Soorpanaka was a princess, who believed only in fine jewels and beautiful silks. She was a selfish woman who carried herself with vanity and an overabundance of attitude. It was her way or no way at all, and she used her exotic looks to get anything her heart desired. Soorpanaka was also a cruel princess, a princess that would curse those of a “different” class. She didn’t care if you were poor. It was to underneath her to even glance at a person that was not on the same level as she was.
“One day, I will rule this world Mareecha. One day the God’s will shine down on me and say that I was a blessing to all of mankind”, standing in front of the mirror five of her tens of thousands of servants fixed her dress and combed her hair (as they quietly did fifty times a day).
“You must remove your vanity, for the Gods to shine upon your face and declare you fit to rule this world”, says Mareecha with a frown upon his face.
Mareecha was a sage who believed that vanity was a sin against the Gods, he was an older gentleman who once lived with vigor and served the kindest royalty. Often times he wandered how he made the Gods so mad that they would position him with such a cruel and vain queen as Soorpanaka. A queen that no one dare teaches a lesson to because the wrath of the spoiled princess is worse than the wrath of a demon.
“Vanity! Ha! Being beautiful in every way, shape and form is not vanity. It is a blessing passed down from the heavens. So, do not mock me old man. Remember your place, it is to simply do my bidding”. Waving off her servants she stands to her side admiring the length of her long black hair. A look of superiority passing through her eyes.
“One of these day’s princess you will find that your words will have a great effect on your life.”
Soorpanaka shrugs off the threat, as nothing more than mindless chatter from a bitter person, past their prime. Little did she know that Mareecha had a plan. A plan to rid this land of Soorpanaka and her evil ways. A plan that was to attack her overabundance of superstition and naivety.
It was a cold, dark night and Mareecha walked into the woods a potion in hand and a sense of smugness and excitement about him. This was the night, he thought. A night of teaching a spoiled princess a lesson.
Crouching behind a large oak tree, he waited and waited. Finally, at half past midnight. She made her nightly walk of conversing with the evil beings in the woods (these evil beings often times did her evil bidding as she sat on her throne, mocking and belittling simpletons).
Drinking the potion, he concocted in his room, he felt his body form, and mold into something different. As he felt his torso stretch and the growth of two extra legs, Mareecha was struck by how his transformation from man to animal was a seemingly painless process. After he finally formed his antlers, he traipsed out behind the tree and stood a few feet from Soorpanaka. His golden fur and shiny stoned legs, made the Soorpanaka freeze where she was. It was this vision before the princess’s eyes that frightened her cold heart to no end. This is because Soopranaka thought that a deer was a sign of death, and a deer with horns was a sign of an especially long and cruel death. It is often times she was told that her demise would be at the hand of a powerful, unearthly creature.
“What must I give you to spare my life? Please, I have expense. Just let me live…just let me live.”
Mareecha kicked his leg to signify disappointment.
“You can have my beauty, take my beauty and let me go onto my path.”
Mareecha couldn’t believe his luck, this princess was even more foolish than he could have ever thought. To take what matters most from this princess, will surely make the princess change her ways. Lifting his head up and then lowering down, he signified yes.
Soorpanaka dropped to her knees and relinquished her gift of her beauty, as it flowed out of her, it spread throughout the dank, dark, forest. Changing the grounds to green, the trees to green, and the frozen over flowers to beautiful colors of orange, pink and blues. With her last breath Soorpanaka looked up and took a large breath. For what stood before her was not an omen. Instead it was Mareecha. Standing as proud and happy for what he had done.
“Why Mareecha?”, she said saddened with long lank hair and dark circles under eyes.
“Kindness..is a virtue princess, beauty is temporary.”
Author’s Note: For some reason I was really struck by the idea of Mareecha and Soorpanaka. The way they are portrayed in the book really inspired me to completely do a 180 on Mareecha, making him into a hero instead of a villian. I also really found no way to get around Soorpanaka not being good. I think in a lot of ways her downfall in The Ramayana was her beauty and I really wanted to showcase how beauty can easily be taken away, just like the story does. P.s. I couldn’t help it, Mareecha really reminded me of Snape from Harry Potter, so I put the potion reference in their for HP fans.
Bibliography: This story is based on the Epic the The Ramayana, by R.K. Narayan (1972).