Once upon a time lived two boys – Ram and Shyam – who were the best of friends. They had the entire forest as their playground and a sprawling mansion with a white façade as their home. Days were spent in teasing out the secrets of the forest, writing songs in praise of a flower, or beast, or the cackling stream and nights were spent under the blanket of the stars, as the cool breeze lulled them to sleep.
The boys grew tall and strong and as time passed, first started to question their idealistic life and then started to resent it. As angels, they had jumped at the chance of coming down to earth, to experience the joys and griefs of living a human life. But the confines of idealism started to chafe and they wondered – was this all there was to being a human?
One particularly hot morning, as Ram was gathering food, he came across something that paled everything around him. It was a juicy, yellow-coloured something and just looking at it, he knew it would taste sweet.
Now when the boys had been born, they had been given but a few rules. No plucking anything from the forest – it would give as much as was their need, no fighting and no touching. Ram and Shyam had been good about the rules as they had seemed quite reasonable but seeing that bright, sweet-smelling…mango…came the word to him…Ram was ready to perhaps break one rule, once.
His hand extended, ready to pluck the mango from its tree when he felt a stone hit his hand. Shocked at the sting – nothing had ever caused him pain – he whirled around only to find Shyam who looked thunderous.
“Brother, we were told not to touch.”
But Ram paid little heed. He wanted it, he wanted it with a desire he had hitherto never experienced before – and would never experience again. It was as if the forbidden mango was calling out to him and even though his hand smarted from where Shyam had hit, he reached out, water flooding his mouth in preparation.
Ram threw away the mango as soon as he had taken a bite. It was bitterly sour and not at all what he had expected. So incredulous he was at this betrayal, he didn’t notice what was happening around him.
“What have you done, brother?” whispered Shyam as he looked at the gathering clouds. The wind whistled, the trees swayed dramatically and the fallen fruit shrivelled unto itself and turned black.
Their idyllic life, it seemed, was now over.
Note: Because of the way it shattered their life, Shyam cursed the mango fruit, and it is now only available for a few short months in the very hot months.
This is 13 of 26 Myths and Legends. To know more, click here.