Tucked into a corner of Lajpat Nagar, past the teaming market, behind the parks and Punjabi houses, is Jal Vihar – a government colony for low level employees in the water scheme. Every year since 1981, the people of the colony pool their money together to put on their own Ramlila, a 10-day reenactment of the story of Ram’s rescue of Sita from the grasps of Ravan and the reason North India celebrates Dussehra. Bathed in the divine yellow light of the park lampposts, the neighborhood kids grow up watching their neighbors and peers playing gods – Ram, the hero, and his companion Hanuman, the strong monkey king. Sita, the princess, played by a man of course (no women allowed on stage). Roles are given by looks, not experience – because these aren’t actors – they are accountants and sales men and teachers. In fact, they have no acting experience at all except for the 2 months leading up to Dussehra when they meet after work to go through the worn and rugged scripts that have been passed down through the years to learn their lines and practice the play. This is Prabhakar’s second year as Ram, a role he has been looking forward to for the past 10 years and which he performs ‘dil se’; playing a god is not meant to be taken lightly. Before the festivities start, the actors do a prayer in order to channel the gods and ask them to enter their bodies for the next 10 days – and to forgive them in advance for any mistakes they make. And when the festivities are over, they do another prayer to release the gods from their bodies and give thanks. In between, for those 10 nights, women and children and sometimes men watch the story unfold and live alongside Ram and Sita, Hanuman and Ravan, both literally and figuratively, thinking about whether next year will be their chance to be a god.