At the outset, I want to make it clear that the main character Rama in this short story has no resemblance to Lord Rama, who is perceived to the epitome of righteousness and integrity. This is just the story of a guy who was named Rama by his parents but was unlike Lord Rama.
The story begins…..
Everybody at the `Golden Deer Park’ agreed that it was tragic. Many said 27 is not the age for one to die. A few recalled the philandering ways of the deceased Rama whose dead body was in a pool of blood. It seemed the deceased had fallen off from the balcony of his 15th floor flat or may have been pushed off.
The police began its investigations and it was revealed that the deceased was a playboy. His recent conquest was Janaki, daughter of Ravana his estranged maternal uncle. Ravana was not named at birth as Ravana but as Janakan. Janakan was deeply influenced by Dravidanism and hence renamed himself as Ravana. However, he named his daughter as Janaki, owing to the pressure of his wife Mandodari, who coincidentally was named at birth as Mandodari but revered the Hindu epics. Ravana was happy because either by his new name or old name, he was the father of Janaki. He was short in stature and temper but not in opportunism.
Ravana was a merciless money lender. He had even besieged the property of his sister Sita (Rama’s Mother) who failed to pay interest on the loans taken from him. This had caused a rift between Sita and Ravana. After this incident, he was looked down upon in his native village and came to Bangalore in search of a living. He took to money lending and became instantly successful given that he was more canny and ruthless in collecting money than Bangalore two wheeler motorists are in negotiating traffic.
Sita had a son named Rama who completed his graduation in commerce and landed up in Bangalore looking for a job. His killer looks, Adonis build and sense of humour floored many girls and even married women. Unable to find a proper job, he ended up as a CCO (Chief Collection Officer) of a finance firm. By providence or design, he stayed in and around the area where Ravana’s residence was. Once, Janaki saw Rama straightening a pole whose bent posture was hindering street dogs from answering their call of nature. She fell in love with him much like children across the country get trapped in a deserted borewell.
Ravana was happy on coming to know that Rama was his sister Sita’s son. However on investigation, the truth emerged about Rama’s character and the fact that he was confidant of his bitter rival Maruthi Financers. Ravana hated Maruthi Finances because they virtually burned his business by offering loans at interest which was 1% less than what he charged.
From that day, Ravana never approved of the relationship between the two. However, as they say passions of the youth and reasons for a traffic jam in Bangalore are incomprehensible. The more Ravana tried to separate the two, the more selfies of Janaki and Rama started appearing on various social media platforms. Once when Ravana had gone on a business trip to Colombo, Rama and Janaki holidayed and partied in Goa. Rama started blackmailing Ravana with a few video clips taken during the trip. In return for the video clips, he demanded back his mother’s property.
Ravana was determined to teach Rama a lesson, and on that fateful day had come searching for him in an animated way. These images were caught in the CCTV of the apartment in which Rama stayed. Rama as per the autopsy report had fallen off the balcony between 21:30 and 21:33 hours and the CCTV recordings suggested that Ravana entered the lift of `Golden Deer Park’ at 21:18 hours. It was an open and shut case; the police arrested Ravana for murder of Rama. Ravana pleaded innocence. He said he was nearly 10 feet away when Rama fell off the balcony. The police were not ready to believe him and most importantly the TV channels would not allow the police to give a sympathetic consideration to Ravana’s version. They kept on playing clips of his closeness with politicians. Another channel conducted an interview with all the people who had taken loans from him and faced his wrath. The third, a national channel which was adored by the muddle err. middle class for the nuisance new sense news it telecasted, played a simulated version of what might have happened on that day. Its chief editor thundered questions after questions so much so that Ravana’s lawyer left the studio in a huff looking for the next rocket to Mars.
Janaki on coming to know about the video clips started hating Rama. She was happy that he was dead. She believed in her father’s innocence. Deep down in her heart she knew that her father would never commit something as ghastly as a murder and leave behind so much proof. Though the best lawyer in town was hired, getting bail for Ravana became as impossible as finding a parking slot on a Sunday evening in Commercial Street, Bangalore. Finally, they chanced upon Smt. Manthara, a private detective who was previously in police service but was discharged on medical grounds because she developed a hunch back. She had previously faced the wrath of Late Rama due to failure to make timely payment of her loans.
Ravana had spoken of a few video clips of Janaki that Rama tried to blackmail him with. Police searched for the clips in Rama’s PC, Mobile, Laptop, etc but they could not find it. The police concluded that Ravana was trying to mislead the probe and ignored his statement to that extent. Smt. Manthara believed that the mobile phone containing the video clips could save Ravana from the noose. Janaki also vouched that she had seen Rama having two mobile phones during their trip to Goa.
She and Janaki with the clandestine permission of the police entered Rama’s apartment. They ransacked the apartment to find the mobile phone or the clippings but were unable to do so. Disappointed, they went to the balcony from where Rama fell off or was pushed off. The balcony railings were pretty high and it would have required a huge effort on the part of a short Ravana to push a very tall Rama off the balcony. There are many occasions in life when our disabilities become our biggest strengths. Take for example, our zealous convent schools who with their school projects sharpen the academic skills of parents or for that matter Bangalore’s encroached footpaths ensure that pedestrians’ reflexes are always at their peak. Similarly, Smt. Manthara’s hunchback had enabled her eyes to reach angles which a normal human eye failed. Peeping through the balcony on a full moon night, she could see a black object stacked in a lawn lamp which for aesthetics’ purpose was shaped like the lip of a woman. She pulled Sita, rushed down the stairs and reached the lawn. Smt. Manthara took a stone, broke the lamp and out popped a seemingly new black mobile phone. They decided to charge the battery to check the contents of the mobile phone. In case of it being found useless, Smt Manthara decided to retain it for her own use.
The mobile phone on charging had all the clips that Ravana was referring to. Smt. Manthara admired the fact that Janaki had good love making skills at such a young age. These clips Smt. Manthara contended would save Ravana from the noose but there was yet another which they almost ignored and on seeing that both jumped with joy. It was the clip of Rama in an inebriated state trying to take a selfie video of himself and the moon on his head, tripping over the balcony, plunging fifteen floors below and the mobile squeezing itself into the lip like shaped lamp.
Takeaways from the story:-
- Name alone does not make anyone good.
- Does not matter even if your name is Ravana, you have buckle up when the wife orders.
- Titles of many stories are misleading to attract more views.
This is not a fast food restaurant to have unlimited takeaways.