ‘You know, Ma, I saw you in a dream. You sat immovable, like a mountain. Your body shone, luminescent and crystalline. So deep was your trance you seemed to have left mortal breathing behind. In place of hair, trees and creepers grew all over your Ma-body. And then what do I see? Your body that had become rock is erupting into pearls. Silver, chaste-white pearls, soft and semi-liquid like nascent stars, are oozing from every pore… Waking up from the vision, I found myself swimming in oceans of love. I knew the Divine Mother had revealed Herself to me. I knew She had pointed to Her incarnation… When feminism has lost its way and patriarchal adharma reached its zenith, God has chosen to self-manifest as Mother. As Ma Luvoozia. Let me go and proclaim to the world, Ma, that Ma Luvoozia brings motherly love to all thirsting seekers, to every human being, born or yet to be born. You, Ma, ooze love that drowns out all evil.’

    Prompted by confidence in her divinely ordained destiny, Panditji’s widow succumbed to the reported vision and began to actively connive in its elaboration. Vanity did not allow her to suspect for a moment that she had been tricked. She persuaded herself that she had relinquished her old self like a mask in a dream, that it was a total makeover, a transfiguration. That nothing of her old mortal self remained except as an illusion to be dimly remembered with the Ma’s indulgent smile.

    But bodies have memories. Gestures and postures do not easily unlearn histories.

    (To be continued…)

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    Rajesh Sharma

    Prof Rajesh Sharma teaches literature, culture and theory in the Department of English, Punjabi University, Patiala
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