Arjuna woke up with a start as he stared at the roof of the tent he was sleeping in. He breathed deeply as he realized that it was nothing more than a dream. Since the war had started, sleep had been an elusive thing. Every time he slept all he dreamt were of the gory war....After the tenth day of the battle, it had become terrible. Watching Bhishma fall Arjuna felt like he could never sleep again.
Arjuna swallowed as he turned and stared at the blank side of the tent illuminated by the fire torches. It took a few seconds for Arjuna to realize what he was seeing. Arjuna realized that he was seeing the silhouette of the person he knew very well. Wondering why the Dark Lord was awake at this time, Arjuna debated whether he should disturb the Lord.
His curiosity won out as he rapidly got out of the bed, walking out.
Arjuna felt a calm pervade his uneasy mind as he took a deep breath enjoying the silence that the night brought. The night were the only times now when there were no soldiers screaming....or crying out for help....
'Shouldn't you be asleep, my friend?' Krishna asked, not turning, breaking Arjuna from his reverie.
Arjuna was about to give a customary answer when he looked at the Dark Lord and shook his head. 'I could not sleep, my Lord!'
'Nightmares? Bheeshma?' Krishna asked softly.
Arjuna began nodding his head but then shook it. 'This time it was not grandfather Bheeshma! It was something else!'
'What is it?' Krishna asked eyeing Arjuna. Somehow Arjuna always felt that Krishna could see more to him than anyone else ever could.
'This happened during the exile, when we were in the Kamakya forest!' Arjuna said quietly, taking another deep breath.
Krishna said nothing as Arjuna continued. 'We had gone hunting. The five of us and we had left Draupadi alone in the ashrama!'
Arjuna fell quiet because he suddenly was not sure whether he wanted to tell anyone this story. But then Krishna was there and he was waiting for him. Arjuna continued. 'It was at that time that Prince Jayadratha of the Sindhu Kingdom had also come to the Kamakya forest!' Arjuna said falling silent again.
Krishna said nothing as he realized that his friend was hesitating bringing up the topic. Krishna knew that he had to be silent and let Arjuna tell the events his own way...
'Jayadratha saw Draupadi, all alone in the hut!' Arjuna said with angry pursed lips.
Krishna nodded understandingly. 'Did Jayadratha try to kidnap the dark Krishna (Draupadi)?'
Arjuna looked at Krishna with troubled eyes nodding his head. 'That wretched man kidnapped her and dragged her away on his chariot!' Arjuna looked close to exploding in anger. Arjuna then took a deep breath and controlled himself.
'One of Panchali's (Draupadi) maid - Dhatreyaki she found us and told us all! We chased down Jayadratha!' Arjuna said scornfully. Krishna did not say anything. He wondered what foolishness prompted Jayadratha to kidnap the wife of the Pandavas. That no one could stand up against the brothers was a certainty. Standing up against the brothers when they were angry....Krishna shook his head. Jayadratha must have been really a very foolish man....
'We defeated Jayadratha....' Arjuna said haltingly.
Krishna frowned wondering where this story was going when Arjuna continued. 'Bheema humiliated Jayadratha! He humiliated the prince so badly that....' Arjuna shook his head.
'What happened?' Krishna asked sharply.
'It is rumoured that as revenge Jayadratha went away from the place and performed severe penance to the three-eyed Lord Shiva! He obtained some great boon from the Lord!' Arjuna said quietly.
Krishna looked at Arjuna quietly for a long time not saying anything. Arjuna was getting more and more worried with the silence as Krishna finally spoke. 'With or without any boon, he is not your equal, Partha!'
Arjuna did not say anything. 'But what was the boon....'
'There is nothing we can do about it! We have to be more worried about what happens tomorrow!' Krishna said firmly.
Arjuna frowned. He realized that Krishna had deliberately changed the topic. He did not know why.....
Krishna continued. 'Today Dronacharya was made the commander of the Kaurava forces. He tried to kidnap Yudhishtara and the Trigarthas continuously called you to battle.....Fighting the Trigarthas and keeping Yudhishtara safe at the same time was extremely tiring and difficult. I am sure Dronacharya realized it and he would attack tomorrow with more forces....If he has his way Kaurava victory would be a certainty!'
'What do we suggest we do?' Arjuna asked.
'Abhimanyu!' Krishna said so quietly with such a fierce expression that Arjuna was rattled for a few seconds. 'Abhimanyu is the only person who is capable of handling anything that Dronacharya can do! I think he should be left to guard Yudhishtara tomorrow!'
Arjuna nodded as the warrior in him realized that suggestion was prudent. He looked at Krishna with a smile. 'I must say Krishna, he is equal to both of us in battle! Nobody, not one person can stand up against him!' He said proudly. 'As long as Abhimanyu has his bow and arrow with him, he can defeat the entire Kaurava army!' Arjuna announced his eyes dancing with joy. 'Dronacharya cannot get anywhere near Yudhishtara with Abhimanyu guarding him!'
'As long as he has his bow and arrow!' Krishna said faintly with an expression which Arjuna was unable to decipher....