Friday, 6 December 2013

A life lived again

“Only some minutes more” he thought.  When he came here first, he observed that people had a strange habit of looking at the sky every now and then. He had spent only ten days when he started to look at the sky. He was one of them now; eyes looking at the scorching sun, a prayer on lips and a growing anger chewing through the senses. But this was not the first time he was angry, over time he had learnt to smile. Exactly like his father who always smiled to hide the pain and the venom building inside him.
He was there, when his father won the title of Rustam-e-hind, the great wrestler of India. The whole village went to railway station and carried his father home. There were continuous celebrations for a week in his honour. He had never seen his father happier. The thing about movies is that they end at the highest point in a person’s life, but real life is much different. One has to live and spend each minute of his life. To live a heroes life, is the most sought after, but he watched his father longing for that attention, that honour every minute of his life. His father used to look at the newspaper clippings for hours. The people, who earlier cajoled his father for hearing his story, now avoided him for they got bored of his self-praise.  He watched his father grew weaker everyday without a reason to live till one day when he found him dead in bed clutching the trophy to his chest.
After his father’s death, he moved to this village, where no ghost of his father’s fame followed him, where he is free to look like an idiot staring at the sky. It had been a month post monsoon and there was no sign of clouds. But the rain God was hard to please, the priests chanted:
“O Indra, Dancer, Much-invoked! as thy great power is unsurpassed,
So be thy bounty to the worshipper unchecked.
Most Mighty, most heroic One, for mighty bounty fill thee full.
Though strong, strengthen thyself to win wealth, Maghavan!
O Thunderer, never have our prayers gone forth to any God but thee:
So help us, Maghavan, with thine assistance now.
For, Dancer, verily I find none else for bounty, saving thee,
For splendid wealth and power, thou Lover of the Song.” 1
Rain God was not pleased. “He is only pleased with true devotion. These, money minded fraud, priests are not good for swaying the God” they said.
His father often came home drunk. In his half asleep state, he always used to mutter “Don’t live a hero’s life.”
He saw Rain God in his dreams today, or was it his father in a God’s attire. “Help these people” the God said. “But you always told me not to become a hero” he questioned. The God smiled and said “No! I told you not to live a hero’s life.” He was fully awake now. He knew what was to be done. He walked up to the temple and sat in prayer. At first people did not notice, but when he sat unmoved for hours, people started gathering around him. They understood that he was praying for the rain. Finally they had a true devotee. He sat unmoved for days. Men watched him in amazement and women with tears at his devotion. No one was watching the sky any longer.
He had to be a hero, like his father. But unlike his father, he had to die a hero’s death; a death, which will make him immortal for years to come.
Finally the Rain God was pleased. The sky was filled with dark clouds. “Some minutes more” he thought. When first lightning struck, he knew it was time. He was walking towards a light and then absolute dark.
“You did what I could not, my son” his father said with a trophy in his hand.
He opened his eyes. He had passed out. Somebody held his head in arms and helped him drink some water. He realised that he was not dead. People picked him on their shoulders. They danced around him. He was a hero.
“I have failed you father” He said.
1 Rig Veda, Book 8, Hymn XXIV Indra