By Madan Mohan
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was left dejected by Chennai Super Kings’ failure to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2011 edition of the Champions League Twenty20. He, however, grabbed a rare opportunity to unwind and roamed around the streets of Bangalore on the Dussera evening, taking in the bustling cityscape.
Presently, he caught sight of a huge effigy of Ravana being torched. He watched Ravana’s 10 heads crash to the floor one after the other, helplessly, as the majestic demon disintegrated before his eyes. As this scene ensued, he was reminded somehow of the way his teams had crumbled like ten pins in the competitions in England and India. He had led the No.1 team in the world to England and the defending champions of CLT20 and both teams had collapsed in a heap, much like that effigy of Ravana. The thought depressed him and he buried his head in his hands in dejection.
“Don’t fret, son!” A deep, mystical voice cut through the clutter of traffic and firecrackers. It was so penetrating that Dhoni took a step back before he turned to the source of the sound. What he saw bedazzled him.
Lord Rama, resplendent in divine attire, stood before him, enveloped by an overwhelming halo, a halo so bright that even Dhoni’s stylish sunglasses could not protect him. He turned away from the sight and covered his eyes with his hands.
As he remained frozen in that pose, Lord Rama walked closer to him and resumed the conversation.
“I know what you are going through.”
“No, you don’t!” Dhoni replied, “Only Ravana would have known.”
Lord Rama smiled. “Ravana was brave. So are you. And you are not cruel either.”
Dhoni could barely contain his exasperation as he replied, “Who cares if I am not cruel! I lost and that’s all they’re going to write about.”
“Don’t let them.”
Lord Rama said simply, “Why, by winning, of course!”
Dhoni asked indignantly, “Is this a joke?”
Lord Rama was stern in his riposte, “I don’t descend on planet earth to crack jokes. I came here to save you."
Dhoni felt touched by his concern. “I don’t know what I have done to deserve your intervention, but I’ll be eternally grateful to you. “
“You will be when I benedict you with my most lethal weapon.”
“What is that?” Dhoni asked innocently.
The Lord was momentarily upset by Dhoni’s poor appreciation of mythology but nevertheless proceeded to reveal an ornate arrow.
“Ram baan, ever heard of it?”
Dhoni was not sure that he had but, as always, maintaining his composure, he played along.
“Good! I shall also give you the bow which I broke to win my alliance with Sita.”
“A broken bow?”
A cloud of consternation passed through Lord Rama’s face again as he replied, rather patiently, “Oh, I have put it together again. You must trust me to be able to do that. Now, you must fire the Ram baan with this bow and then just watch what happens.”
“What will happen?”
“For starters, you will always have your best XI at your disposal. Nobody will pull out with injury.”
“That’d be great, indeed."
“The best is yet to come. RP Singh will bowl in the right areas again.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Lord Rama silenced him with another stern look. “Suresh Raina will hook bouncers over the fence for a DLF maximum.”
Dhoni was so delighted to hear this he clapped his hands vigorously.
“Virender Sehwag won’t nick the first ball of the innings to slips.”
Dhoni heaved a sigh of relief.
“Harbhajan Singh will discover a teesra.”
“And what kind of a delivery is that?”
“I won’t spoil it for you. Seeing is believing, and you’ll be stunned by what you see.”
He continued, “Oh, and before I forget, Gautam Gambhir will stop vomiting.”
Dhoni punched the air in exultation.
“Lastly, Sachin Tendulkar will play till the 2015 World Cup."
Dhoni almost looked deflated, “But that means we’ll have to win another World Cup for him.”
“Well, don’t you want to win another World Cup?” Lord Rama asked in the manner of schoolmaster to student.
Dhoni shrugged, “I guess.”
“You positively will,” Lord Rama thundered. “Here you are! These potent weapons will obliterate all your problems.”
Dhoni regarded the bow and arrow Lord Rama had left for him on the floor eagerly. Phew! Who’d have thought it was as simple as a game he played at school? Just had to fire an arrow at your worries.
He proceeded to lift the bow from the floor. Rather, he attempted to do so. He found to his dismay that it would not move an inch. It was so enormously heavy he tripped trying to lift it a few inches off the floor.
As he tried to get back on his feet, puzzled by this development, he called out, “Hey Ram! This thing doesn’t move at all. What do I do now?”
There was no answer or any sight of the majestic presence that had filled his gaze only seconds ago. Lord Ram had vanished without a trace. Dhoni stared anxiously at the festivities ensuing on the streets, hoping against hope to catch some glimpse of Lord Ram. He turned his attention to the bow and made one more unsuccessful attempt to move it. He sighed in despair. If only he could...
And then, a portion of the Ramayana that he had only vaguely remembered dawned on him. Only Lord Ram, and absolutely nobody else in the world, could wield King Janaka’s bow. He kicked the floor in disgust and his hand returned once more to his burdened forehead. Was there no end in sight to his litany of woes?
(Madan Mohan, a 26-year old CA from Mumbai, is passionate about writing, music and cricket. Writing on cricket is like the icing on the cake)