Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Amuse-Biatch Heterosexual Tuesday: Nips and Buds, or Nipping in the Buds: A Tribute to Padma Lakshmi

"Padma…is sulking magnificently. (She…, like all fish-lovers, dislikes other people knowing anything she doesn’t. Padma: strong, jolly, a consolation for my last days. But definitely a bitch-in-the-manger.)…. ‘But what is so precious,’ Padma demands, her right hand slicing the air updownup in exasperation, ‘to need all this writing-shiting?’….Poor Padma. Things are always getting her goat. Perhaps even her name: understandably enough, since her mother told her, when she was only small, that she had been named after the lotus goddess, whose most common appellation amongst village folk is ‘The One Who Possesses Dung.’


[P]erhaps our Padma will be useful, because it’s impossible to stop her being a critic. She is particularly angry with my remarks about her name. ‘What do you know, city boy?’ she cried—hand slicing the air. ‘In my village there is no shame in being named for the Dung Goddess. Write at once that you are wrong, completely.’ In accordance with my lotus’s wishes, I insert, forthwith, a brief paean to Dung.

Dung, that fertilizes and causes the crops to grow! Dung, which is patted into thin chapati-like cakes when still fresh and moist, and is sold to the village builders, who use it to secure and strengthen the walls of kachcha buildings made of mud! Dung, whose arrival from the nether end of cattle goes a long way towards explaining their divine and sacred status! Oh, yes, I was wrong, I admit I was prejudiced, no doubt because its unfortunate odours do have a way of offending my sensitive nose—how wonderful, how ineffably lovely it must be to be named for the Purveyor of Dung!"

From pages 26 and 36 of the Everyman’s Library edition of Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children, published 18 years before Sir Salman met the future Lady Rushdie in, of all places, Liberty Island. Oh the prophecies of art, possums!

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