Saturday, January 11, 2014
Rama, Rama kya hai yeh drama!
On a beautiful, unsuspecting night, my brilliant daughter started off a conversation on a tangent...
S: Amma, do you know I don't like Ram.
Me: Who Ram?
(I was worried because I couldn't think of anyone with that name. I thought later, maybe it's her classmate or fellow traveller on the school bus! But no, I was surely in for a shock as she elaborated - with logic - why she dislikes Ram).
S: (Rolling her eyes) God Rama of course. Who did you think?
Me: (Breathing a sigh of relief) Nobody in particular. So tell me why don't you like Ram?
S: Because he left his wife and children in the jungle and I think it's unfair that he left them like that. And I feel even we're both staying like that - like Sita and her children - though we don't live in a sage's hut or hermitage or whatever it is called, we're still living in the middle of the jungle and I know how Sita and her children would have felt.
Me: (I was completely taken aback by her train of thought) It's not like that... it's kind of complicated and you won't be able to understand everything.
S: Maybe not. But I understand that what Ram has done is not correct and he was being very unfair.
Me: Why do you think so?
S: Because Ram was staying comfortably in his kingdom in his own palace while his wife and children were living uncomfortably in the jungle.
Me: Hmmm... okay. I see your point.
S: Amma, tell me one thing. Why did Ram leave Sita in the jungle?
Me: (How do I explain all the intricacies of a relationship from a different era, time and age to a 11-year-old without sounding weird or dismissive or oppressive or evasive?) Like I said, it's not very easy to explain S...
S: Why not? There has to be a reason for everything no - you always say so! What was Ram's reason for leaving Sita? Did she fight with him? Did she disobey him? Or did she wear those damn nighties that Ram hated so much?
Me: (Giggling despite the seriousness of the topic of discussion) No S... it's not like that.
S: Then tell me the entire story.
Me: (Choosing my words carefully, I tried explaining in the simplest and safest possible way the reasons behind Sita's exile to forest). You see, when Ram killed Ravan and got Sita back to the kingdom, there were a few people in his kingdom who thought she must also have become a rakshasi because she stayed for so long in Lanka. And once when a washerman scolded his wife about something, she fought back. Immediately he blamed her saying she's also behaving like a rakshasi and it might be because of Sita's influence. And in those days, whatever the king says/ does, it became a rule automatically so when Ram let Sita come back to the Ayodhya with him without any hesitation, that means all the men in the kingdom have to accept whatever the wife says/ does even if she's behaving badly like a rakshasi. And since that washerman was angry he spoke ill of the queen Sita as one who set a bad example for other women in Ayodhya. When Ram got to know about it, he couldn't ignore his people's opinion and being a king he had a duty and responsibility towards his citizens. So he decided to send Sita away to the forest.
S: But that is no reason to send Sita to the forest.
Me: Why not? Ram is a good king and so he has to listen to what his people say, no!
S: He might be a good king but he was not a good husband or a good father. To become famous as a good king, he chose to be a bad husband and a bad father. How can anyone like a king like Ram and make him a God? I don't like him, that's it.
Now I don't have any explanation to beat that sharp logic of a smart child! And with that declaration, she just turned around and slept off leaving me to my thoughts...