Opening pages of AMRUTHA
In my culture, on Rockbottom Island, everyone knows that women are superior to men. My father was the exception.
He was convinced men are equal. That did not stop him from rendering the humble services expected of men. Like the ritual of restoring the bond with his wives after having performed his duty to the Queen of Heaven on the night of the full moon.
I remember vividly that last occasion before the great storm broke loose. I was twelve at the time, dark-skinned like my mother. She had given me the name ‘Gulika’, which means ‘ Pearl’.
My loving and ravishingly beautiful mother lay stretched out face down on the white sand of the beach. My father knelt on his knees beside her, leaning forwards. His hands gently stroked her back, sliding from the velvet skin of her shoulder blades, down the shallow dip of her waist to the fleshy mounds of her buttocks.
My mother groaned with pleasure.
I knelt opposite him on the other side of my mother. My father used the occasion to teach me how to give a massage. The three of us were naked. Gloriously naked and free.
“Always electrify the skin first”, he told me.
“With your fingertips.”
I looked attentively as he showed me.
“Apply a featherlike touch. Like this. Just skip tenderly over the skin till you feel it tingle.”
He stiffened his hands.
“And then you grope deeper.”
“Pressing the skin?”
“Yes, my girl. Mould the flesh under the skin. Knead the soft tissue.”
Moonlight shone all around us. It lit up the frothy crests of waves in the background, waves that crashed onto the beach with the regular plop and hiss of the surf. The moonlight cast an eerie lustre over the silvery sand, revealing the small black crabs that scurried backwards and forwards looking for scraps of food. The moonlight also bounced off my mother’s mahogany body, bathing her shiny skin with the soap of radiance.
My father said a prayer, for he was a deeply spiritual man.
may I touch you
as I touch your beautiful image.
Source of all love,
radiate from me
and kindle your fire through my hands!”
I will never forget magic moments like that.
My father stroked my mother’s back again, this time with his thumbs cautiously running down the knobly axle of her spine. He did it again to show me exactly how it was done. Then he kneaded the muscle of her buttocks. His hands moved to her legs. He caressed them one at a time, starting from the foot and the ankle, then rubbing the calf till it glowed, then fondling his way up her thighs.
My father turned her over.
There she lay, her moonlit hilly landscape before us, the rounded breasts, the swirling navel in the swell of her belly, the dark patch of hair underneath. Her eyes were closed but my father sensed what she expected him to do. He leant over and kissed her on her lips.
Paradise, you may think.
It was not for my father. He was driven by a sacred mission entrusted to him by the Pope himself, a mission that, he knew, could spell happiness or misery for millions of Chistians. Had he failed the momentous responsibility laid upon his shoulders?
For my father, the conscientious Catholic priest, the staunchly faithful and obedient church man, was a saint condemned to a fate stranger than that of Simeon the Stylite who stood on a pillar for 39 years.
Well, that’s the story I am going to tell.
First two pages from AMRUTHA. What the Pope's man found out about the Law of Nature, by John Wijngaards