ऐसी अक्षरे

:- कथा
:- कविता
:- लेख
:- अनुवाद
:- हिंदी
:- English
:- संग्रह
:- इतर

मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Final Battle (Short Story)

“...And then in the evening, all of us will go to the common ground for Raavan Dahan,” Grandpa explained the plan for Dassehara celebrations.

“Ohh, Raavan Dahan means killing the huuuuge monster, right Grandpa?” Ten year old Raghav asked innocently.

“Yes, dear. We’ll all witness the fall of evil Raavana and victory of the great Rama.” Grandpa replied with pride.

“But I have a doubt, Grandpa.” Raghav’s words alarmed Grandpa. Little Raghav was famous in the family for his innocent but logical doubts. Most of the elders, including Grandpa, had hard time providing satisfying answers to his questions.

“Yes, Raghav. What’s your doubt? Do you want me to repeat the story of interesting fight between Rama and Ravana? Or would you like to hear Hanumana’s feat of single handedly setting Lanka on fire?” Grandpa tried to offer easier answers before the most difficult question was thrown at him.

“No no, Grandpa. I have heard those stories a million times. I was wondering why we have to kill the evil Ravana again and again. Didn’t we witness him fall during last Dassehara festival?” Raghav asked.

“Yes, we did,”Grandpa replied, “But you know, it’s not sufficient to kill the monster once. Although evil, Ravana possessed great powers. So every time Rama kills him, he keeps surfacing in some form or the other.”

“Ohh, he’s so dangerous!” exclaimed Raghav.

“Yes, he is,” Grandpa continued, smiling at his success in providing a convincing answer. But Raghav was ready with his next question.

“So, you mean, Grandpa, that Ravana will never die?”

“Not exactly!” Grandpa said thinking about the question. “He will keep coming back in various forms and Rama will have to save us from him by destroying each of these forms.”

“Okay,” Raghav took a couple of seconds to respond and then said, “But Grandpa, if Ravana is coming back in different forms, don’t we need Rama to change forms and upgrade with newer and better weapons?”

“Hmm, you seem to be right,” Grandpa said with a broad grin on his face, “I think Rama also changes forms. He might choose one of us to carry out the task every year. Perhaps you’ll be the chosen one this year.”

“Ohh, wow! That’s so great!” The idea seemed to work and Raghav left the room in a hurry saying, “Sorry Grandpa, I’ve a great responsibility on my shoulders. I’ll go and plan for the final battle!”

Grandpa sat there watching him and laughing out loud. He got busy with reading newpaper while after around an hour, Raghav came back shouting and calling him.

“Grandpa, Grandpa… Let’s go. It’s the time for final battle,” he said, panting heavily.

“Wait wait, little Rama,” Grandpa said keeping the newspaper away. “What have you done now?”

“There’s no time for waiting, Grandpa,” Raghav looked seriously in a hurry, “I’ve made all the preparations and everybody else from the Kingdom has already reached the Battlefield. I have personally come over to fetch you, since you’re my Guru - Rishi Grandpa!”

Grandpa felt amused and proud of little Raghav. Without saying a word further, he followed him to the balcony which was recently renamed as the Battlefield. Raghav’s mother, grandmother and elder sister were already present there, waiting for the action to begin. Grandpa watched the setup curiously. To his surprise, there were ten toothbrushes evenly placed resting on the railing and Raghav was proudly standing with his own toothbrush in hand. He started explaining the situation to the spectators,

“Dear folks from the kingdom of Raghavpur,” he began, “My Guru has enlightened me by telling that it’s my responsibility to find out the latest form of evil Ravana and destroy him this year. So, under the guidance of my Rishi Grandpa and other Gurus at my school, I was able to quickly identify Ravana inside our own house.” Raghav said the last line in most secretive voice, to which everyone responded with a genuine look of astonishment.

“Dear folks,” Raghav continued his speech, “Many of you won’t be aware that a plastic toothbrush that we use daily, is a never dying monster. Even I wasn’t aware of this until recently we were told at school that every plastic toothbrush produced once keeps existing somewhere on the earth. Billions of people around the globe are purchasing, using and throwing away zillions of plastic toothbrushes, which are piling up here and there, seriously harming our environment. Now, I must tell you that this never dying monster is nothing but latest form of Ravana!”

Everybody responded to the revelation with “Ohh” and “My god”. Grandpa was the first one to interrupt Raghav’s speech,

“And how do you plan to kill this monster forever?”

“Good question,” Raghav said, making everybody including Grandpa laugh. He continued in a serious tone, “I thought of a perfect weapon to kill this monster and remembered the stories told by Rishi Grandpa. In old times, Lord Rama used bow and arrows to kill Ravana. The arrows were made of a special wood called Bamboo. And it clicked upon me that even I have a similar weapon with me.”

“You have a weapon? At home?” Old Grandma asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry, Grandma, it’s not that kind of a weapon,” Raghav assured, “During a recent guest session at school, we were explained hazards of plastic and were given toothbrushes made of Bamboo. I realized that it could be the best weapon in this fight against evil Ravana in plastic form.”

“Very good!” Grandpa was greatly impressed and proud of his Grandson. All others also expressed their appreciation by clapping for him.

“Wait, folks, I’ve not finished yet,” Raghav interrupted the round of applause and cheers. “I believe that this will be the final battle against Ravana in this form. If all of us stop using these plastic toothbrushes and start using the eco-friendly toothbrushes made of Bamboo, then we can ensure death of Raavana for ever. Nobody will use plastic toothbrushes, gradually declining the demand and hence reducing their production. Will you support me in this battle?”

Everybody cheered with “Yes” and “Well said” which left Raghav smiling and feeling proud.

Little Raghav has decided to take on the evil monster on his own. When shall you?

- Mandar Shinde 9822401246