This does have the promise to turn out into a humdinger of a tale. Oh wait! What are you asking me? That the title has confused you? Now you are not at all sure in which European language would this story be narrated, is that it?
Please don’t worry. The narrative is neither in French nor German or any other European language that uses ‘de’. It is in English, yes, the Queen’s English at that. Now it may not be exactly as how Queen Victoria used it in her time or how Queen Elizabeth uses it now. It shall be more in line with how her subjects of England and the Commonwealth of the present day mutilate it indiscriminately. How does that matter??? So long as it is understood, it’s okay no, right? That is what languages are for after all; a means of effective communication, a common tongue that is understood clearly. I was just trying out a new accent and that caused all this confusion.
Do I go on like this always… on and on and on all the time? Not really, it just so happens that I am absolutely free now, free of any and every encumbrance. Yes, I was weighed down and encumbered earlier with a significant weight on my shoulders that was quite heavy. It is gone now. How? Well aren’t you the impatient one, what is your hurry? Relax, sit back and allow me the indulgence of a ramble. There are no rules against rambling as yet. Ohhh … OK Do you want me to start my story in the same manner in which you are used to reading stories. OK…here goes…like you want it.
Once upon a time in a big city, long, long ago, there was I who had made all the preparations to tell a story and then the urge to inanely ramble overpowered me. Forget ittttt…these standard formats are not my types, also let me tell you the story in the same weird, disorderly manner that I experienced it; much like that paper kite which has broken away from its string and is being tossed about directionless in the blowing wind.
Was it a hangover that was playing with his imagination now? Yes, the single malt consumed last night had been quite exquisite. Yet he had partaken of it in his usual measured quantity, nothing that was hangover worthy. When he looked back into the mirror again, it still was Ravana on the musical instrument but also one more face joined his now. It was his pal Raghu. He looked back to see whether Raghu had entered the bathroom but no, nobody was there and how could Raghu have been physically present here? He had died four years ago.
Kush and Raghu were the best of pals since childhood. Once in a game where kids make promises, they too had spit on their palms and shook hands in a pact that they would always be there for each other when needed. Raghu’s dying had not disturbed this arrangement one bit. He visited when Kush thought about him and they communed with each other. Their understanding between each other being so deep that oftentimes they did not even need or use words.
The teacher had looked at the class before he started and said, both of them have answered Vibhishana . The class erupted into a burst of delighted scoffing laughter, a sound that one hears from a crowd relieved to have been all correctly bunched together and not singled out for a rebuke or an admonition separately. Different eyes of the class looked at him with different emotions, fascination in some, scorn in most, disgust and disagreement in a few and a lesser few even had anger writ on their faces at this affront served on the righteous Vibhishana, a character from one of the two most popular epics of India, by one of them with supreme conviction.
Raghu's elaboration began with a question. “Who is Vibhishana?” He asked looking at the teacher and the class. “A side-kick” he said with utter disdain. He is a character who for 98% of the time is not even in the epic, written by Valmiki. Just imagine said he now, looking at the class, eyes blazing “had the Ramayana been a movie Vibhishana is the character with absolutely the minimum footage.” The interest shown by the teacher allowed him to express without interruption.
He again asked a question, “What must have all this achieving by Ravana done to the mind of Vibhishana, has anyone thought about it?” He continued after a pause, “Vibhishana the non-entity must have burned inside looking at his talented siblings, Kubera, Kumbhakarna , Shoorpanakha and especially Ravana.
This differential status of talent and ability was bound to create a feeling of inadequacy within a person, especially when you are the fruit from the same tree. Why have they been blessed like so and why not me? This was Vibhishana’s dominant refrain, growing up, ignoring the fact that Ravana never had things easy for himself either. He surmounted every obstacle in his path, worked very hard at mastering his skills of war, nobility, mastering the art of flight and even the Veena. He did not come blessed at birth with these skills but he gathered them, nurtured them and grew them. And then Ravana took charge of Lanka and Vibhishana seethed inside that he too was entitled to Ravana’s talents and the throne of Lanka. Why, because he too was the son of Vishrawas and Kaikesi.
Kush remembered clapping on hearing this story, the likes of it which not even Valmiki had stated so clearly with a perspective so different. Raghu had smiled at me then like he was doing now and I had gone over and shaken hands with him. From that moment on we were inseparable. I couldn’t have said the same thing just as beautifully.
Let us start with the Vibhishana syndrome. You saw Ravana today in the mirror. You have been projected as the villain of the piece but consciously examine the fact that are you really the villain here? Who was envious of Ravana? His youngest sibling. That is exactly what is happening here. Vibhishana before leaving the court of Lanka during Rama’s siege must have given a sanctimonious speech to his far more just, capable and talented elder. I am sure Valmiki’s vocabulary was limited and constrained. It may have been richer when he had been n led a fisherman's life than after he became a sage. He could never use real profanity while he was penning his first book in his sage avatar, but had it been the times of today, Valmiki would have used the exact words she spoke, on the mouth of Vibhishana filled with the same venomous righteousness and expletives. Vibhishana was shit scared and when a person who is in a delusion that he is righteous and entitled to all the royal things that Ravana seems to possess he becomes vicious. All sanctimonious schmucks when provoked are like so, absolutely greedy, supremely secure in their addled minds that they are righteous and attack the quietly able. That is what happened here as well. You not reacting to that tirade would have not just emboldened her but given her a sense of correctness and momentary victory. At the end of the day what is Vibhishana known as or for; The betrayal of all things worthy and worthwhile. His value system never was the value system of Ravana. This is precisely what shall happen here. Now bear in mind one thing that they are afraid of you and hence do this, not because of anything else but the fact is unlike Vibhishana who knew the nectar was in Ravana’s navel. Your sister does not know where your nectar is? While you do see Ravana in the mirror, you never ever see Ravana dead because he shall not die in our epic.
These are some of the dots of your story my friend, will you now be able to now join them? Each one is a distinctly separate dot and there are quite a few of them. You thought it was just the one done dot, greed. You were angry with the displayed greed and it being projected as if you are the one wanting it all. The dot’s are many in reality, what you are up against is a medley of issues; a veritable bhelpuri of misplaced values, like entitlement, robbery, misogyny, avarice or greed, hate, spite, guilt, sly manipulations, blatant untruths and above all the absolute unfairness of it all.It is very complex this tug of war because the individual motivations also are at cross-purposes with one another. You are the symbolic target for this game of darts. Since they obviously can't throw them at one another they have chosen the rather far residing fall guy.
Remember my friend, this too shall pass. You shall overcome.
An old man walking by on the street below see's Kush standing alone on a higher floor smoking calmly, his eyes glowing with a fierce light of a fight in them. He gets startled by this smouldering quiet look and almost stumbles. Looking up again, the man also see's him in conversation with someone standing alongside and is truly puzzled that he does not see anyone.