Hardly had the train left Dhanbad Station that it stopped on the outskirts of the city. It was around seven in the morning and people were just starting their day. As if to prove this, a large number of people were lined on both sides of the railway tracks, reliving themselves. Unable to resist the scenery and the smell, I turned my head towards the book that I had bought on the platform that day. Uninteresting as it was, it wasn’t able to contain my attention for long.
But my ears picked up a conversation between a woman and her husband. As the train had stopped, even the soft talk of this couple was very audible. In fact, this was not soft talk. The woman was complaining to her husband about her in laws. As if home was not enough that this woman had dragged her in-laws even to the train.
“If you cannot protect me, you have no right to ask me to stay here”, said the woman.
“Hmm”, the husband said meekly.
“And don’t come to take me until you have shifted to another house”.
“Okay I will talk to mother about this”, the husband said.
“Oh your mother! I am not one who has been taught to disrespect elders, but it is your mother who is after my life”. Tumko malum hai wo hampar shaque karti hai ki ham tumpar jadu-tona kar diye hain.
“Arre shaque to bitiya Sita maiya ne Lacchman ji jaise devar par bhi kiya tha“, said an old man who was sitting in the same compartment as the couple.
“Accha! ye kab hua tha baba“, this was the woman’s husband, but his voice was no longer meek as before. His voice evinced his interest. Or may be he saw this as an opportunity to escape the battle that his wife was throwing him into.
Yeh tabki bat hai beta when Ramji decided to leave Ayodhya and make a living in the jungle along with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana. Once when Surpanakha, the sister of the Rakshasa king Ravana, was flying through the sky, she happened to see Rama. She had never seen such a handsome man and instantly fell in love with him. Coming down, she asked Rama if he will marry her. He expressed his regret saying that he is already married. Why don’t you marry my brother Laxmana instead? He said while pointing towards the direction where Lakshmana was busy making arrows. A look at him and Surpanakha’s love for Rama vanished instantly. She moved towards Laxmana with the desire to marry him. But he was not a man of easy virtues. Out of anger, he cut Surpanakha’s nose.
Accha! Tab toh Surpanakha bahut gussa hui hogi.
Arre siraf Surpanakha nahi beta; even Ravana was very angry. He instantly decided to teach the kids a lesson.
And he reached their hut. But before that he did two things. First he dressed up as a Brahmin bhikshuk and second he asked his servant Marich to disguise as a golden deer. When the golden dear passed Sita’s hut, she was instantly taken away by its beauty. She asked Rama to fetch it for her and she knew no reason. “I want that golden dear”, Sita said. And Rama had to give in to his wishes.
“Dekho us jamane me bhi pati log apni patniyon ke agey har hi jatey the“, the man said this to lighten up the mood. But the wife took this as a remark on her. She gave a ugly look at her husband and then turned her head towards the window.
“Arre ham tumko thorey na kuch kahey“, the man rushed to calm his wife.
But the old baba was not a bit diverted by this. He continued with his story.
To hua ye ki Ramji to nikal gaye sone ki hiran khojne aur bahut der bhi ho gayi. Here Sita ji started to get tensed. Just then she head a scream from the direction in which Rama had ran. This was actually Marich who had taken the form of a deer. He cried like Rama so that Sitaji can send Laxmana too to the jungle. This way she would be all alone and Ravana can easily kidnap her. Yes, this was Ravana’s way to punish Rama and Laxmana for the thing they had done to his sister.
Meanwhile the man had tried to calm his wife. When she didn’t respond, he too had become disinterested and was looking outside the train. Baba had lost a follower but he didn’t stop his story.
When Sita ji heard the scream of Ravana, she started panicking.
“Laxman bhaiya dekho na jakar…lagta hai tumhare bhaiya ko kuch ho gaya hai“.
“Arre nahi bhabhi, don’t you know how powerful your husband is?”
“Still, I am afraid. Please go and check”.
“No, I cannot go leaving you alone. I have strict orders from Bhaiya.”
“You have orders from your bhaiya or you just don’t want to go. So that you can have me after his death”.
Bas Sita ji ne dil ched kar rakh dene wala ban chor diya tha. Laxman ji wasn’t able to say anything but a drop of tear fell from his eyes. He had never in his life hoped to hear such a thing from a woman who he treated more than his mother.
“Toh dekha na bitiya is tarah se Sitaji ne Lacchman Ji par shaque kiya tha“.
Bitiya didn’t even turn to acknowledge her approval. Neither did beta. Both of them were staring outside.
But Ramayan Path had to go on. I heard it until the part where Rama agrees to help Sugriva regain his wife and kingdom after killing Bali. Then my eyes gave way and I passed into dreams.