Subhadra gave birth to a healthy baby boy as the whole kingdom rejoiced. They named him Abhimanyu. He was very gentle and loved by all. Arjuna and all his brothers, including Draupadi, Kunti and the elders in the family loved Abhimanyu.
Arjuna would spend hours near his son's cradle explaining to him how his day went, how he practiced his archery, how the king behaved....everything. The little baby with the big innocent eyes listened to everything.
However there was one particular person who was very unhappy with all this. The eldest of the Kauravas, Duryodhana had a special hatred for the Pandavas. Somehow seeing Abhimanyu, Duryodhana got more and more infuriated.
Learning about this, Krishna came to visit his friend.
'Arjuna! There is something I need to tell you!' Krishna started looking uncharacteristically grave.
Arjuna frowned as Krishna continued. 'The events which are to come...' Krishna sighed sadly as Arjuna felt a strange fear in his heart. 'Duryodhana has his eyes on the throne of Indraprastha!' Krishna said quietly.
Arjuna looked afraid as he looked at his cousin. 'What can be done, Krishna?'
Krishna shook his head sadly. 'Nothing as of now! But there is something we should do!'
Arjuna looked hopefully as Krishna looked even more sad. 'Do you mind if Abhimanyu and Subhadra come and stay with us in Dwaraka?'
'Why?' Arjuna asked his voice in a cold whisper.
'You know why, my friend!' Krishna said smiling mirthlessly. 'I cannot save all of you! But Subhadra and Abhimanyu can live in Dwaraka!'
Krishna did not need to say anything else. Arjuna understood. He went to Subhadra and told her that she had to go to Dwaraka. Looking at Krishna, Subhadra understood too. She asked no questions as she and Abhimanyu went to Dwaraka.
Arjuna was almost heartbroken to be away from Abhimnayu. He would go to Dwaraka often and meet him there, but he always kept his distance and never asked either of them to come back to Indraprastha. He trusted Krishna too much to go against him. Besides Arjuna realized that Abhimnayu had an enjoyable childhood among the Yadavas, with no fear and no hatred....
Abhimnayu was two years old when he saw his mother look devastated and sitting in her room with her hair undone. She looked so much like the feared Goddess Durga that Abhimanyu started crying.
Subhadra picked up her son in a melancholy fashion trying to quiet him. 'Your father...The Pandavas....they have lost everything!' She told the two year old child who did not understand anything other than the fact that his mother was very very unhappy.
'Yudhishtara played the dice game, not once....but twice! He lost and he is in the forests...with father, your uncles and Draupadi Mother!' And so Subhadra ranted on and on, about the misfortune of the Pandavas.
As Abhimnayu grew up, he realized about why he never saw his father. People spoke of his father's greatness as an archer, the prosperity of Indraprastha and how they had lost it all.
It fueled in him a desire to help his father somehow. Abhimnayu would often hear his maternal uncle talk of the impending war with the Kauravas...The Kauravas who were responsible for him never seeing his father....That decided the course for Abhimnayu's life. He knew he was going to become a warrior, the best of them all, so that he could help his father, when the time of right.
And so Abhimnayu practiced. He practiced with the same fervour of his father. He was taught by Pradhyumna, the son of Krishna and obviously by Krishna and Balarama, themselves. Krishna was not at all surprised to know that Abhimnayu mastered the art of warfare with utmost ease. Abhimnayu also did it all with a speed that matched his father. Whatever took the others a month to learn, Abhimnayu learnt it in a matter of a week...It almost seemed like Abhimnayu knew that the only thing he would not have in his life was time.....