Draupadi - Satyabhama Samvada by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay SignUp
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Draupadi - Satyabhama Samvada
by Indrajit Bandyopadhyay Bookmark and Share
 

Yudhishthira lost the dice game and went to Banabas. The Pandavas accompanied by Draupadi went to stay in the forest of Kamyaka. They were hospitably received by hosts of saints there. Many Brahmanas came to wait upon them.

One day Krishna accompanied by Satyabhama, like Indra and Sachi comes to meet them. The sage Markandeya is also there at that time. The Pandavas and Krishna sit together with the sages and brahmanas and start discussing various matters.

Satyabhama peeps into Draupadi’s kitchen and helps her in preparing some dishes. After serving the dishes, the two Sakhis escape the hermitage and go for a walk along the banks of a very beautiful lake. With hearts full of joy the two ladies laugh and sing merrily and seat themselves at their ease by the lake. Having met after a long time, they begin to gossip upon various delightful topics, particularly about their husbands, mother-in-laws, other in-laws, co-wives and neighbors.

Satyabhama asks Draupadi, 'One thing makes me very curious. How do you alone rule the heart of the Pandavas? How is it that even after so many years they are so obedient to you and are never angry with you? Tell me Panchi, the reason of this. Is it practice of vows, or asceticism, or incantation or drug at the time of the bath or the efficacy of science, or the influence of youthful appearance, or the recitation of particular formulae, or Homa, or collyrium and other medicaments?’

Draupadi has a hearty laugh, ‘So you want to find a recipe to tame Krishna.’

Satyabhama is serious, ‘You know very well what sort of man he is!’

- Now Now! Don’t think that husbands can be tamed by incantations. Those are just superstitions! Drugging etc are just bogus. Don’t make Krishna suffer from dropsy and leprosy, decrepitude and impotence and idiocy and blindness and deafness.

- He is too clever to fall a prey to these, anyway!

Draupadi muses a while making various faces. Satyabhama becomes impatient and slaps her on the back, ‘Would you be serious? You don’t know what a hell of a stress I go through!’

Draupadi smiles with all the splendor of her pearls, ‘O.K., I will give you a volley of tips. Listen carefully. Keeping aside vanity, and controlling desire and wrath, I always serve them along with their wives. Restraining jealousy, with deep devotion of heart, without a sense of degradation at the services I perform, I wait upon my husbands’

Satyabhama frowns, ‘Wait Wait! Are you quoting from scriptures or what?’

- O.K. O.K. Here are the strategies along with explanatory notes. I never bathe or eat or sleep till they have bathed or eaten or slept,--till, in fact, our attendants have bathed, eaten, or slept. In that way they or anyone never get to hear me belch, or fart! Male psyche has tremendous dependence on external signs. Whenever they are returning from anywhere, hastily rising up I always salute them with water and a seat. I have to show them I have been waiting for them. I always keep the house and all household articles and the food well-ordered and clean. I have to show them how caring I am, so that they do not get any opportunity to compare me with their mothers. Carefully do I keep the rice, and serve the food at the proper time. The shortest way to their heart is through stomach. Love feelings are not evoked in empty stomach. I never indulge in angry and fretful speech. In that way I am always musical to them. The woman of their dream always speak and even sneeze in music, you see! I always do what is agreeable. That way they have their cup of machismo brimming! It is a peculiar phenomenon of male psyche to bask in domineering! I never laugh except at a jest. That way they fear to offend me, and in fact struggle to make jest. That way my laughter is so valuable to them! I never stay for any length of time at the house-gate. They know thus that they are my world.

There is no other world to me outside them. I never stay long in places for answering calls of nature. They never get to know when at all I do such things. They may even cherish the idea that I am free from such humanly things. I use to wake up first and go to bed last. That way they would never know the bad breath we get in the morning. That way I am a perfect Devi! Male psyche loves a woman who is more woman than woman! I always refrain from laughing loudly and indulging in high passion, and from everything that may give offence. That way they feel secured that I am their submissive wife. I always am engaged in waiting upon my lords. That way I make them feel wanted. When they leave home for the sake of any relative, then renouncing flowers and fragrant paste of every kind, I begin to undergo penances. That way I regain touch with my natural self, while they are convinced and know I am not happy in their absence. That way they receive a boost in their ego! Whatever they drink not, whatever they eat not, whatever they enjoy not, I ever renounce. That way they are assured I am perfectly tuned to them. Each except Partha thinks I am made for him! He is too clever for these tricks!

- Hummm… quite a challenging job I see! Aren’t you tired of these pretensions?

- Not a bit! Practice becomes habit and habit becomes natural! Weariness does not come when you learn to take something as a game. They do not love you Satya, they love the woman in their brain. You can only endeavour to be as closer to that mythical woman.

- Is it a pursuit worthy of a self-respecting woman?

- That’s why I pursue it. Had I given up on this, the other wives would draw the Pandavas apart. They are the polish of the pearls; I am the thread that holds the pearls together. I must see they do not lose the purpose of their life. Male psyche is a fool, you know! It is clever enough to understand its own foolery, but not braver enough to overcome it. Partha stands out in this respect too!

- So what should I do?

- Just get rid of your fear of losing Krishna. Relax. He is yours. Nowhere will he find more variety than you! You are sulky, you are childlike, and you are also a warrior. Where is your match?

- Keeping them in illusion and not allowing them any chance of disillusion is your secret?

- Not exactly! Men will be disillusioned about a woman after marriage. It is as inevitable as death! So I keep them in the illusion that they have no illusions about me. That way they will not search for real disillusionment!

- Why should I allow Krishna to have his whims? Why should I be his maid-servant?

- Umm …Umm...! You have made a good point, but you must think of long-term gains, not short terms, you see! If you can show your husband that he is your god, then you are really your husband’s Goddess! If you can show that you are always guided by your husband, then surely you are his guide! Never speak ill of your mother-in-law before them, even if she is a witch. All husbands have secret mother-fixation, whether they admit it or not. Don’t try to usurp that mother-fixation by power, even if she is Lady Jarasandha or a lady Duhshashana! But do it diplomatically, and even withdraw strategically as your husband did from Mathura to Dwarka. My husbands have become obedient to me in consequence of my diligence, my alacrity, and the humility with which I serve superiors. They want their wife to kneel where they themselves kneel. To conquer them, never contradict them. Personally do I wait every day with food and drink and clothes upon the revered and truthful establishment named Kunti. The best way to destroy an establishment is not to show you are anti-establishment. That way you will perpetually keep the establishment in confusion. Never do I show any preference for myself over her in matters of food and attire, and never do I reprove Kunti in words.

- Hum! Why not open a crash course on how to crush mother-in-laws?

- Ha Ha! And co-wives too!

- How do you react when you learn they dally with other woman?

- The illustrious sons of Kunti had a hundred thousand well-dressed beautiful serving-maids all skilled in singing and dancing. I allowed my husbands to occasionally flirt with them. It is safer to allow them that. In that way they will do so with qualms in conscience. But if you frown, they will nevertheless do so behind your back with vehemence and might even go beyond your imagination! I knew the names and features of all those girls, as also their sexual potentials. That serves multiple purposes. I command their respect and even make them willing spies to me, to report about themselves and of my husbands’ special attention for anyone of them. That way I regulated their dalliance by changing their posting as and when required.

- You are simply great Panchali. Are they all still illusioned as before?

- There is no before or after! Ummm… not all! Partha has always been an odd person, you know. He cherishes no illusions about me. He knows I belch, I fart, I have to answer calls of nature, I have to wash my mouth, and use mouth freshener, and sometimes deodorant in my arm-pits!

- Like Krishna. Very problematic! How do you tame him then?

- That’s the real challenge for me. He incites my creativity. I have the constant urge to reinvent myself for his sake. In dealing with him, I rely heavily on my intuitions. There I beat him aided by Mother Nature. When I sense that he is getting too much disillusioned about me, I shock him out of his complacency, by some new improvisation. That way I will not allow him to lose charm. I know I cannot make him addicted to me, and that’s why I cannot allow him lose charm in me. Partha has a very adventurous spirit and is always after novelty.

- Krishna planned Subhadra’s marriage with Partha. I apologize for that. I don’t know why a wise man like Partha fell a prey to Subhadra, what is so special about her! She had the abominable habit of cleansing her nose and chewing nails! Besides, her eyebrows are also a bit hairy.

- No No. Don’t apologize. Partha needs other women to see them as contrasts to me. The more he gets disillusioned with others, the more the chance of my charms working! He returns only if he is allowed to go. He is bound only if I set him free!

- Will you mind telling me a personal thing?

- Do I have any secrets from you?

- Are you satisfied with all five?

- Of course! Where will I get more? However, sometimes I feel angry with Kunti and Madri that they stopped at five only! Would they have hundred sons like Gandhari!

- Perhaps, Kunti had another son. Keshava was speaking to Satyaki, I overheard.

- Yes, I heard about that rumor, that she had a boy before her marriage. I have one guess about who that might be, but I am not sure. Leave it.

- Please be frank. No mystifications! Are you satisfied with their love for you?

– Whom do they love? All except Partha and sometimes Bhima love the myth-woman through my image. Bhima’s stormy passion reduces me to a woman, and nothing but a woman; I have the immense pleasure of a small boat floating but with confirmed safety and security in a tumultuous ocean! Partha makes me a human being and breaks the confinement of my woman-self! We play as two fellow human beings only with different biological system for each other’s advantage and enjoyment! Without my encouragement and constant encouraging words Yudhi’s potentials remain unrealized; Nakula wants to be a sea-bird surrendering to the sea, and Sahadeva is a skylark soaring high in my sky! Both lose themselves absolutely! Who would be more satisfied than me to get these colorful lots? It is a celebration of my multidimensional femininity and sexuality with them!

- Would you tell me frankly whether Krishna ever done any mischief with you?

- Now Now! You know he is my best friend. Occasional flirts yes, any transgression NO! He is very conscious. And believe me, he loves you very much.

- The more he loves me the more I feel insecure that I might lose him. Rukmini is a fool, I don’t fear her. I fear the lady who is yet to come! He is so complex and vast! Why did God create him like that?

- Many people say he is God incarnate! May be he created himself!

- Fuh! God taking such long time in latrine, God forgetting to send his underwear to the laundry, God unable to reach out his own back, God telling me to apply soap to his back and scratch, God having toothache and headache, God having a lose motion after a bucketful of Rabri …Fuh! I have told him plain; leave your God-business outside my room before entering.

- What says he?

- Never to be put down in words! Says, you are my temple. Let God be inside temple!

He is so incredibly naughty!

Both of them have a very hearty laugh.

Satyabhama becomes serious again, ‘Draupadi, didn’t you have any problems having relationship with all five? Haven’t they quarreled among themselves over you? What if all of them wanted you at the same time!’

- I enjoyed such freedom before the old rascal Narada intervened. I had all my fantasies come true before the rules were framed and implemented. I would have a reverse one with Yudhi despite his religious reservations; a double opponent game with Naku and Dev together and make them exhaust and melt in emptiness at the end; and what not with Bhima and Partha. I had a desire to have one spell with all five together, but before that materialized, that old rascal …! Now I know it was all Vyasa’s ploy and may be your husband’s too, to separate Partha from me. They were always frightened with me, thinking that Partha would forget his purpose of life!
Vyasa is so great, yet a male after all! Always fearing woman sexuality!

- The five satisfied you in five different ways. Men are so different, no?

- Better say I squeezed different levels of satisfaction out of them. Yudhi is a pet boy, a faithful domesticated husband, always concerned about hurting me, seeking rebuke from me, seeking more a sister in me than a mother; Bhima is all passion, the eternal violator, always having his will with me, loving me like a fire loves its fuel, getting completely drowned in me in his plays like a whale in tumultuous sea; Naku and Dev are tames, always carrying out my orders, always condescending, seeking a mother in me. Pity they lost their mother early. Really cannot blame their mother-fixation!

- You didn’t mention Arjuna?

- Well! He is yet to be explored in full! I know him and know him not! He is so clever that he understands one secret of my charm – paradox!

- Paradox? Yes. Krishna often compliments me so. He also calls me an enigma.

- So clever of him! Don’t fall a prey to such compliments. Any complacency in these matters will perpetually damage your inherent paradoxical powers!

- Right you are! Don’t they compliment you?

- I take compliments through one ear and flush out through the other! Partha’s case is different though! I perplex him by sometimes playing straight! That leaves him gasping whether that was a paradox or what! A compliment from him is all that makes my life worth living! It is the most genuine thing on earth!

- Humm… very like Keshava! Did you really follow the rules Draupadi? Haven’t you ever felt like violating them?

- Ha Ha! You are too curious! What would you have done in my place?

- Hell with the rules! Why should I be the baton of a relay race? I am a princess and a queen; I am not bound by any rules that keep me separated from my husband.

- That’s my answer too. The whole rule was aimed to damage my free-will, and curb my sexual powers. Except Partha they are such fools, that they readily ate my virginity carrot Narada dangled before them! This male psyche has a peculiar fascination for virginity and external signs of a woman’s body.

- Why did your husbands accept the rule?

- Why else, but to have a sort of certainty about me! Such they fear me! Only Partha accepted it for some different reasons. He is too religious-minded to go against his elder brother’s wishes and disregard the rules.

- Why this reliance on such a stupid elder brother?

- They see him as their father substitute. They have a father-void in their heart!

- Why didn’t you order Partha to speak against the rule?

- I thought so, but later changed my mind. I find power in whatever they try to make me powerless. The rule curbed my freedom no doubt, but also gave me the unique opportunity to explore illicit love affair with a husband who would not be husband for a certain time! What a pleasure to rape a husband who is no husband!

- But why the rule at all?

- The real purpose of making the rule was to fix the parentage of my sons. The brothers fell in readily to the rule because all had the secret fear that Arjuna would be the father of all my sons. The rule was aimed to snatch away the choice of my sons’ father from my hand and split my sexuality into five non-fulfilling parts! These male lots fear my integrated sexuality, you see! Nevertheless I have always had it in my own way.

Satyabhama is too impatient to take that clue.

- Don’t you feel angry that Duryodhana-Duhshashana-Karna-Shakuni sent you to exile and destroyed your happiness with your husbands?

– Angry? Yes, of course! For the suffering my husbands and sons have been subjected to! That will be dealt in time. But the question is who sent whom to Banabasa? Had I wished I could have prevented Yudhi from playing dice! If not by myself then certainly with the help of your husband. My husbands are such religious-minded that they need a moral justification to fight for a cause, that’s why this banabas! Besides, it is banabas for whom? As you can see we are so happy here. Yudhi wants nothing but company of sages. He gets it here. Bhima wants physically challenging situations and fight. He gets it here, in warding off devilish elements, not to mention his wild games. Partha wants nothing more than nature. He surely got this love for forests and mountains from my father-in-law, the great Pandu. Nakula and Sahadeva are only too happy to stay together and forget the artificial formalities of palace life. Actually all other wives of the Pandavas are in banabas. I sent them to banabas to secure my place. I am in royal pleasure here. I, my feminine body-signs and my sexuality are one and only one here! I welcomed the exile to send patriarchal rules to exile. I gain power where they want to make me powerless.

- You are remarkable. You have no inhibitions about your sexuality, no?

- Sexuality has no gender. It is universal and natural! My sexuality is a celebration of my humanity, my essence, my existence! With that I am personal and impersonal at the same time! With that I am nature herself! I am a goddess! Ha Ha…

- You are the greatest lady I have ever seen! I won’t blame Krishna if he loves you.

- Mind it when a real situation comes!

- No I won’t mind, provided you give me your Partha. He is the man of men! So virile yet so understanding! Such valor, yet such humility!

- Hey Hey! You seem to know more about him than me! What’s the case? Cough up!

Draupadi slaps Satyabhama on her arm. The two laugh.

- I know Partha’s feelings for you. He often draws your comparison while quarrelling with me. You are lady ideal to him. And he is lord ideal to you!

Both the ladies burst out into laughter.

Stayabhama slaps Draupadi’s cheek lovingly, ‘Now what are your tips for me?’

Draupadi pretends to be very serious. She clears her throat and then speaks in imitation of Vedic chanting, ‘Always adore Krishna with friendship, and love physical sufferings. Offer him handsome seats and excellent garlands and various perfumes and prompt service; rise thou up from thy seat and stay in readiness within the room; even when he commands a maidservant to do anything, get thou up and do it thyself; whatever thy lord speaketh before thee, do not blab of it even if it may not deserve concealment; Feed thou by every means in thy power those that are dear and devoted to thy lord and always seek his good; and most important, thou shouldst not stay or converse in private even with thy sons, Pradyumna and Samva.’

- Shut up Shut up! Who told you to sermonize? Be precise.

- Well, in that case, remember the phrase – ‘Shock and Surprise.’

The two relax merrily lying down on the wavy grass. Then Satyabhama sits up again.
‘By the way, how did Narada make the rule? Why did you allow that?’

Draupadi narrates the tale.

After Yudhishthira obtained the sovereignty of Indraprashtha, he started ruling virtuously assisted by his brothers, and with Draupadi acting as the minister of Finance. The Pandavas devoted to truth and virtue, having vanquished all their foes, continued to live there in great happiness.

The matter of deciding who would spend the night with Draupadi was entirely in Draupadi’s hand. Draupadi and the Pandavas were a democratic group. Such a group, fused together with the bondage of love and suffused with democratic frame of mind, never made it a problem for Draupadi to handle. She judiciously knew the mental and physical needs of her husbands, and acted accordingly.

One day as the Pandavas were seated on their royal seats, Rishi Narada came there in course of his wanderings. Beholding Narada, Yudhishthira offered him his own handsome seat. Then Yudhishthira duly offered him the Arghya with his own hands and also informed him of the state of his kingdom. Narada accepting the worship, became well-pleased, and eulogising him with benedictions, commanded him to take his seat. Yudhishthira sent word to Draupadi in the inner apartments of the arrival of Narada. Hearing of the Rishi's arrival Draupadi, purifying herself properly, came with a respectful attitude to meet Narada.

She, worshipping the celestial Rishi's feet, stood with joined hands before him, properly veiled. The illustrious Narada, pronouncing various benedictions on her, commanded her to retire. After Draupadi had retired, Narada said to the Pandavas, 'The renowned princess of Panchala is the wedded wife of you all. Establish a rule amongst yourselves so that disunion may not arise amongst you. There were, in former days, celebrated throughout the three worlds, two brothers named Sunda and Upasunda living together and incapable of being slain by anybody unless each slew the other. They ruled the same kingdom, lived in the same house, slept on the same bed, sat on the same seat, and ate from the same dish. And yet they killed each for the sake of Tilottama. Therefore, O Yudhishthira, preserve your friendship for one another and do that which may not produce disunion amongst you.' Narada narrated the story of Sunda and Upasunda and concluded, 'It was thus that the Asuras slew each other in wrath for the sake of Tilottama. Therefore, from affection I tell you that if you desire to do anything agreeable to me, make some such arrangements that you may not quarrel with one another for the sake of Draupadi.’

After Narada had left, Yudhishthira went to tell Draupadi about the newly framed rules. Draupadi was furious, ‘You think you established the rule? It is the foxy Narada who prompted you to make the rule as per his wishes. I tell you, this will lead to some consequences, and you are acting willful puppets in his game!’

– You are not right Panchali. It is we who framed the rule.

– You! Then why didn’t you consult me? Why was Narada present with you then? Why did he send me away while framing the rule?

– Don’t misunderstand such a great ascetic Panchali. He knows God’s wishes.

– You said ‘we’. Did Partha suggest anything about the rule?

– Ummm… as far as I can recollect, Dhanu kept mum during the entire meeting.

– And still you say ‘we’! Did Bhima say anything?

– Ummm… no, well, not much. He was happy that you will gain back your virginity after every spell of one year.

– And what did Naku and Dev say?

– They readily accepted it. They said nothing can be more democratic than this! They were also happy about your virginity matter.

– I knew I knew! Then who the HELL suggested the RULE.

– No No, we decided upon it. Narada only suggested that there might be a rule like this. Believe me, he only suggested, and then left the matter to us. He even said we might not accept that rule and think of some other, or even discard any such rule if we choose to. He is so democratic. How can you blame him?

– Yes, now everything is clear to me like daylight.

Yudhishthira tried to appease Draupadi, but she was breathing like a steam-engine. She held Yudhishthira by the precious necklaces he wore; tore away some of them, and thundered, ‘At once I want to meet you all. Send away all attendants immediately; they should not be within a mile of us.’

Yudhishthira was very frightened. He immediately called for all the brothers. As the four entered Draupadi’s chamber, they found Yudhishthira sitting with his head heavily hung, as if all the forces of gravitation concentrated there! They found Draupadi walking up and down like an angry tigress! Seeing them, Draupadi burst out at once, ‘Who the Hell is Narada to intervene in our family matters?’

Yudhishthira was frightened than ever. The omniscient Rishi might know Draupadi’s ill-reference of him and curse! He pulled up his best effort to pacify her with as much honey in his voice as possible, ‘You should be polite while mentioning him, Panchali.’

Draupadi stamped on the ground and thumped, ‘Damn! Nose-poker!’

Yudhishthira made a gesture of despair, tried to utter something and then with another gesture of his right hand told Bhima to take over the matter.

Bhima tried to reason, ‘But, dear Panchali, he told us that way there would be no problem among us. Otherwise we might fight among us like Sunda and Upasunda!’

Draupadi went up straight to Arjuna and looked penetratingly into his eyes like a fiery arrow penetrating a bird! Arjuna quickly said, ‘I told you all, we must consult her. I told you why think of problems while there is none and create problems!’

Draupadi fired, ‘Liar!’

Yudhishthira raised his head, ‘We must not disobey our elders Panchali. They think of our good. There must be some celestial reason behind the rules.’

Sahadeva – I think Bade Bhaiya is right. It is God’s will!

Nakula – We five must be together at any cost.

Draupadi chewed the words, ‘Did we have any trouble for the last two years? We have been living in a group. Has anyone of you felt deprived?’

All four except Arjuna protested in chorus, ‘No No, certainly No!’

Yudhishthira gained courage finding the support of his brothers, ‘Who can predict the future? Daiva is superior to Purushakara! Nothing is certain, you see …’

Draupadi looked more beautiful with a tearful of eyes, ‘We have been in a most democratic frame of mind. Because you all love me, you have had no problem leaving the selection to me. Have any one of you ever felt I was partial?’

All except Arjuna (relieved to see her anger melt into tears) – No No certainly not!
Draupadi rubbed her eyes with the back of her beautiful tiny palm, ‘This Narada is a great spoiler, I tell you. He is up to some game. If he has his will on you, I will also have mine. I am not a thing! I am a woman! If you try to force Narada’s prescription on me, I will no more have any physical relationship with you. Take other wives, and go to hell with them. Tilottama and Sunda Upasunda’s case is different and do not apply to us. Sunda and Upasunda fought between themselves over procuring and possessing Tilottama! You are already married to me, and we have already passed two years in group living. Your common sense gone berserk or what?’

Draupadi walked out in anger, her footsteps sounding heavy.

Yudhishthira ran after her doggedly, ‘Dearest Panchali, please don’t be angry.’

Bhima stamped on the ground, ‘If Narada has any game in mind, I will take him in my arms of a thousand elephants’ strength and squeeze him like sugarcane!’

Arjuna yawned.

Nakula is surprised at Arjuna’s casualness, ‘Why are you silent Dhanu Bhaiya?’

Arjuna shrugged, ‘What can I do or say when the majority acquiesce to the rule?’

Sahadeva – But Dhanu Bhaiya see the incentive! Panchali would be a virgin after every spell. Isn’t it great for her too? It is only for her that we have accepted the rule.

Nakula – Yes, why doesn’t she understand the benefits? What greater achievement can there be for a woman like her to never lose her virginity?

Arjuna sighed, ‘Nonsense that you are, you hardly have any sense to understand. Now that she has forgotten her anger, she would be more dangerous! Vishnu save my soul!’ He went out nodding his head. Nakula and Sahadeva could not understand and stood staring at each other.

Bhima frowned terribly, ‘This Dhanu has got this abominable habit of speaking in conundrum from Kanai. I will give him a good boxing in his ears!’

Satyabhama nods, ‘So this is the story. What did you do then?’

- My anger, fury, tears, civil disobedience, and non-cooperation nothing served in any way. When I realized I was left with no option, I found myself with more option.’

- What!!!

- Yes. When I find myself rendered powerless by a patriarchal conspiracy, I search for power within that powerlessness. And I always find it! That’s me!

- No wonder, there is only one Draupadi in this world. And no wonder why Krishna has a special feeling for you.

The two Sakhis sit in silence for sometime and enjoy the sight of the swans in the lake. Then they return to the hermitage. There, the assembly was already over. 
Krishna spots them coming, ‘Here are the queens. My wife and my darling!’

Draupadi and Satyabhama come and sit with the assembly. Draupadi looks at Krishna. Krishna returns the look with a mischievous smile and then nods at the assembly, ‘Our funeral rites have been done. Confirmed!’

Yudhishthira asks innocently, ‘What is that Vasudeva?’

Arjuna laughs loudly, ‘Yes, and that after a fine post-mortem too!’

All have talks, meals and rest, and finally it is time for Krishna-Satyabhama to go.

Daruka has fed the horses well, and Krishna’s chariot is ready.

Satyabhama touches the feet of Yudhishthira and Bhima. When she goes to Arjuna, he stops her, holds her shoulders and then pats her cheeks. He suddenly finds Draupadi fixing him calmly with her eyes. Arjuna has some more flirts with Satyabhama much to Yudhishthira’s distress. Krishna is busy giving advises to Nakula and Sahadeva. Bhima stands with a peculiar expression on his face.
‘Now let me go Partha, learn to fear Panchali’s wrath’, having said these words, Satyabhama desires to go to Vasudeva's chariot. She embraces Draupadi and mounts Krishna’s chariot.

The Pandavas throng round the chariot. Satyabhama speaks to the Pandavas and particularly to Arjuna standing on the chariot. Bhima is all praise for the white steeds. Nakula and Sahadeva are busy praising the superb maintenance of the chariot.

Yudhishthira enquires Daruka about his household.

Draupadi stands apart. Krishna, before mounting the chariot slowly goes to Draupadi.

Draupadi whispers, ‘Your Satya was very curious to know your relationship with me.’

Krishna raises his right eyebrow with a mischievous expression on his lips, ‘What did you say?’

- The Truth!

- And what is the Truth?

- That which is not false.

Both look deeply into each others eyes. Their eyes brimming with feelings mortals won’t understand, nor would mortals ever feel! They move closer to each other. Their breasts are so close as if the heaving can be felt; their faces are so close as if the frosts mingle, their lips are so close as if lotus petals are absorbing dew-drops without touching! It is as closer a finger can go near a pot full of water, never touching or creating ripples, nevertheless feeling the thirst of the water!

Krishna breaks the silence with his usual smiles playing in his lips and eyes, ‘Panchali, no one will understand or believe that the joy of love is to be roasted alive from a distance than to be burnt out and extinguished. Fire burns eternally in non-fulfillment and is doused in any attempt to fulfill!’

- That’s why you are Krishna and I am Draupadi. Let your fire burn me eternally, and let me burn eternity in Partha’s fire!

Arjuna shouts, ‘Satya is waiting Krish. Enough of flirting with my wife!’

Yudhisthira frowns, ‘You should not speak so ill about Keshaba, Dhanu, even in jest!’

And the chief of the Yadavas, comforting Draupadi with a smile, saluting Yudhidhthira and Bhima, embracing Nakula and Sahadeva, and giving a solid punch on Arjuna’s back, set out for Dwarka, with swift horses and Daruka as the pilot. 

25-Mar-2007
More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay
 
Views: 4931
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Solitude and other poems by Rajender Krishan
 


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