Starbucks Snivel – Ravan and Duryodhan

This is the concluding part of the series. Read the first two parts of the series here – 

Costa Chatter – Sita and Draupadi

Barista Banter – Ram and Yudhishthir

Duryodhan was transfixed by the iPad. He had never seen anything so fascinating before. He was also surprised to see Narad Muni managing the Apple store. When he prodded Narad, he was curtly told that ever since Surupnakha convinced Brahma to telecast Big Boss in heaven, everyone was talking about voting Narad out because of way he kept instigating Gods against each other.

‘Hence, I have taken an alternative job. Would you like to see the new iPhone 5?’ Narad inquired. Duryodhan was busy watching Shakira on the iPad and did not pay heed.

After making up his mind to buy the new iPad, Duryodhan left the Apple store and walked into Starbucks to have a taste of the much talked about Cold Coffee with extra cream. Karna had been pestering him to taste it.

As he walked in, he was shocked to find Ravan sitting at one of the corner tables, his moustache completely drenched in the extra cream of the cold coffee as he gulped the last drop of it from the glass. Duryodhan smiled on seeing the legend and touched his feet.

‘So you too are smitten by this cold coffee?’ He asked as he sat on the chair.

‘Try it,’ Ravan said and ordered a coffee for Duryodhan and another one for himself.

‘I thought you had ten heads,’ Duryodhan said.

‘I didn’t. Logically, you cannot balance ten heads on a demon body. I don’t know where the bloody idea came from,’ Ravan said.

‘You are right. By the way, I am a really big fan,’ Duryodhan said.

‘Your actions speak. It was very distasteful – ordering your brother to disrobe a woman.’

‘So was kidnapping one.’

‘Hmmm. Do you know that they will burn my effigy every year in the future but spare you?’

‘Will they? I am heartbroken that there is no festival attached to my death,’ Duryodhan said as the coffee arrived. He took his first sip and looked amazed.

‘Go on. There are no words,’ Ravan said as he laughed loudly. One of the windows of the shop cracked.

‘It seems you have seen the future?’ Duryodhan asked after his breathing became normal as the cold coffee slid down his throat.

‘No I haven’t. Brahma filled me in after he returned from one of his trips. It is not a coincidence that both of us are sitting here instead of hell. He was shocked after he came back from the future one day and went to Indra’s palace straightaway. He convinced him to move me to heaven as he thinks that I am a saint in comparison to humans living in Kalyug,’ Ravan explained in a serious tone.  

‘Really? I do not understand,’ Duryodhan said licking the extra cream.

‘Duryodhan, in our times, women are always scantily dressed but we never blamed them for our deeds. You never blamed Draupadi for wearing a single piece of cloth that day when Dushasan disrobed her. In Kalyug, men would put the entire blame on women – what they wear, where they go, what they think. They will blame phones and clothes for rapes, even chowmein. Pretty convenient, eh?’ Ravan said with a chuckle.

‘Strange how the wheel of time turns. We, at least, were open about our treachery.’

‘Yes, and proud of it! The humans in Kalyug will be shrewd. Talk about taking lessons from our stories!’

Ravan and Duryodhan were peacefully drinking their coffee, when they were suddenly taken aback as Sita and Draupadi entered Starbucks to buy a muffin. The ladies did not notice them as they quickly hid behind the ‘Heavens Now’ paper magazine lying on their table. The headlines screamed – ‘Will Menka and Rambha kiss and make up? Indra says No comments!’

‘It will be an ordeal to live in Heaven trying to avoid confrontations like this!’ Duryodhan said.

‘You will get used to it. Turn into a crow or something the next time something like this happens,’ Ravan said.

As the ladies moved out after buying two muffins, Ram and Yudhishthir entered Starbucks a few minutes later to buy brownies for their wives to pacify them.

‘Jesus! This is getting on my nerves!’ Duryodhan said hiding behind the newspaper again.

Ram and Yudhishthir bought two bags full of brownies and ran after Sita and Draupadi.

‘What the bloody heavens is this? A college campus?’ Ravan said with disgust.

As the villains finally settled down to enjoy the rest of their coffee, Surupnakha entered the shop searching for Ravan.

‘BRO ji!’ she shouted from the entrance and made Duryodhan choke on his coffee, ‘Please do not send me to Ram in the future. If you have to instigate him with your jokes, send a pigeon. He tried to insult me in front of that Yudhishthir. Hain Ji! I gave him a big piece of my mind.’

Then her eyes went to Duryodhan.

‘Hey sexy! When did you arrive? Hello, Myself Dolly,’ she chirruped with a wide grin. Duryodhan had a sudden bout of cough.     

***********                                                           

Krishna was sad from the past few days. With the permission of Indra, he finally gathered everyone from Ramayana and Mahabharata in the amphitheatre containing the giant screen. The Pandavas and the whole clan of Lord Ram sat together towards his left while the Demons and Kaurava clan sat towards his right.

‘You were born for a purpose and all of you have fulfilled it. Do not bring your animosity to this floating city. Do not forget that you all are just souls and avatars. You are all dead. Forgive each other. Do not bring the problems of your time on Earth to the heavens,’ he said in a voice that boomed in the sky. He went on for an hour with his gyan and stopped suddenly when he heard Ravan snore loudly. He then cleared his throat and left.

As everyone dispersed from the meeting, Sita walked towards the edge of the floating city and sat on a cloud watching Earth below. It was the night of Diwali. The Earth was filled with lamps and looked like an upturned sky shimmering with stars. People were celebrating the day of Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya with Sita after their exile ended. Those were happy days, she remembered and sighed.

‘Sita, can I sit with you?’ she heard a voice behind her.

‘Yes Ram.’

Ram came and sat besides her and looked at the Earth below.

‘Sita, I am sorry for everything. I was a bad husband,’ Ram said.

Sita looked at him.

‘You were good Ram but then you abandoned me at a point when happiness had just returned in our lives. You made an example of me. Twice. And that too when I was not at fault. My exile did not end with yours Ram. It ended with my life. I had a right to a happy life, didn’t I Ram?’

‘I am sorry sweetheart. I wish I could change everything back to how it was,’ Ram said. There were tears in his eyes.

Sita sighed. Thoughts churned in her head. She has to move on. Krishna was right.

‘Happy Diwali Ram,’ she said and kept her hand on Ram’s.

‘Happy Diwali Sita. Would you like to have a cup of coffee with me?’ Ram said.

‘Costa,’ Sita said and smiled. Both of them stood up and held hands as they walked towards the floating city centre.

‘Where is Yudhisthir?’ she asked Ram as they walked.

‘The Pandavas are with Draupadi asking for her forgiveness. I bought brownies for you,’ Ram said.

From a high tower of a nearby building, Surupnakha watched as the couple walked away from the edge. She was smiling.

‘Hai! Cute couple! I wish I had someone to love. Mere Tote kab udenge (when will my parrots fly)?,’ she said. Then her eyes sparkled and she took a lift down the building in search of Duryodhan.

[images from 1,2,3,4,5, 6]

Remembering Ravan

There is a park across my house where Ramlila happens every year and then on the day of Dussehra, the huge effigy of Ravan stuffed with firecrackers is burnt. On the auspicious day, a huge crowd gathers in the park and on the highest floor of the nearby buildings to be a part of the ritual. Ravan is one character in Ramayan which has always intrigued me. So on this day of Dussehra, I thought of doing some research on the Demon King and stumbled upon many rather unknown facts about him (they were unknown to me at least) which I would like to share with all of you.

  • Ravan was the great-grandson of the creator of the universe, Brahma and son of the Brahamana sage Vishrava and younger brother of Kubera(the deity of wealth). His mother, Kaikesi was an asura. Kaikesi’s father Sumali wanted her to marry the most powerful man in the world so that he gets an exceptional heir. He kept on rejecting many kings but in the end Kaikesi chose Vishrava to marry. Ravan was hence half Brahmin and half Asura.
  • Ravan’s original name was Dasamukha. Following his conquest of Lanka, Ravana went to appease Lord Shiva at his abode in Kailash. Unknowingly and whimsically Ravana attempted to uproot the mountain Kailash. Shiva was annoyed by Ravana`s adamant nature and pressed his little toe under the mountain and pinned him firmly. Ravana cried out in pain so loudly that whole world shook in earthquake. He started to appease Shiva until Shiva was satisfied and made him free from the bondage. Shiva was so impressed by Ravana`s bravery and devotion that he gifted him a powerful sword known as Chandrahas (moon blade). Ravana became a life long devotee of Lord Shiva. Ravana was famous for his dance worship, which is called `Shiva Tandava Stotra`. Shiva was pleased by his dance and named him as Ravana, which means `one who roars terrifyingly`. More on this  – here.
  • Ravana also performed an intense penance to Brahma (the creator god), lasting several years. Pleased with him, Brahma offered him a boon. Ravana asked for immortality, which Brahma refused saying everyone has to die someday. Ravana then asked for absolute invulnerability and supremacy before gods and heavenly spirits, other demons, serpents and wild beasts. Contemptuous of mortal men, he did not ask for protection from them(that is why Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as a human in the form of Lord Ram to kill Ravan). Brahma granted him these boons, and additionally great strength by way of knowledge of divine weapons and sorcery.
  • Lanka(the city made of gold) was designed by Vishwakarma for Kuber who was Ravan’s brother. Ravan demanded Lanka from him and Vishrava also advised Kuber to hand over the city to Ravan as he was completely undefeatable by now. Lanka florished under Ravan’s rule as he was a very able king.
  • Initially Ravan used to force himself upon any woman who rejected his advances. One such incidence was with the sage-woman called Vedavati. Vedavati was performing a yagya to appease Lord Vishnu to marry her when Ravana met her at her hermitage. She, however, rejected his advances. After mocking her dedication to Vishnu and her penance, he attacked her, viciously, by pulling her hair. Her chastity and reputation destroyed, Vedavati immolates herself by building a pyre, while Ravana watched. The second was his encounter with the apsara Rambha, upon whom he forced himself. Rambha was betrothed to Kubera‘s son, but Ravana did not cared. Angered at this, Kubera’s son cursed Ravana that his ten heads would fall off his head if he forced himself upon any woman from that point. This curse is said to have protected Sita’s chastity while she was Ravana’s captive for nearly a year.
  • Ravan also acquired the capacity to change his form, and in the Ramayana he is described as having ten heads and twenty arms. He was endowed with the strength of moving the seas and splitting the tops of mountains. Ravana’s body bore all the marks of one who had fought the devas: the thunderbolt of Indra, the tusks of Indra’s elephant Airavata, and the discus of Vishnu had all scarred him.
  • In the Bhagavata Purana, Ravana and his brother, Kumbakarna were said to be reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, gatekeepers at Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu and were cursed to be born in Earth for their insolence. These gatekeepers refused entry to the Sanatha Kumara monks, who, because of their powers and austerity appeared as young children. For their insolence, the monks cursed them to be expelled from Vaikunta and to be born in Earth. The all-merciful Vishnu agreed that they should be punished but agreed to mitigate their curse. He asked them whether they would want to be undergo seven births as devotees of Vishnu or three births as enemies of the Lord. Since they wanted to get back as soon as possible, they agreed to be born in three births as enemies of God. In the first birth, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Vishnu incarnated as Varaha and Narasimha and killed them both. In Treta Yuga they were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna and were killed by Rama. Then in Dwapara yuga, and in their final birth, Jaya and Vijaya they were born as Shishupala and Dantavakra and killed by Sri Krishna. After the end of three births, they returned to Vaikunta.

So that’s all folks. Happy Dussehra to all of you!

[ p.s. I have picked many of the points from Wikipedia and some random searches from Google]