RamayaPranavayaLavanyaSimhan the Indian Rumpelstiltskin

One of the biggest benefits of blogging for me has been the opportunity to meet some wonderful writers. Today I have with me on my blog, a wonderful writer - Jayashree Srivastan, who blogs at JaishWrites. She was one of the most active participants in the fiction writing group created by me and my friend Suresh. It was through some of these exercises that I got to learn of her immense talent. What I like especially about her writing is the richness of original metaphors. The way she weaves metaphors from the most mundane day to day scenes she portrays in her stories looks magical to me. So I thought I will get her to match her magic against that of the magical imp Rumpelstinskin. Having already read her take on Beauty and the Beast as part of our group, I was sure she would do a great job with this one as well and she does not disappoint. Read on to see what she has done to him.


The evening sun is slowly melting into nothingness, the French glass containing black tea on my mahogany coffee table glistening in its rays. I take a moment of thoughtless look at it; Some simple routines have also been passed on in the family - this evening cup of black tea for instance!

My name is Samraat Dinakar, Sam-D for short. Force, Power and Money - these are the synonyms for my name in this city.My grandfather is believed to have taken a gun in his hands when he was twelve. It was an empire he built; now, a legacy I have inherited. The police don't mess with us, the government follows our orders. In short we rule this city - vice or otherwise.
A cooing sound announces the arrival of my six month old son. His eyes light up with delight on seeing me and he giggles as he is handed over from the nanny's hands to mine. He has all my features except for those hazel eyes. Deep and mysterious like his mother's! The diamond on the pendant dangling around my neck glitters and captures his attention. He looks at it with an amused curiosity and breaks into peals of laughter. Its in his genes,I suppose. This love for wealth! Something that was the reason behind my meeting his mother, Vidya.

Vishwamber my father in law was a prominent musician. It was two years ago that .they had printed his interview in the CityTimes. "Music can do wonders." he had declared. " Its healing, therapeutic and even magical. My daughter Vidya has been doing exhaustive research on these areas for the past ten years.She trained under some of the Siddha yogis in the jungle and can do wonders with her voice. She can cure diseases, bring rain and even turn leaves into gold.

"Turn leaves into gold ? In these times ?He has bluffed so much and they still print it? These men are crazy" I mused. Thats when I saw her picture. Dressed in a jeans and a casual tshirt, she was standing next to Vishwamber with the sea in the backdrop. She looked mesmerizing! The very sight of her sent a jolt straight to my head that rocked my senses for a minute. It was like I shared some bond with her from time immemorial. "There you are,Mrs Sam-D" I said aloud. But first I wanted some fun.  

A slight indication was all that my men needed to bundle the father-daughter duo and bring them before me the next morning. A timid looking Vidya stood behind her father, clinging on to him, her eyes wide with fear. I felt an irresistible urge to take her in my arms and embrace her. Yet I was not going to forego the fun of the game. 

"Why..Why have you brought us here Samraat?" Vishwambar asked in a feeble quivering voice.

I threw the paper in front of him. He looked at it with a bewildered expression.
"I just read your interview; So she can turn leaves into gold eh?"

"Wha..What? Leaves into .." he started off clearly not understanding what I meant. Then he looked at the paper again and exclaimed "Oh God! They have printed some non sense. Things that I never uttered

"Really???." I chuckled and added in a voice of steel "Lets test it out.You see that room there. There are a few hundred mango leaves in there. Let her voice exercise all that she has mastered! Lets make them golden

"Are you crazy? Thats not possible." Vishwamber's plea was lost in my villainous laughter. 

"There is nothing wrong in trying eh? Let her be be on the room for the night and give it a try. I am sure it can be done!

Then I turned to Vidya and added. "Get going. Else tomorrows paper would again have a picture of you two. Posthumous though!

I caught her hand and led her to the room. She followed me meekly as if a spell had been cast on her. 

I retired to bed leaving a wailing Vishwamber with my men. As I lay, I thought about how absolutely ridiculous the whole idea was. I would confess to Vidya that it was just a prank and that I was madly in love with her. My thoughts slowly transformed into visions of my future with her and I slowly dozed off. 

I woke up hearing the noise of someone banging on my door. "It ...It works Sam, it works. Come see it for yourself." Someone was screaming. 

I opened the door and one of my men stood there panting for breath. "Go...go..go..gold!" He stuttered. 

"What?" I asked in an annoyed tone and followed him. The doors of the room where I had left Vidya were wide open. From a distance it looked like she was sitting under some tree during fall with dried leaves all around her. As I neared the place the shine got brighter and brighter. I stood speechless with amazement and shock. In the place of what had been bunches of mango leaves the previous night were those in bright gold. 

Vishwamber who had rushed in after me also stood thunderstuck. Vidya stood up, took her fathers hands in hers and the two slowly walked away.  

The next few days were chaotic. I kept trying to wake up from what I assumed was a weird dream but it kept going on and on. Turn leaves into gold? What nonsense! How on earth was that possible! I however made sure that the news never leaked outside! It would be putting Vidya's life at risk!  

Apart from all the confusion and awe, a part of me was still tugging at my heart in her memory. I just could not forget her. 

After two weeks, I decided to go and meet her. 

"You must hate me after what I did. I never believed in any of that craziness, not when I read the interview, not when I shoved you into that room, never! I was just playing a prank ! But what I saw the next day has been driving me crazy. The fact is, the moment I saw your picture in the newspaper I fell in love .I dont care how those leaves turned to gold or whatever happened that day. I really dont. I love you with all my heart and want to marry you. It has nothing to do with whatever you did , trust me!" To Vishwamber, it may have sounded like throwing a cow into a lions den. His expression said it all. 

"So that you can keep reaping golden leaves?" Vidya retorted furiously. "One thing you can never get with force or money is someones love Sam. Get out" she screamed. I did not know what to say and left the place silently. 

I had no idea how to convince her. I tried to get her out of my head and tried to concentrate on other things. No matter how hard I tried I could not get the image of those hazel eyes out of my head. Somehow I managed to trudge on with my life. 

Two years later I met her again. 

I had gone for a dinner event and there she was. Dressed in a bottle green silk dress, she was stunning. I did not know how to approach her though I kept catching glimpses of her inconspicuously. 

I was looking at a painting with a drink in my hand when I heard her voice behind me. "Hello Sam." I slowly turned around. "Hi Vidya

I was taken aback by the expression on her face. The rage was gone.No hatred either. Instead I saw a different emotion in those deep eyes. Softness, mischief and was that attraction? We were married two months later. 

Our life was beautiful. .Neither of us ever brought up the episode of the golden leaves. On a bright September morning my son was born.  

I had been away when Vidya delivered the baby. Hearing the news I quickly rushed back home. The nurse handed me my little son and it felt so beautful to hold him. I gave him back and went to Vidya;s bed side. She was sitting on the propped up bed, pale and a little sick. I gently kissed her forehead.I knew she would be tired but there was something else in those eyes that I could not fathom! 

"Sam, he has come back" she almost whispered, fear written all over her. 

"Who?

"He wants our baby, he wants our ...!" her almost inaudible voice trailed off. 

"What?Who?

"The one who turned the leaves into gold.

My eyes that were full of astonishment turned into ones of curiosity. 

"I was sitting in that room that night, when suddenly the door opened. A man stood there. He was dressed like an ascetic. Saffron robes, long hair tied on top. He was wearing a garland of bones and had a squint in his eye and a huge scar running on the side of his face.

He said that he could do what I had to. In my predicament I did not think twice before telling him that I would give whatever he wanted. He started singing. I was quite surprised. Quite contrary to his menacing look he had a very sweet voice. As I watched with amazement the leaves slowly turned into gold.


"When he was finished he said he would come later for his price.

"I thought I was dreaming but when I woke up, I saw all the gold around me and realized that it was all real." She paused briefly and added in a trembling voice. "He was back yesterday Sam

"I was sitting alone and knitting when I suddenly saw him standing in front of me. The same man! He said....he said that he wanted our baby! Thats when my water broke!" She held on to me and started sobbing. 

"You are Sam-D's wife Vidya. Nothing can happen! To you or our child. I will not let it happen" I assertively declared . 

"No Sam, he has strange powers. Supernatural powers.We would never be able to match that.I cried, begged and pleaded with him. I fell at his feet." Before leaving he said 'Find out who I am and I shall spare your child!

I did not leave her bedside that night. All my men were hunting in every nook and corner of the city for this strange man. Vidya was anxious and restless but after some time exhaustion took over and she fell asleep. 

I seemed to have dozed off in my chair and jumped when there was a knock on the door. Vidya too woke up with a jerk. 

An enthusiastic face popped in. My youngest brother Suman entered with a lot of mirth and excitement. 

"Where is Sam-D junior?" he queried. 

He had been out camping in a nearby hill with his high school friends. 

"He is with the nurse. We will ask her to get him" I responded. 

Before he could sense the tension on our faces , I asked him hurriedly"So how was your trip ?" . He excitedly broke into a non-stop narration of his anecdotes. 

"The best part was last night. We heard some strange noises ! Some singing and then some guffaws and chuckles. It was quite scary. We went in its direction , trying to find out what was happening. A wierd man was sitting behind a huge fire.Saffron robes, hair tied on top; he had a scar and a squint that made him menacing. He looked like those sages that come in mythology serials doing some penance or something. "  

" He kept screaming 'Aham RamayaPranavayaLavanyaSimhan' and was laughing like a maniac. " 

"I will have a son.A heir" he kept saying every now and then.

 
Vidya and I looked at each other. The next instant, she leapt and gave the bewildered Suman a tight hug and screamed with joy. "Thank you. Thanks a ton" she kept saying, tears streaming down her face.  

She turned to me and said"I think i can handle that man now". The confidence in her voice and the calmness in her eyes gave me the belief that she could definitely handle it. She asked me to leave and I obliged.

The next morning i found a tired but relaxed Vidya holding our bundle of joy in her arms.Her face lit up when she saw me.  

"He did come" she said."I had some fun too" she laughed softly thinking about it. "Initially I asked him if he was Vishwamitra or Valmiki." she continued. "He almost believed that i had lost it.You should have seen his expression when I finally said RamayaPranavayaLavanyaSimhan. His scar and eyes seemed to glow like embers. He turned without a word and ran away. He was gone in an instant, just like that!

Like so many times before, I pinched myself hard to wake myself up from the crazy dream. That did hurt. It was all real. 

                                                ***************** 

My son tries to pull my pendant. Its in his genes, the love for wealth

Next in the Series: Rapunzel - The Reality behind the Fiction

Picture Credit:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/A_Sadhu_from_PashupatiNath,_Kathmandu%3B_in_the_morning.jpg

Comments

  1. Great to see Jaish on your blog, TF! And, as expected, a superb tale by her.

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  2. Interesting work...A good read..:) enjoyed it!

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    1. Thank you . Glad that you liked it.

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  3. Absolutely awesome story. It's wacky, crazy and supa rocking:)

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  4. this is just awesome :D // RamayaPranavayaLavanyaSimhan // hahaha what a spin off :D I love your writing Jayashree, loved how effortless you weaved the words to create the plot. It's brilliant. You just gained a follower :)

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    1. Wow. That comment put a big smile on my face. Thanks

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  5. Wonderful story....it must have taken some imagination to come up with the name of the saint :D

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    1. Thank you Pankti :) just split Rumpelstilskin into syllables and tried finding Indian names with the same letters :D

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  6. That was a brilliant story beautifully narrated despite its familiarity.

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  7. I know how creative you can get....:) good one, Jaish!!

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  8. Loved it, Jaish!!! You turned a classic fairy tale into something even more exciting!! Great going!

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    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Roshni

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  9. I came here late and sorry for that .. what a lovely story this is JAish. and very creative..

    I guess the devil had to run away on reciting the god..

    Bikram

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    1. Thanks Bikram :) great to see you active again on the blogosphere :)

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  10. What an interesting take, Jaish! Loved the sound of the name :)

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  11. Good to see Jaish here. And even better to read fiction coming from her pen.

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