And Thus Spake Ghatothkacha - 1

Once upon a time, [Note: this is usual beginning, so don’t blame me for that], Neanderthal communities lived in different pockets in Bharatavarsha and particularly in Himalayas. Their habitats were forests and inaccessible mountain regions. However, they often had to engage in conflict with the Homo sapiens who though dwelling mostly on the valleys and plains, frequented the Neanderthal habitats too. Some Homo sapiens preferred living in forests and mountains, some of them would choose these terrains to perform strange rites and sat hours in strange postures. They lit up fires, worshipped it and poured libations.

The Neanderthals hated fire. Extinguishing fire was their chief Dharma for two reasons. First, Forest fire often destroyed their habitat and food. They wondered why valuable and nutritious edibles would be thrown into fire. Fire being their greatest enemies, the Neanderthals would try to douse the flames, and spoil the rites by throwing flesh and blood in the fire. That resulted in conflicts with certain Homo sapiens. Secondly, the great God whom they worshipped was known as “Stomach” [Note: English Language was not born them. I cannot pronounce the exact word and name of the God; so, I am retaining the English.] Now, the Neanderthals considered Hunger as Fire too; so, to appease the Stomach God, they needed to extinguish the Hunger-Fire too.

There was only one region where the Neanderthals lived in harmony with the Homo sapiens – the region around Mount Kailash. Elsewhere, most of the Homo Sapiens labeled them Rakshasas, a term clearly used in a derogatory sense with hatred, and many of the Neanderthals in turn regarded the Homo Sapiens ‘Khadya’ with utmost love, and would use them to quench the Hunger-Fire.

Our present story begins one fine morning … [Note: It has to be morning; so, don’t ask why?]

Ghatothkacha lies on the grassy slope looking at the sky. He is too strong to be tired; nevertheless he needs rest to enable mother Draupadi take rest, and to console the others that even he requires rest. Some show of weakness in the leader inspires the followers to vote for him.

The Homo sapiens community ruling over the Ganga-Yamuna valley has seen much fraternal rivalry that would spill over to the forests too. Currently Ghatothkacha’s father and mother have been on pilgrimage. They have been living in exile for quite some time having thrown out of their ancestral place. Ghatothkacha could not understand why his father would not simply tear the enemies apart, and instead wander about from place to place.

Ghatothkacha’s father Bhimasena has called his service to carry on his back his present wife Draupadi, whom his uncles have been sharing with his father. Now, this is yet another hiccup!

Ghatothkacha has thought long but could not understand the strange ways of his fathers. If a wife is to be shared what is the use of entering an institution called marriage and calling her “wife”? Calling or non-calling “wife” does not change the superior status of woman as woman. He, however, could not gain the courage to ask his fathers or mother Draupadi about this.

Queerer seems to him the way of his mother Hirimba. She never married his father, yet she would not accept any other Rakshasa in her life after her spell with Bhima. Some suitors who persisted that she bore their children were beaten up black and blue by her till they left with broken limbs, and some suitors who tried to force their seeds into her, lost their lives at her hand, and their corpses left in the forest for carnival of carnivorous.

There was nothing called ‘marriage’ in their culture. A man and woman were free to live with each other as long as they liked, or with different men and women at the same time as long as they wished, or with same sex, and then part whenever one wished to. There was no concept of property. And Ghatothkacha was surprised to learn that the present conflict of his fathers with their cousins was owing to the debate whether mother Draupadi could be regarded a property or not.

Seeing the example of Ghatothkacha’s fathers’ sharing one woman, many of the Neanderthal community though disapproving the “wife”-tag, have started believing that the Homo sapiens were at last showing signs of being civilized being influenced by their culture. Some of their modern Pandits even came to the conclusion that the Homo sapiens were their primitive ancestors. There was of course much academic debate over the matter.

Ghatothkacha has arrived at his father’s command here with great enthusiasm, for he has long longed to meet his father and half-fathers. He has heard from his mother Hirimbaa that his father left them when he was only three years old.

As Ghatothkacha lies on a Bugiyal, casually chewing grass (for grass is a great appetizer and digester), his faithful follower Karkotathkacha sits beside him. Karkatothkacha has been carrying the youngest of Ghatothkacha’s half-fathers – Sahadeva.

Karkatothkacha watches Ghatothkacha’s fathers and mother taking bath in the river Ganga, doing strange rituals and preparing food with fire.

Karkatothkacha has long desired to know how those queer Homo sapiens became Ghatothkacha’s relative, and how his mother Hirimbaa got to involve with the mightiest one.   

Today, finding an opportunity, he asks Ghatothkacha about it. Ghatothkacha smiles...

... And Thus Spake Ghatothkacha...

Hidimba was the king of the Kamyaka forest, and Hirimbaa was his loving sister. Hidimba had a giant hairy physique like a polar bear and a brownish lion-like mane. Hirimbaa was a beautiful young lady with a grassy texture, and a cascade of dark brown hair, swelling hips, explosive breasts, thin waist and tapering thighs. There has been rumour in the air among the high trees that she acquired this shape and form not without the help of nurture over nature.

Some months back Hirimbaa too was covered with hairs all over her body (Neanderthal ladies made beautiful models with hair and cat-walked on the thin branches of gigantic trees), but now she has removed them with some herbal hair-remover. She got the idea of doing so from the Homo sapiens women, whom she would often go to watch on the fringe settlings of the forest.

As I said, the Neanderthal community to which Hidimba-Hirimbaa belonged was monotheistic and non-idolaters. Their only God was the almighty Stomach, for they believed in the primacy of the Stomach over anything else, even brain and heart. They believed Stomach was the first borne. Since every one of their community carried a stomach they regarded everyone as God. This was their basic religious belief – Godliness of everyone through the great leveler Stomach.

The Neanderthals worshipped their own Stomach with great devotion with sacrificial oblations of foods of all kinds, and never ate without satisfying the sacred fire of their appetite.

At these rare pockets of the world, the Neanderthals learnt to co-exist with the Homo sapiens, with love, love of their flesh, for, they believed, the Homo sapiens were wasting their flesh in living a bogus life, and it was their duty to make the wasted flesh meet its proper destiny in the service of the Stomach God, They believed that Homo Sapiens flesh was confined in their ugly frame, and so needed to be emancipated.

This love for Homo Sapiens flesh was not without Political reason too. The Homo sapiens denied their humanity and called them Rakshasas, a derogatory term synonymous with uncivilized and barbarian. Whereas the Homo sapiens themselves were barbarians - Hidimba believed as believed his community. The Homo sapiens would exploit them, destroy their habitat, cut down trees to build strange houses and furniture, corrupt their culture, pollute their religion and kill them at will. It was a peculiar habit of the Homo sapiens to unleash wastage of nature and natural resources all in the name of Civilization.

Hidimba was a good student of history, and he learnt from his great-great-grandfather Gurugugumba [he became a father at age 14], that they were the original inhabitants of the earth. The new species, the Homo sapiens, which were created from the Stomach God’s excreta, were ever trying to usurp them.

Weak Homo-sapiens who ruled most of Bharata those days were strange in their conduct and manners. Some of them classified themselves pure Aryans and hated their own fellow counterparts. They claimed their blood was purer than others. And Hidimba knew such discrimination was foolish. He had drunk blood of Aryans and non-Aryans and hybrid-Aryans, pure Aryans and impure Aryans of all Varnas, and they tasted as sweet, and smelt as red. Hidimba considered them equals to each other because their blood tasted same, but not equal to the Rakshasas, of course.

Hidimba believed that since they denied the equality of their own blood, and were in ignorant delusion of their superiority over the Neanderthals, they were an underdeveloped species striving to be human, and a species much lower on the rung of evolution to the ultimate stomach Godhood.

One day Hidimba noticed some Homo sapiens in his territory. Who were these six of that species who had encroached upon his territory?

Hidimba watched them from his tree-top recluse with contempt and pleasure. “Their souls are corrupted but their flesh is sweet. The Stomach God really has a very good sense of humour,” he thought, gently caressing his protruded belly which was worshipped with awe by his followers for its gargantuan proportion and for its immense potential to release the occasional stormy sigh of the Stomach God through both the sacred openings!

One of the six of those Homo Sapiens with the heaviest form and structure was sitting…obviously keeping guard on the others…as the other five were sleeping peacefully. He was making strange faces, occasionally gnashing his teeth and squeezing his palms, sighing deeply in some unknown affliction.

Hidimba watched his swelling muscles, huge chest and thigh, and his mouth watered. He planned a breakfast with the heart, lunch with the thighs, and dinner with the arms and head. Thus thinking, he started attending the itch in his armpit, and joyfully released Stomach God’s stormy sigh through the lower end. Some birds could not bear the impact and flew away.

The Neanderthals followed the healthy habit of brushing their teeth every morning with some medicinal tree-roots. There were however some royal exceptions. For example, every morning Hidimba would brush his teeth with a stone to make the teeth, particularly the canine ones razor sharp.

As Hidimba rested his broad door-like back on an even broader branch of a giant tree, Hirimbaa swung on a creeper with her left hand (Tarzan was not yet born to feel ashamed!) to reach Hidimba with some delicious roots she had been to collect.

And it was then that she noticed her brother salivating at six Homo sapiens.

She understood her brother’s mind and started a healthy debate.

- Brother, we are human having a human form. Is it good to eat human?

- Hah. You speak like the weak humans. Does form alone make human? Then the apes doing ‘hoop-haaps’ are also human. Remember we are the children of nature, and we follow the rules of nature. We do not follow any rules made of words; we follow rules of our feelings. How dare you call them human and insult our holy entity?

- True brother. But aren’t we different from lower animals?

- Yes different. That’s why we have to use our brain to put our teeth into the soft brain of those weak species. Imitating our human form those who are a shame to the human race…those who do not know to survive…must be eaten. We are doing a great benefit to humanity by allowing the vermin-flesh in our stomach. It is a great sacrifice on our part. They burn dead bodies. It is wastage of natural resource. The best way is to use the flesh naturally. So we eat. Besides, we only eat those who deny our humanity. They call us Rakshasas. May the almighty Stomach God enlighten me what that thing is. In their language the word means ‘protector’, Hah! So, what’s wrong protecting their flesh and sheltering them in our Stomach God?

- They are also created by God, brother. I …

- See sister. You are showing symptoms of a weak heart. Some of these weaklings who call themselves so-called Aryans of pure blood also sacrifice others and particularly those whom they call non-Aryans in fire in the name of sacrifice to fire God sanctioned by a queer scripture. Bring out your sympathies for them when they roast you alive.

- All of them are not like that, brother

- I know, I know you will say this. I see you have developed an abominable habit of praising them and imitating their idiotic ways of self-decorating. Pray tell me why have you shaved such beautiful body-hairs from your legs, arms, arm-pit, vulva and face? Why such unhealthy compromise with your beauty? You looked so beautiful in hairs like a green meadow with fresh monsoon-fed grasslings! Why have you done away with your wild mind-stealing body odour and applied artificial fragrance? And pray, why are you wearing a dress that pretends to shroud your natural state? Either cover yourself entirely like we do in winter, or remain in your natural state like I am now, only tying up the swerving thing for convenience and for protecting its delicacy. Are you ashamed of your natural state that you have taken to this peculiar costume? Have you started disliking your own body? Oh! All these are owing to Cultural infiltration…! Those sub-species are great polluters.

- The body does not last forever; I like to experiment with it

- Wastage of time and spoiling gifts of nature

Hidimba turned away his face in disgust as if he had just chewed the gallbladder of a Homo sapiens by mistake.

- O no no brother, don’t be angry with me. Look what I have brought for your Stomach God.

Hidimba turned his face only to take them and then turning his face away almost instantly started chewing them sulkily. [Note: The director of ‘King Kong’ movie, copied this years later]

Hirimbaa’s face brightened, ‘Brother, those creatures too have stomach. Isn’t stomach a great leveler?’

Hidimba looked coolly at her and snarled, ‘All God is Stomach, but all stomach is not God. Their stomach is not God as long as it is confined in their ghastly frame.’

Hidimba’s nationalist spirit arose and awoke and the nationalist fervour was first felt in his stomach. He released the Stomach-Gods sighs yet again…this time though both apertures.

‘Intruders intruders’ he cried out rapidly drumming his abdomen followed by rapid scratch of his hairy butts.

Dum Dum Dum – it sounded, and birds flurried from trees, monkeys ‘hoop-haaped’ as they swung away fast. The giant Homo sapiens guarding four males and one elder female looked here and there, but could not see Hidimba and Hirimbaa planted in the deep recesses of the upper mountainous trees.

Shaking his dry and grizzly locks and scratching them with his fingers pointed upwards, the large-mouthed Hidimba repeatedly looked at the sleeping Homo sapiens yawning wistfully at times. The giant Homo sapiens was certainly tasty but his unusually huge frame made him thoughtful. He felt a peculiar “Gurgurgur” sound in his stomach, but could not decide whether the Stomach God was trying to say something to him.

[Note: Even today, when people hear same sound within, instead of waiting with patience to let the Stomach God speak, they run to relieve, and thereby lose golden opportunity of a vision into future.]

For the first time in her life, Hirimbaa felt, she knew not why, the huge body and great strength, the complexion like the colour of a mass of clouds, the teeth long and sharp-pointed and face emitting a sort of lustre, of her brother, very fierce, very very fierce and ugly.

Hidimba patted Hirimbaa’s shoulder and said, 'O sister, it is after a long time that such agreeable foods have come within our reach. My mouth waters at the anticipated relish of such food. My eight teeth, so sharp-pointed and incapable of being resisted by any substance, I shall, today, after a long time, put into the most delicious flesh. Attacking the human throat and even opening the veins, I shall (today) drink a plentiful quantity of human blood, hot and fresh and frothy. Go and ascertain who these are, lying asleep in our woods. Slaughtering all these men, bring their flesh to me. Do not fear. Do my bidding soon, for we shall then together eat their flesh, tearing off their bodies at pleasure. And after feasting to our fill on human flesh we shall then dance together to various measures in joy rituals so that they merge quickly in our Stomach God and are liberated. Allowing them to have our stomach as their tomb, we will indeed do a great religious and benevolent act. And then, having satisfied Stomach God, I will enter the deep forest with fifty ladies, and I will grant you any of my followers you want to enjoy.’

Hirimbaa felt a great uneasiness, also for the first time in her life. She could not however disobey her brother, and getting down from the tree she approached the Homo sapiens with the silence of a leopard.

Like a leopardess she hid herself behind a tree only some hands’ distance from the giant.   

There sat the man alert and unrivalled on earth for beauty and like unto a vigorous Sala tree. She said to herself, 'This person of hue like heated gold and of mighty arms, of broad shoulders as the lion, and so resplendent, of neck marked with three lines like a conch-shell and eyes like lotus-petals, is worthy of being my husband. O if only he had been one of our community! Sadly, none of our community looks like him.’

The more she watched the giant the more her heart behaved in unusual ways. She thought, ‘But these urban people do not like woman in her natural state. They want her to wear artificial beauty and pretend naturalness, and they like to imagine her naturalness through the dresses. The dress flares them up more than the body. What peculiar mentality! What roundabout manner! I must not take risk, and better approach him with the signs he is culturally programmed to conceive as beauty.’

Hirimbaa never thought she would be detected in her ambush. But the giant Homo Sapiens seemed to have a keen sense unthought-of! He looked at the tree, narrowed his eyes and then took up his bow. Before Hirimbaa could hide further to continue with her debate, the giant Homo Sapiens leapt up and with frightfully quick steps like the wind came to the place where she hid.

And now they stood face to face.

As their eyes met, Hirimbaa felt she was fast losing herself in his eyes. Her heart, it was her heart that betrayed her. Her breasts trembled like ripe fruits in soothing breeze, she gasped and then put down her eyes coyly. This was the first time she felt that there might be another God in the heart too greater than the Stomach God.

As the giant Homo Sapiens kept watching her without any word, she thought ‘I shall not obey the cruel mandate of my brother. A woman's love for her lover is stronger than her affection for her brother. If I slay him, my brother's gratification as well as mine will only be momentary. But if I slay him not, I can enjoy him for ever and ever.'

Seeing a beautiful lady standing before him, the giant Homo sapiens was astonished.

He frowned, ‘Why are you here?’

Hirimbaa’s thirst to merge her lips in the man’s intensified,

Hirimbaa thought - should she invent a lie like these people often do? Or should she be herself? She felt a growing conflict between the Stomach God and the Heart God.

Finally, she decided to be herself, and felt a strange calm in her throbbing heart, a calmness that made her wonder at the Stomach God’s jests.

‘Ye beings of celestial beauty, I have been sent hither by a Rakshasa—my brother--with the cruel intent of killing you for his food. But I tell you truly that beholding you resplendent as a celestial, I would have none else for my husband save you!’

Hirimbaa felt the passing of a cloudlet of guilt across her conscience. Soon the cloudlet dropped as rain. She was astonished to find that she had no qualms speaking against her loving brother. Her intuition told her that the more she spoke thus the more her chance of gaining the giant’s love.

‘Husband? Where does this marriage business suddenly come from?’ the giant snarled.

And Hirimbaa suddenly became conscious that she used the word ‘husband’ instead of ‘lover’. She smiled coyly and said, ‘Thou who art acquainted with all duties, knowing this, do unto me what is proper. My body burns to melt in you. My heart as well as my body hath been pierced by the shafts of Kama. O, as I am desirous of obtaining thee, make me thine.’

- For what? For becoming your food? And in what strange language speak you …

- O thou of mighty arms, I will rescue thee from the Rakshasa who eats human flesh. O sinless one, be thou my husband. And for God’s sake, don’t think that food is food only. Food is nourishment, and I would nourish your manly needs and be nourished by you.

- And pray, what would be our next project? Buying a giant oven to cook each other?

Hirimbaa seemed to be indifferent to the taunt, and her eyes extended beyond the sky.

- We shall then live on the breasts of mountains inaccessible to ordinary mortals. I can range the air and I do so at pleasure. Thou may enjoy great felicity with me in those regions riding me on my butt.'

The giant thundered, 'Abominable! O Rakshasa woman, who can, like a Muni having all his passions under control, abandon his sleeping mother and elder and younger brothers? What man like me would go to gratify his lust, leaving his sleeping mother and brothers as food for a Rakshasa?'

- Nature has given you senses to live with. That is common sense. Why should you think of controlling them like nonsense? By the way may I know who you are?

- I am Kuntiputra Bhima. And we are the world-famous Pandavas with our mother.

- Never heard of you, which world are you speaking about? Have you fallen from the skies? Anyway that does not matter now. O Bhima, take me as your wife

Bhima smiled and said, ‘see the difference between you and me, a human and a Rakshashi. You are ready to abandon your own brother to quench your physical lust. It is not my ethics. I cannot abandon my brothers and mother for the whole world, not certainly for some momentary pleasure with you.’

- If your senses are really under your control, why can’t you switch them on and off at will?

- Babble thy name is woman [Note: Later Shakespeare would borrow this line and echo something like that in his play “Hamlet” – “Frailty, Thy name is woman.”]

Hirimbaa looked thoughtfully at the sleeping persons and said, 'O, awaken all these, I shall certainly rescue you all from my cannibal brother?'

- Don’t be under the foolish notion that I need your protection

- Yes you need. Why don’t you understand? Why do you have a false ego that you cannot be protected by a woman? Who protected you when you were a child?

Bhima said, 'O Rakshasa woman, you argue like a lawyer. Lawyer thy name is woman! I will not, from fear of your wicked brother, awaken my brothers and mother sleeping comfortably in the woods.’

[Note-1: Shakespeare liked ‘Lawyer thy name is woman’ so much, that he created his woman characters like lawyers.]

[Note-2: Indeed, all women are lawyers by birth. However, I am too frightened to say that. So, I referred to Shakespeare.]

A shadow of anxiety shrouded Hirimbaa’s face. Bhima looked at her eyes, cleared his throat and continued, ‘O timid one, Rakshasas are never able to bear the prowess of my arms. Neither men, nor Gandharvas, nor Yakshas are able to bear my might. O amiable one, you may stay or go as you like, or may even send your cannibal brother, O Lady of delicate shape. I care not.'

And Hirimbaa laughed like a fountain. Bhima was surprised and frowned, ‘Whoa … whoa … what’s that laughter for?’

Hirimbaa did not reply. ‘At last the huge human has eyed my shape’, thought she, as she had an irresistible desire to smooch his bushy and childishly obstinate eyebrows.

Hidimba seeing that his sister returned not soon enough, alighted from the tree, proceeded quickly to the spot where the Pandavas were. And Hirimbaa, beholding her brother of frightful visage alight from the tree, became very much alarmed, and addressing Bhima said, 'The wicked cannibal is coming hither in wrath. I pray to you, do as I bid you.’

- So you betray your brother?

- O thou of great courage, please don’t quarrel with me now. As I am endued with the powers of a Rakshasa, I am capable of going whithersoever I like. Mount on my hips, I will carry you all through the skies. And, O chastiser of foes, awaken these and your mother sleeping in comfort. Taking them all on my body, I will convey you through the skies.'

- Who wants your fantasy flights O lady with fair hips? I had no idea your hips have such anti-gravitational qualities

- O how incorrigibly adamant and obstinate you are. I love you more for that. May I kiss you?

Bhima laughed, 'O thou of fair hips, fear not anything [Note: hearing the bip of ‘hip’ again, Hirimbaa cried ‘hip hip hoorah’ in her mind for at last the giant human had eyed her hips!]. I am sure that as long as I am here, there is no Rakshasa capable of injuring any of these, O thou of slender waist. I will slay this cannibal before your very eyes. This worst of Rakshasas, O timid one, is no worthy antagonist of mine, nor can all the Rakshasas together bear the strength of my arms. Behold these strong arms of mine, each like the trunk of an elephant. Behold also these thighs of mine like iron maces, and this broad and adamantine chest. O beautiful one, thou shall today behold my prowess like that of Indra. O thou of fair hips, fear not for me.'

Hirimbaa was jubilant. Now the giant was speaking in her accent, and that meant he was tuning up with her.

- O tiger among men, O thou of the beauty of a celestial, I do not certainly hold you in contempt. But I have seen the prowess that Rakshasas exert upon men.'

- O thou of fair hips, soon you will see me cry Hip Hip Hoorah

And Hirimbaa was exalted for at last the mountain man was in full unison to the rhythm of her heart, even uttering her silent words! For the first time in her life, the idea passed her mind that the Stomach God could be a demi-God only.

And Hidimba beheld his sister disguised in human form, her head decked with garlands of flowers and her face like the full moon and her eyebrows and nose and eyes and ringlets all of the handsomest description, and her nails and complexion of the most delicate hue, and herself wearing every kind of ornament and attired in fine transparent robes.

He understood at once what was in his sister’s mind.

And becoming angry with his sister, Hidimba dilated his eyes and addressing her said, 'What senseless creature wishes to throw obstacles in my path now that I am so hungry? Have you become so senseless, O Hirimbaa, that you fear not my wrath? Fie on you, you unchaste woman! You art even now desirous of carnal intercourse at the cost of harming your brother. You are ready to sacrifice the good name and honour of all the Rakshasas, your ancestors, our glorious Khandan!’

Hirimbaa said calmly, ‘I have responded to my heart, brother. And I will bear child only in his seed.’

- You betrayer. You have insulted our culture and attired yourself in obscene dress. No Rakshasa woman ever thinks of wearing a dress to exposes the cleavage and reveal the navel, rather they open it all. Kama has blinded you because you play hide and seek with your nature-gifted body. No Rakshasas woman ever thinks of plucking flowers that are more beautiful in the lap of their mother trees and plants. By plucking them and adorning yourself with them like foolish and so-called civilized urban girls do, you have hurt Mother Nature, and all for your self-interest. Your offence cannot be pardoned. Your intercourse with that urban inhuman human will create hybrids that will weaken our sacred race. Before that happens you deserve to be killed. I cannot allow your womb to carry the seed of that morbid and deformed creature.

- It’s my womb, it’s my choice brother

- Yes it’s your womb, but you lack responsibility. Enjoy freedom with your womb in our community and I have nothing to say. Live together with brilliant youths like Kuchukuchukukumba or Kanchumanchumukumba, and you will have my consent. They are so talented that they can produce twenty children in twenty wombs in a single day. But if you try to pollute your womb, I have so much to say. Your womb is not self-created. It is a gift of our Stomach-God to your sort of biology.

And Hidimba rushed to his sister. Hirimbaa hid behind Bhima in utter fright. Her heart beat fast at the prospect of being killed by her brother, and beat even faster at the prospect of being saved by this giant man, and beat the fastest as her breasts rubbed against the man’s back.

Bhima roared, ‘Stop--Stop!’

Hidimba shouted back rebuking Bhima, ‘Why are you interfering with my family matter? I will deal with you after taking care of my sister. I cannot compromise with the honour of my family. This is pure Khandan-ka-saoal.’

Bhima smiled in derision, and said, 'O Hidimba, I see you have good family bonds. Like you I too am concerned about my family. Your yells will wake up my tired brothers and mother. What need is there for you to awaken them sleeping so comfortably? O wicked cannibal, approach me first without loss of time. Smite me first,--it befits you not to kill a woman. This girl is scarcely responsible for her act in desiring intercourse with me. She has been moved by Lord Kama. She came here at your command no doubt. Beholding my person, she desires me. In that the timid girl does no injury to you. It is the Lord Kama that has offended.

- Who the hell is this God of Kama? It is a natural thing present in us naturally. We are not separate from Kama. We are Kama. Your so-called civilized education teaches you to separate yourself from yourself. See the bad influence on my sister. She too has been speaking like you. Like a coward she is attributing her own responsibility on a fictitious God. And like a fool you are impressed. You do not know what woman is. They can invent anything to justify their lust and then blame the man if things go wrong. She is speaking your words to tame you. You cannot see through her deceit. I am not your friend. But let me give you one last friendly advice – don’t fall in the trap. Would you like to hear my previous experiences with women? And the songs and poetry I composed about them?

Bhima nodded his head in disgust, and being deprived of the opportunity to recite his self-composed romantic songs and poetry, Hidimba became angrier.

And so Hidimba roared at Hirimbaa, ‘You traitor, I charge you for violating our law. Your sexual appetite for that weakling is unnatural. It is blasphemy. It is an insult to the Almighty Lord Stomach. The sexual appetite must be subservient to the appetite God.’

As he rushed towards his sister, Hirimbaa screamed in terror. Bhima intervened again.

- O wicked wretch; you shall not slay a woman when I am here. Come with me, O cannibal, and fight with myself singly. Singly shall I send you today to the abode of Yama

Bhima felt a warm kiss in the middle of his back, and startled to see Hirimbaa dancing behind his back and shouting, ‘At last, you recognize me as a woman.’

Hidimba glanced her angrily and shouted, ‘Who the hell is Yama? Does he have bones and tasty bone-marrow? I will chew Yama and send him to the land of death to our Death God Ghantaghentoghuntughughumba.’

- O Rakshasa, see your sister and the forest for the last time. Slaying you, I will make this forest safe for human beings.

- You blockhead, enough of vaunts and boasts. I will not slay my sister and your fellows now. Let them sleep comfortably. I will slay you first. After drinking your blood before them, I will slay them also, and then last of all, this sister of mine.

Saying this, Hidimba, extending his arms ran in wrath towards Bhima. Bhima quickly seized his hand with great force, and dragged him from that spot full thirty-two cubits like a lion dragging a little animal.

Then Hidimba cried out, ‘Abbulis Abbulis’ (Note for non-Rakshasas: ‘Abbulis’ is a word uttered by children of Bengal to pause an ongoing game).

Bhima gnashed his teeth, ‘what’s that?’

- Leave me first, you dumb-headed fatty, I want to have a debate with my sister first

- What for? She is beyond debates now

- No fool! I am a rational human being. We must have some logic for an action.

- See, you are up to something…it seems…why seems…I’m sure.

- No. I will fight with you till death. Before that I want to try once more to help my sister out of the rot.

Meanwhile, in the hullabaloo, Bhima’s mother and brothers woke up. They came to the spot and guessed what had happened.

- One last time sister, won’t you rethink?

Hirimbaa peeped from Bhima’s massive back.

- I have taken a decision brother

- I love you sister

- I love you brother, and so I request you return to the woods, don’t interfere with my life

- Won’t you think of your community and culture?

- Yes I have thought. I am taking the path of good for all

Bhima is angry, ‘Will you fight or won’t you? I expect better sense from a possible future brother-in-law.’

And for saying that, Bhima received a warm kiss on his back again.

- Yes I will fight, damn you. My sister is more important to me than you.

And then the fight began.

So saying, Ghatothkacha lies on his back, looks at the sky and starts smiling.

Karkatothkacha is impatient. He cries, ‘’what happened then?”

Ghatothkacha smiles, “next part, agle hapta isi din isi wakt.”

to be continued …


More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

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