The night sky was clear, and below the twinkling stars, the students were having their Annual School Fest. It was the first time they were having it outside, rather than in the auditorium.
A breeze waltzed its way through the trees that bordered the grounds, as the students danced. With the breeze, a small cloud drifted in. On the cloud, sat a young girl. A little goddess, with black curls that fell off her shoulders, and silent brown eyes that looked down with interest and longing at the students. As Megha, goddess of the clouds, drifted with the breeze, another little goddess joined her on her cloud. Her happy blue eyes had a twinkle, and she shook her long straight hair as she sat down. Iraja, named for the wind, wondered why her sister was so interested in the humans below.
“Megha, you have been watching them for a while now. What interests you there?” she asked her.
Megha gave a deep sigh, but didn’t reply. She didn’t want to stop looking.
“Adamant Megha, why are you not replying? You’ll land us in trouble with your curiosity,” Iraja told her, a tinge of worry laced into her words.
Just then, a melody came through the sky; a melody that could be heard only by the two of them, and not the humans below. The notes from a veena greeted the two goddesses, and he drifted into their company.
The two goddesses got to their feet, bowing with their palms closed in front of them.
“Pranam, oh wise sage,” they chorused, greeting Sage Narada as he wandered into their midst.
“Pranam. Do I sense something amiss? Megha, why the long face dear?”
Megha looked at Iraja, and then back at Narada again.
“Oh wise sage, you have come straight to the point, as always. I look down at those children, having fun, dancing. I want to learn too. Even little goddesses should be able to do anything. Shouldn’t they?”
Narada broke into a hearty laugh hearing the little goddess’ plight. Even Iraja smiled hearing his laughter.
“Little one, is that what is bothering you so much? Is it just the matter of learning to dance?”
Megha looked him sheepishly, her cheeks turning a little red.
“Yes, wise sage. I want to learn to dance.”
“Oh little one, why the long face for that? Devalok has the best dancers, don’t you know? All you need to do is ask one of the apsaras to teach you.”
Iraja laughed, and if it was possible, Megha’s cheeks turned even redder. But she gave a smile and bowed before the wise sage.
“Wise sage, I am but little. I try, but I cannot speak with them. Would you come with me, and, perhaps, er… speak… for me?”
“Narayana, Narayana! It would be my pleasure, little one. I will ask one of them for you. Maybe someone shy or somewhat silent, just like you.”
Megha jumped in delight, and gave the wise sage a hug before she could stop herself. But Narada just smiled.
“Now, be on your way. It’s not wise for little goddesses to wander at night,” he told them.
The next morning, Narada asked one of the apsaras if she could teach dance to the little goddess Megha. The apsara, Nrtya, accepted with grace, and in one of the empty halls of Devalok, began Megha’s dance classes.
The little goddess learnt quickly, understanding the lessons that were taught to her by Nrtya. She absorbed the mudras, and the postures with ease.
One day, after she had been long into learning dance, Sage Narada chanced upon the little goddesses again, sitting on a cloud under the pale blue autumn sky, their expressions just the same as he had seen on that night long ago.
“Narayana, Narayana. I’m sensing that I’ve sensed this anxiety before, dears. Perhaps the best remedy for this anxiety is to dance. I’ll sing a hymn to the great Lord Vishnu, and Megha can dance. Would you, little one?”
Unable to turn down the kind sage’s request, Megha acquiesced and gave a performance to the soulful song of Narada. When she was done, Iraja clapped and the sage looked at her with a glint of pride in his eyes.
Megha, however, bowed before the sage, and sat down on the cloud, the same look of contemplation and longing reappearing.
“Little one, you have learned to dance, and dance well. You are as good as any apsara in Indra’s court. Why then, the long face?”
Seeing Megha still silent, Narada decided to leave her to her thoughts for some time, and started to walk away from them. He heard her voice drift after him.
“But wise sage, I want to learn to boogie!”
(4th April 2014)