Saturday, April 28, 2018

Gatothgaja - Chapter 7


Sixteen Years Later

This is so unfair!” Subhadra was furious. “How could King Virata go back on his word?”
Krishna sighed not saying anything. There really was nothing for him to say.
He was so eager to get his daughter married to the Pandavas?” Subhadra was ranting angrily. “What caused him to suddenly change his mind?”
The fact that Yudhishtara gambled away his kingdom.” Krishna said as his dark eyes were glowing with a strange emotion. “That is what made Virata rethink his offer to get his daughter Uttara married to Abhimanyu.”
What is Abhimanyu’s fault in that?” Subhadra wailed angrily. “Abhimanyu is Arjuna’s son – Arjuna does not gamble. He does not….”
He did not stop his elder brother from gambling either.” Krishna interrupted in a soft voice.
Subhadra’s shoulder’s sagged unhappily. “Ever since the dice game and the thirteen year exile, everything has gone wrong. Duryodhana has taken over all of the Pandavas kingdom.” Subhadra said angrily. “I have not seen my husband properly. All I knew that my husband and his brothers were suffering in the forests. In fact in the last year I did not even know where my husband was...”
Arjuna and the other Pandavas were in incognito.” Krishna reminded Subhadra. “Naturally, you could not know where Arjuna was hiding.”
Subhadra did not bother replying. She knew that whether anyone else knew or not, Krishna would have known. He always did.
Then after the thirteenth year, I was thrilled when I got a message from Arjuna.” Subhadra continued in a sullen voice. “Telling me that King Virata wanted his daughter to marry Abhimanyu.” Subhadra looked angrily at Krishna. “When I told Abhimanyu about it… he seemed happy.” She looked glum. “Now, what do I go and tell him?”
Krishna said nothing as Subhadra continued. “This seems unfair.”
Why don’t you go and talk to the king about it?” Krishna asked Subhadra gently. His dark eyes suddenly turned mischievous. But Subhadra was too angry to notice it.
Me?” She asked angrily.
Krishna nodded. “Arjuna and the other Pandavas are talking with Virata. I think you should also go and talk to the king.”
What do you think I can say….?” Subhadra started.
You are Abhimanyu’s son and you want your son to be happy. Isn’t that what you want to tell Virata?”
But...” Subhadra started.
No buts.” Krishna said finally. “I am making arrangements for the two of you to leave for the kingdom of Matsya to meet King Virata.” Krishna nodded. “Please tell Abhimanyu to be ready.”
Where are you going?” Subhadra asked looking bewildered.
I am going to tell Daruka to get ready.” Krishna said thumbing towards outside their palace in the city of Dwaraka. “He is the swiftest rider I have and I believe that he can get you where you need to go as soon as possible.”
Subhadra frowned. But Krishna did not give her a chance to talk as he walked out of the palace.
*******
I want you to ride there now.” Krishna told Daruka who was getting the chariot ready.
Your Majesty, that forest is not the Matsya kingdom.” Daruka was not new to the plans or the smiles of Lord Krishna. But still this was completely new for the charioteer.
Nowhere even close.” Krishna agreed. “And just make sure that Subhadra or Abhimanyu do not know where you are actually taking them.”
Daruka opened his mouth and then looked at the dark hue of the Dark Lord and then smiled. “Bheema’s son lives there, my Lord. He lives in the forests there, with his mother – Hidimbi.”
Is it?” Krishna asked looking confused though his eyes looked amused. “I did not know that.”
You want Abhimanyu and Bheema’s son to meet, don’t you?”
I am not saying anything else, Daruka.” Krishna said with a smile. “You are making all the guesses.”
There could be no further talk between the charioteer and the Dark Lord, because Abhimanyu – who was all of sixteen years came into the stable, followed by his mother.
What good would it do to talk to Virata?” Abhimanyu asked without any preamble. But all Krishna saw was that Abhimanyu’s eyes looked sad. He tried to look cheerful, but it still seemed impossible for the little boy.
Sometimes talking can solve a lot of problems, son.” Krishna told Abhimanyu.
Abhimanyu did not seem very convinced as he strapped on his bow and arrow.
Subhadra got on the chariot as Abhimanyu followed his brother.
Get them to where they need to go, Daruka.” Krishna told Daruka.
Daruka smiled as he started the chariot without another word.

Author’s Note: The story of Gatothgaja helping in the marriage of Abhimanyu and Vatsala is a part of folklore.
In the folk story, Vatsala is supposedly the daughter of Balarama – the brother of Krishna.
However, no translation of the Mahabharatha mentions the second marriage of Abhimanyu. Mahabharatha only states that Abhimanyu is married to Uttara – the daughter of King Virata. He married her at the age of sixteen and he died three months after his wedding in the Mahabharatha war.
The author has merely borrowed the idea of the folk story of Abhimanyu-Vatsala marriage into the marriage of Abhimanyu and Uttara.
However, as per the original version, Virata had no problems with his daughter Uttara marrying Abhimanyu – in fact he was very eager for it.

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