Maaya Jaal

“Aah Doctor. It is really killing. As soon as I make a movement, unbearable flashes start to carouse through; as though my body is an instrument tailor made for pain”. 

“After you get past the inconvenience that it causes, you must agree that pain does make the body come alive”. Doctor indulged in small talk. 

“Maybe a little pain which is transient, does enliven the body; but doctor when you are as systematically brutalized as I am, when you get burned annually as I do, pain is no longer a call to awaken. It is a thing of dread. It is an instrument of terror. It becomes a mythical object of fantasy which seeps into your core, infecting it. “the tone of victim was in equal parts angry and hurt. 

“Oh my friend, surely you do get used to it after a time. We humans with our innate flexibility are masters of adaptation.” The Doctor tried to reassure. 

“You never get used to the torture which is ritually inflicted upon you. You almost always want to escape it. In fact your whole life becomes a script around pain, wherein some portions are focused to avoid it while some sections seem desperately trying to manage it” the big head was turning side to side in anguish. 

“Ah I now understand that your real torture is anticipated pain as much as actual one” the Doctor gave up trying to soothe. 

“In fact I treat another trauma patient like you who gets routinely trampled by the crowds. By a strange coincidence he is almost always brought in before you stagger in. This time too, he was brought in yesterday all opened up. If you see his wounds, though not burn wounds like yours, they are all over his body. His face is swollen at places, eyes sockets are blue with sclera in one of them totally red from internal bleeding; his arms and legs are swollen at odd places and his fingers joints are mangled. In fact one of his wrists has been broken at 12 places. Would you want to meet him as it might comfort both of you.” 

“Sure, lead on”. Said the giant man, limping awkwardly behind the doctor. 

As they entered the private ward at the 12th floor of the posh upmarket hospital, the visitor was stunned to look at the bandaged figure reclining on the bed. His head and body were all dangling at awkward angles to each other as intermittent pain cry escaped his lips. 

“Hey Ram”, the visitor gasped. 

“Hi Ravana”, after a great deal of effort the crushed figure managed to articulate. 

“What happened O Ideal Man. I got burnt by your arrows yesterday on Dusherra but what happened to you. How did you end up here.”

“Ah wise Ravana, I end up coming here every Dussherra as well, for after I burn you I get trampled upon by the crowds gone berserk. They dance all over me, drunk by the exuberance of their ignorance. “

“I see. Sire, if both of us get so ill treated don’t you think it is time we ended this spectacle” 

“No Ravana, we must not. Whether in their actions they honor us or not, their belief in us should not wane. They still have to believe that we guide them and are in control. In fact that is why I have just twenty days to recover, get cosmetic surgery done so that I can return to Ayodhya in full splendor. My homecoming should always be celebrated even if it is estranged from their current realities.”

“O noble one, your effort is truly commendable. However if both of us are in hospital, who is out there, ruling them in our stead”.

“My friend, in this Kalyuga, we are both present only in proxy but one who actually rules the heart and minds of people is propaganda.” whispered the Lord sadly.