The Tale of Parita and Romasha: An Allegory of Overcoming Adversity Through Unlikely Alliance and Wisdom in Times of Crisis

The Mahabharata, revered by both adults and children alike in India, stands as a magnificent epic, akin to a vast sea, encompassing profound wisdom and the essence of existence. In these turbulent times when tranquility eludes our world, let me recount a tale of a mouse and a cat. Our narrative unfurls with the venerable Bhishma, sagacious in his years, imparting counsel to Yudhishira, the foremost among the Pandava scions who sought his guidance. Amidst Yudhishira’s bewilderment, pondering his plight encircled by adversaries, Bhishma chose not direct discourse but rather wove a tale thus:

Nestled deep within the forest’s heart lies a towering ancient banyan, its roots a haven for Parita, the diminutive mouse, amid a labyrinth of tunnels, while Romasha, the sleek feline, reigns aloft amidst the verdant foliage, her realm teeming with avian prey. Nearby, a huntsman of the Chandala caste, deemed untouchable, plied his trade, setting snares at eventide, returning with the dawn’s light to claim his quarry.

One fateful night, Romasha, ensnared by happenstance, found herself ensnared. Parita, witnessing her arch-foe’s plight, emerged from her burrow, a dance of triumph preceding her consumption of the remnants. Yet, amidst her jubilation, Parita espied looming perils: Harita, the meerkat, lured by the scent of mouse, and Chandraka, the owl, with keen eyes from the canopy. Reflecting upon her plight, Parita resolved, amidst myriad adversities, to preserve her existence. In this crucible of peril, her sole sanctuary lay in the plight of her trapped adversary. Despite enmity, compassion stirred within; aiding Romasha held profound significance. Thus, amidst adversity, foes must find amity. Shall negotiation with the cat ensue?

After much deliberation, Parita addressed Romasha thus: “In this dire hour, besieged by owls and meerkats, I propose a parley. Spare me harm, and I shall secure your release. Nay, your escape is futile without my aid. As the boat aids passage across turbulent waters, so too shall our cooperation navigate this perilous tide.”

Romasha, her fangs glistening, gaze akin to lapis lazuli, tenderly assented: “O friend, I vow upon truth’s sanctity, harm shall not befall you.” Thereupon, Romasha beckoned Parita close, concealing her beneath her form. Parita, nestled within Romasha’s embrace, found solace akin to a mother’s warmth. Witnessing this tableau, owl and meerkat, incensed, departed in ire.

As the adversaries withdrew, Parita, with measured resolve, gnawed at the binding rope, yet progress was sluggish. Impatient, Romasha queried, “Would you renege on our pact? The huntsman approaches. Hasten!” Parita retorted, “Patience, for upon his arrival, swift liberation shall be granted. As the snake charmer’s deft hand guides the serpent’s fangs, so too must vigilance attend to friendships forged amidst fear.” Through the night’s idle discourse, they tarried until the huntsman’s imminent approach spurred Parita to honor her pledge, severing the tether. Together they fled, leaving behind the vexed huntsman.

Upon their return to the arboreal refuge, Romasha entreated Parita from the burrow: “You departed without farewell. May doubts not cloud your perception of my gratitude. Let us revel in our newfound camaraderie.” To which Parita replied, “I heard your entreaties. True friendships withstand scrutiny, while foes merit caution. Our bond, formed amidst exigency, lacks relevance in tranquil times. Intrigued, I remain, but utility eludes me. Weak, I am prey, and you, my natural foe.” With Parita’s rebuke, Romasha, chastened, withdrew, as the mouse retreated to her subterranean abode.

What contemporary wisdom may be gleaned from this allegory? Much as the tales of Mahabharata captivate the young minds of India, enriching yet seemingly devoid of profound import, this parable imparts timeless truths. Contrastingly, a rendition recounted by a friend portrays Parita not cradled but ensconced within Romasha’s maw.

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