I only gave birth to him, but I could never be his mother. I was not the one who raised him, who protected him, who fed him, who taught him; where do I stand as his mother? These were questions I asked myself every night as I cried myself to sleep. And every night, my husband, Vasudeva, would remind me that our Son was no ordinary human, he would remind me that we were just vessels serving a much larger purpose.
I remember with painful clarity the night that changed my life; that left us helpless and in shackles in this stoned prison; that destroyed my every chance at being a mother. On the night of my marriage King Kamsa, my brother, the ruler of Mathura was driving our chariot, when a roar from the skies stopped us in our tracks. The voice was loud and clear, prophesying that my eighth son would be the destroyer of Kamsa. My brother had immediately pulled the sword on me, and I wish now that my husband had let him end my life then. At least, I wouldn't have died a million deaths since, as Kamsa mercilessly killed six of my sons right in front of my eyes.
My seventh birth was a miscarriage. Only later did I come to know that the baby was mystically transferred to the womb of Queen Rohini, my husband's first wife, and was born as Balarama.
As we neared the birth of my eighth son, both me and Vasudeva began to lament his fate, and ours. We were terrified and Kamsa's constant surveillance did not help. But on Ashtami, on the stroke of midnight, as our baby was born, we witnessed a divine light and a voice spoke to us. It advised Vasudeva to take our Son to Gokul to the house of Nanda and Yashoda, and exchange him with their new born daughter.
I gently kissed my son before Vasudeva took him in his arms and left for Gokul. Nothing stood in his way - his chains came undone, the guards were soundlessly asleep as he walked out of the prison, they were protected from the torrential rains as Shesha, Lord Vishnu's thousand-headed serpent covered them under his hood, and the river Yamuna parted its way for them to cross. We still think it was all a dream.
But the events of the night brought a beautiful baby girl in my arms. I managed a smile as I hoped Kamsa would spare her life, since the prophecy had mentioned that a son would be the reason for his downfall. But I was foolish to think, even for a second, that Kamsa could bestow such kindness. He snatched her from me and was about to end her life when she transformed into a Goddess and rose up in the sky. "Your nemesis has already been born" she roared, leaving Kamsa incensed.
As years went by, we heard that Kamsa's frustration had led to increased chaos in the nearby villages. He went on terrorizing children and elders alike by letting out one ferocious demon after another. However, one name kept emerging as the brave saviour, Krishna. In our hearts we knew he was our son, but never dared to speak out loud his name, lest the walls heard us.
But I knew the day was not far when I would be reunited with my Son. The emotion was bittersweet. While I feared for the safety of my son, at the same time I yearned to see him, to touch him.
And the day finally came. We could hear a lot of commotion outside and soon after a series of wrestling matches the victory horn was blown. It seemed that the entire world was rejoicing the death of the evil king.
Soon after, the prison gates swung open and I saw a handsome young boy standing in front of me. All I wanted to do was shower him with kisses but strangely I could not take a step towards him. I fell at his feet with tears in my eyes. I was not only heartbroken but also guilty. I realized I didn't know anything about my own son. Just then Krishna knelt beside me and hugged me. No words were needed between us. His eyes said everything.
In those few moments, I relived all the stories from his childhood, and was overwhelmed with wonder, happiness and even sorrow. I wanted to cherish every moment with my son, for as long as I had. How long did I have? He spoke of Yashoda Maa so fondly. As if sensing my doubts, Krishna said,
"Mother! You and Father had performed such powerful meditation in your past lives, that impressed God gave you a boon. You could have asked for anything but your only desire was to have me as your child in every lifetime. As Prishni and Sutapa, I was born to you as Prishnigarbha. As Aditi and Kashyap, I was born to you as Upendra. And in this life, as Devaki and Vasudeva, I have been born to you as Krishna. You will always be my Mother."
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These short stories were developed during the A-Z challenge in 2014. Each story is based on 26 colours which commence with every letter of the alphabet from A to Z. The themes developed in these stories range from marital despair to urban city-life blues, from love to loss, from child abuse to infidelity, divorce, and much more.
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