Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Is Love a Swan or Crow? - Part I



Naran
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Where am I? And where is my Shoba? I don’t feel the earth here. The aroma that wafts through this goddamned place is good to smell, but not what I’m accustomed to. I don’t see my Shoba around here. Where are you, Shoba? Oh… this bloody, cavern-like place, it has no sky above. Shoba, don’t get alarmed on my missing. I don’t know where I am? I would soon come and hug you, my love.

[Naran now hears footsteps. Suddenly, a man with a king’s fatigue appears before him from nowhere. Twirling his larger than life mustache, he walks over to Naran, followed by a diminutive figure, which, to Naran’s surprise, wears window blinds for a dress.]

Naran
Are you cine artists? Is any film shooting going around here? [Giggles]. With all your king’s fatigues, you only look like a court jester. [Naran points his finger at the big mustached man and laughs again]

King
Oh, cut that joke, Naran. Don’t you know whom you are talking to? This is my Kingdom and I’m the King here.

Naran
Ha…ha [he laughs again]. A king without people; a kingdom like a cavern.

King
I say stop laughing, Naran. [He growls and twirls his mustache again.]

Naran
 Cool, jester, cool! Tell me, why you kidnapped me from my habitat, from my Shoba whom I’m going to marry soon. You say that you are a king. Don’t you know it is unbecoming of a king to separate lovers?

King
Love! What’s it? I’m sorry I don’t understand the language of earthworms. By the way, do you and your Shoba love each other so deeply… so blindly? Is yours a divine love?

Naran
 Yeah. We love each other head over heels. She has been my neighbor long. And we have grown to together love each other. Even the wind that blows through our village always carries the smell of our love. When Shoba’s father refused to buy our love, you know what Shoba did. The poor girl cut her wrist and tried to kill herself that way. Seeing her daughter in a pool of blood, Shoba’s father agreed to our marriage. We have only a few days for our wedding. But, before that, you wretch, you kidnapped me all of a sudden and stopped my marriage … my fulfillment of love.

King
So, you mean to say that your love is so deep that you would both die if you are separated.

Naran
Yes, of course. For, my Shoba loves every particle of my body and soul. She loves my looks, smiles, the way I speak, and even every strand of my hair. My sudden disappearance from home may rattle her, and she may even commit suicide.

King
Naran, don’t you have a brother. Do you love him as much as you love Shoba?

Naran
Yes, very much. My brother and I are like two bodies, but one soul. We are like the legendary Ram and Lakshman. I love him as much as I love my Shoba. He too, loves me and respects my words. When Shoba’s father spoke ill of me after smelling our love, my brother got snarled and attempted to stab him with a knife. My brother would do anything for me. Both Shoba and my brother are like my eyes. We were a close knitted family and what made you throw bombs at our shelter? Did you kidnap me for a ransom? If so, you won’t get even a clump of cow dung from us. For, we live in a wretched village and all we have is four goats and three cows.

King:
Cut that crap, Naran. We brought you here because your time on earth was over.

Naran:
Time over??? What you mean?

King
 Don’t you know that you are dead already?

Naran
Dead!!! Are you blabbering?

King
No, Naran. I’m telling you the truth. For, I’m the King Yama. He is Chitragupta, my Minister. You are in my Kingdom. As ordained by Lord Brahma, I bring death to those creatures whose life- time on earth is over. So, I’m the executioner of Lord Brahma’s will.

Naran
Oh, god! How could you have killed me when I was in the pink of health and my body was like cast-iron?

King
We pushed you into a railway track close to your house and had a train run over you.

Naran
Oh, King, what you have done to me is unethical and unpardonable. You didn’t uphold ‘Dharma’ in my case. Yuck… you’ve mercilessly killed a promising young boy and widowed a young girl.

[An eerie silence wraps King Yama’s palace as Naran stand speechless, shedding tears.}

Naran
[Still sobbing] When did you kill me?

King
 Three years back.

Naran
Three years… I don’t feel the time here.

King
 That’s because we don’t have a clock here. Time stands still in my abode.

Naran
Three years! That’s a long time for Shoba. She must have been dead by now. She   must be somewhere here.


[Naran becomes dazed, starts sobbing endlessly. He constantly calls out the name of Shoba and his lips turn dry, voice hoarse. King Yama gets greatly moved by the plight of Naran. Reading his master’s mind, Chitragupta whispers something into the King’s ears.]

King
O.K. Naran, your honest and sincere love for Shoba and your brother greatly moves me, and I feel a sort of guilt as if I have done something wrong. So, I decide to show some mercy on you. I will give you two options and you will have to select one. In any circumstances you cannot change the option you have already chosen. Your option is not the Indian Constitution to be amended just like that. Okay.

Naran
Tell me, king, I will obey your will. What I want is my Shoba. I beseech you to take me to my love.

King
The first option is that you could visit your family not in your old self, but in disguise. For you are already dead and your people have cremated your body. Instead, Chitragupta will lend you a body to your soul. After reaching home, if you decide to have your own self, call Chitragupta, and he would rewind the time machine … the time machine of the earth so that everything happened to you would get reversed including your death. The other option we give you is to stay here and work in my palace until you get your placement either in hell or heaven. [Laughs]

Naran
Thank you, King. I would like to go away from this place and join my Shoba.

King
That means you choose the first option. Best of luck, Naran. Chitragupta will help you reach your home safely.

[To be continued]

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9 comments:

  1. interesting, very well narrated, waiting for the nest part.

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  2. Very nicely written! Looking forward to the next...

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  3. very eager to know what happened next.
    interesting to read.

    raji

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  4. Thanks for all your comments. The next part, I feel, won't get me bouquet.

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  5. Thanks Rajesh and Nandini for your comments.

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  6. Interesting story line! Waiting for the next part...:)

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