Monday, April 13, 2015

The Simian Brigade - 2


My Father used to narrate Ramayan episodes nightly in exchange for us kids kneading his calf muscles...he had his simian brigade, all of 7 kids who were suckers for his tall tales.

The epitome of the epic was how Rama's monkey brigade built the bridge across the sea to reach Lanka (now Sri Lanka).  

Apparently Rama asked the Sea God (Varuna) to give way. But gods and goddesses are not that easily pleased and Varuna asked Rama to go to hell. And the enraged Rama took out his arrow from its quiver. And then Varuna realized that his entire sea would dry up if hit by Rama's arrow. So he begs pardon and suggests to Rama how to build a bridge across the sea with the help of his monkey brigade.

Apparently one of the monkeys known as Nala was cursed by his father that any stone thrown by him in water floats instead of sinking. This Nala when an urchin was very naughty and used to throw his dad's Salagramams (holy stones used in puja) into the well in their courtyard. And his father had to retrieve them everyday by jumping into the well and looking for the blessed stone in the dark reaches of the sandy bed under the well water...till one day he got fed up and cursed his son. Then on, all that the father had to do was to drop a bucket into the well and fetch up the stone.  

And this Nala became the chief architect of Rama's bridge...all that the monkeys had to do was just to lug boulders and place them one by one in the cupped hands of Nala who would ease them into the sea.

Now we do have our simian brigade that calls itself Vanara Sena in Hyderabad. This comes to life every Sri Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti. Members of this brigade dress themselves up suitably and roam all over Hyderabad in autos and cabs:   

I don't know if a Nala is there among them and if it was he that built the famous bridge across our polluted river Musi:

But their masters in Delhi proclaim that my father's tall tale is literally true and they make lots of noise whenever there is a move to demolish a submerged stone-way that abuts the sea there that Britishers loved to call Adam's Bridge and the Vanara Sena calls Sri Rama Sethu:

Also, it has been the proud boast of every member of our Vanara Sena to claim that the technology of every modern invention of the British was actually known already to their ancestors. If you show them an army pontoon bridge and wonder how great the invention is, they pooh-pooh it and say that Nala knew all about such silly stuff:

Well, it just happens that the picture above of the pontoon bridge is that of the Pakistan Army and I am sure our Hyderabadi Vanara Sena will be up in arms with me for posting it in my blog accusing me of treachery if not traitorship. 


But of course the Pak army came to naught when our own Army built several pontoon bridges in their liberation of Bangladesh:


No comments: