My informant is Marc. Marc is a 19-year-old student at USC but was born and raised in Mumbai, India. This year was the first time he lived in the United States but he still speaks very good English but with a noticeable accent.
Marc: “So there was this King of Lanka, which is now Sri Lanka, that was a ruler but the gods had given him gifts so he wasn’t mortal and then he got greedy and he tried to steal someone’s wife. After this happened people tried to kill him by chopping off his head but every time someone would try and decapitate him he would grow a new head. In his final form when he fights a god he had ten heads. I don’t know the whole story exactly but that’s where he came from so people use him to scare little kids now.
How do they do that like by dressing up?
Marc: “No it’s more like you have to eat all your food or Ravin is going to get you!”
Oh so they just use him as like a monster?
Marc: “Yeah exactly but there is a story behind it that the kids know and they know he is bad”
Why did the gods give him power if he was bad?
Marc: “I think he used to be pious and really good but turned and reached his downfall like Lucifer”
How old were you when you first heard of Ravin?
Marc: “I would say I was about seven”
Do people still say it there?
Marc: “Yeah throughout India it has to be super common and its mostly grandparents or parents saying it to kids not kids to kids”
Does this have any meaning to you?
Marc: “I mean I had heard it a few times when I was a kid but I never took it seriously it was more of a joke that would scare younger kids”
This myth of folklore is an ancient figure being used as a scary monster to persuade children into doing something. I feel like in the United States we do this a lot to persuade children but less with monsters and more with positive reinforcement. For example, “If you don’t eat your vegetables you won’t grow”, which isn’t true but children want to grow and believe it. It makes the world feel smaller knowing in India they use the same methods because it could just as easily be another country and another monster but the same general background.