Ramleela

taking the centrestage …

Ramayana V: Shoorpanakha’s Revenge

on October 19, 2012

So, Lakshmana cut off Shoorpanakha’s nose and she fled to her brother, the Demon king Ravana …

Characters:

Narrator

Rama

Lakshmana

Sita

Shoorpanakha

Ravana

Golden deer (toy)

Fence (made of cardboard)

Narrator: A few days later, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are whiling away the time in their beautiful surroundings, probably stringing flower garlands and hair ornaments for themselves (got to keep BO away after all, and not too many deos to be had in the jungle) when Sita spots a golden deer.

Sita:

Look, Oh look, what a pretty deer:

His golden hue beyond compare.

Unrivalled beauty, it has no peer;

I want that one, does anyone dare!

Rama:

The deer is pretty, that I submit,

But do not, your desires, admit:

You are a queen, to lead your race;

You must give up your desires with grace.

Sita:

The promises that bind you set me free.

I am now Queen Junglee!

Such beauty, how can you not crave?

Get it for me, O husband Brave!

Rama:

The jungle is wild, O delicate one;

Brother Lakshmana will protect you while I am gone.

Lakshmana:

Mother Sita will be protected by me

While you chase the deer, see, off it does flee!

Narrator: Ram leaves with his weapons to chase the deer. The deer is not real but an illusion, but simple Rama does not know that. The deer is really Marichi in disguise. It is a plot! Remember beautiful Shroopanakha, insulted by Lakshman?

*************************************

Flashback Scene:

Narrator: Shroopnakha rushes into Ravana’ s majestic court.

Shroopanakha: Brother! I have been insulted! I must be avenged! Lakshmana and Rama of the Raghu family have hurt me! You must hurt their pride!

Ravana: You, with your beauty and powers need help! This must be a worthy enemy. I have heard of them – they pride themselves on their ability to protect the weak. I will take what they are most proud of – their ability to protect their defenseless wife!

Narrator: So Ravana hatches a plan. Marichi, the master illusionist is called. He is to lure Ram away. And he does!

*************************************

Back to Chitrakoot:

(Voice in the background: Haye Lakshman! Save Me! Lakshman! Save me!)

Sita: Hark! this is your brother’s voice! You must go to his aid.

Lakshmana: I have the sacred charge of protecting you, Sitamma! I cannot disobey!

Sita: What should you obey? Past restrictions or present circumstances?? Think Lakshmana, my child. Rama needs you. I will be safe here.

Lakshmana: Fine, then I will set up this electric fence.. this line that will keep you safe. Do not cross the line.

(Lakshmana sets up an electric fence around the cottage)

Sita: Go! Go where you must, or this story will not progress!

Narrator:And so, Lakshmana goes to Ram’s aid and Sita goes back into the cottage, praying for Rama’s safety and with no intention of crossing Lakshmana’s electric fence. But Alas for such good intentions! It’s a plot, remember? The distress call to Lakshmana was really Marichi, who, besides creating life-like visual illusions, was an adept at voice impersonations too. Lakshmana finds Rama unhurt and Marichi, in his true form, dying of Rama’s arrow. With dread premonition, they hasten back to the cottage, taking comfort from the thought of Lakshmana’s protective fence, the Lakshman Rekha.

But meanwhile, at the cottage:

(Enter A sage-mendicant (bhikshuk) asking for alms)

Sage-Mendicant:

Bhikshaam dehi! Bhikshaam dehi! Give alms to a holy man;

I ask not for riches or treasure: Just a little of whatever you can!

(Sita comes out with some food stuffs)

Sita:

Here, Baba: your bhiksha; and while we no longer have power or pelf;

My food is to die for, even though I say it myself!

Narrator:The sage-mendicant, who is really Ravana in disguise, has already tried to get past Lakshmana’s electric fence before

calling out to Sita, and been mildly electrocuted. He realizes that Sita must come out of its protection herself if his plan is to succeed. 

Sage-Mendicant: 

My dear good lady, please to have some sense:

It is against a bhikshuk’s dharma to take alms across a fence!

If you would give me food, come out of this bind;

There are places I need to be. Hurry! Make up your mind!

Sita:

Well, this fence is for my protection; Lakshmana’s warning I should heed.

But giving alms to a bhikshuk is, after all, a good deed!

(Sita steps out of the fenced boundary and offers the food to the sage-mendicant).

Narrator: As soon as Sita steps out of her line of protection, Ravana reveals his true self (takes off false beard and mustache) and drags her away, kicking and screaming, to his flying charriot, the Pushpak Vimaan, to carry her off to Lanka.

(The stage echoes with Sita’s screams of ‘Rama! Help!’ growing fainter and fainter).

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