I have reblogged this post from Vidya’s site.
When we were children, India was still an agriculture-based nation. Coming home to Kerala during our vacations meant coming home to the fields. Of course, the young people had all found their way out of agriculture, but the fields of paddy that had been created painstakingly by our dedicated ancestors who had mastered the art […]Examining our cultural journey
It is a hot summer day and the plants are waiting for you to water them. Duty-bound as you are, you have already got up, and are pulling the lines of rubber pipes that would carry life giving water to each of those trees and shrubs that you had lovingly planted.
The strip of land that you had bought long back brings back memories of your youth. You had never known then that at one point of time you would come back to this very strip and grow plants in abundance, so much so, that the sun would need to take an appointment if he wanted to grace you with his sunshine. You wander among the bushes to do the final round of checks to see that these pipes have not got entangled and are laid properly and would not damage the fledgling bushes that you had taken so much care to bring up in the last few weeks.
All looks proper as you survey the long network of pipes neatly laid out that would now start transporting the water as it gushed through them. You take the shovel in your hand to make the finishing touches for plants around their roots so that they could have more water as it would come in turns towards them.
The wind is gently blowing carrying it with shades of warm and cool air, as it sifts through the dense network of branches and leaves. There are some sparrows on the ground chit chatting and waiting for you to turn on the motor so they could enjoy frolicking in the water that would present itself at any moment from now before them.
A squirrel jumps just in time, as you make your way toward the shed that lodges the motor pump that would draw the water from the pond. In the olden days, you had to be alert as there were no pipes and then canals made out of the sand would do their job in assisting you with the gardening process. You had to be on the look out lest any of those sand canals would give away before your very eyes.
You switch on the motor, amble across to the bushes till someone who watches you loses sight of you. You take the end of the rubber hose and start watering the plants, the roots, the branches and the leaves and sometimes playfully at the sparrows who all love you for what you are…
The far end of Vembanad LakeCruising pictures from the LakeCouple of hours in the morning boatIt was cold when we started at 8 amThe boat makes its way out into the lakeThe Sun setting at Marari beach, Mararikulam, close to AlleppeyThe day winding up at this sideThe surf making beachTalking while wetting your feetIs the sea or the beach largerThe SunSandSeaMan’s imprints are temporary. Nature’s is permanentThe might of the silent sea. If only we can learn from it.The metallic colors of the shining Sea.It was a 2 day trip from our travel base at Kumarakom.
When the Sun sets.
As per Wisdom Library: Kadalī (कदली) is a Sanskrit word referring to “Banana”, a hybrid-species of trees from the Musaceae family, native to the tropics of Africa and Asia, and is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā. The equivalent name in the Prakrit language is kelī, and is Hindi it is known as kelā.
Hope you enjoy this Kadali Tale laced with karma…
Reghu chanced upon a small cottage while on the run away from the nearby Chartusra city and in his travails, hungry and famished and with a bag laden with stolen valuables, the robber makes his arrival known to the inmates by coughing and gasping at their door. Vedha, the small time jeweller traded in his jewellery which was made at the cottage with Bhanu, his helping hand welcomed the tired robber not knowing his exact credentials. On inquiring as to why he looked so tired and out of breath, he said he was a trader from Chartusra and had been followed by robbers while coming this way to Patali, the port city, the same place where Vedha used to sell his home made jewellery.
Reghu was welcomed as a guest and was told, he could stay for a few days before he could gain enough strength to go to Patali. One day Reghu’s eyes fell upon the golden bunch of 4 Kadali kept in front of the Lord and worshiped by Sree, Vedha’s wife, Reghu was thinking of adding it to his collection. The old caretaker and help, Bhanu to whom Sree was just like a daughter took good care of them all. Bhanu was not happy about Reghu but Vedha dismissed his fears and allowed Reghu to stay. With stolen silver and gold coins he impressed upon the jeweller to make a replica of the Kadali saying it would fetch him a good price at Patali. The jeweller obliged and took a week before finishing one, an exact replica of the one which he had made earlier on Sree’s request.
Once the work was completed and Reghu getting impatient and tired of the stay with the lovely couple, one day kills them and flees but not before taking the work in progress jewels and the two Kadali bunch. After walking for two days and night he came across a plain land with not much human habitation near a placid river. As dusk was approaching he thought of burying the 2 golden priceless Kadali. He chose one huge old jack-fruit tree to bury one near it. As he was in the process, a fearful spirit came down the tree and asked him what he was doing. Reghu told her that he was hiding this Kadali which he had in his hand and said he would return in a week to claim it. She agreed and asked him about the other banana jewel he had in his bag. Reghu on second thought thought of burying the other one too there, but she told him to hide the second one, a hundred yards away as she could not stand the sight of the divine jewel. Do claim this one in a week otherwise you will forfeit it and I will not allow anyone who comes in possession of it, any peace, was her parting words.
Reghu walked a hundred yards and came upon a mango tree near the river bank and as instructed started burying the Lord’s Kadali there. A benevolent spirit came down the tree and asked what he was doing…. He said that he was burying the Jewel in his possession and showed it to her. So be it, she said with a smile, I will guard this till it reaches the rightful owner and help him in any test that he is put to, she murmured to herself..and went back to the tree.
The river was in full flow and had submerged most of the land when he came back after selling the stolen jewels and the coins with a few workers to set up a home. To his surprise he found the landscape had changed thanks to the flood. The marked trees had got uprooted and he knew not where his twin treasure lay buried. He was seen digging most of the time but never told his servants as to what he was looking for. They deserted him soon after his money got over. He was now a man gone mad…
Years had passed by with the jewels remaining hidden where they lay for a few generations. The land had changed much and it was a small village now. Jinu was a landless worker who got a tract of land on lease from the greedy village officer to plant banana plantains. Half of the produce he would need to give to the officer as per the deal struck between them. As expected and to Jinu’s happiness, the first crop turned out well. One day while digging a canal to water the plants in the land, he came upon one of the golden plantains. He took it to Jayaram the local jeweler who had a good look at it and gave a small token to Jinu assuring him the rest of the money, but as a law abiding citizen, he had to talk to the village officer first about its antiquity before he could sell it as the laws had changed. He showed it to the village officer the same day who kept it with himself though he told Jayaram and Jinu that he would be handing it to the higher officials in the government and had no plans to keep anything to himself. The next day he told Jinu he had other plans and asked him to stop using the land for his planned second crop.
Jinu was out of work and was finding it difficult to sustain himself after whatever money he had on him ran out. He could see that the tract of land was fully dug up by the village officer in the hope that he would get some more of such golden Kadali, but his search for more treasure turned futile. Meanwhile Jinu again approached the village officer after a couple of weeks to use the tract of land for plantation, but he was driven out.
The village officer’s wife was fascinated by the golden fruit so much that she took it daily out of the strong box to marvel at it. The fascination increased so much that the officer had to hide it in another room and lock it. Meanwhile Jinu thought of planting a few banana plantains around his small home near the river bank where he was forced to retire. At least it will keep him from hunger once his efforts bore fruit. He prayed to Krishna at his home that the first fruit from his land will be gifted to him. As he dug another canal he came upon another golden plantain which was the exact replica of the first one he had got, but this time he made good his promise and bestowed the golden marvel to Krishna. Whenever he prayed, the golden jewel would change to real bananas and he would take one as prasadam(offering from the Lord).
One day he chanced upon Tulsi standing nearby who happened to watch him at his plantation work. He inquired of her and came to know that she was jeweler Jayaram’s daughter. One day she asked if she could assist him at his work in the plantation. He replied on one condition that she should accept her fair share of the produce once it materialized to which she gladly agreed.
The officer came to know that Jinu had a small plantation around his house. Somehow be didn’t like it but also couldn’t do much about it. Jayaram paid a visit to Jinu and saw the bunch of 4 bananas with a golden hue kept near Krishna’s idol. Oh! how marvelous a sight and so golden, said he after tasting the one from the bunch offered to him by Jinu. Can I have one more..Why not sir…take two, one for Tulsi too, smiling at her, who was standing at the door. The much pleased Jayaram had never had such a tasty fruit and he expressed the same while having it. Sir, my Krishna’s prasadam is always like his love. The more you love Him, more sweet will be your offering to Him and so, his prasadam in return. Being a devotee himself, Jayaram was no doubt thrilled by Jinu’s company. He and his daughter became frequent visitors. One day Jinu revealed to Jayaram, his wish to marry Tulsi. But Jayaram first decided to put Jinu to the test before he could approve his request.
Jayaram asked Jinu. This bunch of mini kadali that you offer to Krishna daily…can you show me the plantain which yields such sweet bananas to you. Jayaram was sure no plantain could yield a bunch daily, in fact not more than one in its lifetime and with Jinu having not more than a dozen odd plantains, there seemed to be a mystery about them which he wanted to unravel.
Jinu was in a fix as to what he should say when an old woman came that way and asked for some ripe banana as food to be given. Jinu said I can give you some rice and vegetable but I doubt I can give you a banana at this time as it was well last noon and his kadali prasadam could yield real banana only before noon based on his experience.
The old woman laughed a bit loudly, much to Jinu’s and Jayaram’s consternation. You call yourself a planter? There, yonder. I can see a bunch of fine kadali. Jinu rushed to his garden and much to his surprise there was one ripe kadali bunch awaiting them. He took it down and gave to the woman. No, I don’t want all of this, maybe you can give the better share of this to your guest here, smilingly pointing at Jayaram. Saying so, the woman took leave.
Jayaram was a bit disturbed and left with a perplexed mind. The next day he sent Tulsi to bring a bunch of fresh Kadali. Tulsi came in the morning as was her wont, to Jinu’s house, prayed to Krishna, took two of the prasadam kadali and there were only two left for the day. Father has sent me for a bunch if you could provide it. Jinu at a loss went to the same tree and there, lo another bunch of ripe bananas was waiting to be taken down.
This went on for a few days. Jayaram came on the fourth day himself and examined the tree. There was none. He was going to win he thought when another woman appeared asking for something to eat. Jinu asked what he could give her. Don’t bother I will go inside and take what I need. She went inside and was not to be seen for sometime. Both went in to see her feasting on a bunch of freshly plucked kadali. Jayaram was at a loss of words and failed to understand what was going on. He asked Jinu from where this bunch came when Tulsi appeared in the doorway saying I plucked it in the morning before you two had even got up and kept it here.
The woman had her fill and after blessing Jinu and Tulsi and laughing at Jayaram went her way. It was a matter of a few weeks time before Tulsi and Jinu got married on an auspicious day.
The village officer couldn’t sleep on many a night as he could hear someone pounding on the closed door. The noise from the room where he kept the golden Kadali, the disturbance from the roof as if someone heavy was trampling upon the tiles…the fearful shadow behind the curtains, the poor sight of his wife already at her wits end when she could not see the golden fruit anymore, now out of sight behind the closed door of the cursed room. It was just a matter of time before the officer too went mad after he saw the room ransacked, one day, by some robber and the golden Kadali missing…
I grow straight up as years go by
from where I can see you below
while trying to eke out a living
going nuts with pressures in life.
The bark, the fronds, the husk
the nut flesh, the water and oil
do know I got everything to offer
as food or fuel to run your life.
Taste the milk from the nuts
enjoy the pure coconut water
you can eat the sweet ripe flesh
all you need to help preserve yours.
While stranded on a beach
waiting for help to arrive soon
pray to get an instance of me nearby
have the sense to break open the fruit.
To feed your thoughts and good self
do plant my seedlings and see me grow
you won’t be disappointed ever in life
for the Lord did make our lifespans equal.
It is still dark in the city as the sun was yet to wake up at the horizon from his deep slumber late last evening. It seemed he was tired of peeking through the clouds brought about by a cyclone that had ravaged many a southern state and was still streaking to conquer uncharted territories on the Indian west coast trying to make a landfall before it died down. The Ockhi cyclone had made a surprise appearance at the southern tip of India and churned the Indian ocean and the Arabian sea much to the horror of coastal towns and villages and had played with the lives of the fisherman community who had travelled the high seas during the last few days. Though it ran shy of the indian coast so far, the wind the churning waves and the rain had in its grip the towns of Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, the Kerala coast and had ravaged Lakshadweep islands, the damage of which is still to be known.
The newspaper boy had already started his work near one of the many bus stops in the city, trying to sort out the many news papers and magazines that he need to carry across to homes to those news hungry and elderly people who would wait for him for happy tidings as he would swirl the newspaper at them from a safe distance. He still had a good aim to reach somewhere near their outstretched hands, as if it was a offering from the gods at dawn.
But today, the winds and the slight rain had made his job difficult. Navigating his cycle through the pools of water on the streets from the overnight rains, he had to go and find out a dry stretch on the steps of each house where he could safely deliver the paper full of news that should not be drenched while his eager readers this day decided to stay within the safe confines of their home instead of looking out to welcome him.
Running late, he saw the morning sun after so many days in his distribution work. The sun with a mighty effort had finally gathered himself and had started his journey across the still cloudy skies. As he looked down, the only movement he could detect was a tiny boy braving the cold windy weather going to each home with a sheaf of papers…
1. Born to Dashratha, King of Ayodhya
Rama, the eldest among four sons
cheerful, loved by all, and yet so humble
a great son to a great father was he.
2. Rama of Kausalya and Bharata of Kaikeyi
Lakshmana and Shatrughana of Sumitra
four pillars of strength to the King Dashratha
Ayodhya glowed with due resplendence.
3. In those days the earth was abound with
the rakshashas, the so called demons
who created fear wherever they roamed
in holy saints and mighty human kings.
4. Their king, Ravana who ruled Lanka
with great warriors in his army
he had subdued even the devas
on account of boons got from Brahma.
5. With his son Indrajith, a warrior
master of black magic and many astras
with his maya powers was unconquerable
even Indra got defeated by him.
6. Ravana had asked immunity from gods
the gandharvas and the yakshas
as boons from Brahma during his tapas
but not from man whom he thought puny.
7. Rama, of the solar dynasty, the race
had mighty kings Ikshavaku and Sagara
with Anshuman and Bhageeratha
the oceans and the Ganges we had.
8. One day, of Dashratha, was requested
services of Rama by the sage Vishwamitra
who himself was a great King, now a sage
master of every weapon, a Brahmarishi.
9. It was a thirst to rival Vasishta, the sage
that Vishwamitra became a Brahmarishi
the progress towards it contains a story
that fills pages with unraveled glory.
10. With Vishwamitra conducting a yagaa
let Rama be on guard for destroying
the rakshasas who defile the yaaga
as they shower unclean items on it.
11. Vishwamitra could destroy them
being a dignified sage, he less wished
merits to be wasted on curse or injury
though being master of every astra.
12. Dashratha not willing to let go of Rama
but with an unflinching Vishwamitra,
whose anger the world had known
was advised by preceptor Vasishta to let go.
13. The sage with Rama and Lakshmana
the princes by his side, as they walked
resembled a force, no evil could face
safeguard the ritual was the holy goal.
14. On the way, the sage, a great teacher
initiated the two princes with the astras
the use of weapons and how to recall
memorize and equip them for future.
15. After six days and nights, upon arrival
Maareecha was thrown to a long distance
and Subaahu killed on the spot with others
fruitful end of the yaaga and the rakshasas.
16. On the way back, the sage, all knowing
took the princes through the city of Mithila
ruled by the great King Janaka, a beloved
daughter Sita, a kind and beautiful soul.
17. The city of Mithila, ruled by Janaka
where Sita would wed a prince
who would lift and string the bow of Siva
a lot of suitors had come for her and failed.
18. Janaka was happy to see the Sage illustrious
with the two charming princes who glowed
by blessings of the sage and by royal birth
Happy he was, who wished Rama be a suitor.
19. On that auspicious day, hinted by Janaka
Rama was to be shown the great bow
when Rama, lifted, strung and then bent it
joy broke out among all those, Sita included.
20. Sita garlanded Rama, her Lord for great years
messengers in haste to Ayodhya, with glad news
royal court so happy, with mothers waiting for
Rama who defeated the asuras and wed Sita.
21. When Dashratha decided to crown Rama
Kaikeyi coaxed him to change on bestowed vows
Rama be sent to the forest for 14 long years
let her son Bharata be anointed the crown.
22. When the news broke out, Rama was silent
it was important he followed his father wishes
with Sita and Lakshmana, both unrelenting
to stay back, while he roamed the forests alone.
23. That night when Rama left, the great King
Dashratha passed away and gloom descended
Bharatha not in town not aware of happenings
when called for, he did best what he had in mind.
24. He and his retinue went on the look out
found Rama in the forest and pressed him
to return to his rightful place and crown
Rama remained firm, to honor his vow
to a great father who was now lost to him.
25. Bharata was to return and rule
the brother his mission failed assumed
the role of a caretaker by installing Rama
in his heart and his sandals on the crown.
26. The stay in Chitrakoota at first
then the dandaka forest, was spent well
initially in the company of sages
who welcomed them with all hearts.
27. The time of thirteen years had passed
the events had to change for the purpose
of Rama’s birth, the fall of Ravana
was initiated by the latter’s sister.
28. Soorpanakha, on seeing Rama
desired him to have as her husband
but Rama dodged her to Lakshmana
and the latter again sent her to Rama.
29. When she knew they were playing
becoming angry and rushed upon Sita
mutilated, she ran to her brothers
Khaara and Dooshana, stationed nearby.
30. Having related to them the happenings
her brothers came with great numbers
Raama single handedly dealt with them
the death blow, causing great rage in Lanka.
31. Akampana a survivor reached Lanka
Ravana beset with rage not knowing
how dare a man cause such great havoc
the best way to punish him, he consulted.
32. Hearing Sita’s beauty from Soorpanakha
he decided to covet her, and kill Rama
but was advised by Mareecha not to proceed
but prevailed upon, they set together on a plan.
33. With a wily disguise, Mareecha as a deer
a golden beauty, the sight bewitching to Sita
imploring Rama to get it for her as a pet
Rama went after the deer for a distance.
34. Rama knowing the demon in deer shot him
when Mareecha regained his form he cried
his last act in the staged play, before he died
Mareecha cried out exactly in Rama’s voice.
35. As Rama’s voice in distress reached
confused Sita asked Lakshmana to go
who stood his ground, as per his duty
an angry Sita drove him away weeping.
36. When Lakshmana out of the scene,
Ravana stepped in a mendicant’s form
with respect, he introduced his greatness
when Sita angrily rebuked, he took her away.
37. When Rama saw Lakshmana, he feared greatly
they being tricked, hastily hurrying back
not seeing her at the hut, where could she be
was she playing a prank or did someone take her?
38. When Ravana sped fast in his puskpaka
he fought the opposing Jataayu, the aging eagle
Sita removed some of her jewels hastily
dropping them, to a group of monkeys below.
39. The brothers came upon poor Jataayu
in his last moments, who told what happened
before dying a brother who tried his best
failure, it does come even to the invincible.
40. On the way they came upon a Rakshasa
he was released from the curse, when killed
the divine being told them to seek Sugreeva
who would help them in their quest for Sita.
41. Vaali and Sugreeva, brothers of great power
once when an asura challenged Vaali to a duel
they fought for many days in a mountain cave
fearing Vaali had perished, Sugreeva blocked it
42. Sugreeva came back to be crowned king
when Vaali weary with fight came back
he drove Sugreeva out while keeping his wife
wasn’t Vaali resembling the like of Ravana?
43. Hanuman who was Sugreeva’s minister
a great communicator, he was his strength
when Rama and Lakshmana came looking
Hanuman was sent to know, if friend or foe.
44. It was Sugreeva to whom Sita had dropped
the jewels when she saw the group of five
the only way was to restore to Sugreeva
his kingdom Kishkindha of wise monkeys.
45. It was difficult to kill Vaali face to face
with Indra’s necklace he could not be won
when Sugreeva and Vaali in a close duel
arrow from Rama killed Vaali from behind.
46. With Sugreeva back as Vanara chief
he decided to sent his people as scouts
in all directions, scores were sent out
the best headed south where Ravana flew.
47. With Hanuman and Angada
the crown prince and Vaali’s son
with Jambavaan the king of bears
why wouldn’t the south group succeed?
48. Rama had full faith in Hanuman
gave his ring and a certain incident
so that Hanuman could be trusted
if he should be able to speak to Sita.
49. The search party arrived at the shore
the sea seemed a hurdle as it lay across
they saw Sampati, the aged eagle brother
told him about Jataayu and he about Lanka.
50. Lanka was at a distance of 100 yoganas
the vanaaras in the group when asked
some could jump 10, or even 50 not more
Angada could do one way but not two.
51. When Jaambavan reminded Hanuman
about his hidden prowess, the son of Vaayu
grew in stature and made a huge form
before making that leap of faith to far Lanka.
52. On the way he met a few friends and foes
but humble as he was, with great faith
he could well explain or swiftly destroy
as there was no time to talk or rest.
53. Landing as a small ape, he was startled
by the guardian goddess who slapped him
she was stunned when he slapped back
the fall of the city started as she vanished.
54. Hanuman went in search of mother Sita
he searched every palace, adorned by riches
where great men and women rested in peace
but not Sita in these places without any peace.
55. He came upon a calm, pleasant garden
was it Sita sitting, surrounded by women
guarding her fearfully, when he saw Ravana
walking to her and telling her to yield to him.
56. Hanuman in his tiny form, hidden in the tree
below where Sita sat, sang the praise of Rama
in a language, even great scholars could not
Sita having seen him, was still not convinced.
57. Hanuman then showed her Rama’s ring
and the incidents only known to them
consoled was she, now that they knew
her Lord would come to rescue her.
58. Hanuman decided to strike some terror
they should know about Rama, his army
he laid waste the garden which caused
the news about him, reported to Ravana.
59. Thinking it was some wicked monkey
he sent a few soldiers who were slain soon
then he sent a fierce warrior, Jambumali
who too was slain, causing discomfort.
60. Ravana then dispatched his son Aksha
a disciplined and formidable warrior
but he too was sent to the heavens
causing the great Indrajit to step in.
61. When all weapons of great strength
failed to effect Hanuman, the great son
of Ravana sent the Brahmastra
and bound by it, Hanuman lay motionless.
62. The rakshasas surrounded Hanuman
bound him by ropes and presented him
before the ten headed seated Ravana
the monkey will be shown his stature.
63. The brahmastra could not effect Hanuman
because of an earlier boon from Brahma himself
the tying of ropes on a person already bound
would diminish the effects of that great astra.
64. First counsel to Ravana was to kill the vanara
but Vibhishana, his brother a kindhearted soul
prevailed to spare the life of naughty Hanuman
as per dharma, was it proper to kill a messenger?
65. Second counsel was to put fire to his tail
loads of cloth were brought and soaked in oil
bound to the tail which seemed to increase
the length but they lit it up not knowing him.
66. Before the happy rakshasas would know
the great servant of Rama shook his bonds
flew up into the sky and set fire to the palaces
all places he could think of to scare them.
67. He rushed to Sita, was she affected?
so glad to see her safe and sound
apprising her of what happened, assuring her
the army of Rama will appear soon to free her.
68. Hanuman, his mission accomplished
with acknowledgements from Sita received
he flew across the sea and patted the mountain
which rose to offer him rest, he while on a hurry.
69. Having landed in front of his friends
who were getting worried on his delay
he told them of of his visit in Lanka
joyfully they resumed back to Rama.
70. Rama mighty pleased to see Hanuman
to hear of his valorous deeds of crossing
and having seen his beloved wife Sita
sad of her plight told in far off Lanka.
71. Sugreeva gave orders to call all divisions
monkeys and bears came from all corners
the army of Sugreeva was a sight to behold
they marched southwards to the great sea.
72. The sea, a challenge to be tided over
for the mighty warriors to cross over
for not all could jump as Hanuman did
the need of the hour was a quick bridge.
73. Back in Lanka, Ravana held a call
on the damage done by Rama’s ape
how best we could destroy this army
Vibheeshana had a good solution.
74. Return Sita to Rama and fall
at his feet, don’t you know who he is?
this was not acceptable to Ravana
and he drove Vibeeshana out of Lanka.
75. The good souled cast off brother
surrendered to Rama, knowing him
though others were wary of acceptance
Rama crowned him as a future King.
76. Rama prayed to the sea god
to help him tide over the problem
the sea god appeared and said
he could only help maintain a bridge.
77. Why worry when you among have
Nala, son of the great Vishwakarma,
advised the sea god to Rama
he will be your architect to you
just as his father was to the gods.
78. The call was to bring stones and trees
great columns of these dropped
the sea held still on to these rocks
the army of soldiers built it fast.
79. The big army marched on the bridge
it was a matter of time before they reached
the shores of Lanka, a city waiting to fall
days before the war cry would sound.
80. Before the war was set to begin
Rama decided to give Ravana a last chance
he sent Angada the prince as a messenger
again the great lord of Lanka did not listen.
81. The war had begun with both armies
formidable, one with rocks and trees
the other with shields, arrows and clubs
blood flowed in torrents, a sight to behold.
82. Ravana sent Indrajith when he found
the balance uneven, who fired naga darts
that felled Rama and Lakshmana
to the bewilderment of the vanara army.
83. Soon Garuda the eagle king flew to the scene
seeing their sworn enemy, snake darts vanished
stroking the brothers now revived by his feathers
the great bird disappeared into the distance
84. With the war going at full swing
a lot of warriors falling on Ravana’s side
he ordered to wake up Kumbakarna
from his sleep, for he alone was enough.
85. With his deep sleep disturbed
the great giant brother of Ravana
enquired as to what had happened
knowing that Rama had arrived.
86. Not approving of Ravana’s act
of having brought Sita to Lanka
he had gone off to sleep as his curse
for six months just before the war.
87. His sleep disturbed, Kumbakarna
duty bound now strode into battle
causing great havoc among the vanaras
Rama killed him before he could kill more.
88. Indrajith again dispatched this time
fired the Brahmaastra on the brothers
the great weapon, though did strike them
they fell in a swoon, but appeared dead.
89. The might vanara camp became gloomy
to the glee of the losing Rakshasa army
Ravana in great joy ordered Sita to be shown
the plight of her lord grounded from the air.
90. Jambavaan sent for Hanuman
to fetch the sanjeevani herb from north
that alone could rid the effects of the astra
restoring the princes to their original glory.
91. Hanuman took upon the task
no task appeared huge for him
only one thing mattered, his master
should come back to win this war.
92. He took some time to identify the herbs
failing, he picked up the whole hillock
with his hugh frame, flying back to Lanka
with the sanjeevani given, all was well.
93. With fresh hopes, the vanara army attacked
the gates of Lanka, and this time Indrajith
again had to come out as even Prahastha
Ravana’s commander in chief had perished.
94. Lakshmana riding on Hanuman shoulders
struck a duel with Indrajith, astra to astra
finally delivering the Indrastra on Indrajith
which struck him dead and Ravana in sorrow.
95. For Ravana, all these warriors now dead
who had acquired boons and master of weapons
who had defeated the gods was wonderstruck
as to whether Rama was Narayana himself.
96. With no one in the camp left, as a general
it was Ravana himself who marched out to battle
Vibeeshana pointing out to Rama where he was
Rama thought, a great warrior but had to be slain.
97. A great battle ensued between the ten headed
and the vanara warriors, and chiefs combined
but Ravana the matchless warrior that he was
duly dispatched them back with sore injuries.
98. The two Lords, warriors faced each other
one had acquired boons and absorbed sins
the other having the blessings of the blessed
the gods came out to see the great duel that day.
99. Darts flew from both Rama and Ravana
each astra was met by a matching astra
finally Ravana’s chariot was shattered
while he looked defeated, Rama sent him back.
100. The next day, with many ill omens
Ravana came out to face Rama once again
the battle took place for a long time
when Indra sent his chariot for Rama.
101. Standing in the godly chariot
Rama shone like the sun of the solar dynasty
his prowess unequalled sending shafts
that each time defied the ones Ravana sent.
102. Finally the time has come, may I
remind you, said the charioteer to Rama
of the Brahmastra that should be fired
when Rama with a sigh, applied the mantra.
103. The great astra flew and struck Ravana
and what a great fall that was
the invincible and unconquerable once
now fell lifeless to the ground heavily.
104. There was great jubilation
every person in the Ravana camp
was spared and treated very well
on orders from Rama and Vibeeshana.
105. Finally Sita was free and back with Rama
with Vibeeshana now made king of Lanka,
Rama along with his devoted wife and brother
flew to Ayodhya in the pushpaka vimana.
106. It is said that Sugreeva and Vibheeshana
with Hanuman accompanied the raghu princes
on the way to Ayodhya, with other vanaras
who played important roles in the war.
107. The vimana landed at an Ashrama
of Bharadwaja the sage for the night
before Hanuman could inform Bharata
who ruled Ayodhya from his ashrama.
108. Bharata mighty pleased meets Rama
on whose behalf he had ruled 14 long years
and returns the kingdom to the rightful king
thus ends the Ramayana signifying victory over evil.
It was on May 28th, 2017 with the monsoon just about to pour its oblations over Kerala, the southern state in India, that I decided to take a scooter ride from Trivandrum ( the capital of Kerala) to Kochi ( the commercial capital of Kerala). It was a Sunday and I had purposely scheduled this ride so that there would be less traffic to negotiate.
My scooter, a Honda Activa roughly reaching an age of 10 years, was with one of my colleagues, as I had to go to the middle east in a hurry on a project 2 years ago. I seriously doubted if I could make the long ride, a distance of 200 kms from Technopark area to Kochi. I was not sure about the condition of the roads in this stretch and was worried if it would rain heavily that could slow down my progress towards home. Riding in the rain and especially after sun set would be taking too much of a risk. Adding to it, was the fact that I had not touched or rode a scooter in the last 2 years, not that it mattered much, but it also was one of the facts that went against making the solo ride.
I took the morning Vanchinad Express from Ernakulam South station, at 5:00 AM and reached Kazhakkoottam, the railway station next to Technopark @ TVM where this train had a halt. The train journey was good, as I was savoring it after a long time, and standing at times at the door taking in the mist and aroma of the early morning Kerala coast did good to the senses. A light breakfast that consisted of vada and chutney that had too much of chilies in it went well with a cup of coffee to wash it down. I wished it had been prepared by the likes of Raja and Mani from my earlier post ( King of Breakfast Times) The train was on time and reached my intended drop off point at 9:40 AM, where Siva had come to pick me up with another colleague Bony. We three were at Siva’s flat in another ten minutes and from his balcony, could see the Arabian sea all eager to ravage the coast with the help of the slight monsoon winds that were picking up.
After a meal of hot steaming dosas and chutney this time prepared by Remya, Siva’s wife, with tea and a chat of around an hour, I decided that it was high time that I started with journey back home. It was 10:30 AM. My plan was to reach before dusk while covering the 200 kms on National Highway 66, say by 6 PM and for that I had to run at an average of 30 plus kilometers.
The towns that came fast were : First stretch of 34 kms was Attingal at around 11:15 AM, a diversion due to some reason at the town centre because of which about 5 mins was lost. Not much traffic and good roads so far increased my confidence and a grip on the scooter.
I cruised into (second stretch from Attingal 38 kms) my second town Kollam (Quilon in old times Geography that we studied) without much of a traffic and good roads not yet spoilt by the summer rains. Things looked good so far. At Kollam at around 12 noon, I ventured over the first fly over that took me over to the western side, which was a mistake on my side but nevertheless slowly I came back on the right track, not much of a time was lost in this unforced error ( as in lawn tennis).
The third stretch into Kayamkulam town would take another hour as there was about 42 kms to negotiate. On the way I passed other stations like Haripad, and somewhere while I was near to Kayamkulam at around 1:15 PM, I saw a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) restaurant while speeding and thought this was the best time to have lunch and some rest, before I ventured towards Allepey. It was a buffet style vegetarian for me, which took around half an hour combined, to fill my plate and eat.
Post Lunch, session to Allapuzha or Alleppey that lay at a distance of 48 kilometres from Kayamkulam. I left the restaurant at around 1:45 and as I sped towards the coir industry famous Alleppey , I could see the Sea with a high tide just meters away from the highway. With the cool monsoon wind and the clouds giving me enough shade I was not getting tired still nor the air cooled engine of the scooter was getting hot.
I was cruising into Allapuzha town at the required pace when a congregation of the women’s organisation Kudumbasree had just finished and we could see hundreds of women coming out onto the streets, and with police personnel to check the traffic, things did get slowed down here. I took the highway again after meddling through the good old coastal town, and called up home at 4:00 PM to share my co-ordinates. Another 60 kms remaining and with the drive having another good one and half hours left in it. That is when the first rains of the day struck me and it was quite heavy, so I had to stop at a wayside furniture shop before the rain could cool down a bit.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, I pulled out my rainy gear and again ventured out and revved up to keep the rain clouds behind me, the roads look recently maintained in this part of Alleppey to Cherthala stretch and the ride was a dream to the outskirts of Kochi which I reached by 5:20 PM near Vytilla junction, the only busy junction during the whole day. It was another 20 minutes before, at around 5:45 pm, a long journey with an average of around 35 plus kms per hour, ended at Kakkanad and more importantly safely, and I thank the Almighty for that.
You have been warned : Do not go further, there is danger ahead.
The still waters beckoned me as my little footprints made their imprints upon the hot dry sand from the now setting Sun which was once at its zenith only a few hours ago. As the cool waves lapped at my feet tickling me, needless to say, they were now beckoning to get in more of my self into the blue expanse lit only by a distant horizon and a few stars making their appearance.
I could feel the embrace of the heavy stillness around my waist pushing me ever so slightly, in all directions, four directions I had been taught in school. I never had experienced so much soothing, as if somebody had applied the healing balm all over me. The timid mind had made its plunge into the deep even before, though the body ever so careful made steps with my tiny legs that had now started to complain to me that the water though helping it to hold on was also pushing the weight of my fear into the quick sands that were quickly forming. But as egged on, as I used to walk with parents, I persisted to walk ahead into the inviting spectacle.
When the plush waves pushed with me playfully, I tried to balance with my hands trying to use them as paddles, oars or fins, oh I could see my vocabulary was slowly failing me. The shadow of fear that had appeared quite some time ago in my messy head was now standing next to me, not helping me, but standing still, waiting for me as my mother did, to take care of my ablutions.
I looked out to the beach, how far was I away from the people walking upon it, the playful children creative as they could get with the sand. I could see some navigating the now invisible thread of their playfully wielded kites and the hawkers trying their best to get in a morsel or two of the food in their cans into the mouths of the visitors. Shout I did as as I was slowly drifting away, the sea taking with it, poor me, as it retreated for the evening but all I could manage was a croak. Was it because of the salt that had gotten into me or had I become an amphibian after settling in this water for some quite some time. My skin needed to breathe, my pale self not helping, the fish scurrying desperately getting away from a stranger who never knew or learned to swim like them. There was no log of wood for me to hold on, nor one to write my last wishes for the dear people whom I left back on the beach.
Had they noticed my absence, the dusk fast giving away to darkness, my head and frail hands that bobbed up once in a while, was it visible to them, to anyone who gazed at the deep sea or the arc of the horizon, I knew not. The body got heavier by the minute and whatever air in me gave way to the water now gushing in with a pinch of salt. Water, I was taught was life giving, but my small body could never handle too much of it. The ocean was now feeding me what it knew best, to intruders who had never understood how to step into it. Oh dear mother, if only I had listened to you and had not wandered off into the deep water when you were not looking. I sent you on an errand so that you could not see me running into the vast expanse of bluish water which had always enchanted me, a place of wonder where a lot of my imaginative characters dwelt.
I know the lunch with the wonderful curry you fed with your hands seems to be, my last feed of the day as I now rest myself on the floor of good old nature, bidding bye to all my worries, my unanswered questions and rest now. My tired body has sunk, buried by a thin layer of sparkling sand, a blanket against the increasing cold of the heavy rumble above me. How I, fervently wish, I might be a floating log tomorrow for my loved ones to reclaim and rebury along with their fond memories of me…