It was festive season, Dussehra. The whole village was alive with activities and celebrations. The ‘village fair’ organisers were expecting double profit this time as the income of average villager had increased.
But the most eagerly awaited event was the nine days long Ram-Leela, starting from Ram ji ka janam (birth of Shri Ram) to Ravan dehan (end of Ravan). This year, the Dussehra organising committee had shelled out some extra money and the whole village was expecting the best troop from nearby village to perform it.
True to their words, it was one of the best!
Evening 8 o’ clock, not only the whole village but also the hawkers, baloon walaas, chat walaas all assembled in the big ground.
Pawan, the most eligible bachelor of the village, along with all of his friends, came a bit early to get the best seat. Pawan had already started enjoying the importance given by all the girls and their parents and it was more apparent by the way he used to walk.
The magic started, Ramji was born with a big round of applause from the crowd, crying, laughing, singing with every act, the trance had embraced all.
Pawan suddenly realised a big change in him. He was in love, love at first sight with the girl acting as Sita. He had never seen such a fair, sharp featured, beautiful girl.
Though her voice was a bit nasal, she sang very beautifully. At the time of ‘Sitaji ka swayamvar’, he felt as if it was he who was holding the Dhanush in his hand and marrying the most beautiful lady on earth.
Pawan started thinking all interesting lines to propose her and named her Sundari.
He tried to peep in their camp after the show, but was driven away by the security.
Now Pawan was in love with the stars, moon, flowers, trees, clouds and what not… Everything was romantic and love was in air, he could feel it , breath it, live in it…
He told his parents that he will marry soon. In the joint family of 10, they had only one toilet, Pawan decided to get one more constructed, total renovation plans, development plans, all were ready to make the place more accommodating for his beloved…
All his friends made a plan. Last day during Ram – Ravan war, Sita would have a long break from the stage, that time they will enter the camp from the back, no one will notice as they will be engrossed in the peak climax and that time Pawan will propose her.
All set, they entered as per plan. Pawan could see his Sundari, that pretty face, long curly hair, sharp features…
As Pawan was about to approach her, he saw her smiling and he heard a male voice, “Ek bidi mujhe bhi de de”. (Pass me one bidi). She removed her wig, and said, “yeh makeup mujhe kya bana deta hai”. (This makeup transforms me to someone else). All laughed.
He was a man!
He was a man, not his sundari…
Pawan could see himself melting slowly, the pain, like hot wax, changing the shape of his existence. ..
Life is full of surprises, you expect something, it turns out in another shape, sometimes with a makeup so captivating that you are dragged towards it, surrendering yourself to the mercy of the maker… let us not look back in anger, nor forward with fear, but around in awareness….love yourself to be strong enough to see the truth…