Mar 18, 2011

Raktasura and other possible franchises

Many of us in Nepal have grown up with spinoffs of Western myths where forgotten heroes and villains mingle with ordinary folks. In the western world, movies which show the devil among ordinary people are a dime a dozen. In the movie Bedazzled, the devil is played by a hot Elizabeth Hurley, who goes around buying people’s souls, complete with contract. In The Prophecy, angel Gabriel comes down to earth from heaven. An upcoming movie Thor is about the reincarnation of Norse god Thor in human world. In the Indian comic Chacha Chaudhary, the villain Raka comes back again and again, even if he is banished to distant galaxies.

But we don’t see too many spinoffs of Hindu myths in Nepal. Or even in South Asia. (Yes, there was a limp Indian attempt called Rudraksha a few years ago, but that did not impress anyone). It just made me wonder how much fun it would be to have some dangerous mythical characters around again. We certainly do not lack interesting stories or characters. In fact, some of the stories themselves provide the recipe for reincarnation of villains, and make you wonder if they might be living amongst us unnoticed even today. For example, there is the mighty Ravan. It is said that Ravan had a source of amrit or immortality at his navel, and could instantly generate any head that was cut off. What if some of his heads still survived, and were living because they come from amrit? After all, we know that the heads of Rahu and Ketu are immortal because they drank the same amrit! So maybe the severed heads of Ravan are lying around somewhere in SriLanka, busy trying to build a ladder into heaven like he always wanted to! There is also his counterpart Ram, who disappears into a river and is never heard of again. Maybe he is wandering around somewhere too, unable to cross Vaitarani as punishment for all the bad stuff he did to his wife, but anyways….

Another interesting villain who could easily reincarnate is Raktasur. Information on this elusive guy was strangely hard to come by, and I had to write based on childhood memories of Dashain stories aired on Radio Nepal (yes, that was our source of entertainment in Dashain. Sounds strange today, doesn’t it? ). According to the stories, Raktasur is one of the demons who fights against Goddess Durga. Through his intense tapasya he is granted a boon that from every drop of his blood spilled, a new Raktasur will be born. He is also called Raktabij , and the very name itself means that every drop of blood is a seed. In the fight with Durga, he created vast armies of his own that seemed insurmountable. Eventually, he was killed by Goddess Kali who licked off all his blood with her giant tongue, and ate him in one gulp for good measure! (And that’s also the background story of her famous tongue out pictures!)

Theoretically, Raktasur could be the most powerful villain of all, because he needed no army. One of my friends argued that he is the most interesting villains, because what if he shed some drops of blood in secret and had a reserve army of clones standing by? Would each of the clones be able to create more clones from their own blood? That means that if he had just one clone surviving, he could continuously regenerate himself, and live forever and ever, maybe even until now. What if hundreds of them are actually walking around today and creating chaos? And what would happen if he gave blood to someone else? Would they also have the same regenerating power? Blood for thought indeed! Oops! I mean "Food" for thought indeed!

Another very interesting villain is Jarasandha from Mahabharata. His two mothers ate half of child bearing fruit each, and gave birth to half a child each. (Funny, this problem does not trouble the wives of Dashrath, who divide a single bowl of child bearing potion among themselves and give birth to whole children. Maybe they were different brands of child bearing products.) Anyways, a Rakshashi called Jara finds the two vertically split parts of a child and joins them. For that reason he is called Jarasandha, or joined by Jara. And for that reason, his vertical seams were never very strong. Bhimsen exploits this weakness and tears him vertically many times in a fight, only to have them join and become whole again and again. But once he throws the two pieces in opposite directions, they don’t unite. Jarasandha’s story ends here, and we are not told what happens to his split parts. Well, maybe they just took longer to join because they took longer to find each other from opposite directions. And maybe the famed king is now walking around as a wrestling champion that he used to be!

And then of course, there are the chiranjeevis, those that are supposed to live for millions of years. Apparently Ashwatthama still lives among us as a mite because of a curse! (hope I did not smite him with my newspaper last night), and Hanuman is also supposed to be around for the next millennia or so. Wow, what fun it would be to meet them in real life! Don’t dismiss talking monkeys, it might just be hanuman, and the philosophical mite that lectures you on karma might be Ashwaththama. Beware of any man with stitches running down his face vertically and disappearing into his shirt: Jarasandha might wrestle you to the ground. Beware of men like Billy Bob Thornton (ex boyfriend of Angelina Jolie) who collect their blood in vials, they are probably raising armies of clones! And don’t forget the decapitated Ravan, who is sure to be ready with bits of good advice any time!

Thanks to Pranit Shrestha for the idea, and for reminding me of the extraordinary qualities of Raktasur!



No light no water hits you where it matters.. Hits FM 91 :P said...

I like the way you imagined about keeping a clone and secretly dropping a drop of blood to generate a new clone of itself.

It feels good to read about the myths.. but scares me when you try to relate to the real world we live in. May be its hard to face the truth.

sewa said...

thanks for liking, i don't think we need to worry about meeting them in real life though, low possibility :P

Anonymous said...

Thx for the reply :) Yep low possiblity :)

Anonymous said...

Actually I listened this before.. I wished to listen Hits FM because I felt I was far and alone from Nepal and listened the FM online ..

It always said : " No light no water.. doesn't matter, hits you where it matters" re ke :D haha

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