It sure was a frantic night, having to stage a drama on Krsna-lila called Dan-ghati or toll collection. The children whose ages range from 5 to 18 years did a good job performing on Radhasthami. They were really nervous. Performing in front of so many people obviously saw some glitches.
3 days later, with a proper stage put up, courtesy by one of the parents, the children were to perform live yet again. Now, in front of Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja and Sripad Bhaktivedanta Bhiksu Maharaja.
All the kids came to the temple at around 6:30 p.m. or earlier. I did a trial run on stage with them, pointing out their positioning and everything. It was almost 7:00 p.m. One of the main actress as "Srimati Radhika" was no where to be found. After some panic, one of the older girls in the cast said, "'Srimati Radhika" will come, and that she will be delayed as she had to attend a function."
The time now was almost 7:30 p.m. Panic turned into desperation. The younger ones were almost in tears as they were practising really hard for this drama. They certainly don't want their drama to be cancelled because of this one missing actress!
That's when the neighbour girl, Zara, about 8 years old, was watching us rehearse. Her grandmother gestured her to behave over the wall fencing.
I really did not know what came over me. I coolly walked over to her grandmother and said, "O she can watch us rehearse. It's alright. In fact, your grand-daughter is going to take part."
Zara's grandmother simply smiled and nodded her head.
What happened later was a miracle of sorts. I scuttled Zara and the rest of the cast into an empty room in the temple to change into their costumes. Obviously, Zara did not have any "gopi dress" or what so ever with her.
We had to get another girl's skirt and blouse. Luckily she brought an extra. The skirt was too big and we had to pull it up all the way to her chest and secure it with pins. Then came the blouse and a golden belt. I roped in another lady devotee, Gomathi didi, to do Zara's make-up and hair.
And so we had our replacement "Srimati Radhika." All I had to tell Zara was to learn up the simple dance steps and I will mimick her voice. Voila!!! Perfect.
Everyone cooperated. The rest of the cast, I believe gave another 10% more because of Zara.
What did I learn from all this. ----- Krsna arranges everything. He can create a drama within a drama. Now, it's up to this insignificant soul to propel even further.
Zara, looking all dolled up as "Srimati Radhika."
Zara and the rest of the cast performing a dance. The "gopis" are taking many palatable food-stuffs for the yajna of Bhaguri Rsi.
"Krsna" stops the "gopis" and demands toll from the "gopis." This angers "Lalita-devi."
"Krsna" claims He is married to Vrnda-devi. And anything that belongs to the wife automatically belongs to the husband. "Vrnda-devi" then denies having anything to do with "Krsna."
"Krsna" and the gopas did not care. They forcible took the "gopis" offerings.
Later the "gopis" hatched a plan to teach the gopas and "Krsna" a lesson. They made "Srimati Radhika" walk alone with many palatable foodstuffs. "Krsna" demanded toll. Just then all the "gopis" came out of hiding and beat up the "gopas." "Krsna" was made to wear a skirt and the "gopis" did abhishek of Him.
The cast beat the boys in Kung-fu style!!
"Krsna" and the "gopas" asks forgiveness from "Srimati Radhika" and proclaims that She is the Queen of Vrindavan.
The cast singing the Maha-mantra dikir barat style.
Singing the glories of the Lord.
Sweet Zara with Nitya, Vidya, Yasodhan, Arvind Junior, Arvind Senior, Radha-priya and Tamal-kishen with their presents.
The cast cutting a cake with Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja.
Later Sripad Bhaktivedanta Vana Maharaja told me, "O this drama should appear in TV!!"
(Phew! As far as I am concerned: 'All is well, that ends well. Krsna is behind all our drama.)
I really must thank my students Darren Chan who lend his CD player for Janmasthami, Mr. Wong Peng Nam for repairing his CD player, Joee Heng for assisting me during the play on Janmasthami and downloading the songs, Rachel Lau for giving me her pom-pom to make "Krsna's" flute look really attractive and her cousin Louis for downloading the songs and last but not least Zara for standing in as the replacement for "Srimati Radhika."
These souls do not have an inkling what Krsna consciousness is all about. Little do they know how much spiritual piety they have accumulated. Only Krsna can repay them.