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.