As usual, I went to our society park to play football in the evening. Where is Rohan? Last evening too, he was not here. I enquired about him from our other friends. His schoolmate confirmed, he had been to school. So, he was not unwell. But, he was not seen cycling or playing in the evening. What was the matter?
Four of us decided to go to his house and find out the reason for his absence. When Rohan stepped out of his main door, he looked tensed.
“What happened Rohan?”, I asked.
“A play will be enacted in our school assembly on Janmastami. I am selected to be the narrator,” he said without any enthusiasm.
“Wow! That’s nice. What makes you sad?” I asked in confusion.
“Actually I can’t remember my lines. I did not go to play and rehearsed so much. Still, I am forgetting. I will let my Ma’am down. She believes in me.” Rohan said with tears in his eyes.
“Don’t worry we will help you rehearse.” Nitin, our friend said.
I told Rohan, “We will rehearse not at home. But in the park. Take your script and come out.”
Rohan took a piece of paper and we all went to the park.
We encouraged him to hold the paper and say whatever he remembers. With a trembling voice, Rohan started “Good morning everyone, we have assembled… Oh no… gathered here to celebrate… Ah…Krishna Janmastami… He was born to Vasudeva and Devaki…Devaki and Vasudeva. The… The…” He started fumbling. “I have forgotten friends. I can’t remember”, Rohan burst into tears.
“Are you trying to memorise every word of the script Rohan? Just remember the sequence of events and say in your own words,” suggested Vinny.
I too agreed to that and told Rohan to read the script a couple of times with complete focus. Then, to narrate in his own words.
After a while, he started again-
“Good morning everyone. We have gathered here to celebrate Krishna Janmastami, the festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. He was born to Devaki and Vasudeva. His birth story is quite interesting. It had been foretold that the evil Kansa, would be killed by Devaki’s eighth child. So, he captured Devaki and Vasudeva and put them in dungeons in his palace prison. Each time Devaki gave birth, Kansa would immediately kill the baby. All seven babies were killed. At the time of the eighth baby, there was divine intervention and Vasudeva was able to save the baby. He carried the baby out of the prison on a stormy night, crossing the river Yamuna. A huge black snake spread itself over Vasudev like a hood to shield the baby from rain. The baby Krishna reached kingdom of Gokul where he was raised by Nanda and Yashoda.”
Oh wow! Part-I of the narration was done. He sounded so confident. Next day, we focussed on Part-II of the narration. With few prompts, he was able to speak. We repeated the speech rehearsal a couple of times. He was making proper eye contact and speaking with grace.
“Lord Krishna loved to eat butter. He always made attempts to steal butter, that is why he was called ‘Maakhanchor’. His mother would tie the butter high above the ground to hide it from him. Once, when Yashoda was not around, Krishna called his friends. They climbed one on top of the other and he managed to reach the pot of butter. They all brought it down and relished it. They did not realise Yashoda was standing behind them. All his friends ran away and Krishna was reprimanded by his mother. So friends we should not steal. We should obey our elders. Jai Shri Krishna!”
A day before Janmastami, Arupa came running to the park, “Friends, my narration in the assembly went off very well. I got a lot of appreciation from my teachers. Even, Principal Ma’am patted me. I am so happy. Thank you friends! Just like Lord Krishna had his group of great friends. I had you all to help me.”
“Through your rehearsals, we too learnt about Krishna,” said Nitin.
I hugged Rohan and announced, “Friends, let’s get ready for tomorrow’s ‘Dahi Handi’ fun in our society.”
“Jai Shri Krishna”, we all screamed.