Avatar Ram - A hero or villain(a kid's point of view)

Ramayana - a great epic.

Such is its multi dimensional (meaningful) quality for each mind that reads it; it gives out a unique meaning and understanding. No wonder it is an epic. Well epic or not, this is how it was interpreted by a five year old.

I have a son. He is a..what shall I say..ah..Aristotle? (yeah..I know Aristotle is going to come in my dreams tonight with a whip in his hand. )

Anyways.. My son and his little mind works so wonderfully, that he will make me blink like an A class idiot more than once in a day.

This incident happened a few nights ago, when it was my turn for storytelling. Usually their father (my super husband) will read them stories from the books (so easy haan?).

He is so professional even in that, every day morning he used to ask my kids to use some of the words they learned the previous night.
Well I am a little unprofessional, I rely on our pancha thanthra stories, tenali rama and sometimes pull out stories from my own creativity. This particular night started off differently. As soon as we settled down on the bed my son told me.

Son: “Mom. Today you have tell me a story about someone I saw in the shop”

I: “What? Who was that?”

Son: “He is an avatar. And I think he is quiet rich.” Well you guessed me right. I couldn’t make head or tail out of it.

I: " you saw an avatar?"

Son: "Yes in a photo"

I: Slightly clarified and was still thrilled to know that my young boy had knowledge to identify god's avatars. So I asked him sweetly .
“What avatar my dear?”

Son: “The one with that..what weapon is that? Like a..(he tried to draw it with his little finger in the air above)

I: “Oh you mean bow and arrow? Oh…ok…you mean Rama?”

Son: “I don’t know” he shrugged.

I: “Did he have hanuman beside him? “(My son is a diehard fan of hanuman next only to ben 10 and Indiana jones)

Son:“yes …yes mummy..”

I: “Right ! then it definitely is rama. You want to know his story?” I was a little hesitant at first because I didn’t want to put one wrong word about such a beautiful epic and that to on the young minds then consoled myself that for a six year old, my knowledge of Ramayana was enough.

I: “Actually my loves, it is a very good story.A story with lots of action happening in palaces where there were lots of princesses and queens.” That was enough for my son and his little sister who loves everything in pink especially castles.

And I started to tell the story.

I started off with King dasarath and his beautiful country.

Son:”Stop..stop. So this Ayodhya is in Pandora?”

I:”What Pandora?”

Son: “What mummy. Avatars live only in pandora. It is their planet remember?. You told me that day” .I hit my head in the nearby wall

I: “My dear son. That avtar is different. You confused because of his blue color,i suppose. This avtar is..ah.Lord vishnu’s avatar. ”

Son:”who is Lord Vishnu?”

I: “He is..ah..I will tell you that story some other day. It is bigger than Ramayana. So just remember Rama was none other than Vishnu. Do you remember us going to thirumala?"

Son:” Yes..Yes..”

I: “ah..it’s him ok?” he was a bit convinced. Then the story went on as I told him about the curse dhasarath got, by mistakenly killing the young boy for a deer.

Son: “Why couldn’t he see the boy, when he was that close? Did he have eye power problem like you?” first I thought of telling him that his karma screened his eyes. Then just pushed that thought aside knowing very well what my son will say for karma.(“ what kurma? vegetable or chicken?")so..

I: “yes dear…seems like he didn’t take his vegetables like you when he was young”.We crossed the stage where kaikaeyi asked her wishes from dhasarath, where my son totally “yewed” on kaikeyi as well as dhasarathan.

It was time for Ram to go to the forest along with his wife.I was telling him that Ravana sent a magical golden deer to distract seetha.

Son: “Golden deer? Was that a robot deer then?”

I: (hmm nice imagination) “Yes dear. Ravana was very clever.He could have made a robot deer. His father in law was a scientist and astronomer like newton and Galileo. He taught Ravana so much that Ravana became very clever.So clever as ten brains put together. That is why people describe him as ten headed Ravana.”

Son:”Then if he had ten heads why didn’t his teacher Mayan have ten heads?”

I:(Dead locked..சிக்கிட்டியேடி சின்னக்கிளி)”Ravana was not only clever but also had the power given by Lord shiva so he was much powerful and prouder than mayan. It was his pride that took ten heads. That’s why even today if some one is so proud we call them head weight. His head is so heavy with proud. Do you understand?”

Son:”Sort of..”

I:(அப்பாடி...Just miss.. )

we reached the point where Ravana kidnapped Seetha. I was dreading all along what this little devil was going to ask me, he asked me just the same.

Son: “Why did Ravana kidnap seetha?”

I don’t know about others, but I for one like Ravana very much. So I took the alternative safer route by saying

I: “Seetha was actually Ravana’s daughter . He lost her when she was a baby.That’s why dear”(I don’t know whether it was the correct thing in valmiki Ramayana but it was better than telling him that Ravana took her to make her his wife). As the story gained momentum, My son was getting quite impressed with Ravana.

Heaving a sigh of relief I continued on.

Hanuman flew over to srilanka and found where seetha was kept. Seetha gave him back her jewel(this is where my daughter was very happy).

While Ram was making arrangements to cross over sethu by making a bridge Lakshman got poisoned and I explained shortly how my son’s favorite Hanuman brought the sanjeevi hills itself to Rameshwaram.

Son: “After taking the medicine, where did hanuman put the sanjeevi hills?”

I: (What a lateral thinking? எப்டியெல்லாம் யோசிக்குதுக பயபுள்ளைக?)” He went and replaced it in its original place dear. But people say that he did drop a small piece of it near kerala which is called now as "marunthu vazhum malai".

Then we were almost near climax.

Now, Ram and Ravana were fighting ferociously using missiles and nuclear weapons and what not. He was totally awed better than on an ‘indi’ movie.

Then dramatically I finished the great story with the happy line that

“At last Rama killed Ravana and then Rama and seetha lived happily ever after “

(I skipped lava kusha part).

My son was lying quietly on his bed looking up at the ceiling his brows creased (ohoh..aristotle in his work).

I was confused. Normally he is used to asking so many questions, that I was unable to understand his silence.

I:“What’s it dear? You didn’t like the story?”

Son:“No mummy. “

I:“Then what?”

Son: “I thought Rama was the hero. I didn’t think he was the villain”. I was totally shocked and choked at the gulp of water I just drank.

I: “what?”

Son: “Yeah.. Ravana was such a nice guy, right?.I mean he took care of his people, he was very pious on shiva. And he just wanted to have his own daughter back right? Like what daddy would do if paapaa(my daughter) was taken away. He was totally right. Then Why did Rama go and fight with him and kill him? I Thought at last they will both become friends and help people together. You said Only bad guys hurt good guys. So that makes Rama a bad guy right? Tell me amma Is Rama a hero or villain?”

I: “……………..”

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