Saturday was a dull dripping day but the spirits were high as was the chaos. Panic pandemonium and the flurry of activity in the green room was nothing less than that in the casualty.
The play director had her first heart attack at the ripe old age of 25 and had to be rushed to the emergency – well almost. Hua yun ki, Dhritarashtra (oho Mahabharata par play kar rahe the – the infamous court gambling scene and humari Chotti Draupadi ka role play kar rahi thi) got stuck in a complicated surgery case (I mean the guy who was to play Dhritarashtra). Aur usne bataya bhi last minute par. Actually bataya bhi nahi, they all realized it just as the curtain was about to go down on the previous item and they were lining up to take their positions.
“Dhritarashtra! Dhritarashtra! Don’t make me kill you! I swear I will. I told you to be here!” screamed the Director but he was not only blind to her pleas but deaf and dumb too.
There was not a moment to be lost. Khushi stepped up. “Kisi aur ko banado Dhritarashtra!”
“Haan par kisko?!” The Director, Anupama, stopped tearing out her hair and only bothered to respond because it was Angel’s mom, koi aur hota toh wahin dher kar deti.
“Kisiko bhi. Anya ko le lo. Zyaada dialogue toh nahi hoga na?”
Anupama looked at Anya with a doubtful cum hopeful expression.
“Sure!” Anya’s eyes gleamed with excitement. “I have seen Jaane Bhi Do Yaroon. Dhritarashtra ko karna ki kya hai – Just look confused and intermittently plaintively say Yeh kya ho raha hai at judicious intervals, right?”
Anupama fell on Anya’s neck before she was shoved away by the make-up artist and Khushi set to draping the dhoti.
Anya got so engrossed in the play that when Draupadi was being humiliated she forgot her lines. Anupama had to use a stick from behind the throne to poke her. And instead of yeh kya ho raha hai she almost yelled What the.
Actually, Anya ki galati nahi thi.
Hua yunh ki, the play was going in predictable lines, with the game of dice, Shakuni and Duryodhana up to their tricks, Yudhishthir staking everything including his brothers, himself and finally Draupadi. Dushasana dragged her by her hair to the gambling hall and following Duryodhana’s orders Dushasana began to disrobe her. Draupadi invoked Shri Krishna and without warning turned and chopped two in Dushasana’s neck.
Duryodhana bellowed with rage and came charging with a raised sword. Without missing a beat, Draupadi (urf Chotti) twirled around on one foot with her other foot making an well timed and forceful connection with his most sensitive and engaged part. With a howl, he joined Dushasana on the floor. The entire courtroom (and indeed the auditorium) erupted even as Draupadi attempted to redrape her slipping sari over the body suit.
Despite these glitches and near heart attacks, the play went on to be a mega hit with none in the audience any wiser except for the original Dhritarashtra who watched enviously from the wings nursing a red ear.
Nahi nahi! Chotti didn’t mess up! It was part of the script (not the slipping sari!) where they recreated the Mahabharata with a twist.
Okay fine – but remember you asked for it. If you didn’t, feel free to go your way 😀
Once Draupadi is dragged into the gambling hall and she finds her husbands to be slaves to Duryodhana with all the maharathis content to sit and await her public humiliation. She prays to Shri Krishna to save her.
He says “Why do you need me? I am sure you can manage on your own. Try toh karo!”
Born from fire, Draupadi does exactly that. After decimating the two primary villains she gave such a tongue lashing to all the others that they could only hang their heads in silence. Even more infuriated, she brings in Gandhari and makes her the ruler of Hastinapur instead of Dhritarashtra. When Gandhari is apprised of the facts, she banishes Draupadi’s husbands to the forest for 13 years of dice detox for Yudhishthir and the others to atone and understand the importance between Dharma and blind obedience. Shakuni was summarily dismissed to his own country while Duryodhana, Dushasana and Karna were sent to the Gurukul for a major ego detox. Their Gurus (Kripaacharya and Dronacharya) were asked to undertake such addhyayan which would help them grow a spine, break free of attachment and speak up without fear of losing their prized position in court. Bheeshma was politely suggested that perhaps he (and Hastinapur) would be better off if he spent some time on the banks of Ganga meditating on his culpability and role in the preceding events. Krishna made a reappearance and blessed Gandhari with the powers to rule Hastinapur with the iron-hand of a loving but fair and strict mother. Under His guidance, Vidura (who was the only one to protest the game of dice, staking of his brothers by Yudhishtir and later of Draupadi) became her right hand while Kunti, Dushala and Draupadi were given separate portfolios – health and family welfare, finance and defence respectively. Vikarna (the third son and the most reputable Kaurava who also protested against the humiliation of Draupadi) was in charge of administration and home affairs. Dhritarashtra was allowed to sit in court provided he desisted from saying yeh kya ho raha hai. With Shri Krishna’s blessings, they lived happily ever after – well a few minor skirmishes here and there between the Kauravas and Pandavas when their paths crossed deliberately or otherwise but there was no battle of Kurukshetra and none of their children died in a pointless battle.
Well, you may object – what of karma and retribution? And the gift of Bhagwad Gita to the world?
Karma would find a way (and a long story) and as for the Bhagwad Gita, its time had come.
The older gurus after a lot of introspection and soul searching went to Shri Krishna for some much needed marg darshan. Their problem was their love of their status and position in court. What if they lost their coveted posts? The Pandavas joined in to understand whether Dharma was more important or was family (the original Arjuna’s question – how could he kill his seniors and other family members?)
Shri Krishna then gave them the Bhagwad Gita Gyan :
“कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन। मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥”
A person should perform their duty without considering the result of their righteous action. Even if it hurts them, destroys them, they have to do their duty, because that is their right. They have no right or control over the result they will get from their action.
That is why, one should not perform their duties for the desire of fruit of their righteousness, and neither should one avoid doing their duty
– toh kaisan lagi yeh Ek Aur Mahabharat ki katha? Kuch zyaada hi rambling license le liya kya?]
Accha toh hum kahan the? Haan play badiya ho gaya aur dance program bhi! Khushi bit her nails to the bone but the dancers twirled and swirled taal se taal milakar (aur agar ekadh miss bhi ho gaya toh nobody really noticed) and got a standing ovation. Khushi was dragged on to the stage to take a bow – thrice.
Woh toh phooli nahi samai. She could easily get addicted to this feeling.
Was this how ASR felt when he successfully cracked a deal?
But she didn’t have much time to introspect on that as she was swept away on the wave of celebration. Plus there was the musical night where acclaimed and popular singers from across the country were performing. And of course they had to be part of the jostling gyrating crowd. Khushi pleaded exhaustion but they insisted on dragging her along. After an hour or so of being jostled and pushed about, the girls relented and allowed her to escape to the benches by the side of the basketball court where the fest was underway.
But there was no sarson dana worth space on the benches either. Moving some distance away, where the food stalls were Khushi spied an upturned boulder upon which she gingerly parked herself. Phew! Not a moment too soon. She would have collapsed in a heap as her legs were shaking and trembling. She should have allowed Chotti and Anya to drop her back to the guest house but she didn’t want to throw a spanner into their bit of fun.
Bechare, kabhi kabhi toh mauka milta hai to let down their hair. Ab nahi toh kab? These were the moments they would cherish later in life.
Or would the memory of these days make them bitter about their absence?
Lagta hai D Mami kuch zyaada hi bhatak gayi. Yehi hoga if you send her on a wild-goose chase. 😛
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