‘So, you tell stories to your little one?’ asked an ageing aunt of me.
With a nod of the head, I got into trouble that very minute.
‘Have you told him about the Ramayana yet?’
‘Have some appams, peddamma’ I tried valiantly.
But she wouldn’t budge.
‘Tell him about Sri Ram, and Laxmana, and Seethamma’ she continued with a wistful look.
I muttered something about getting appams and scurried towards the kitchen.
Look, I have no problems with Sri Ram and family per se.
I grew up praying, and singing all those Sri Ram bhajans.
But I really don’t know what to tell the kid about him.
I usually prepare a story in my head before I actually narrate it to him.
So, I tried whole-heartedly to mentally play back the Ramayana in order to tell him the story.
And you know what I discovered?
The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the Super Mario game.
Level 1: Sri Ram & Co go to school. Kill demons.
Level 2: The aforementioned Sri Ram & Co go with Rishi. Kill more demons. Also break a bow. Get bonus – Seethamma.
Level 3: Go to forest. Kill more demons. And a monkey-king.
Level 4: Look for lost wife. Kill a lot more demons. And then some.
Last level: Face to face with the biggest demon of them all. Kill him. Come home.
Now, how am I supposed to pass on this story?
We worship this guy (I’ve done it all my life).
And yet, he left home because dad said so, left his post and went hunting because wifey said so, threw the wife out because the dhobi said so.
For God’s sake, we’ve got Creative Directors like that.
And we call them spineless.
I don’t know what to tell the kid. I don’t know if I’ve got it all wrong.
So, please excuse me now.
I’ve got to go concoct a story about a crow and a sparrow for tonight.
12 hours ago