A vengeance of lentils

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Something from Gert world:

When they came into the meditation room Gandharva was already sitting on the dais,

his eyes closed and his hands on his thighs as always. But at each knee sat a small drum

covered in a ragged piece of skin, with strange symbols engraved on the sides.

They sat in silence until Gandharva summoned them, not with the usual tinkle of bells,

but with a soft drumming like a heart beat on his two little drums.

‘Amani,’ he said, instead of his usual “Shanti.” ‘Amani. Salahu.’

‘Amani. Salahu,’ they echoed, a little uncertainly.

‘Friends,’ said Gandharva, ‘my body has spoken to me in the past few days. It says it

has been asleep too long. It says, join in the dance of life.’

He rose to his feet and stepped down from the dais. His hands out at his sides, he

began to swoop around the room, sliding his bare feet along the wooden floor and rising

every now and then to tiptoes. Around the room he went, his eyes half-closed.

‘Join me, friends,’ he said, ‘let the body speak as it wills. Let it stride, leap, creep,

stamp, as it wills. Let it speak you, you and only you.’

One by one, all but Sylvia, they got to their feet. Larnhi began to slide her feet along

the floor, copying Gandharva, her hands held out at her sides, frowning with

concentration. Alex broke into a sort of cha cha, forward and back with her fingers

clicking. Freddie thought, stamp, yes, that’s what I feel like doing, and went stamping

round the room, moving her arms back and forth like a power-walker. Eric stood for a

minute in an agony of embarrassment then began to walk stiffly round the room, his

hands at his sides.

‘Sylvia,’ said Gandharva, still swooping, ‘join the dance of life.’

‘I don’t think I will, thank you,’ said Sylvia, speaking louder than necessary as if to

recall the others to their senses. Nobody took any notice. She stood up and clapped her

hands. ‘That’ll do,’ she called, ‘just go back to your places, please.’ But it was as if she

hadn’t spoken at all. It was as if they were all hypnotised. She could feel the dark forces

in the room pulling them round the room with their eyes half-shut. Gandharva stepped

back on to the dais and sat down again, beating his drum in a soft heartbeat, swaying, his

eyes closed. It broke her heart to see him in the demonic thrall.

She would not abandon him. She would sing one of her fine old hymns to drive Satan

out.

Sing my tongue, the glorious battle,

Sing the ending of the fray

she began, her voice wavering at first and then gaining strength.

A shadow fell across the sunny floor and she saw Pourgues in the doorway. He was

carrying a blue plastic bowl like the one she used for cleaning potatoes. Larnhi, Freddie

and Alex, absorbed in their dance, did not see him as he walked across the floor and

stepped on to the dais, holding his bowl carefully, but Eric stopped, his mouth falling

open and his eyebrows raised in astonishment. Pourgues approached Gandharva, who

was rapt in his drumming, and then he upended the blue bowl over his head. It fitted

snugly so that only Gandharva’s chin could be seen. Down the chin and white-clad

shoulders flowed a thick brown stream of something Eric recognized as lentil soup.

Pourgues smiled. Lightly, like the sprite he was, he left the room.

 

Image: Nick Kenrick www/flickr/com.photos

 

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