Hello Dear Readers! Happy Janmashtami to Everyone. 😀 May Lord Krishna fill your lives with his ocean of love and joy! 🙂
I had written this tale on Krishna and Draupadi for ‘Write India’ a nationwide writing initiative by Times Of India, for author Anand Neelkantan. Since it is about a divine friendship, I saw no other better occasion than Janmashthami to share it with all of you! 🙂
I know it is long but, Please do Read, Like and leave your valuable comments.
P.S: The story begins with Draupadi’s Thoughts and then alternates between Krishna and Draupadi’s Thoughts respectively.
I had never imagined that the most pure relationship, one that I held closest to my soul would be insulted thus. A fire of anger raged within me, sorrow tugged at my heart. What was society and its opinions about? Who gave them the right to criticize people they knew nothing about? Did they ever think of the consequences it could have on the person or the relationship in question?
The much-awaited and deserving coronation had been a success, but had ended in bitterness and quarrel.
I wiped away my tears and walked to the room that had been given to Him. Usually, my eyes searched for him whenever I was in conflict. It was his wise counsel, his eternal smile which would wash away all my worries. Today, I was anxious as to what his thoughts were. Was he angry with me? Would he turn away? Though in the deepest recesses of my being, I knew it would never happen, fear and concern gnawed away at its corners.
Where was he? Hadn’t he annihilated another form of evil, in his cousin? He wasn’t someone to cry over that. Rather beneath that anger, his eyes had reflected compassion, an ocean of it. I sometimes wondered whether he was even attached to someone. How was it possible to spread so much of love then? Love. I can’t see him anywhere. Had those bitter words wounded him so much that he did not even wait to meet me?
“Panchaali.” I heard my name being called.
“Arya!” I whispered as I turned around and found Arjun, my husband and his best companion standing there.
“Madhav has gone out for some work. He had asked me to inform you.” Arjun said probably understanding my state of mind.
“When will Govind return?” I asked with a small hope in my voice. Surely, Arjun would know.
“I have no idea Panchaali. Don’t worry. He will come soon.” He replied placing his hand on my shoulder, trying to console me.
I simply nodded. Arjun seemed to know that only Krishna could get me out of this shell. He went away after asking me to take care. Forlorn, I sat on Govind’s ornate couch. I didn’t want to return to my room. Strangely, Govind’s aura, his essence could be felt here. Or was it within me? I would never know. But it was almost as if, he were present here. I could sense him with me in a mental realm. Spiritual realm was what he would call it. All my thoughts vanished, replaced by faith. Invincible faith that Govind would surely come. I never knew when soft tunes of a flute began lulling me to sleep.
“Govind!” I shouted. Those words that Shisupal and the others had uttered had made me wake up with a start.
“You call her your Sakhi? We all know the twisted shameful relationship that you and Draupadi share.” He had taunted Krishna. From the corner of my eyes I had tears and rage well up in his eyes. I just sat there re-collecting everything. All I could see around me was darkness with a single lantern providing the light it could. It was somewhere halfway through the night. I somehow knew, Krishna hadn’t reached yet.
It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and a few twigs fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? I turned back….
There stood Krishna. Resplendent as the moon, face lit up by his trademark mischievous smile. His eyes glowed with kindness, radiating warmth to my tired soul. I ran into his arms and sobbed hard into chest, letting out all the pent-up frustration and agony. He wound his hands around me, saying nothing. He knew his silence, his presence itself was my consolation.
Some minutes later, I looked up at him while he wiped away my tears. His smile was comforting now, the mischief had vanished.
“Sakhi. I am here now.” He spoke for the first time, choosing to re-assure me of his presence.
“Govind.” was all I could whisper.
“For whom are you shedding these tears? I haven’t ever seen you cry this badly even during all the obstacles you have faced till this moment. “He questioned.
It was true. I chose to remain silent.
“Krishnaa.” He whispered softly, calling me by the name that existed due to His.
“You can’t shut people’s mouths. They will continue talking what they want to. Crying over them, is of no use. We know..”
“No!” I screamed, interrupting his words.
“No Govind. They have no right to talk about You, about Us. I have faced lot of challenges in life successfully till date. You know why? Because you are my strength. Without you, I am nothing. I haven’t broken down this badly, because your comforting hand and words were always there to tell me, “Sakhi, this will tide by. Be strong.”
I can’t hear anything against you. I can’t watch anyone harm you. This friendship is more precious than any other relationship in my life.” I collapsed on the floor, tears flowing down my cheeks.
KRISHNA’S Point Of View (POV)
It pained my heart to see Draupadi in this state. She had been through a lot and had tougher mountains coming up. I knew she would retain her blazing spirit even then. Only when it came to me did she let her guard down. Because she loved no one more than me. Not even her husbands. I knew, this love was as pure as the fire she had come from. It was precisely this timeless love and the pain that had consumed her soul, which had pulled me here after all my apprehensions of possibly staining her reputation more. It was time, that I let Krishnaa, my beloved friend know that I would never leave her side. And nothing would ever happen to me.
“Sakhi.” I held her feeble shoulders gently. “You don’t have to fear for me. I am here for a reason. No harm can touch me until I fulfill my destiny.” I paused.
She looked at me, silent. I continued, “You will never lose me, because we aren’t separate entities. We live within each other. I am your inner strength and your soul. You are a part of me.” I explained softly yet assertively.
Cupping her cheeks I said, “I know how much you love me. Your care for me is beyond everything else. I have never told you, but you are dearest to my heart. Your pain is mine, so are your joys. You need not worry for others’ words, because they can never affect me. You know that well.”
A small smile made its way to her lips. “Come with me.” I held her hand, helping her up. We went downstairs while I could her gaze on me all the time. We reached the lawn which seemed gloomy due to heavy rainfall. The magic in this palace couldn’t battle nature’s fiery. The skies were dark and the atmosphere dreary. Draupadi looked at me bewildered. I didn’t say anything, instead I began playing my flute.
Govind never ceased to amaze me. He had healed half of my sorrow with his understanding words. Here he was now, his flute touching his lips where that all-knowing smile played. Even as those beautiful tunes touched my soul, the entire landscape began to transform in front of my stunned eyes. Gorgeous flowers sprung up and a crystal clear waterfall appeared out of nowhere. Little butterflies of all kinds fluttered around the flowers for nectar. The dewdrops on leaves shone bright like pearls. The grass beneath my feet felt soft and moist.
In one corner, a peacock stood with its feathers open in all their glorious beauty, elsewhere parrots and white pigeons chirped. Beside Krishna’s feet played two graceful mynas. Merely the music of his flute had cast magic and enchantment all over.
Govind looked at me, while I stepped forward to touch the fresh flowers. “This is so beautiful Govind.” I exclaimed, not knowing what else to say.
“These are the tiniest miracles of life put together Krishnaa.” He smiled as he bent to caress one of the myna’s head.
“What exactly do you mean?” I asked him.
“I mean, in all of these you will find me always. If ever I am unable to reach you physically, you will find my essence even in a tiny butterfly. Anyways, don’t you think of me when you admire these creations?” His voice was laced with tenderness and mischief.
“I do. Your words are making sense to me without me having to think too much, for the first time.” I smiled.
Krishna walked to the waterfall and let the water pass through his fingers. “Relationships are akin to the flow of water.” He said. “Try to control them, they shall slip away. Instead, let them flow along their own course.”
“It is important that beyond all gossip and situations, two people trust their relationship. Every undefined bond will always be questioned by society and time will test it. At such times, your heart needs to retain its purity and faith.” He continued as he tenderly accepted a feather from the peacock which nuzzled against his leg.
“Sometimes, people are meant to remain in your heart. Not in your life. Those who want to leave, let them. Those who wish to stay, let them. When everything falls apart, always remember something big is coming together.” He attached the feather to his crown, even as the peacock walked away.
“Govind, I don’t understand. Why these philosophies now?” I questioned, walking up to him.
I chuckled at her confusion. “You won’t understand these words now. But they will resonate in your future. They will help you, when you will need them the most. In them, you shall find me.”
“Fine. But don’t you say that life is this moment? Why then do you talk of the future? I know these words of yours will surely provide me all the strength. But, can’t we enjoy this moment?” Draupadi questioned.
I looked at her. These were amongst her last moments of true joy, before the battle of her life took on a fiercer face. “We can and we surely will.” I smiled as I threw a handful of water at her face and ran for my life.
“Govind!!” an annoyed Krishnaa screamed and began chasing me.
I looked at Govind, who sat beside me, his face glowing with peace which I felt had embraced me as well. He was stroking a white pigeon’s back and teaching a parrot to speak. The flowers swayed to a soft breeze. I always wondered how every creature was delightfully comfortable with him. I did not wish to, but decided to break this comfortable silence.
“Don’t we also share an undefined bond Govind?” I asked softly.
He simply smiled. “Too much of words and definitions ruin things Sakhi.” He winked.
That was it. I had found my answer. I picked up a flower lying on the grass and tickled his ear with it. He mock glared at me and our childish banter continued. 🙂