Well, the title might have given a vague idea but I know it won’t lend that much clarity to you now. At some point of time, in our life, each one of us becomes a Ravanan! Oh no, not the Mani ratnam’s film! The bad side of a person surfaces more than once in his or her life when they least expect it, making them evil. Some people have no idea that they have turned into one while some do get it but they continue doing it anyway. Let me start off with a story which happened to a friend a few years back. I will give you one disclaimer; our protagonist is not a typical hero you see in films. He is a normal person. He reflects you. Whenever I want to say something in between the story, I will *beep* you.
Year 2007. Divya had been in Ravi’s life for a quite some time. It all started when they participated in the college cultural function. Every year, the Computer science students were divided randomly into four groups and competition were held between them. The day was called as the ‘CSE Fest’. Dance, drama, adzap and what not! Drama was the toughest category. The other competitions didn’t require any acting or dialogues as such which made drama a no-taker. No one was willing to even audition for the roles. Yes, the story was ready. It was penned by Ravi himself who was a well-known writer in college. He was a college hero with two best selling books to his credit. He was liked by all for his charming and soft nature. When they were about give up, there was one girl, Divya, a fresher in college, who agreed to audition for the role of Laila, the protagonist of the drama. She was everything what Ravi wanted. He couldn’t take his eyes off her when they were rehearsing. She was stunning to look at and her acting, wow! It was something he hadn’t seen in any of the amateurs who had auditioned for his stage dramas. Gradually, he was falling for her. He was in his third year which meant he had lot of free time to kill. Whenever he was free, he would go to her class and whisk her away for rehearsals. The skit was about a couple who broke off a year back, only to meet again when the guy gets engaged and decides to give the first invite to his first love. Day by day, Ravi started to hate Amit more than he hated anyone else in his life. For those who are still in confusion, Amit played the role of Guru, Laila’s ex-lover. The story had numerous flashback scenes where they are being close, holding hands and all that stuff. The closeness wasn’t much but the after effect was proving costly. Even after the rehearsals, Amit walked Divya to her class, chatting with her all the while. If he had picked a normal looking guy for the role, it wouldn’t be bad. But this guy, Amit, he was handsome! That made it even more difficult for Ravi. The following night, Ravi sat down at his desk with a cup of coffee and the script in his hand.
*Beep one*, this particular night marked the birth of Ravi’s bad side. Like I said earlier, there are two groups of people. Well, Ravi belonged to the second group. He knew very well that he was doing an evil thing!
Ravi sat down to redo his script. He worked for two hours straight to cut off Guru’s character and still have the same effect of the original story. But it wasn’t working for him. Ravi was a wizard when it came to stories; he could change a bad one-liner into an epic story. Something was holding him back, maybe his good side; the critic inside him bashed the story as nothing more than a wimpy portrayal of a contorted storyline. He had already committed to directing the drama and he had no way of getting out of it. He tore out the pages in anger, his face turning red. He took the coffee cup and threw it at the wall smashing it into pieces.
“Ravi, what happened?” someone knocked on the door. It was his mom.
“I… I am fine. I just dropped the coffee cup. Going to sleep now, good night!” he said, clenching his fists in fury.
He lay down on his bed, looking up at the ceiling, the deep rage inside him reaching the highest degree. It was a long night. He kept squirming in bed until the clock beside his bed struck 5 am. Then the thought sprang up from nowhere. He stopped for a minute, taking in all the stuff that could make it happen. He let out a malicious grin and was fast asleep in minutes.
The next day dawned bright and clear. He was all smiles when he reached the college and all his friends were looking at him in a different light. Little did they know that their friend was in a devilish mood. The rehearsal started and not in a good way. Amit came in, an hour late.
“An hour late, Amit. What were you doing? Counting the eggs you laid yesterday?” Ravi said laughing, his friends joining him. Amit being a second year student couldn’t say anything to his senior except “I messaged you, Ravi. That I will be coming late. I was at my uncle’s place and it is really far off from college.”
“Don’t turn it around on me, ok? I didn’t get any message!” he said, smiling at what he had done. He had erased the message right when he got it. “Guys, have a look at my mobile.”
His friends checked the mobile and obviously came up with the answer which made Ravi happy while it made Amit look like a liar.
“Hereafter call me. Anyway, from the top, people” Ravi said. All through the rehearsal, he kept picking on Amit and sometimes when it was quite obvious he was picking on him on purpose, he would change the focus for once, to Divya, so as to make others think that ‘Ravi was an ethical person’. But the damage was on Amit. At the end of the rehearsal, Amit looked like a complete idiot. Ravi went over and talked to Divya. ‘Talked’ would be a misnomer; ‘Flirted’ would be the apt word. This was his only chance to chat with her and to become friends with her. After the fest, it might prove difficult. He had to lay the ground work before the fest so as to keep in touch with her even after the fest.
“The story is so sensitive, Ravi. I love it! I am sure it will be a hit” she said.
“Thanks Divya. You know, your dialogue delivery is awesome. You can’t be an amateur” Ravi said.
“Thanks. I am an amateur, Ravi. Promise!” she said, placing her hands on her head and smiling.
“Well, then. I think you should audition for a role in my upcoming stage drama. Will you be interested?” he asked.
“Stage drama? Oh my god! Ravi, college drama is different from the real theater! I will be scared in front of all those people” she said, blushing.
“It is the same, Divya. I will help you. This Sunday, we have an audition. I want to see you in the Art gallery theater in egmore at 10. Got it?” he asked, smiling.
“Sure. Thanks, Ravi.” She said, skipping away in joy.
There is a hook! I have made the perfect move to keep her hooked to me even after the fest. Now to get the stupid Amit out of the way! Ravi’s inner self was planning the perfect vicious plan. Being a story writer was paying off in his real life too!
Ravi was chatting with his friends.
“Guys, Amit is losing it. He is terrible for the role.” Ravi said.
“But he is the only guy who has auditioned for the role and we have only a week ahead, Ravi” one of his friends said.
“That’s true. But if we want to have a shot at the trophy, we need to change him. Now is the time. If we keep him, till the end, we would be screwed” Ravi said, showing genuine concern in his face.
“Ok, if we take him off, who is going to play the role of Guru?” someone asked out from the group.
“Well, I am not sure. Since no one else auditioned and that I myself know the character in and out, I think I can play the role. But I need some help from you guys as well.” Ravi said, placing the cherry on top of his evil cake.
After a brief silence and few of them exchanging glances, they said “Alright, sure. All we want is to win the trophy”
“What should we tell Amit?” One of them called out.
“That I will take care” Ravi said, standing up and marching towards the CSE block.
“Amit, this is not going to be easy” Ravi said, after calling him out of the class.
“The drama team thinks you are not doing well in the role of Guru. They think you will do great in a role which is more subtle, like the one you did last year.”
“What? But I tried my best, Ravi. Please give me another chance. I will do better.” Amit said, in a pleading tone. Ravi’s good side surfaced just for a split second when he thought he should give him a chance. Just then, Divya walked by, saying hi to Ravi and Amit. The good side was gone!
“It is not about me, Amit. The team feels so. I can’t do anything if they have come to a decision. I am sorry. Listen, I got to go, don’t feel bad. I will surely come to you with a better role soon” Ravi, said, hurrying towards the stairs while Amit stood there, on the verge of crying.
When he climbed down the stairs, his inner self shouted out “Ahaa! Get lost, you loser”
He thought he had done everything to make the way clear for him to make a move at Divya. It was a year since he had met her and the time was running out. In a month or so, the college was going to close and it would mark the end of college for Ravi. He had to do something fast. He had become pretty close with Divya by now, but still he didn’t know how to tell her. He was meeting her almost daily, in college and even during weekends, in the theater rehearsals. His bad side hadn’t resurfaced after the Fest and he was his usual self. One fine day, he decided to tell her how he felt. He walked to her class as usual after the final bell. Her class was emptying out and Ravi could see her sitting over by the window packing her bags. It would be sometime before the whole class is empty, so Ravi decided to take a leak, wash his face and meet her as the Prince charming she wouldn’t say NO to. After ten minutes of make up in the wash room, he slowly made his way to her class, trying to control his joy. The class was empty except for a two people sitting beside the windows on the other side of the room. It was Amit and Divya. He was holding her hands and they were both looking at a mobile. Amit slowly looked up and saw Ravi standing out.
“Hi Ravi! I was just talking to Divya” he said, standing up, jerking off Divya hands.
“Ravi. Hi! Come on in“ Divya said.
Ravi was standing there in shock. He slowly made his way into the class.
“What.. er.. what is this?” he said, pointing towards Amit and Divya.
“Well… Ravi. I like Amit a lot. I should have told you. But you are very close to me and I was feeling shy to tell you this. Anyway glad that you know about it now” she said, holding Amit’s hand. Amit stood there with the same expression of a thief when he is caught.
“Oh… I.. Oh. That’s great! Good for you guys. Anyway I just came here to tell you that the audition is off for this week. You can enjoy!” Ravi said to Divya.
“Oh thanks, Ravi. I wanted to go out with Amit during the weekends, but the rehearsals kept me off. Don’t get me wrong, I loved each and every minute of the rehearsals with you and the other writers. But I couldn’t spend time with Amit. Infact I should thank you. The fest was the time we got to know each other. When he was taken off the role of Guru, he was pretty swamped and that was the time we got together. First I just thought it would make him feel better if I talked to him. But later…” she said, turning towards Amit and smiling at him.
“No problem! Glad I was of help to my friend” Ravi said, smiling at her. His insides were trembling with a thunderous rage. He walked out of the class, gritting his teeth.
Saturday dawned bright. Ravi was at the Art gallery theater getting ready for the rehearsals when Preetam, one of the writers came in with a script pad in his hand.
“Hey, buddy. Good morning!” he called out.
“Hey Preet!” Ravi said, waving at him. Preetam came over and sat beside Ravi.
“Why sudden plan change? The rehearsals were not scheduled this weekend right” he said, with a doubtful expression on his face.
*Beep two*, the Ravanan was back! The first time, it was for something good to happen, 'His love for Divya'. This time, it was for something bad. To ruin her Career as an actress!
“Well yeah. There is a small problem. Divya wants to quit. So we need to audition again for the role of Prema. I have already asked my classmate Priya to drop by today for the audition. She is pretty good. Let Sheetal come in. We can decide” Ravi said, not daring to look up at Preetam.
“What? Why she quit?” he asked with confusion.
“She said she wanted to spend some time with her boyfriend” Ravi said, still looking into his script. “Hey guess what! Those female-centred themes I wrote for her, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put in male characters like you said. I have already made some changes to the script. Read it and let me know” he said, handing over the script to Preetam.
After an uneventful fifteen minutes, Preetam looked up from the script and said.
“Ravi, this is brilliant! Bad thing, Divya will not be able to star in it. This is going to be a hit!” he said.
“Yeah bad luck for Divya!” he said, turning to his left and smiling. Now to get Divya out of the way!