Partridge India Author| Matilda Pinto, Fisticuffs of the Souls
Partridge India introduces Matilda Pinto, author of Fisticuffs of the Souls
About Your Book and Yourself
Fisticuff of the Souls is a fictional novel based on my premise that man dies, but not his soul, no matter what his transgressions in life amount to. Salvation is the entitlement of the soul. But there is a catch. The soul must earn its amnesty by acknowledging its peccadillos of its volition, with no coercion from angels or allies. It could take eons for some of the souls to swallow pride, to flash a smile, to concede wrongdoing and to opt for salvation above self. …
The two women with chutzpa, Teru and Awra, show the lesser mortals in limbo how the former does it and the latter is likely to attempt it.
Who is the author “behind” the book?
I was baptized Josephine Matilda Philomena. That’s a mouth full of names. So, I’ve settled down for my middle name, Matilda which means the one with strength and might. My last name too is beautiful. It means the affectionate one.
For the better part of my life I’ve been a Professor at an undergraduate college. But that’s only my profession. Who then am I? The answer lies somewhere in between. As a teacher, I will let my work and students speak for me. Personally, teaching is an inebriating experience. So much so, I played many a role on the dais from Malvolio to Macbeth to the accompaniment of remote hisses, mistaken for applause from my audience. Only and only when I had finished declaiming, “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” did I put my head down, emotionally spent to see a seven-foot creature slither out from under the dais. He had enough of my dramata, I told myself later. So much for being a passionate teacher.
As a mortal, I can weep with the weeping, laugh with the laughing, and my sense of humour seldom shows up, in small streaks. I’m not a voracious reader, but can’t resist an edifying book. The last book I read was Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Ultimate Happiness. Next on my list is Genes IX by Benjamin Lewin.
My grandchildren have nicknamed me Dory. You guessed right. I’m forgetful to the extent of keeping an autorickshaw driver waiting for over an hour at my door, having gone in to fetch change. I value quiet as in nature and water soothes me. I keep away from tirades and political dissensions. On vacations, I don’t miss an opportunity to attend services in the temples, orthodox churches, synagogues and mosques. To look for God? Have you found him? I also visit markets to immerse myself in the economy and the culture of the place. I’m next to impossible when it comes to the food- culture and conventions of folks around. Naturally, these themes echo throughout the novel, making the narrative an invitation to a food fest, a sensual treat.
There is a song which claims, ‘If You Find a Mathilda, Never Let Her Go.’ Yes, I’m unique as in seeing immense possibilities in a ‘Yes’ whether it is a challenge or a proposition; as a teacher tucking up her sari to wash the messy dog poop in a class room which everyone including the attendant were running away from or as in covering a sozzled woman, lying naked in a bus stop to the amusement of the auto drivers feasting on her vulnerability. Besides, I’ve been a member of the International Toastmasters Association, which nurtures communication and leadership skills. I’m a recipient of the Distinguished Toastmasters Award, being the first lady to receive it in the whole of India and Sri Lanka, of the then District 92, in 2007. Matilda therefore I am.
Partridge India will return with Matilda Pinto in Part 2.