Dark as jaggery were his shoulders, luscious were the lips and the dark curls that adorned his sun-kissed face; those arms could tear apart banana stems, wield bows and arrows as good as the strings on a Veena – both acts to endeavour, in one swooned the mortal of pain instilled by the venom of his arrow-tips, in another music immortal would follow every electrical pulse in the nerves and beats of pulse across the tissues – scintillating, stunning, mesmerizing.
When he spoke, he shook the air around him like a lion, his gait was as graceful as a stag, and his legs were pillars that commanded over armies of them – Rakshasas, dark as the monsoon clouds, strong as the earth’s boulders, skilled in building an empire and safeguarding it – on the island of gems, mysterious forests and intriguing birds and animals. His wisdom though, was as amazing as some of the flowers that grew in the valleys that the rain-clouds kissed and slurped in their way. A wise king, governing over a strong, exotic folk, on a deep green island with pearl-white coasts and turquoise-waters filled with coral and rainbow-colored fish. In deed he was from a ‘nether’world, a world not known to those un-cultivated men of the plains beyond the Vindhyas, towards the valleys of the Gantaki and Gomti.
Once, while he was exploring the world beyond his moon-white sand bars, perched on his flowery Vimana, driven by the Isle’s cranes, he chanced upon a beauty unparalleled, bathing on the banks of the Ganga, amidst green paddies and groves. A damsel from the court of that thundering bolt called Indra? A deity who had decided to visit the earthen plains from the expanses of beyond the Big Dipper? Or an incarnation of the Goddess of Wealth herself, sister of the Moon and Daughter of the Ocean of Milk?
Years went by as he sneaked on her whereabouts, kept track of her growing beauty, and her ever changing curves – getting supple and full of promise. And suddenly, he noticed the dark man armed with a giant bow approach her for marriage. Cursed be the dark bastard who didn’t know how much he had to offer her on his Isle, of Sapphires, Topaz and Quartz, of Sandal, Cinnamon and Frangipani. He, who towered over the brown heroes, now decided to step down and make her an offer, an offer irresistible, though by the time he made her the offer, she was in wedlock, in exile in a hilly forest on the banks of the Narmada, in neglection by her husband who thought hunting gold-specked deer was more manly than decking her wavy, thick locks with oleander, jasmine and wild flowers. What would the fool know about his greatness or the greatness of his proud citizens who farmed, made alive and guarded Lanka?
And she couldn’t resist, one more look at the meek hermitage, and she placed her feet on the Flower-Chariot, whizzed past the clouds and oceans to the misty valleys of Eliya, in the centre of the Isle, far far away from the reach or scent of him, the man who claimed he came from the Sun, to disappear into the ‘sorrowless’ orchards, gardens and forests of the Rakshasa-King. She decided, she wanted to live here, live her own life, amidst the mahogany-colored Rakshasis whose long, flowy hair and round breasts tickled and triggered her inner desires, whose swaying hips and swan-like gait haunted her dreams beyond imagination, whose voices echoed in her core, whilst she was awake and asleep. She lived her life, and not His.
Sita in Eliya, Sita in heaven.