Friday, January 6, 2012

Two- in-One and One-in-Two

Stories are stories.  But there are different types of stories.  In other words, they can be classified into different types.  Some are educative stories.  Some are seductive stories.  Some are moral stories.  Some are real life stories.  Some others are funny stories.  Some are suspense filled stories.  Lessons from some stories are better carried over to actual life.  Some other stories  are better forgotten once they are heard or read.  Some stories are meant to make fun of others or someone you do not like.  The same story may be classified into different categorizes by different people.  How classification is made may also depend on the person classifying them.  Well, someone may say why classify them at all.  They are also correct, in their own way.

A writer I knew of translated a novel from Russian language to Kannada.  He also wrote a stage play on the same theme.  The Russian novel was set in the background of 18th century Russia.  The names of the characters and the places mentioned there were naturally from Russia.  The translator gave local names to enable the viewers to follow the play easily.  He also set the background of his version in the contemporary local society of his area.  When the book was going for print I asked him the reason for changing the names and places.  He mentioned that there have to be some names for persons and places and he gave those names as it came to his mind at the time of writing.  He had no objection if someone else wanted to substitute them with the names of his area or time because it would not change the essence of the play.  After explaining  the reasons for change to me he also included it in his "Prologue" to the play.  So also with the present story.  It is a story made up by somebody several years ago to make fun of misers.  I have enjoyed it as a child when it was told to me by my father.   Children have enjoyed it when I told the story to them over the years.  Chances are that you may also like it.  If you want to change the names I have no complaints.

Dasharatha Rama lived with his wife and son in a village near Mandya.  His son Ramachandra grew up in due course and his mother kept on reminding Dasharatha Rama to find a suitable bride for him.  Like all wives do when something is to be done by the husband.  Partly because it is their habit and partly because unless they keep on reminding, husbands would not do it.  Finally he decided to go to Mysore and find a suitable girl.  Date of the journey was also fixed.  His wife was very excited to see her husband finally ready to act.  Or because she succeeded in pushing him into action.  She got up before sunrise and prepared two rotis (a type of flat bread) for his journey.  She also packed some pickles to go with the rotis.  The rotis were put in a bag and she gave him the bag and a brass vessel with a handle to carry water.  Instead of being happy for his wife's caring nature, Dasharatha Rama expressed his displeasure for her making two rotis and the resultant excess use of flour, when one roti would have been enough.  After all, he would stay with someone in Mysore and they would definitely feed him.  He did not want to leave the second roti at home for the fear of his wife giving it away to someone else.  Grudgingly he carried both the rotis and started on his mission.  He did not believe in spending money on bus fare.  He calculated the distance and decided to cover the distance of 30 miles by walk in about eight hours.  He started well before sunrise and reached the banks of river Kaveri, distance of nearly twenty miles,  by afternoon.

He stopped by the river for freshening up and have his lunch.  When he got into the river, he saw a person very similar to him just a few feet away.  He resisted the temptation of talking to him immediately to avoid the unpleasant situation of having to share the lunch.  He calmly walked back to his side of the river and took out the lunch bag.  He ate half roti and drank a vessel full water.   He was pleased with himself on the saving he had made.  He rested below a tree and watched the person on the other side of the river.  The other person took out one roti form his bag.   The roti was prepared in a frying pan and was shaped like a large cup.  He filled the roti with water, ran his fingers in the water and drank that water.  He took out a piece of cloth which he had carried, dried the roti with it and packed it back.  He had eaten (or drank) roti-water and saved the full roti.  He drank some more water from the river being follow-up water as it was free.  Dasharatha Ram was astounded at the saving this man had made.  He saved a full roti as against his savings of just half roti!  He crossed over the river immediately and met the other man.

He was Janaki Rama from a village near Mysore.  He was going in search of a groom for his grown up daughter Sita.  Both were happy as they met each other.  They walked to the village near Mysore so that Dasharatha Rama could see the girl and finalise the alliance.  They reached Janaki Rama's house late in the evening.  When Sita'sroti in the afternoon.  Next morning Janaki Rama took Dasharatha Rama to nearby Chamundi Hills.  Before leaving to climb the 1000 step hill, Sita's mother again asked for lunch plans.  Janaki Rama curtly told her, "Make Two-in-one and One-in-two".  Dasharatha Rama did not understand anything but felt that his host has ordered a feast in his honour.

Though Dasharatha Rama did not understand the code, Janaki Rama's wife understood it perfectly  as she had lived with her husband long enough to understand him.  When the two returned from the hill fully tired, 1000 steps up and 100 steps down plus walk to and fro, she delayed serving lunch till five in the evening.  She had bought a leafy vegetable (Dantina soppu) and prepared a a dry curry (Palya) from its leaf and wet curry (Huli) from its stem pieces.  This was the One-in two.  Since the food was served at five in the evening, it was lunch as well as supper.  It was Two-in-one.  Thus she had saved one vegetable on one side and a full meal on the other side.  She had also saved money to be spent on payment to the Doctor for treatment of unlikely indigestion.  Savings galore!

The alliance was duly fixed and the marriage was performed in due course.  No need to say that the marriage was also in the backdrop of multiple savings.  Both parties vied with each other in displaying their saving skills.  There were many lessons for the spendthrifts and unwise.  In the end two persons were extremely happy.  Dasharata Rama was happy because Sita would bring with her to his household, the exceptional saving skills of her father.  Sita's mother was happy because a daughter who was brought up on roti-water culture would be able to eat at least half-roti lunch for the rest of her life.

Ramachandra and Sita had a son in due course and named him Kodanda Rama.  Kodanda Rama grew up to be even wiser than his parents and grandparents.  But his story is reserved for another day.


  1. a miser man was getting drowned in river .Some one tyold hiom several times to give hand He preferred to die instead of giving hand THean some body else advised the person helping to shout taker my hand .He did the same and now the miser man took the helping hand and got saved

  2. Interesting to read about the turn of events
    ending in a harmonious way. I am anxious to
    read about Kodanda Rama's story.

  3. By reserving the story of Kodanda Rama, Keshav has shown best of three(Dasharatha Rama, Janakirama and Keshavamurthy(Keshava rama)Day by day his postings are becoming more and more interesting.

  4. Even though we have heard this before, it is interesting to read it, I remember how much Vikram and Srikumar laughed......