VAS Knowledge Centre
An ‘Epic’ Reversal
There are moments in life when a quick wit and presence of mind work wonders! This incident was nodifferent. The play practice was going on in full swing, the theme being the evergreen epic, the Ramayana. Asall the participants were physically or mentally challenged, the roles had been chosen with much care, to makesure that they could be essayed with ease. The young hero, Rama, was a hearing impaired child, who guided hislittle spouse, Sita, tenderly across the stage as she was blind. In return, she paid heed to the music in thebackground and the ensuing dialogues, prompting him at opportune moments.Hanuman performed his antics wonderfully, despite being afflicted with cerebral palsy, and the audience rootedfor him whole heartedly. The rehearsal was really going well, especially as all the little actors had memorized
their lines and knew their cues perfectly. Suddenly a high pitched voice piped up. “Ma’am, ma’am!” The
teacher looked down only to see Ravana, tugging at her dress.
“What’s the matter, Rohan?” she asked, for the little fellow’s lip was quivering and he looked as though he
would burst into tears any moment. Though he was mentally challenged, Rohan was excellent as Ravana,performing his role just the way his teacher had coached him. When he twirled his fake moustache andguffawed, everyone would clap in appreciation.Yet today he did not seem his normal chirpy self. The teacher knelt down and brought her face down to his
level. “Why are you upset, Rohan? Did anyone say anything to hurt you?”
Rohan pouted as he struggled to explain, tears flowing down his cheeks. He wanted to say something but his
emotions were getting the better of him. Wiping his tears for him, the teacher smiled, and said loudly, “Ok,
n, take a break!” As the youngsters ambled out, she made Rohan sit down beside her. “Now tell me whatthe matter is, Rohan!”“Ma’am, why do I have to die every day in our play? Why can’t Rama die instead?” The little boy’s question
came like a thunderb
olt, even as the teacher struggled to answer. What could she tell him? “Nobody dies but meall the time!” he wailed. “Why can’t Rama die instead?”
The teacher listened to the young boy’s reasoning patiently. How could she solve the dilemma? What words
could she use to console her Ravana? Suddenly a brainwave struck her, one that was simple yet effective! It wasas though God Himself had decided to intervene. Drawing the little rebel towards her, she caressed him on his
unruly mop and said. “I agree. Why should Ravana die in every performance?” he turned to the other actors
who were looking on, raising her voice.
“Listen, all of you! Ravana here wants a change of plot. He does not want to die today.” She smiled as shecontinued, “So today Rama will die instead of Ravana.” There was a gasp, followed by a silence when she
stopped talking. The other teachers who were helping out looked at her in amazement. How could Rama, thehero die? How could the epitome of good be defeated by evil?