– a short story.
Mount Kailas, the abode of Lord Shiva and family was aflutter. The young God Ganesha was having an argument with his father regarding the vagaries of human nature. He was forcefully putting forward an argument.
“Father I have found the formula to make humans happy.”
Shiva could see the young God was visibly excited.
“And what is that my son?”
“If humans have the power to know the true nature of people around them they will be happy.”
“I doubt it very much. But you can try out your theory.”
The young Ganesha impatiently looked down on earth in search of a guinea pig. Finally his eyes fell on Raja Thakur, self made billionaire who had been orphaned at a young age. Raja a handsome youth of thirty years had just got married to Sushama his beautiful love and was getting ready for the wedding reception. He had just applied shaving cream to his face when his room was lit by a brilliant luminescence. He rubbed his eyes to see clearly and was dumbstruck to see Lord Ganesha smiling at him. Instantly he prostrated himself and said “O Ganesha, have mercy on me and forgive me my sins”
“Get up son. I have not come to discuss your sins but to grant you a boon that will make you happy forever”
Raja could not believe his fortune but stood speechless.
“Come learn this mantra that I am giving now. You will know the true nature of people around you whenever you wish by chanting it.” Before a bemused Raja could say anything Ganesha vanished. He pinched himself to see if he was awake. His cell phone rang.
“Hey Prince, are you ready? We are getting late.” That was his buddy Dilip. Hurriedly he got dressed and sat in the waiting Mercedes. Dilip was asking him something but Raja’s face had a look of wonderment and he wasn’t paying attention. “Looks like you are already on your honey moon” said Dilip.
They reached the Hyatt just in time. Some guests had already arrived and sipping on their drinks. Sushama his bride looked resplendent in her brocade sari and diamond encrusted gold jewelry.
“Where have you been darling?” she asked a little impatiently.
“I was umm, oh well I had to shave again”
Raja was accepting the greetings and gifts absentmindedly. Had the Lord really visited him or was it a hallucination? He went over the whole episode again. The Mantra came to his mind and inadvertently he chanted it.
“Hello Raja, congratulations” It was the voice of his best friend Amit.
“Thank you” Raja said as he extended his hand in greeting, only to take it back in surprise and horror. It was a paw and not a human hand and a fox was speaking in Amit’s voice. Terrified, Raja looked around him and screamed silently. He was surrounded by a variety of animals who were behaving like humans. Most of them were ruminants and were milling around and mooing in typical fashion.
“Raja I am so happy for you,” his cousin Avatar said or hissed. He looked like a Cobra poised to strike. Besides him was a female cobra who was smiling her greetings.
“Avatar and his wife Reema are cobras? But they are always so loving” Raja muttered.
“A drink Sir?” It was a monkey. Most waiters looked like sly monkeys or rather it was the monkeys who were acting as waiters, grabbing things and putting them in their pockets. Raja looked over to the place where his relatives had ganged only to see a group of wolves tearing at the tandoori chicken.
Most of his friends were gathered at the bar. He went to them and saw bunch of sly foxes guzzling at the free drinks. “The Scotch whisky is genuine O Prince. May God give you more and more wealth to keep the scotch flowing.” One of them said in an oily tone. ‘How strange’ he thought, ‘No loyal dogs here.’ His uncle Ramcharan the peacock was in full bloom.
Raja walked to the table near the fountain where he had last seen his father in law and Sushama. Instead he saw a huge pig gorging on the food. “Come along son in law the fried fish is wonderful. This is why I had insisted on the Hyatt” he said while licking his fingers.
“Have you seen Sushama?”
“She was here with her mother and sister. They had something important to discuss.”
“Sushama! Sushama!” Raja called.
“I am here darling,” he heard her say and looked above.
“My God! Sushama, the sweet pure girl who loves me is a vulture?”
In fact there were three vultures, perched on the decorative tree. The well fed one was all bejeweled like his mother in law.
Raja finally broke down. “Oh Ganesha I do not want to know the truth.” He cried in torment. “This is a punishment not a boon. Make me normal again. Please Lord Ganesh.”
Ganesh was sitting pensively. Lord Shiva smiled at him lovingly and said, “Having a problem son?”
“I can’t understand father. Why does Raja not want the truth? As it is he will know the reality in due course”
“You are right. He will know the truth eventually, but in small doses so he can digest it. This sudden infusion of truth is rather unpalatable for any human”
“What shall I do now? Even if I take back his powers he knows about his wife and is already thinking about leaving her”
“I can help you out if you want an old man to interfere in your affairs”
“Father, please do.”
Lord Shiva picked up his trident. A golden beam shot from it and touched a frowning and sorrowful Raja just as he had cleared his throat and said to Sushama,
“I have something to tell you”
“What is that my darling?”
“Just that I love you very much and am so lucky to have you as my wife” He said beamingly.