When some things are repeated often enough, we have the capacity to believe them. I could genuinely believe that I was being the sacrificial tree while giving up my eyesight because my husband was blind or I could finally tell my version of events.
Here goes: I did not really proclaim that I would forever lose it. What I did was have a row with him one evening. We were sitting in the orchard and trying to fall in love (with each other of course) when we heard an unusual sound – probably a peacock. Now everytime we hear a sound, Big D has a way of asking me what it is, and how very lucky I am to be able to see everything. Now really! It is hard to fall in love if one half keeps whining about how unfair it is to him that he can’t see a rainbow. I can’t see a rainbow either. I mean rainbows are elusive and subtle. To hear him describe it though, one would think it occurs every evening and looks like this. (Image courtesy Google search)
It isn’t true…I tried to tell him, but he decided to turn a deaf ear. Also, every evening talking about rainbows was a bit much. So when he took off about the bird and connected it to rainbows, I lost it. I screamed and spat and said I was going to tie my eyes too, just so I could talk to him without having to assume there would be rainbows in the sky every evening.
I always knew Big D was cunning, but what he did next had me stumped. When my mother-in-law, Ambika, came up, he put on his most demure face and said that I was going to give up my eyesight so I can feel the way my dear husband does. If I looked surprised – who could blame me? Before I could explain, the vile woman summoned the royal guards and loudly proclaimed she is blessed to have a daughter-in-law like me and now she could rest in peace knowing her son was in good hands. Next thing I knew, she was making a court announcement of my deed.
Every time people came and congratulated me on my large heart, I seethed. If it is hard for the townspeople to ignore what others think of them, you can imagine how much harder it is for royalty.
Incidentally, Ambika lived a good many years afterward, and had a way of describing what she saw when we walked together in the palace gardens. In hindsight I saw Big D’s obsession with rainbows: Ambika described them with such tender words, letting the descriptions hang tantalizingly, sometimes dripping with poetry. I found myself sighing to her that I wished I could see them, even if I knew she was fabricating them. Sometimes, one has to be blind to see the truth.
Only Grandpa Vyasa saw through my plight. He came up to me one evening and told me something to the effect of “Annoying now, legend later”.
Easy for him to say was the general thought then. He sensed it in that eerie manner of his and continued, “Remain blindfolded and you will be spared many a sad sight. Not only that, you will go down in the history of mankind and be talked about for generations.”
The lure was too much. I gave in. What still saddens me though, is the one time I decided to open my blindfold and look around, it was to see my foul son – that blot on humanity. That too I did for the sake of the legend.
Glad to have that off my chest! How does the rainbow look?