‘You realize she’s a female?’ asked Lord Qubera, his long golden eyelashes fluttering on his fleshy cheeks as he blinked. I cringed, wishing I had sunglasses. As with the eyelashes, the rest of Qubera’s bulk was covered in gold bling. Rings, medallions, necklaces, bracelets, you name it, he was wearing it.
He looked like a walking, talking pawnshop.
Even the wave-like pattern etched on his chest, which was part of the binding ritual that let the daeva’s spirit inhabit the fat human body, was tattooed in gold.‘She’s the best, O Rider of Men,’ answered Grrhat, who stood before Qubera with his back towards me.He bowed deliberately so that his tight butt almost touched my nose.
He had changed into his favoured guise, a black muscular body and a regal silver-embroidered coat. I would have been aroused if I did not have other things on my mind. For one, my hands were tied behind my back with mayan rope to ensure I couldn’t mumble a mantra.
Then, I was still dressed in the tatters of what used to be a beautiful dress and, of course, my body smelt of yaksha poop. And, believe me, I could have ignored all those things but for the fact that I was in what could only be termed…
…a humongous jewellery box.
Qubera’s office had turned out to be a swanky newly constructed building behind Lodhi Gardens. But even the gold frills on all the windows and doors of the building couldn’t have prepared me for what the yaksha warriors, who escorted me in, called the ‘Grand Hall’ – a monstrosity of hundreds of richly engraved golden pillars, in the centre of which was a pond.
I wasn’t sure if the hall was underground or on one of the upper floors of the building because I hadn’t been able to sense the direction in which the elevator had gone, but about this there was no doubt: it was glaring gaudiness of gigantic proportions. We sat on a jewel-encrusted raft gently floating in the pool. Opulently dressed yakshas and yakshis – palm-sized forest creatures – fluttered all around, some singing, some dusting, some spraying perfume.