• Vijeta Gawdi

Storyteller: Rahu loves Moon dal pakora and Sun papdi


We are a week shy of the scheduled end of the lockdown. There are too many obvious questions at this point in time. For starters, will there be a phase 3? I believe yes. Is it necessary? With the increasing number of cases, it looks like it is. Will we lose our sanity sitting in the confines of our homes, dim-witted by moronic WhatsApp jokes? Well, we certainly will be skirting the condition. It is not the monotony or the confinement that is unsettling anymore. My biggest fear at this point, the dawn of the day when this lockdown ends. The world outside our doorsteps has changed by leaps and bounds and is a new one.

I have a few doctors in the family and some friends too who are in the medical profession. Their verdict on the crisis is that we will have to forever live with it. Our lifestyles will have to be altered and conditioned to take hygiene and sanitization of the areas around our homes more seriously. The common cold will no longer be allowed to pass by as common because of the fear lurking in our minds. We will be more vigilant, attentive and in tune with our bodies and eating habits as a result.

Time flies, I remember it all so clearly, like it was just yesterday. My ladoo gopal in my arms, the hospital, the struggle with the feeding, the homecoming and the endless sleepless nights ever since. The 5 month old has grown, from a tiny bundle of cuteness swaddled in my arms most times of the day to a very naughty and smart baby, who has taught us so very well, it's either his way or the highway, always. The other day, he was on the bed kicking and cooing away in glee, his sister, my 3 year old sitting right beside him watching her IPad, when all of a sudden, he grabbed her hair and tugged at it really hard. The 3 year old winced in pain and cussed at the lil one calling him, would you believe it, "Coloooona.":) We were all in splits. I was so amused that even at her age she knows that Corona means something that is bad, naughty and not nice:)

So, why was this virus named Corona? The word corona means crown. The scientists who in 1968 came up with the term coronavirus thought that, under a microscope, the virus they were looking at resembled a solar corona: the bright crown-like ring of gasses surrounding the sun that is visible during a solar eclipse. So the Virus got its name from the Sun. It is such an irony really. The very thing that is taking human lives actually gets its name from the star, that supports life on Earth. The two are so disparate in their functioning as well. The Sun gives us heat and supports life, whereas the Virus leaves our body cold and dead. It is sardonic, that this virus is called CORONA. Just as the lunar and solar eclipses rob the Earth of the moonlight and sunlight, the virus has eclipsed the sunshine from our lives and enveloped us in an unceasing darkness.

Today's story is about-The Sun, The Moon and The Eclipse.

Once upon a time, Lord Indra was riding on his elephant in a jungle. The jungle was home to Rishi Durvasa. Upon seeing Indra, the sage presented him with a garland of flowers. Lord Indra accepted the garland and placed it on the elephant's head. The elephant got irritable with the smell of the flowers and threw it on the ground. This enraged the Rishi, who cursed the Gods, that they would forget their very divine powers, they were so proud of.

The Gods were in a state of quandary. They went to Brahma seeking a solution. Lord Brahma advised them to churn the Amrit from the ocean and consume it, to regain their lost powers. Now churning the Amrit from the ocean was an arduous feat. Lord Vishnu, then advised the Gods or Devas to take help from the Asuras. The Devas were hesitant, because taking the help of the Asuras would mean splitting the share of the elixir and that in turn would mean the Asuras gaining immortality. Lord Vishnu, assured the Devas that it would all work out and so the Devas agreed.

Both the Devas and Asuras started churning the ocean using Mount Mandara as a rod and the Serpent Vasuki as a rope. Lord Vishnu incarnated as a Tortoise to hold up the mountain on his back.

A lot of things emerged from the ocean, that we see in the nature around us today. The last thing to come was the elixir of life- Amrit. The Devas and the Asuras started fighting over it. Lord Vishnu quickly disguised himself as Mohini, an enchantress, thus distracting the Asuras. Mohini went around serving the Amrut to the Gods first. Obviously the intention was to finish it before the Asuras could consume it. One of the Asuras named Svarbhanu got suspicious, disguised himself as a God and sat amongst the Devas. Mohini happened to serve him the elixir. Now the Sun and the Moon were so luminous and bright, that they could easily spot that this person was actually an Asura. They wasted no time in informing Vishnu aka Mohini. Vishnu cut off the Asura's head with his Sudarshan Chakra before the Amrit could pass down his throat into the body.

From that day the head of the Asura was called Rahu and the body Ketu. It is believed that to date Rahu seeks his vengeance from The Sun and The Moon and hence swallows them whole, causing an eclipse. Since Rahu only has a head and no body,The Sun and The Moon come out of his mouth quickly and the eclipse lasts for only a few minutes.

So what does Rahu order at a restaurant? Moon dal pakora and Sun papdi. :)

The eclipse of this period will also be ephemeral. The Corona hidden once again behind the Sun's brilliance. The world will be bright and beautiful again.


Vijeta Gawdi.

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