|The Ramayana is a story from Hindu mythology concerning Rama. Rama's wife, Sita, is kidnapped by Ravana and taken to his kingdom to be his bride. While Rama makes his way to Ravana's kingdom to rescue Sita, she is befriended by Trijata, Ravana's niece. Trijata, despite her allegiance to Ravana, takes Sita's side, often defending her.|
1. Colour of Fire, Mechanical Bride
make the cow walk through fire
the bells are blazing
and the colours are wilder
they're wilder than desire
The first time she sees Sita, the woman isn't crying. She's standing, face blank, looking straight ahead. Already broken, Trijata thinks, but this isn't true.
“Watch her,” Ravana says, and then he sweeps inside the palace leaving the two of them alone in the gardens.
Sita cries then, sits down in the dirt between two trees, puts her face in her hands, and cries.
Trijata watches her shoulders shake and doesn't know what to do. But she can't leave.
2. Kaleidoscope Heart, Sara Bareilles
i have hope
inside is not a heart
but a kaleidoscope
Sita doesn't go inside. She just doesn't. She stays in the gardens and one day becomes two becomes a week and she moves no closer to the doors of the palace.
At first, Trijata doesn't understand, but every day Ravana gets angrier and then she understands.
She spends her days in the garden and when Ravana yells at her come nightfall she says she is just doing her duty. She watches Sita all the time. She's never seen anyone like this great, sad queen.
3. Don't Go, Rae Morris
don't feel like you have to
only if you want to
fill my world with hope
Trijata turns. It's dark, the time when she returns to the palace to sleep for a few hours, waking before dawn to go back to Sita's side.
It's the first word Sita has ever said to her.
“Stay. If—if you want to.”
Trijata doesn't sleep inside again after that.
4. Twenty, Natalie Imbruglia
when everything is broken
there's a piece i never use
i keep finding reasons to die a little more for you
Ravana comes to the gardens with a sword one day and anger in his eyes.
Sita raises her chin, presses her lips together, says nothing.
Trijata, alarmed, steps between them. What else can she do?
“If she's not with me, then she dies,” Ravana says. “This has gone on long enough.”
“Please,” Trijata says. She tells him to think. She talks about patience. She asks what a king would do. When he shakes that sword one more time, she wraps her own fingers around the hilt. “Please,” she says again.
5. Warm Whispers, Missy Higgins
i'm weeping warm honey and milk
your warm whispers
(but you're gone)
After a few weeks, Sita stops crying so much. It's a gradual thing, but everyone adjusts, even if you don't want to. Eventually Ravana's anger becomes normal. Eventually even his kindness becomes normal. She stays under her tree and looks at the ground and doesn't speak to him.
At night, though, she still cries. Not always, but sometimes. And then Trijata's there, soft arms, warm breath, quiet whispers in her ear. Sita buries her face in Trijata's shoulder and tries to forget everything. This is the only thing that makes life bearable.
Trijata thinks, Come back to me.
6. Moon and Moon, Bat for Lashes
if i had you here
braid our hair together
i'd be boy and you'd be girl
Sita is perfect. Trijata realizes this one day. Perfect, and she doesn't know it. Other people do, but they see her and that's all they see: this perfect woman. They want her, and they go blind. Trijata really sees her. She's perfect yes, but she's more than that. Trijata knows the texture of her hair, the hair she braids every morning. Trijata knows the inside curve of her ankles. Trijata knows the way her face falls into soft shadows when she thinks no one is watching.
Trijata can ask nothing from this woman, and so she doesn't think of want. She can't.
7. Joan of Arc, Leonard Cohen
“and who are you?” she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke
“why i'm fire” he replied
“and i love your solitude i love your pride”
“Don't do this,” Trijata says. It's the first time she's given Sita an order. It will be the only time.
Sita shakes her head. Her face doesn't have that hard look she wore around Ravana. Her eyes are open. Her heart is broken. “I need this. It's my choice.”
“But you'll die.” What she means is, You still have me.
Sita kisses her cheek. “You've always been good to me. Thank you.”
Trijata watches her step onto the pyre, watches the flames. It's horrible. It's the only thing she can do.
8. Keep 'em Burning, Daniel Holter & Janelle Robertson
keep your heart steady return to my side
home is here waiting but till that day
i'll keep 'em burning
i'll keep 'em burning
Sita leaves, dressed in fine clothes, draped in jewelry, eyes shining.
“I'm here,” Trijata says. “If you need anything. Whenever you need anything.”
She'll never see Sita again.
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