Today, I watched, for the umpteenth time, a bit of that adorable movie, Mayabazar, which has been, ever since I watched it for the first time in a tent , when I was about ten, the movie that has answers to every question that you would have asked your grandmother , if only you could. When the Laahiri Laahiri Laahiri Lo began playing, it struck me that this song from 57 years ago was telling me a thing or two about Valentine’s Day. Pointless and silly as the concept is.
Consider the scene in which Abhimanyu strolls up the garden path to stand under Shashireka’s balcony. The young lady has been grounded by her mother for daring to spurn the gifts sent by her mother-in-law to be, and she is moping, wondering how to get the word out to Abhimanyu, the love of her life.
An arrow suddenly lands at her feet, and within minutes, the son of Arjuna builds a “staircase of arrows” for Shashirekha to descend, and they make off for the riverside, where they are soon ensconced in a gondola, singing “Laahri laahiri laahiri lo, oho jagame oogenuga..” A palace guard chances upon them and gleefully runs to inform Shashirekha’s parents, the imperious Balarama and his domineering wife, Revathi.
However, when they arrive on the scene of crime, they see it is Krishna and Rukmini romancing each other, for the all-knowing Krishna has sensed that the young lovers need some avunclar rescuing, and drags wife Rukmini to an unscheduled gondola ride and some mutual serenading. Walking back, Krishna slyly suggests that the boat ride is a great way for couples to reconnect, and no one is too old for a bit of romance. Well, the boat was there, and love was in the air, and Balarama needed his wife to forget their rebellious, opinionated daughter for a wee bit,and so they went ahead and finished the song. And felt all the better for it. Although they didn’t see their way to relenting on their daughter who , they believed, was locked up in her room, her tantrums for company.
Silly and pointless, clearly, love’s little games are not. Krishna tells us so. He orchestrates the Raas Lila, and every girl comes away thinking Krishna is hers alone. The older Krishna then orchestrates another kind of love lila- be it uniting Arjuna and Subhadra, or as in Mayabazar, Abhimanyu and Shashirekha. The artful organizer of happy-endings has everyone thinking everything is going according their plan, until the end.
With Gatotkacha’s help, some magic and lots of good humor, he has Shashirekha transported to where Abhimanyu is hiding under Gatotkacha’sprotection, and the affable, adorable rakshasa son of Bhima returns , takes on the form of Shashirekha, and terrorizes Lakshmana , son of Duryodhana and the groom intended for Shashirekha. Once the wedding muhurtham passes, he reveals himself , and the wedding of Abhimanyu and Shashirekha is presented as fait accompli.
So it all boils down to this. There are those who see Valentine’s Day as evil, and will foil the plans of those who celebrate the day. There are others who wish to make it special, and some others who serendipitously, come upon a gondola ride down the river, and choose to take it.
I confess that I find Valentine’s Day a nonsensical idea, and the closest I came to marking the day was last year, when I got the spouse to take me out in the morning sun for a romp in the snow , where a snowman was already melting. It just happened to be Valentine’s Day , February 14, 2014. But my heart is in the right place, and I wish that today, Krishna has planned happy-endings for everyone who wants it.
Bye. I now need to urgently go back to Mayabazar. There is no such thing as too much Mayabazar.