CHENNAI : From lessons on virtues, righteousness and parenting to inclusivity — the epic Ramayana offers something for everyone. For centuries, one of its most underrated episodes — of Ram-Sita’s relationship — is often viewed as a moral codebook than that of a love story. While retellings of the Ramayana aren’t new in Indian storytelling traditions, Sriram, founder of Nalandaway Foundation will be narrating the story of Sita and Ram again, but this time about them falling in love, losing it and finding redemption — from the eyes of Ram.
The narratives have been handpicked by Sriram from the works of Valmiki and Kambar. The stories will be interlaced with songs by Tyagaraja, Gulzar, Kabir, and Bharathidasan and will be performed by Manjula Ponnapalli. “The stories will focus primarily on Ram-Sita, with occasional references to other characters,” says the raconteur, who in April curated a similar session that explored stories on love, loss and letting go. “After that show, I thought that the love story of these two is one that needs to be told,” he adds.
With several commentaries criticising and accusing the epic of glorifying misogyny and other feminist takes making the rounds, we ask Sriram where he stands. “Usually people take polar views and there is no grey. For me, Ram is an imperfect person like any one of us and I find these imperfections beautiful. Perfection is boring. Both Ram and Sita are fierce characters, they are opinionated and decided in their ways. That’s a story I thought will be fabulous to say,” he says.
With a dearth of literature from Ram’s perspective, Sriram says exploring his psyche has been an interesting journey. “We will be exploring the ‘whys’ of Ram’s actions, the conversations he had with Sita, their intimacy and the despair of losing each other,” he says.A storytelling session, ‘Sita Ram’ will be held on October 5 from 7 pm onwards at Curio Play, Alwarpet. For tickets, visit https://imjo.in/EzCesf