Ma Luvoozia – Part I
Luvoozia keeps short hair and wears carrot-red robes. Those who have known her since she married into this refugee settlement across the railway lines recall her earlier names in whispers. They say she came from a family of chhuri-flashing thugs. An astrologer’s roving eye fell on her, and she stole her way into his black heart and ochre bed. Soon she had bullied him into matrimony.
He died in his forties, leaving his fortune and fortune-telling to her. Respectable people of the town attended the funeral. There were so many that a journalist even noted that the town had never before seen so much respectability in one place. They condoled to each other the man’s passing away and pitied his small frame for having been home to so many afflictions. They praised his keenness for contracting the ailments he could not inherit. And they bowed their heads in veneration before the great adventure of his life in which a spiritual quest had been matched by no less ardent physical pursuits.
Luvoozia’s husband had been a star fortune-teller. Many Hindi film stars of the 60s and 70s orbited around him. There were some lesser flying rocks too, prosaically known as politicians and bureaucrats. Judges and cricketers would also be sighted outside his home which had been partially converted into a temple because it functioned as his business headquarters. Most of his clients were, however, businessmen who invariably had bored, pious wives. Can you guess why he attracted so many businessmen and of what kind? They would not admit this but they all were the kind who underrate their own cleverness and overrate their wives’. Besides, they liked to ascribe their prosperity to fortune’s pleasure and the fortune-teller’s tips.
When Luvoozia became a widow, she had two sweet kids, a boy and a girl. The boy resembled almost stroke for stroke his father’s picture which was displayed for the visitors’ last respects on the day the mourning rites ended. The picture showed a forehead trying to escape a forest of thinning hair. The shoulders were fixed higher than in a normal human skeleton and somehow suggested evolutionary regression. The eyes climbed towards each other and, consequently, drooped on the outside. Very thick lips hid rather large, slightly protruding teeth.
As the boy grew up, the only resemblance that remained was physical. He neither had his father’s vile arrogance, nor his crooked tongue, nor his overblown ambition. He probably hated to swindle people in the name of future. So he chose to become a professional business manager, and left home to breathe some air.
(To be continued)
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