Friday, February 19, 2010

Party Spoiler

Recently, I was invited to a dinner which gave me considerable digestive problem on account of the presence of a person who was not exactly the type I would invite to an occasion where genteel people gather. He had strong opinion on every issue . And he was in his elements when he spoke of the religious profession. I’ve known him to be a convent basher never missing a chance to speak of nuns in a very abusive language. Not being a confrontationist, I’ve always avoided any argument on this issue. This time too, I sat through his tirade like every body else did. None of us was a match to his rhetorical powers which could convince one that between the lion and the lamb, the lamb is the predator.

Between the last time I saw him and last week, something world shaking had happened. The Book “Amen’ had come out, and this man shook and shivered like an angry prophet before an audience which apparently, was getting embarrassed by the vehemence with which obscenities flowed from his lips drawn back in an ugly sneer. He reminded me of the hyena, that gluttonous, scavenger predator with its phenomenal digestive power which gorges on not only every part of every smaller animal which can’t stand up it, but also on carrion. It would be a disservice to that king of the animal kingdom to use the lion metaphor, for our protagonist did not have the dignity with which the king of the forest executed his role as the predator that Goddess Nature has endowed on him.

Our man who had been waiting for a chance to launch his invective that could now be peppered with AMEN,got it when someone mentioned the dress code in the college his daughter went to. Our man started. One or two who tried to counter him were snubbed into silence. Others who tried to change the subject failed in their effort. Our man as unstoppable. He pounced on the nuns, tore them to pieces, snapping his head back to rip chunks of flesh off the carcass, shaking his head like we see the hyenas do in the discovery channel, licking the blood covered cadaverous mouth drawn back viciously in a frighteningly unholy glee.

The host was getting embarrassed. He looked helplessly around for someone who cold shoot this “donkey leopard” as hyena is called in Malayalam. The book AMEN had put a vulgar tool into the hands of this person who could hate so intensely. The rhetoric was causing a lot of distress among the guests who had come to spend a relaxed dinner after a hard day’s work.

And then a chit of a girl – a twelfth standard girl – stepped in. She lived in the same apartment as our protagonist.

“Uncle”, she cut in when he stopped to catch his breath, “can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead and ask all you want”, said the “uncle’, apparently disappointed that the question did not come from someone who was older and was known to be a champions of the convent culture.

“Uncle, if you hate the nuns so much, why did you send all your four daughters to convent schools? And why did you come to my father a few months back asking him to get admission for your son’s daughter in the ________ Convent?”

The man was stumped. His jaw dropped, with blood still dripping off his mouth. The guests exploded into a delighted laughter, with some of them challenging him with a come come, answer her. Someone even slapped the young girl on her back approvingly.

Never have I taken so much delight in seeing the discomfiture of a fellow human being.


  1. In my opinion,a sensitive issue concerning religion should never be discussed in public.

  2. pinne kazhutha puli enthu cheythu?

    your narration is so real, as always, that I could visulaise the whole scene.


  3. But then,why did u not respond to his rhetoric, all the while listening,and letting him entertain the crowd? It is this type of inertia and non responsiveness,which is typical of the malayali clan,that lets them walk away,after their venomous acts.If anyone in the crowd had shown the decency to open their mouth,this man couldnot be happy about what he had started.But then,our parties are warmed up by gossips and nothing else.
    I had read this 'Amen' just recently and didnt find anything worth commenting on that book.It is not even worth reading.It is trash,but then again,I had to read it to know it was trash.Half way through, I felt like throwing it in trash,but for the fact that I paid for it.It is just the lamenatation of a middle aged spinster who was thrown out of her job when she developed some psychiatric problems,when the authorities felt she was unsuitable for the job. I dont know why it took that nun this many years to realise all the problems with the system in their community.She took all the advantages of them,got educated by them,and just smoothly walked in to the job of a college lecteurer and finally became the principal of a major catholic College,all because she was a nun.No one coerced her in to anything.She willingly co operated with someone who wanted to experiment with her,and finally took the turn around to pour venom on to the same hands that fed her.
    I am happy that at least the girl had the audacity to say something.Every dog can bark,only some bite.Well, if u cant stop them biting,you can pull out their teeth.The girl just did that.

  4. lol!! oh i have seen such situations plenty of times..there are some instances when you have to show the man his place..that school girl is brilliant!!

  5. What a hypocrite! "Kazhuta pulli" was a good metaphor to describe him. Nice post :)

  6. Clear exhibition of feelings through words, you've described him in a well-proportioned manner.

    Yes, I could really get a feel of this person through your words. Pretty nauseating company surely, and the young girl really needs a pat on her back for dropping him like third period French. Well done miss! :)

  7. practice what you preach...maybe he has never heard that...i wonder what is home is like!

  8. Smart kid! Only children can handle such people. They have a way of hitting the bull's-eye with their uninhibited directness, isn't it?

  9. Well, sending his daughters to a nun-run school does not strip him of his rights to criticize nuns. He may have still been a jerk going by your description, but that's a different thing altogether from his sending his girls to a convent run school.

  10. Wow- I loved your description and especially your way of alluding to the animal kingdom. I could SEE the man and all his attacks etc. The young girl was very wise in her question- and I felt like standing up at my computer and applauding her!!

  11. How well you have illustrated the character of the man! a true English guru you are :) and needless to say, such a man would have easily mauled Mother Theresa or even Mother Mary while the genteel folks looked on…

    As for Sister Jesme, on whom you have not formed an opinion yourself, I do not think it was her intention to paint the Nuns in a bad light. Let me confess that I am yet to read the book Amen but I have heard her speak and nowhere has she belittled the nuns or the concept of nun hood. But Jesme did invoke much curiosity in me since I felt that to do what Jesme did would require a lot of thinking and courage. I myself studied in a convent school and had the opportunity to see the nuns in action. There were good nuns and the bad nuns and overall they have done a pretty good job in a man’s world. But to deny that all is not well within the Church (be it any denomination) would be very unfair. The sexual exploits may have caught the eyes of many but Sister Jesme was also pointing out much more in her book. Today when hordes are leaving the mainstream churches and when Churches are talking about cooperation amongst themselves due to dwindling numbers, I think Sister Jesme did what she ought to do. She may never be called a saint but her point was noted. If the Catholic Church has Jose Anathanam ( he does make a lot of sense though) the rest have Thankus and his likes who continue to attract numbers and revenues… The Catholic Church as innovative as ever was quick to conduct a survey among the nuns.. it was the same way when in yesteryears they started the charismatic movement when there was mass migration to Penthecostal beliefs.

    The Church may never admit, but is it not silly to think that Sister Jesme had psychiatric problems, if the Church let her handle such a prestigious college… her protests were made over the years and not one fine morning. I think it might have been the courage and confidence that she gained after managing the college and her love for her Church that prompted her to write such a book.

    The Orthodox Church has now a priest who was wanted for murder, yet he was sent on a tour of the Gulf (did give a message here in the Kuwait Church too). If Churches fails to take criticism constructively they shall never grow spiritually and shall make the faithful a confused lot. But then sometimes I do wonder if Christ has disappeared entirely from the scene….


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