Archive for February, 2012

Continued from Part I

“Uuh! Alright. I’ll be there. I was in the middle of an ‘über-romantic, hyper-sensual sleep engagement with my beautiful, stinking rich wife, while my pet thousand-hooded snake acted as our bed’. But, no matter! This is an emergency. She’ll understand. She’s used to me popping in and out of home at will anyway.”

The demon was behind Shiva like a starving cat chasing a mouse, in this case, ironically, it’s vice versa! Shiva ran and ran. He had gained quite a head-start when he noticed that, at a distance was a divinely beautiful woman, with a seductive wobble in her gait, daintily walking towards him. So enchanting was her beauty that, the epitome of asceticism that he is, even he couldn’t resist a flirtatious gesture.

“Greetings, O Lovely one! What did the four-headed Creator put in you to make you so fiiiiinnnneee!” he flirted.

“DUDE!!” she said in a man’s voice, ”It’s me!”

“V?” shocked. “Is this really you?”

“Yes. I’m here to distract and possibly trick that maniac into doing something stupid!”

“O Maaan! Had you not spoken in that voice, I don’t know how far I’d have gone!”

“With that cheesy pick-up line? I’d say, not even the next few steps. So, dream on, buddy! Anyway, get out of here before you blow my cover. I hear him closing in. See you on the other side.”

“Thanks a ton V! You truly are a savior! I owe you one. BIG TIME!! And maaan! Aren’t you a thing of beauty? And boy, are you going to be a joy forever!! Phew!”

“Dude!! Seriously, that is so below-the-belt! And NO! It ain’t happenin! Now, GO! And yes, you owe me one, BIG TIME!”

Shiva immediately took cover and started to peek from his hiding place. He wasn’t going to miss all the action.

Vishnu lecherously called out to the approaching demon. Horny as all demons are, Bhasmasura was no exception. So bewitched was he that he completely forgot who he was after and followed the enchantress like a love-struck puppy, drooling all over the place.

Bhasmasura succumbs to Mohini's charms

“Sooo, who are you chasing after, so tirelessly? Hmmm?” she asked in a seductive voice.

“You, of course! I was chasing you. Who else would I go after? Haaaaaaaa”, mesmerized.

“Me? Why? You don’t even know my name.”

“To marry you, of course, and when did demons start inquiring about names to get married? We like someone, we take ‘em! No questions asked!”

“Aaah! Marry me, you say? Playing around is fun, but marriage? I’m Mohini, the enchantress, and I don’t just give myself to any man…err…demon that comes by, you know. I want a man….damn!…demon who can dance like me, or better. Can you dance?”

“Well, I do jive and swing about from time to time, but one can hardly call that ‘dance’. Perhaps you can teach me. What say you, mio amore?”

“Oooh! A polyglot, I see! I like that in a man…..crap!…..demon. Now, let’s get you dancing, shall we?”

“I’m all yours, my love!”

She had the dumb demon completely under her spell. He mirrored every one of her moves, right from the basic mudras to non-dance activities like scratching, sneezing, swatting flies and the like. As the lessons progressed, her enchantment worked like an opiate. Finally, in one of her moves, she placed her palm on her head to stroke her hair. Bhasmasura, under the spell and in an absolute lapse of level-headed judgment, did the same. Even before he realized what he had done, he just went up in smoke, leaving a pile of ash right where he stood!

Mohini called out to Shiva in a man’s voice. ”There! All done! You can come out now. I’ve made you some fresh ash to adorn.”

“Thank you V! Thank you sooo much! I don’t know what I’d do without you. How will I ever repay you?” a grateful Shiva said as he knelt down to collect the ash.

“Well, for one, you could keep your word and come to my aid when I need it the most”, Vishnu said as he regained his real form.

“Of course, man! Anytime, anywhere, in any form. You need just utter my name!”

“How about – in the Treta Yuga, in Kishkindha, as Hanuman, the son of Anjana Devi and Vayu, as the leader of the army of apes?”

“Sure! No pr……wait a minute! Did you just say leader of an army of ‘Apes’?”

“Yeah? Is that a problem?”

“You want me to turn into a ‘monkey’?”

“Dude, I changed my sex, flirted and almost married a demon to save your skin. This is the least you can do! Come on, be a sport.”

“Fair enough!”

“Alright then! If our work here’s done, then it’s time we got back to our wives before they turn you into a pile of ash and me into a pile of ‘Thirumann‘!”

“Oh yes, of course! Let’s go! Brilliant dance moves, by the way. Some were exceptionally graceful. Never knew you could dance like that. Really, WOW!!”

“Thank you! I appreciate it. Especially, coming from the Lord of all dances! I was thinking I’d call it ‘Mohiniyattam’. What do you think?”

’Mohiniyattam’ ? Hmmm….Sounds trendy and at the same time, exudes ethnic beauty and charm, in keeping with the geography of the region we’re in. I like it.”

“Good! It’s settled, then. ‘Mohiniyattam’ it is. You know, these were the same moves with which I distracted these demons after the churning of the ocean of milk. As always, they couldn’t have been more boneheaded.”

“Aaah! Clever! I did issue a caveat to this guy before I gave him the boon, but I’d say he had it coming. ”

“In your haste, you seem to have forgotten your bull. You need a ride back home? My eagle can take two.”

“Sure, thanks!”

The two mounted the mighty eagle, Garuda and off they flew. A conversation ensued as they took off.

“Hey, out of curiosity. What’s with all the ‘monkey’ business?” Shiva asked, as the eagle took off.

“Well, you know, a boon-infested demon terrorizing the world, a savior crown prince and his faithful clique to the rescue. To add spice, the prince’s newly wed wife gets napped by the demon. This is the story I have in mind. What do you think?”

“Interesting, but where do I come in?”

“You’re one of the faithful clique. As a matter of fact, the most powerful and the most dedicated one and….ahem…ahem…celibate.”

“A faithful clique of monkeys is weird enough, and I’m to be the most powerful and dedicated but ‘celibate’ monkey? Really? Man!! I just hope it’s all worth it. Only Brahman knows what you’re up to.”

“No, he doesn’t. Hehehehe!” he chuckled, flaunting a naughty grin.

Thus were sown, the seeds for the events in one of the greatest stories the world has ever heard or read, making for one of the greatest works of literature the world has ever known – The Ramayana. Of course, this is also the legend behind the birth of one of the most graceful, exquisite and visually appealing classical dance forms – Mohiniyattam. These myths, tales and legends have been told and retold millions of times over thousands of years in a million different versions, all taken with a pinch of salt. This is my version with a sprinkle of imagination, and a dash of fun!

Image courtesy: Bhasmasur-Mohini

He was about to wrap himself around his wife in a carnal embrace after an aeon-long dance of love, when he felt a tingling, a silent whisper in his ear, like someone’s calling out to him. The next thing his wife knew, he had vanished into thin air!

“ALRIGHT NOW! What the hell was so important that you had to pull me out of an über-romantic, hyper-sensual dance engagement with my lovely wife, which I had planned for over a thousand years! This had better be worth it, or else!” an annoyed Shiva, the Supreme Destroyer of the worlds asked a penance-beaten demon, Bhasmasura.

“err…err….well….O Lord! I….I…”

The Ash Demon

Bhasmasura

“Well? I did not come all the way from Kailasa to listen to a dimwit demon stutter. I have better and more pleasurable things to do. Now, out with it! What is it that you want?”

“Well, my Lord! I was wondering…..err….if….I could be granted that boon….of…….err….”

“Don’t you dare! DON’T YOU DARE SAY ‘IMMORTALITY’! Are you really trying to get me to open my third eye? Huh? You really want me to? I will if you push me.” visibly miffed beyond a mortal’s comprehension.

“Alright, I’m sorry. Is a demon not entitled to a wishlist?”

“Don’t you know that immortality isn’t mine to give or yours to take? It’s something your brothers from the other mother won in a fair gamble! You and your brothers, on the other hand, flaming imbeciles that you are, just didn’t see it coming.” he sneered.

“Fine! Enough with the insults already! GOD!!”

“YOU call me out here, in the middle of nowhere, and for goodness knows what, and then you go on and take my name in vain? Are you really trying to piss me off? Do you want me to stab you with my omnipotent trident, with a celestial omniglot damarukam tied to it? Now, stop yawping about what I said and just tell me what you want.”

“Alright, alright! If immortality is out of the window, then grant me this wish…”

“What?”

“That any person on whose head I place my palm, must instantly combust to a pile of ash!”

“What?! You know what, I’m not even going to ask why. You bonehead demons beg for the weirdest of boons and then die in the weirdest of ways on account of them. Don’t you people ever learn? Anyway, let’s just get it over with!” saying this, he swirled his right hand in the air to reveal a blob of bright light which flew across and blended itself into the demon. He then cursed under his breath, “I can’t believe I left Kailasa at the most crucial moment of passion for a load of this nonsense! I wish I could curse him instead……” He suddenly noticed the demon come at him with his hand raised in a Nazi salute.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! Wadda hell are you doing?”

“Well, as a ‘boon’stumer, I’m entitled to test the quality of my boon, aren’t I?”

“On the bestower? Are you out of your bloody mind? How dare you threaten to test it on ME? I am one of the Trinity! All the fourteen worlds would annihilate themselves for one of our boons. The three of us bestow the best boons in the business!”

But Bhasmasura wasn’t one to be convinced by a mere advertisement of the mouth. He insisted on testing it despite a quality assurance certificate from the Boon Regulatory Authority of the Confederated Brahmaandas, which all boons from the Trinity carry in order to avoid litigations and other legal entanglements later, from the chaste and devout wives of the demons, however ironic as it may sound. Bhasmasura relentlessly charged towards Shiva in an attempt to put to test, his newly attained power. In a supremely ironic twist of fate, the Supreme Destroyer of the worlds was forced to run for his own life. And thus began the chase.

Shiva, without losing a moment, telepathically screamed out for help to the Preserver of the worlds and his closest friend, the dark hued Vishnu.

“DUUDDEE! HELP!! Paahimaam, Paahimaam!!” Shiva screamed.

“Hello! Who is this? I can’t hear you and your voice is breaking up. Could you please speak up a bit louder?”

“Hello? It is I, Shiva, The Destroyer. Can you hear me?” Panting.

“Oh! Heeeyy!! Many Namaskarams! Long time no see! How be the three-eyed god and his emerald hued wife?”

“The wife is just fine. I, on the other hand, am being chased by my death!”

“What? Where? Why? By whom?”

Shiva told him the whole story and then –

“Dude! You have to come and get me or this maniac is sure to turn me into a pile of stuff that I wear on my body, only this time there isn’t going to be a body and the ‘stuff’ is going to be ME! So, please, hurry up!”

 

To be continued…

Image Courtesy: milkmiracle.net