Thursday, January 13, 2011

URMILA'S AWAKENING



The wedding bells still rang sweet in the ears;
The city of Ayodhya lay still with tears.
The cavalcade of the wedding party had danced into the city
A woeful city crept into the unknown.

RaghuRama was banished, his new bride went with him.
The faithful brother Lakshmana [my husband] went.
And so did most of those loyal.
I remained in the walled fortress, restrained, coy and obedient.

“For 14 years, I shall not know the world,
I shall sleep till he comes back,” I spoke.
“And the world will know you for this sacrifice”
they blessed; “for this sleep” they mocked.

FOR 14 YEARS, I SHALL NOT KNOW THE WORLD.
FROM NOW ON I SHALL SLEEP -
for ever more! No!! More!!!
No!!!! never more.

Marriages and Projections:
My sister married the guy worthy of her.
But then ensured that I, her dear indispensable sister was to
Accompany her, forever! to her in-law’s home.

My sister!!!
My playmate, confidante, idol and guide
Ensured that her indispensable obliging sister
Would accompany her forever to her in-law’s home

Only to awake to the nightmare.
NIGHT MARE indeed!
The mare gone, my knight lost!
My life turned into an unending nightmare.

What man would want to leave behind
His newlywed wife, when given an option to take her along!
Were I a fly distracting and disturbing him in his duties
Why marry and cheat me out of my life, dreams, and marital bed?

Or would my presence
Be a deterrent to his adventures!
Where does the question of me being an objector arise?
When my word has no voice at all; my voice has no sound at all.

Has the presence, no! existence of a wife ever affected
the chance to add to the nuptial conquests of men.
So what then I wonder is the cause for him
Not wanting me to accompany him to the jungles.

What revelations is he afraid to show me?
What secrets I wonder he wants kept hidden –
Those that have not yet been dreamed
By my sleeping weeping soul.

I was consoled. Gods, they said, have stored
Great destinies for the three of them.
There was neither raging sound nor listening sage.
My throat was dry. My eyes were wet.

And what of my life?
Neglect, dejection and incessant slumber?
There was only raging silence and people hearing.
My voice was clear, my eyes were dry.

Mirages and Conveniences:
My sister married the guy worthy of her
And so ensued the decree that I was to
Accompany her – her brother-in-law as his wife.

“Sita is mother earth’s daughter! She has the forbearance
and shock absorbing strengths of her mother.”
But my mother is different. I am different.
I cannot bear this pain anymore – or so only I think.

But am I not still alive? Thinking and talking
dreaming and cursing –
no signs of weakness.
Am I or is any woman any different?

Why is it then that she is elevated to the status
Of God, and I remain a mere mortal?
But ofcourse, Gods feel anger and lust.
Mortals are epitomes of patience and servitude

Not a fortnight passed since these men came into our lives;
We who have grown and played, dined and dreamed together
Only to be tested in times of crisis – sister against sister.
When three could go, why not four?

What a sham this relationship of over a decade.
What a farce all relationships in the world
If for one we forget all; If for all
We have to give away ones self, dreams and life.

The temple bells rang jarring sounds of victory.
Sita was back. Sitapati was back.
Lakshmana returned
and so did I .

For fourteen years I was asleep, for fourteen years I was awake.
From now on I shall live no more
But only drift between
Truth and lies, sham and honesty, sleep and awakening.
Anuradha Mothali

6 comments:

  1. Amazing !!! Never thot in these lines till now :) Like Bhaskar said .. cud visualize the lady and all of her expressions ..Loved it !

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  2. I had read a chapter which talked about this "vyog" that Urmila went through and no on even Ramayana(Show/TV/Books/Episodes) picked it up. You are amazing as usual.

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  3. Anu,
    Beautiful poetry! Your empathic thoughts on an unsung heroine reveal your caring personality.
    I like these lines especially as they reflect the similarity of thinking among all women .

    When my word has no voice at all; my voice has no sound at all.

    I was consoled. Gods, they said, have stored
    Great destinies for the three of them.
    There was neither raging sound nor listening sage.
    My throat was dry. My eyes were wet.

    But of course, Gods feel anger and lust.
    Mortals are epitomes of patience and servitude

    What a farce all relationships in the world
    If for one we forget all; If for all
    We have to give away ones self, dreams and life.

    By the way ,there is one telugu poem on 'Urmiladevi Nidra ' where it describes how Lakshmana tries to defend himself with Urmila's arguments after coming back .
    Yours is a novel attempt and uniques on its own way!
    Keep up the flow!

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  4. When I saw the age old Telugu movie 'Mayabazar', I was not sure where the writer got that story from. Even if I knew the source, I would rather assume the writer took the liberty in building the narration on his own. Taking liberty in mythology somehow is fascinating and sweet!
    This is exactly how I felt reading your post. Exploring characters of a story who are not popular shows how creative you are. Waiting to read more :)

    Bhaskar

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  5. Thanks Mahathi and KT for the encouragement. Alternative histories and lending a voice to the voiceless and the mute is my passion.

    Bhaskar, I once read that there are as many Ramayanams as there are its readers and story tellers - in short as many Ramayanams as there are people who have heard it. There in lies the beauty of epics. They transcend time, genres and generations.

    VijayaM, While researching the age at which Urmila was married, I came across the telugu poem UrmilaDevi Nidra {:), I had completed my poem by this time.} And I was pleasantly surprised to read that Telugu folk songs took up Urmila's case while mainstream interpretations did not consider it an important subject to dwell upon. To me, the most intriguing and disturbing thought was not Lakshmana abandoning Urmila, but the disillusionment Urmila would have faced with regards to her sister...

    "What a sham this relationship of over a decade"

    Anuradha Mothali

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  6. Watch the movie SAMSARA, the climax will talk all about this...
    nice one...!

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Let me know what you think as well.