Vikram & Betaal’s hegira to Yala national park

Note to fundamentalists: Loveable Hinduism had given its followers the freedom to look at good and bad of Both Rama and Ravana. I worship Rama by singing Arunachala Kavi’s ‘Ramanai kannara kandale‘. At the same time, I adore the sculptures of Ravana lifting Kailash in Siva temples. If you have a fundamentalist’s view of Hinduism and you refuse the freedom of a fiction writer, this post would not be suitable for you. Please stop reading this post. Defaming Ravana and underplaying his faith on Shaivism is an evil thought that harms Hinduism too.

I never wrote such notes to my blog posts. Some how the ‘religious weather’ of latest India force me to write it.

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In the year of 2019, King Vikramaditya was in search of the betaal in the forests of Ella. There was a drumstick tree near the ‘Ashok Vatika’ garden. The naughty betaal rolled its tail on one of the branches and swinging back and forth and humming ‘naane varuven‘ (a ghost song in Tamil movie) song. It was busy hunting for the louse on its long hair. After it found a lice, it put it between the nails of two thumb fingers and crushed it. It appreciated itself with the word ‘besh‘ when the lice die with a sound ‘tip‘ and resumed its hunting.

Vikramaditya was dehydrated when he crossed Ravana Falls nearby. He jumped across the rocks and reached the falls at no time.

Water was gushing from a height. Rocks were dangerous and slippery due to centuries-old water flows. It was one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka. The waterfall had killed a lot of people. The water was too cold to rescue Vikramaditya from his fatigue.

இராவணா அருவி
Ravana Falls

Admiring the magnificent view of the falls, he offered handfuls of water to his ancestors. He held water in both hands and started drinking without wasting a drip of it. After getting rehydrated, he looked at the sky and thanked God for giving him such a gift. When he looked up, he saw the white betaal swinging on a tree on the slope of the hill.

He recollected all his energy and uphilled towards the tree eagerly, as if the British were so desperate in searching for other’s wealth in the previous centuries. Finally he reached the place and stood beneath the drumstick tree. He was so surprised that the face of the betaal resembled Thangamani’s. Betaal too exclaimed with surprise as the face of Vikramaditya looked like Rangamani.

Vikramaditya requested the betaal, “O, the charming betaal with long shiny hair! I have promised someone to bring you. Could you come with me?” The Thangamani agreed to go with Rangamani; sorry. Betaal happily agreed to go with Vikrama.

On the way down, there were two vanara-s (monkeys) jumping across the large pieces of rocks of Ravana falls. The betaal invited the vanara-s too by waving her hand. The face of the vanara-s resembled Junga and Bunga. While the water fall splashed the drips of water at all of them, they started their hegira to Yala National Park.

The two vanara-s 🙂 , Yala National Park
எல்ல
Leaving from Ella
Bye Bye Ella
Bye Bye Ella
Ella

“O Vikarama, the one with bald-fore-head, it is going be a long journey to Yala. 110 kilo meters. I’ll tell you a story. You won’t feel bored and tired in this long journey. At the end of the story, I’ll ask you a question. If you don’t answer me correctly, your head will be broken into thousand pieces.”. Vikramaditya agreed. Both vanara-s screamed with joy and clapped their hands.

எல்ல
The little Adam’s peak, Ella
The Little Adam’s Peak, Ella.

“Long long ago, so long ago, there lived a king called Dasaratha. He ruled the Koshala kingdom of Northern part of India…”.

Betaal narrated the long tale of Ramayana spontaneously with its screeching voice. Vanara-s and Vikramaditya were listening carefully with many ‘hmm’ and ‘umm’ syllables.

Ella
Ella

They came to the plains from a beautiful hill town in just half an hour’s time. The road was great.

Towards the plains

They crossed the town of Wellawaya. It was a special day for Buddhists. A lot of people were gathered over there. They saw children as Buddhist disciples, who went into the city in search of food.

வெல்லவாய
Wellawaya

The people considered them as messengers of Buddha. So they offered them food and fruit. Vikrama and Betaal understood that those childhood Buddha monks would find food for the old monks in the monastery.

நீண்ட பயணம்
The long journey
The Long Journey
The long journey
ella to yala 02
Back in plains
Back in plains
ella to yala 07
Back in plains

On the way they saw the milestones for the famous-ghost-airport of Hambantota, built by China. The Vikramaditya murmured “misfortune..” when they crossed such mile stones.

The long journey
The long journey

They stopped for a while. Betaal was feeling nausea, that time!

Vikaramaditya found something on the hedges, while he was roaming around. He pointed at a climber and asked Betaal, “Is this not ‘gundu mani‘ (Rosary pea) plant?” (We have Thangamani and Rangamani already. Now this is Gundu mani 🙂 ) .

Gundu mani

Betaal nodded its head. The elder vanara shrieked “Yes, I saw it my brother’s school”. Vikarama too, joined the happy conversation.

“Yes, we used to have this along the fencing at the backside of our palace”

Betaal smiled and said “Not only beautiful, but also poisonous!”. Two vanara-s did not understand it’s meaning and scratched their head with their black-baby-fingers.

They reached Tissamaharama after a long journey. Lankans call this town as Tissa, like we call Tiruchirappalli as Tiruchi! They went to a restaurant for lunch. They filled their tummies at this restaurant! Betaal and vanara-s asked for chapati and curry. Vikramaditya asked for rice & curry. Alas! he ended up with chapatis as the vanara-s stole his rice plate.

yala 01
Rice and Curry and Chapatis

By the time they finished their lunch, Betaal had finished its Ramayana tale as well.

Betaal said “O, Vikarama, the one with a pot like tummy, answer me now. Between Rama and Ravana, who will reach swarga (enlightenment)?”. It was combing its hair with its long and scary fingers.

Vikramaditya, who resembled Rangamani’s face, did not waste a minute. He said “Sri Rama is a God. He is eka pathni vrata (husband of one wife). He offered enlightenment to Ahalya. He won asura-s and saved deva-s. No doubt. It is lord Sri Rama who will get into swarga, no doubt”.

Ravana cave – It is believed that Sita was kept as a prisoner here – (c) unsplash

Betaal replied “O, Vikrama, Meenakshi (another name of Surpanakha) was a native girl with a beautiful name and a prettier face. She found Rama loveable. She proposed him. What he should have done? Either accept or reject her. What right does he has to abuse a girl verbally and severe her nose? How to send him to swarga?.”

Betaal continued “O, Vikrama, The bonding between a husband and wife is based on hope. When the hope diminishes, the relationship has no meaning, my dear! What right he had, to push Sita into fire-pit to prove her purity? Will it not be hot? If Sita’s conduct was not good, she should have a relationship in Mithila (Sita’s native) itself. Did he prove his purity by getting down into the same fire-pit? Take in your case, if your wife stays in stranger’s home for protection, will you suspect her? Does swarga like that?”

Betaal justified “O Vikarama, When his sister was harmed by Rama, Ravana took out his sword. It is expected from him as a brother and as a King.”

Betaal added “O Vikarama, As per Tamil poet Kamban, Ravana did not even tough Sita when he abducted her. He never misbehaved with her. At least, he did not even cut Sita’s nose to take revenge of the barbaric act by Rama. Sita was rescued as pure as she was earlier. If Ravana had bad conduct, why we have Ravana’s sculpture at all Siva temples?”

Betaal announced its judgement “O Vikarama, Soldiers who died at the battlefields reach the swarga by the rule of thumb. Duryodhana reached Swarga, when Bhima reached Narka. Based on these facts, Ravana will reach enlightenment. You are wrong!”

The two vanara-s vanished in the air. Vikramaditya’s head – which resembled the head of Rangamani – was broken into 1000 pieces. Thangamani woke up and screamed in sorrow and fear. Rangamani – who was drinking water with his capital-O-shaped mouth – startled and poured the water into his nostrils.

He coughed heavily while his eyes were filled with tears! He asked Thangamani “What happened, Thangamani? Why did you shout”. It took sometime for Thangamani that it was a dream. At last she realized that she was at the restaurant with his boring, yet, lovely hubby.

It was the most expensive meal they had ever had in Sri Lanka. It costs more than that of a Colombo star hotel restaurant! Rangamani’s purse lost its mass.

They parked their car at the restaurant itself and took a private jeep. The speedy jeep did not had any shock absorbers. Thangamani’s spinal cord was shaking like the New Delhi jerked after seeing the Chinese army at its Himalayan border. But she had velour – like the Indian army broke the neck of Chinese soldiers – to see a leopard. The rest of the day was spent in the dry bush forest called ‘Yala National Park’.

Towards Yala National Park
யால தேசிய வனம் | Yala National Park
Yala National Park

After this gate, you will start offroading. You can get a glimpse of it in this video!

Offroading, Yala national park

They saw elephants, crocodiles, birds, etc. at a short distance. It was like a live National Geographic Wild.

Yala National Park
Yala National park
Yala National Park
Yala National Park
yala national park 01
Yala National Park
யால தேசிய வனம் | Yala National Park
A Wild boar and a crocodile, Yala National Park

Junga’s main goal was to look at the leopard: and yawn in front of it. But it did not materialize.

Yala National Park
yala national park 03
Yala National Park

You will soon be surrounded by animals. The forest will be beautiful until you see a leopard.

yala national park 04
Yala National Park

That was a dry forest with thorny bushes and plants. The weather was just opposite to that of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Ella. They sweat with high humidity due to near by costal area. The road and the bushes on both sides were dusty. They got darshan from Sri Ganesa.

யால தேசிய வனம் | Yala National Park
Yala National Park
O you cutie pie, Yala National Park
O you, the massive!
Beauty King and Queen, Yala National Park
Yala National Park
The resting place at Yala National Park, which was damaged by 2004 tsunami

The sun hid behind the silhouette of dark trees and far-away mountains, when they left the park.

They went to their hotel after buying curd (yoghurt) and bananas for dinner.

The white rice from the restaurant of the hotel, mixed with the local curd satisfied them. You must try Sri Lankan yogurt, dear readers! After washing your hands, you will find it sticky due to its dense fatty nature. Junga wondered “It is a very good food. Excellent taste!”.

Thangamani took a bath before her dinner. She was sitting leisurely after dinner and combed her wet hair with her fingers. She wondered, if her fingers resembled those of the Betaal.

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z 2022

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6 thoughts on “Vikram & Betaal’s hegira to Yala national park

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