It is interesting how A K Ramanujan’s essay throws great light on the ways Ramayan is told in different parts of the subcontinent. I think of Ramayana as some form of true story, or folklore which got mixed up into religion and later exaggerated. I’ll try to justify Ramayana as a story that can be believed.
Firstly, the character of Kaykayee is portrayed villaneously. There can be another side to it! Kaykayee was a great warrior who protected King Dusratha during the great battle against asuras. She had been a good mother throughout Rama’s childhood. Why then she sent Rama to live in forest? And why only for 14 years? Why not more? Rama was young. His only achievement was that he broke Gandiv dhanush and married Sita. But from Kaykayee point of view, was he eligible enough to become the ruler of India? She knew that in Rama’s absence, Bahrat along with her could manage the kingdom. Maybe that’s why she sent Rama only for 14 years.
There’s more to it, and only a full fledged research can help explore them. Anyways.