I am told no one will ever be named Kaikeyi.
I am told that I am a disgrace and that my obstinance killed my King. The King whom I had loved the most; The King for whose safety I had given up my own.
I was raised as a warrior princess. Growing up with seven brothers, I never had any maternal influence since my father, King Ashwapati had banished my mother for not being a good influence, when I was very young. Did I harbour my insecurities from that early point on, I sometimes wonder when questioned why I did what I did.
Or was I insecure of my King's other wives? I nod in disbelief at this assumption people around me make. I was brave and had no inhibitions; in my heart I knew I was the true, the rightful Queen of Ayodhya. Would anyone else have accompanied my King, King Dasharath, to the battle against the demon, Samharasura. I was his charioteer and when things turned for the worse in the battlefield, was I not the one who saved his life and won us the battle? So when King Dasharath rewarded me with two boons for my devotion and courage, I gladly accepted and wisely reserved them for future.
I am told I was jealous and insecure for no reason, when I asked for my two boons. One that my Son, Bharata be crowned as King instead of the eldest Son, Rama. And two, that Rama be exiled for fourteen years. I loved Rama as my own, but had I not sent him to exile would he be able to fulfill his destiny? In the greater scheme of the cosmic plan, is it too difficult to forgive me?
They mask the choices I made, choices that were intelligent and call them out for being evil. My judgment is questioned too, as I am told I made the wrong choices under Manthara's vicious influence. Manthara, who was the only Mother I had known; who followed me from Kekaya to Ayodhya; who wanted the best for me, like I wanted the best for my Bharatha.
Do I regret my actions, I am asked? I am saddened, yes, that my actions led to my King's heartbreak. But then again, wasn't that the curse of Shravan Kumar's parents that was coming true?
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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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