The war has ended but the cries will echo for years to come. My tears flow unabashedly but on the inside I am ashamed and numb. I look over at Draupadi and recognize her anguish too. Draupadi's children died because she could not forgive. I lost my hundred sons because I turned a blind eye to their actions.
Everyone mourns along with Draupadi for her five sons, who were killed mercilessly by Ashwatthama in the middle of the night. The mourn for Arjun's son, Abhimanyu, who fought courageously inside the Chakravyuha battle formation as his own uncles attacked him simultaneously. They mourn for Bhima’s son, Ghatotkacha, who served as a human shield for the Pandavas and was killed by Karna's Vasavi Shakti. They were the heroes.
But no one mourns for Duryodhana, who was killed by Bheema in a mace fight, by unfairly hitting him below his torso, on his thigh. I mourn alone. I get no sympathy because my sons were deemed the villains, they were the ones who were on the opposite side of dharma, on the opposite side of righteousness.
Are these tears being shed in vain? In my heart, didn't I already know the fate of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes? When my eldest son, Duryodhana, had come to seek my blessing before the war, had I not wished the victory to be with those who are righteous!
The Pandavas had made their own mistakes, the biggest being gambling away their wife and kingdom. Greed had blinded them in that instant, as it had blinded my sons through all these years. Adharma had also plagued its way into their lives; didn't they use deceit to kill Bhishma and Dronacharya? Was that right?
So many lives have been lost. For what? I can't help but think if at any point we could have avoided killing our own kith and kin?
Had Kunti not abandoned Karna as a child, would the story be different? Had Krishna stopped the Pandavas from gambling their wife, would Draupadi have come back with such vengeance and the need to restore her honour? Had I not worn the blindfold and not let myself be a victim of my blind king, Dhritarashtra's debility and pain, would I have been able to see things clearly and stop my sons from going onto the wrong path?
Couldn't have Krishna, the lord incarnate, intervened and made peace between the two sides?
I go back to my struggle of becoming a mother. I had been trying for almost two years when I heard Kunti, had given birth to Yudhishthira, who was born by invoking Vayu. In jealousy and frustration I tried to kill my foetus. I gave birth to a lifeless lump. But my desire to have a hundred sons, who were strong and powerful, made sage Vyasa, who had promised me this boon, cut the flesh into a hundred and one pieces and incubate each one in a pot. After two years of watching and caring for, I was blessed with hundred sons and a daughter.
Does my struggle not count for anything?
As a mother who is standing amidst the corpses of her hundred sons, I am only trying to make sense out of this war.
Are we just the victims of circumstances beyond our control, hostages to an implacable and irrevocable fate? Or do we have what it takes to change ourselves, change the lines on our palms, change our actions and conquer karma?
If you want to read more of my short stories, click on the below image.
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.
Do read and share!