Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Inam Hussain Mullick writes


Querita learnt her tricks early. Those young girls in school had been bustling over a deck of cards. She had gone home and ordered a set for herself and some books. She was the private developer sort, and by the time she reached forty, she could perform predictions and work talismans that made men make a sizeable fortune or win lovely wives.

When Odea visited her lair for the first time, Querita recognized in her the air of very troubled passions, not uncommon in young girls. But there were also the broken accents of depression and ferociousness which added to the girl’s sensual charm - manifestations of corporeal appeal are complex; but as a tarot reader, it was her duty to improve the girl’s spirits.

The cards revealed the prominence of an awkward, psychopathic boy. Not very surprised, Querita enquired about Odea’s young swain. The brat was a bit of a trickster in terms of romance. Moreover, he sold knives, axes and occasionally the rural shotgun. The classicality of the affair entertained Querita – her querent the young blameless girl in school shirt, sweaty from running; and her lover the perennial bad juvenile.  She offered the girl great womanly wisdom on how to go about the affair, how to keep it alive amongst the cramps of misgivings.

When Odea came back after a week, she was livelier; and their feminine rapport, Querita realized, had begun to harvest the solid material of trust. She gave the girl a vial of magical perfume and some protective salt. Thought-daemons are to be kept away.

Happiness, however, was fleeting. Odea came back two days later, saying that the boy had developed a liver disease, and the clinician had unhesitantly attributed it to his unhealthy living. He had behaved rashly with her, negated her maternal gestures, and even called home a harlot from the neighbourhood.

The Death card appeared reverse in the reading. Intuitively, Querita argued with her girl about her future stratagem for a successful life. She urged the girl to open herself to newer changes, in her romantic life as well as in her physical space.  She must part with the boy, for her own wellbeing. After a few faint and muddled denials, the girl agreed. Next month, Odea left for the larger city.

One afternoon, The Poet, Willful And Capricious Lord of All Hierarchies, invaded her trance and told her, “Querita, remember Odea? And her boy who sold knives? O how foolish you were to ask her to leave! O what awful tragedies you create by your little ambitions of womanly glory and wisdom!”

Facing such admonitions from The Poet, who wasn’t trustworthy and relied often on crude antics, Querita reached for her Pagan crucifix and broke her trance. She chose to take a sacred shower and preserved the meditations for night time.

Odea prospered in the city, later went to another one, found a more steadfast beau. She became a secretary, and was celebrated amongst her friends as a cruel woman. She received attention from a film company as well, its writer desiring to exploit, with a good heart, the romantic meta-theatrical connotations of her name.  Such was her commercial haste that when one of her cousins briefly mentioned to her in a letter that her former rascal boyfriend had been caught in a case of fraudery and grievous assault and died while in jail, she whispered quickly to herself that she wasn’t really guilty and finished her dinner. Later, she said a sorrowful prayer for his soul and wept a little. Next morning, she telephoned Querita to verify the facts of the death. The boy had swindled his slumbering aunt and beaten her mercilessly when she tried to raise alarm.

That evening, urged by her own gloom and cravings, Querita evoked Hadad, the bull, and submitted before the god’s abundant abilities. It rained and thundered temperately all through the night; at dawn, the town felt like a bird, damp and floating over a field.

1 comment:

  1. To the Greek and Romans, odea were roofed buildings for musical and poetic performances. Today an odeum (or odeon) is a hall, theater, or other structure for musical or dramatic performances.


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