Ads are important no matter you think them weeds. I would just want to take a moment and pause and think about a day after Lanka was burnt. Just imagine, it was an economically strong country of that time.
Ravan called Vibhishan and said, ‘It’s good that your palace was safe; at least, we could ask masons to replicate the design preserved there in all the palaces. I have asked Narrow-lack paints to deliver the required paint at your place, only to avoid risk if such mishap repeats. Your place has been intact for some reasons, I have ordered probe for that. One more thing, since you are not interested in the discussion to take revenge of this heinous act, I would assign you the responsibility of renovating the entire Lanka.’ Vibhishan said, ‘I would do that...No problem! But…’ Ravan asked, ‘Say whatever you want to say. Every time I assign you some responsibility, you tend to demean the task itself assuming that you are worthy of doing more quality stuff. Do you think, you would better train people in fighting skills than Meghnath?’ Vibhishan replied, ‘No, not at all! I would not. You are right. I would get renovation done. But last time also, I was given the task of getting encroachment erased from markets.’ Ravan got furious and said, ‘Yes, I remember, there are so many still there just because they were selling Aam and you misheard them saying ‘Ram’, when they cried for their loss. Just go and prepare a plan and finish it off.’
Vibhishan half-heartedly called his messenger, Kunthasur and asked him to call the royal mason. He came back and said, ‘Sir, I am sorry but the royal mason is admitted in hospital. He has suffered severe burns. Following your order, I even went to hospital. He is really critical.’ Vibhishan said, ‘I had seen him working to design a new bedroom for Meghnath’s second wife just the day before.’ Kunthasur curiously asked, ‘Second wife? Yuvraj married to someone again. This might be fifth. I bet!’ He smiled with a wink. Vibhishan shouted, ‘None of your business. Just go and check the other masons.’ He said, ‘Sir, I wanted to just inform you. Even the Yuvraj’s personal attendant told me that the new princess visited the room herself and suggested many improvements. Almighty’s wish, she is also there in the same hospital. Yuvraj himself ordered Burnol from neighboring states due to its shortage in Lanka.’ Vibhishan got interested and asked, ‘Oh, so who all others admitted in hospital you know from royal family?’ Kunthasur said, ‘The doctor who treated Surpnakha for her scars and successfully restored the luster of her face is now treating all the queens and princesses. Lots of the medicines is wasted to alleviate your brother Kumbhakaran’s wounds.’ Vibhishan said, ‘Yes, I know. I surprised, he still didn’t wake up.’ The doctor has been declared Dhanvantari award winner for this year. Meghnath’s in laws, not sure which one, may be the first princesses’ parents are investing in his Pharmacy Company. Even Surpnakha agreed and signed a contract for modelling in his scar removal cream. It will be a big hit. You know? This is the first time someone agreed to model for cosmetic cream from royal family and she will attract lots of empathy from Lankans’. Vibhishan was listening. He continued, ‘Sir, didn’t you see today’s newspaper? The news is there or you might say ad. Now a days, it is difficult to differentiate between news and ads.’ He smiled. Vibhishan said, ‘Ok, Ok! Just go and search some good mason. This has to be done.’ Kunthasur went.
Vibhishan was entangled in so many thoughts. He refused chariot and decided to walk to his palace. Everybody was busy discussing royal family, the fire day before, the bravery of Hanuman and business. Medical stores were crowded so were paint shops. Two persons were fighting over some petty issue. Curious people started gathering to understand the matter. Vibhishan also stopped and tried to listen. One person having big mustaches and curly hair said, ‘I told you Ugrasur, that don’t waste so much oil and ghee just for entertainment. A normal ape cannot have this big tail. You borrowed all the oil and ghee and are not paying me the money.’ Ugrasur, one having big sharp teeth, said, ‘Yaar Motasur, I am telling you, wait for some days. I have done this to please lord Ravan and his elder son. They will give me big award and I will pay you all.’ Motasur shouted, ‘I warned you that time also. My wife works in Vibhishan’s house. She told me about some irregularities. She had seen the ape discussing something with Vibhishan in the morning in an amiable way. The same ape till afternoon killed so many warriors and burnt entire Lanka. Go and see Vibhishan’s palace, if you could find even a scratch over there. These are royal people. You will never understand what they do. Have you all people seen newspaper today? His sister Surpnakha is modeling for big Pharmacy Company that removes scars. God knows, who has planned scars for all the Lankans! This is business. I don’t know. Just pay my money.’ One of the person from crowd whispered, ‘Mota, don’t say all these things. I doubt someone royal is listening. He looks like Vibhishan.’ Motasur shouted again, ‘No way yaar Kathorasur, will these royal people ever come to see the mass market? Just help me get my money back. There was so much entertainment and that is over now. Somebody was even saying that they have stocked barrels of Narrow-lack paints in Vibhishan’s palace and see the souring prices of paints in the market now.’ Kathorasur tried to convince Ugrasur, ‘Yaar Ugra, I think Mota is right. Just agree to pay the money back. You can offer him to allow you to pay in installments. You know they exploit us emotionally. First they said, we will take revenge from those two brothers for whatever they have done with his sister. We, emotional fool, agreed and supported them by all means. He abducted Sita and is trying to marry her. Is this revenge? If you have guts, cut the ears and nose of Lakshman or even Sita. You are just making us fool. You know, since morning there is no water in the taps. They all appealed to use all of our stored water to control the fire. All the tanks are emptied. Now people are purchasing bottled waters. Whose mistake is this? Lucky are those who were employed at Vibhishan’s place. But, he is also somehow involve, I guess. ’ Vibhishan, getting heavy-hearted, moved.
Kunthasur couldn’t get mason in the city and reached Ashok Vatika to see if he could find someone there. He met Trijata there and she said, ‘Yes, there was a mason Uljhasur building a small temple as per Sita’s request but he is down with chikungunya. I think, due to heavy fire in the city area, all mosquitos came here and there is no means to escape. We are purchasing repellent from our own hard-earned money. There is nothing being done from government. I have heard in neighboring states government distributes mosquito nets that too free of cost.’ While they were talking a piece of newspaper carried away by wind, unfolded before them. Trijata said, ‘See, can you recognize this baby in the ad of Odomos? He is Agnijeet, the elder son of our Yuvraj Indrajeet. It’s so ridiculous, he might have not seen a mosquito in his life so far.’ He asked, ‘Then there is a risk for Sita also if chikungunia is spreading here.’ Trijata couldn’t left but burst in to laughter and said, ‘God knows what kind of enmity is this. King Ravan himself visits her three times a days. What not is being done to stop even the tiniest insect to touch her? She made everyone scared for his job when she refused to use mosquito nets. Ravan ordered the person on duty will be killed if any mosquito is seen flying in 10 meter radius of her and she is free to roam entire Ashok Vatika. The diseases are just for poor like us. My son is suffering from fever but I cannot take a leave for even a day.’
Kunthasur returned and told Vibhishan about the unavailability of mason in the entire Lanka. Vibhishan thought for some time and called all his household maids and servants. He asked them to open the Narrow-lack containers, mix the paint and start whitewashing all the walls. Kunthasur resisted and said, ‘Sir, my apologies but there is a lot of design work that needs to be done before whitewash. You also understand the heavy fire has not only destroyed the paints but also POP work and metals decorations.’ Vibhishan said, ‘I don’t know; just start doing whatever I asked you to do so. And I will give the complete responsibility of this to you Kuntha.’ Kunthasur understood that leadership in his personality has got a recognition. He called all the staff and directed them to start the work and finish As Soon As Possible.
One of the maids who used to clean kitchen utensils resisted and said, ‘I was employed for cleaning utensils. I am not being paid for white washing the walls.’ Kuntha said, ‘Don’t you guys understand, you all are kept safe from the heavy fire. All others are battling for their life in the hospital. There would be some reason for that. Keep working in good spirits and soon you will understand the bigger game.’
- Amit Roop