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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Book Excerpt: Fairy Tales At Fifty

Leave me alone, Nirip echoed Shivani when Manasa urged that he look at some nubile girls from rich families. Look at them yourself, Ma, if it makes you happy. He really did make her wonder about his sex life.

That first involvement with Sulekha had been revolting enough and the others had not been much better. Manasa’d been particularly worried two years ago about that divorced, no, abandoned, Primary School teacher in Jaipur, practically a prostitute. How much money Nirip had given her. And then that matronly Indian Airlines stewardess had looked older than Manasa herself. Apparently, he paid them so much to compensate for the violence. Worse, according to Shaamo the ghoul, the women were probably a front because why did he, when in Delhi, wander at night with Vinayak in Paharganj, Connaught and Fatehpuri?

The nubile girls from rich families did interest Pashupati naturally. He’d fuck them first and let Nirip know which one he should marry. The Chanchals, who thought themselves to be an industrial family but were in fact a band of petty merchants in decline, rather keen to have the wealth of Pashupati Inc. buttress their fortunes, offered their daughter, actually their daughters, in marriage to his empire. Pashupati liked the look of them, fucked them and then agreed to accept the second as his daughter-in-law. Fuck off, said Nirip to the proposal. Pashupati liked his son’s spirit. At last someone with spunk in the family. His, naturally. Very well, Magnum then. She’d always wanted to be male, she could for one evening play bridegroom, where’s the problem.

The Chanchals were taken aback. They finally agreed only when they were reassured that Kamagni had been operated upon in Switzerland and had, in fact, six months previously, become a man; plus, in appreciation of their accommodating natures, the dowry for their daughter could be decreased to comprise just that plot of land outside Thana city where Pashupati was so keen to set up his second unit for manufacturing fake drugs.

Manasa-ma was shocked at her husband’s plans. In that case, if she agrees, let Kamagni actually be operated upon first. Pooh pooh, said Pashupati, so expensive, Switzerland so far away, why to mess around with the natural order of things.

And Kamagni? She was nervous, terrified, she found it insulting, she liked the notion of being the centre of attention, of dressing up in gold and silk in the humidity of August, she thought it an honour not to let Pashupati down.

The wedding was low-key and took place at Hotel Fariyas in Lonavla instead of Bombay. Manasa-ma could not attend because she was fasting and could not show her face to strangers, she said, before the new moon; she sent Sulekha as her stand-in to ensure that neither Pashupati nor Kamagni enjoyed the event even for one second. Nirip stayed away too; he became, just for two days, a sports freak and found that he couldn’t tear himself away from the National Powerlifting Championships at Jamshedpur.

The daughter-in-law, the first in the family, Gunjan by name, spent the second half of her first night with her father-in-law. She had gone to her husband, in wedding finery and all demure, found him drugged out and sprawled across the bed with his eyes yellow pinpoints of light in pupils black as kohl, frisky and in a most playful mood.

Tell you what, Gunjan, he said in his womanish voice, I’ll blindfold you first and then myself. Then you announce which one item of clothing you want to take off and if I approve you proceed. Then it’s my turn. And then yours again. And at the very end, I’ll give you in your hand my wedding present to stop your giggling.

When her blindfold was taken off, Gunjan held in her hand a huge phallus of hard blue rubber and saw, smiling at her with those yellow pinpoints of light in her pupils, a naked, muscular, hairy woman.

Oh.

Kamagni held Gunjan’s left hand and invited her to the bridal bed. Gunjan dithered. Kamagni lost her temper and began hitting Gunjan with her fists. Gunjan moaned in fear and, in panic, broke Kamagni’s nose with that fine phallus of Shiva. Kamagni writhed in and bloodied the bridal bed. Putting on her golden sari all anyhow, Gunjan rushed out of the wedding suite of the hotel.

I want to go home.

But this is your home, Pashupati had explained, beaming, and you are now with me, your father-in-law, your protector, your friend and your husband.

Sins go unpunished, evil blooms under the nose of God, where the fuck is He? wondered Nirip, sipping his single malt after popping one Dexedrine. Gone shagging, explained Vinayak. So should we.

Excerpted from Fairy Tales At Fifty (343 pages, 599), with permission from Fourth Estate.

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