27 January, 2021

Lechery In The Time Of Gout: A Domestic Idyll

A left-behind bride fends off unwelcome attentions in a story within a story in Amitabha Bagchi’s latest

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Lechery In The Time Of Gout: A Domestic Idyll

As the years passed Mange Ram’s body became a large and lumpy mockery of what it had once been and his reputation as a lecher grew. His digestion worsened, his liver grew wea­ker and his knees began to give way. Eventually Lala Motichand decided that the obese libertine whose liver was keeping him in bed for longer and longer stretches of time, was a liability, and suggested to him that he should go back to his village and send a son to Delhi in his place. Having no option but to accept this suggestion Mange Ram returned home almost three decades after he had left it, his reputation as a champion wrestler of yore still alive in the winding conversations that took place amongst reti­rees every day in the village chaupal, conversations that ended with someone saying, ‘And look at him now, so fat he can’t get off his charpai to go to the fields in the morning.’

So it was that Omvati, Mange Ram’s younger son Parsadi’s wife, arrived as a teenaged bride in her husband’s village to find that her husband was to leave for Delhi ten...



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