Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pradhyumna - Part 1 of 3

The man and the woman were hand in hand dancing beautifully complementing each other...The man looked handsome and the woman looked beautiful beside him….the man looked complete with the woman beside him. Together they seemed like two halves of a whole.....They danced away blissfully unaware of everything....Suddenly there was a flash of a bright fierce light.....the man disappeared and in his place were a lump of ashes. The woman screamed in anguish....

Mayawati woke up with a start, her face drenched in sweat, her heart racing as if she had run a mile. The screams of the woman in her dream were still ringing in her ears as she looked around, trying to calm herself. The maid's quarters where she lived in was small and neat. Looking around and realizing that she was early for the day's work, she tried to go back to sleep. But the dream kept haunting her..... Who was the man and the woman? The man looked so handsome..... Even in her dream, Mayawait had been able to sense that the man and the woman were made for each other. Mayawati sighed as sleep eluded her. She felt like she had to know the story of the man and the woman, but try as she might she could not remember.....

'Narayana! Narayana!'came a mischievous voice behind her. Mayawati did not need to turn around to know who the man was. She bowed and fell at the feet of the Sage Narada, who traveled throughout the three worlds without any inhibitions. Sage Narada never stayed in the same place for long....

'My Lord!' Mayawati said as she bowed before the sage.

Sage Narada smiled as he blessed Mayawati. Mayawati looked at the sage curiously as she asked. 'Sir! What are you doing here?

Sage Narada looked at Mayawati and smiled. 'Well I felt like I had to be here I have come!' Narada said with a smile. Mayawati looked at the sage and still did not say anything.

Sage Narada grinned as he continued. 'You are Mayawati – a beautiful woman who knows the power of Maya – the illusion...You could have been anywhere....done my request you work here...' Sage Narada looked around with slightly angry eyes. 'As a cook in the palace of Shambara....the demon Shambara!' Sage Narada looked at Mayawati. 'Aren't you even remotely curious as to why I asked you to work here?'

Mayawati looked at the sage, still not saying anything. She knew that the answers for which she had waited were all going to come. Sage Narada nodded his head as if he could read Mayawati's thoughts. He continued. 'The reason for you to come here, will become clear tomorrow....Shambara would most probably get the news of the birth of Lord Krishna and Queen Rukmini's son – Pradhyumana, latest by tonight....' Sage Narada smiled a little sadly. 'I am afraid...Shambara would take very drastic steps.....when he hears about it!'

Mayawati frowned as she looked at Sage Narada, a strange fear clutching her heart. 'What is Shambara going to do?'

Sage Narada let out a deep breath. 'Long ago....there was a prophecy.....Shambara...when he was younger....wanted to know about his own death....It was predicted that Lord Krishna and Princess Rukmini's son would be the cause of Shambara's death!' Mayawati looked at Sage Narada dazed as Narada continued. 'Since then....Shambara has kept the kingdom of Dwaraka constantly under vigil....He has many spies combing throughout the kingdom....gathering news of everything that has been happening there....When he heard the news of how Krishna married Rukmini, Shambara intensified the spying.....' Sage Narada looked outside the window of the maid's room as he continued. 'The news of the birth of Pradhyuma, Krishna and Rukmini's son would come to him in a few hours.....'

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada and whispered. 'What do you want me to do?'

Sage Narada looked at Mayawathi straight in the eye. 'Shambara would kidnap the child....' Mayawati gasped as Sage Narada nodded his head. 'He would bring the child here...' Sage Narada looked at Mayawathi. 'Once the child is brought here....I want you to make sure that the child is safe.....Keep him here and let him grow up here....'

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada with surprise. 'Don't you want me to take the child back to Lord Krishna?'

Sage Narada smiled. 'Not now! Not immediately! Eventually.....after Pradhyuman has finished the work for which he was born....he would go back to the Lord....'

Mayawathi looked at Sage Narda and blinked. 'But it would be dangerous.....Imagine...the child is whom Shambara wants to kill....and the child would grow up here.....' Mayawati shook her head in fear.

Sage Narada spoke with a smile. 'Believe me! This is the safest place for Pradhyuman! Taking him back to Dwaraka would be disastrous for him....!'

Mayawati looked at the sage waiting for him to elaborate. Sage Narada continued. 'Shambara would want to kill the child....But he would not want to do the act himself....he will probably give the work to his guards.....and at that time.....'

Mayawati nodded her head catching the drift of the sage's thought. Once she made sure the child was safe, the guards fearing Shambara would lie to him that the child was no more....once it was announced that the child was not alive, the child would grow up as one among all the other kids of the maids in the servants' quarters....and nobody would even give the child a second glance ...Taking him back to Dwaraka was out of the question.....

Mayawati looked at Sage Narada. 'Ok....After saving the child, what do you want me to do?' Sage Narada smiled once more. 'Well Shambara can be killed only by someone who knows the power of illusion – Maya....'

Mayawati smiled as she nodded her head. So she had to teach the child the power of the that the child would grow up and fulfill the prophecy for which he was born....and kill Shambara.... Even as she thought of it, Mayawati was a little surprised....She had her duties...but it still did not answer many of her questions....why was she so specifically chosen for this job? This work could be done by anyone.....

Sage Narada looked at the slightly angry face of Mayawati and nodded encouragingly. 'Go ahead, my Lady! I think you have earned the right to ask the question....'

Mayawati's face flushed as she looked down, but she still did not speak a word. Sage Narada looked at her and said gently. 'You are the perfect choice for this job .You are the only person who can do this........If you knew who you would realise why you were chosen for this work....'

Mayawati's heart raced as she listened to the words of the sage with rapt attention. Sage Narda looked at Mayawati and almost spoke with pity. 'Don't you remember anything at all about who you are? You have always been the same age....You have never grown old....don't you know why?'

Mayawati looked at the sage with anguish. 'I can't remember anything....I just can't....'

Sage Narada looked at Mayawati strangely. 'Any strange dreams? Dreams that keep haunting you....'

Mayawati jerked her eyes a little angrily and studied the sage suspiciously. Slowly she told him the dream....which had woken her up....the dream which she had had so many times and which never made sense to her....

Sage Narada smiled as he cleared his throat. 'Do you know how Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvathi,my Lady?'

Mayawati felt  a rush of images come inside her head....but still none of the images made sense to her.....

Sage Narada smiled gently at her. 'I will tell you the story....It will fill in the gaps in your memory....After the death of Goddess Sati, Lord Shiva lost interest in everything...He gave up everything and focused on meditation.....That became very bad news for the Gods and very good news for demons in general and one particular demon – Taraka ...Taraka knew that only a child of Lord Shiva could destroy him.....Now that Lord Shiva had become an ascetic, Taraka thought that Lord Shiva would never get married or have any children....that actually meant that Taraka was invincible....Taraka became arrogant and haughty.....He would stop at nothing and tormented the Devas and the humans and the worst part was, no one could stop him.....Nothing could stop him....' Sage Narada spoke with anguish as he remembered those days. 'Having no other choice, the Gods prayed to Mahadevi – the Great Goddess, of whom Goddess Sati was an incarnation....Mahadevi promised to reincarnate to marry Shiva....And so Parvathi was born as the daughter of Himavan and Menaka.....Parvathi was  a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva since her childhood. When she came of marriageable age, told her father that she wanted to marry Shiva....Himavan took Parvathi to Shiva to help him out in his daily prayers, in the hope that she would win Lord Shiva's heart, while helping him!'

'....However the Gods....' Mayawati spoke unsteadily as she kept having flashes of memories. 'They found that Shiva was not even looking at Parvathi, much less fall in love with her!' Sage Narada nodded his head as he encouraged Mayawati to go on. 'So they went to Kamadeva, the God of Love!...They wanted Kamadeva to shoot Lord Shiva with his flowery that Lord Shiva would be infatuated with the Goddess!' Mayawati whispered as she saw everything as if it was happening right before her eyes. 'Rati, Kamadeva's wife.....' Mayawati swallowed. 'She was against it....However deciding that this was all necessary for people everywhere, Rati eventually agreed to this insane mission.....' Mayawati closed her eyes as she remembered everything. Wryly she continued with the story, '….Waiting for this right time, Kamadeva shot Lord Shiva with his flowery arrows....For a second....Lord Shiva was disturbed....Lord Shiva found himself attracted to Parvathi.....But then.....then.....' Mayawati blinked away tears unable to go on.....

Sage Narada nodded his head sadly. 'Lord Shiva gained control over himself....He came to know that Kamadeva was responsible for his loss of concentration! And in his anger, Lord Shiva burned Kamadeva, with his third eye!' 

Mayawati blinked away the tears from her eyes as she understood the dreams which had been tormenting her for so long.....Kamadeva was the God of Love, Rati was the essence of the desire.....Neither could ever be complete without the other....Without Kama, there was no life for Rati.....

Sage Narada sadly nodded and looked particularly at Mayawati. 'Mad with grief, Rati went to Parvathi and cried about Lord Shiva's act. Hearing this, Parvathi promised Rati that once she [Parvathi] married Lord Shiva...... Kamadeva would come back to Rati!'

Mayawathi smiled through tears in her eyes. 'And now that the Lord and the Goddess are back together.....'

Sage Narada smiled. '….Rati and Kamadeva have to get back together!'

Mayawati nodded her head happily as she wiped tears from her eyes. 'When exactly would the spies bring the message of the birth of Pradyumna?'

'Anytime now!' Sage Narada smiled as he looked at the faint morning light....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pradhyumna - Part 2 of 3

The palace at Dwaraka was in the midst of a huge celebration. Queen Rukmini and Lord Krishna had just had their first son ...Pradhyumna! All over the palace, stories spread from one person to another about how exquisitely handsome the child looked....The child looked like a perfect mix of Rukmini and Krishna, with his dark body and her delicate features.....Nobody could stop describing the beauty of the child.....

A large figure approached the palace and maliciously looked at all the people in the palace. It was not surprising that the people had not noticed the stranger, though he looked very much out of place. The stranger was an expert in the art of illusion. He could create any illusion and make people believe in it....Making himself invisible to the people of Dwaraka was no big deal for him....

The figure walked inside the palace. He was careful to avoid Krishna. Carefully he made his way straight to Queen Rukmini's apartment where he knew Pradhyumna would be....The figure walked inside the apartment and saw many ladies surrounding the child. Now that he was inside, he was in no hurry. The figure chose a hiding place in the room and stayed there. He heard the ladies gush over how beautiful the child looked as he felt an anger build up inside himself....

Slowly, after what seemed like an eternity, the ladies left the room. The figure slowly came out of the hiding place as he walked towards the cradle. He could hear the cooing sounds of the baby and knew that the child was still there.....He walked near the child and for the first time looked at the child. He had to admit that it was an extraordinarily beautiful child. He smiled as he picked up the baby. Pradhyumna! So you are the great Pradhyumma, who is going to kill me! Me – Shamabara, the one who can create the greatest illusions in the world....No Pradhyumna....Shambara looked at the baby as he thought fiercely. I am afraid you are not even going to get a chance to fight with me!

The child seemed to suddenly sense that he was in the hands of someone who was definitely not a nice person. He woke up with a start and started wailing.....Shambara looked around as he heard the footsteps of someone who was coming towards the room. Before the door could be opened, Shambara clutched the child tightly in his arms and flew out of the window....

As Shambara flew out of the window he could hear the loud screaming and wailing from the women below in the palace. What had only a few seconds ago been a palace of great celebration had suddenly become a full fledged nightmare. Shambara smiled wickedly at people in the palace and quickly flew towards his own kingdom.

As Shambara was flying he glanced at the baby and grinned. He knew that if he had to put an end to Pradhyumna, he had to do it with his own hands. There was no point in believing his guards. Guards were not trustworthy and he was not willing to put his life in the hands of some other person. Shambara looked at the sea below as he was going towards his own kingdom and laughed maniacally. Without a second thought, Shambara dropped the baby inside the sea. As the child fell inside the water, Shambara looked arrogantly. I am supposed to be killed by Pradhyumna....Now that Pradhyumna is no more....I cannot be killed by anyone...I am invincible!


Mayawati was pacing the floor of the kitchen looking anxious and worried. Through her friends, she had come to know that Shambara had received the news of the birth of Pradhyumna. But try as she might, Mayawati could not find the King anywhere and that worried her. She believed that Shamabara would have the baby abducted and then bring it here....That was when she could save the child....But if she did not even know where the king was, how could she save Pradhyumna....Worried Mayawati continued pacing....

Suddenly Mayawati saw a flurry of activity,all over the palace. The guards stood in attention. 'The king has come....' They whispered to each other. Breathing a sigh of relief, Mayawati looked outside the kitchen. She saw Shambara come inside the palace. She had to now follow him to find the child.

The guards came inside the kitchen. 'The king wants to see you..' He whispered as he looked at Mayawati.

Mayawati looked confused. 'Me! Why?'

The guard shrugged. 'The king looks slightly...crazy!' The guard shuddered as he asked Mayawati to follow her. Mustering her courage, Mayawati followed the guard as she entered the main palace room.

Shambara was heartily laughing, looking almost giddy when Mayawati entered the room. 'Ah! Yes! You are in charge of the kitchens, is it not?' Mayawati nodded as Shambara continued. 'Prepare a feast! Today we are celebrating the most important day of my life!'

Mayawati swallowed rapidly as she asked the king. 'If I knew the reason for the king's happiness, I may be able to prepare for the feast better....'

Shambara nodded fiercely as if he was anxious to tell someone the reason for his happiness. He let out a fierce laugh. 'I have conquered death, today! I have become invincible.....'

Mayawati struggled as she tried to take in a deep breath to calm herself. 'What has Your Majesty done?' She asked in a croaked voice.

Shambara took a deep breath as he spoke happily. 'Long ago, it was prophecised that Krishna and Rukmini's first son would be the reason for my death....And today I have made the prophecy wrong!'

Mayawati found that she was unable to open her mouth. Her heart was beating rapidly as she was unable to understand anything that king said. 'What have you done?' She whispered. Shambara told Mayawati everything that he had done on the way to the kingdom.

Mayawati felt like screaming again.....Sage Narada had been wrong....How....How....could this even happen....Why did this have to happen? Mayawati felt so spent that she did not even know that she was still in the presence of the Shambara and was looking at him murderously....

Shambara was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. The look that his cook was giving him...did not feel right. Suddenly he was feeling afraid. He was about to say something, when a guard came in. 'Sir...the chief fishermen, he is here to see you!'

Almost glad that he did not have to look at the cook, Shambara hastily called the fisherman inside. The fisherman came inside with a huge plate. Shambara was looking surprised as he saw a huge fish on the plate. Shambara had never seen such a big fish in his life....The fisherman bowed to Shambara. 'My Lord! Today while fishing, I found this fish....I have never seen such a huge fish in my entire life! As you are our king, I have decided to present the fish to you as our tribute!'

Shambara smiled at the fisherman. 'Thank you! I was thinking of having a nice feast today!' He looked at his cook and nodded to her. 'Lady! Take this fish and make this as the main course for the feast today.....'

Shambara failed to notice that the cook was still looking like a thunderbolt had hit her. She did not even seem to know where she was going as she stumbled outside the main room with the fisherman following her...

The fisherman kept the fish in the kitchen. Mayawati was looking as the other cooks came and were examining the huge fish. She felt detached from everything. She had nothing left to go on.....The purpose of her life had been taken from her, not once but twice.....And both the times she had been powerless to stop it....

Mayawati felt a tear in her eyes as she felt her whole body tremble....The Gods had lied to her.....She was never going to be whole again....She would always be half.....

'My Lady!' Came a shriek from one of the cooks. Mayawati looked in the general direction of the voice, but she could not concentrate on what was being said. 'My Lady! Please come here and see this for yourself....'

Mayawati still could not bring herself to go when the assistant came forward and almost dragged her. 'You are not going to believe this!' Mayawati felt tired and had no energy even to argue with the assistant. 'Look at this!' The assistant said dramatically as she pointed at the place where the fish was kept.

Disoriented Mayawati stared at the fish but she did not understand....She blinked again and still did not understand.....Mayawati breathed in rapidly wondering whether she was hallucinating! Looking at Mayawati's stunned look the assistant nodded her head. 'Yes my Lady! There is baby....inside the fish! A human baby! A beautiful baby....'

Mayawati suddenly felt faint and she collapsed on the kitchen floor. She stared at the beautiful dark child and knew....knew instinctively what had happened...

Shambara had thrown the child in the ocean. The minute he had thrown it in, the fish had swallowed the baby....And immediately afterwards the fisherman had caught the fish and brought it here. Mayawati looked at the baby as she could not stop crying.

The Gods had brought the child here,safe and sound. Now it was all upto her. Mayawati smiled slowly....The child whom Shambara wanted to destroy was going to grow up right under his nose and he would never know it.....

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pradhyumna - Part 3 of 3

Pradhyumna looked around as the young girls in the palace were staring at him with open admiration. The girls had always followed him around making him so uncomfortable....He sighed as he concentrated on his target shooting with his bow and arrow. Practicing any weapon made him feel somehow complete....Pradhyumna wondered why....Since he had been a child, people around the palace had told him that he was the son of the maid in the palace. Pradhyumna had grown up believing it to be true. But as he grew up he learnt about weapons during his training. He could not explain it, not even to himself, how much he loved using the weapons.....It felt like he was not the son of a maid, but the son of warrior...

Pradhyumna sighed. He knew that he would never get the answers to his questions here. Nobody seemed to know anything about him. So in order to forget about all this, Pradhyumna practiced his weapons even harder. He knew that he could shoot the arrows much better than even the sons of the King Shambara.

Pradhyumna was looking at the target and was about to let the arrow go, when the wind suddenly blew. It brought to him a whiff of perfume....Something so familiar and so maddeningly close and....Pradhyumna turned as he saw the cook in the palace kitchen look at him. For a second he thought he recognized those eyes, then the memory was gone. Frustrated Pradhyumna looked around wondering why he kept having such vague memories repeatedly but he had no clue...

Pradhyumna saw to his surprise that the cook was coming towards him. Till date there were many rumours about the cook, but nobody spoke anything about her. She talked very little and usually kept to herself. But today he was surprised to see her coming forward to talk to him. As Pradhyumna studied the woman, a wave of memories tried to surface, but then it was gone before he could understand.

Mayawati the cook came forward as she studied Pradhyumna. She saw that Pradhyumna was able to use weapons with an uncanny ease....Mayawati smiled. She knew who he was.....But now was not the time to tell him the truth. He was not yet ready for it. However the time had come to begin his education.

'Pradhyumna! You are a very good archer! I have been watching you....I think it is time for your next lesson!' Mayawati continued.

Pradhyumna looked at Mayawati with surprise, his heart hammering. He had heard rumours that the cook was an expert in the art of illusion . Pradhyumna had not believed it first....Why would a person who was well-versed in the art of Maya work as a cook in the palace of Shambara? But then there were a few things about the woman that Pradhyumna could not understand. The woman never seemed to age.....There were other things too....but Pradhyumna had always ignored it.

'Next lesson? What is that?' Pradhyumna asked.

Mayawati smiled. 'If you are to fulfill your prophecy you are to know the art of illusion!'

Pradhyumna blinked. 'What illusion? What prophecy?'

Mayawati smiled. 'That is something you will know later....Now let us begin!'

Pradhyumna saw disbelievingly that the woman was indeed an expert in the art....

Mayawati was astounded as she saw Pradhyumna learn Maya. The speed at which he learnt was phenomenal. Mayawati smiled.

As Pradhyumna practiced he started having more and more memory flashes. He saw himself hand in hand with a woman....the woman looked like the woman beside him....Pradhyumna could not understand it....

Mayawati could understand Pradhyumna's confusion and she immediately stopped the classes. 'We will continue tomorrow....Practice this for now!'

Pradhyumna saw Mayawati as his vision blurred. 'Who are you?' He asked wonderingly.

Mayawati shook her head. 'The question is WHO ARE YOU?' She said and pointed her finger at Pradhyumna.

Confused, Pradhyumna walked away as Mayawati watched him.

Pradhyumna soon became an expert in the art of Maya. He knew as much as Mayawati did....

After the class Mayawati told him one day. 'Do you know who you are my prince?'

Prince? Did Mayawati just call him her Prince? Pradhyumna looked suspiciously at Mayawati as she said quietly. 'You are comfortable around weapons...That is a trait of warriors...No child of a maid would be interested in weapons....But you are....'

Pradhyumna looked sadly shrugging his shoulders. Mayawati smiled. 'You are the son of Lord Krishna and Queen Rukmini! Their first son!'

Pradhyumna looked numbly at Mayawati. He wondered whether he had heard correctly. Could be really be the son of the Dark Lord himself...Pradhyumna looked at Mayawati and realized that she was speaking the truth. 'There was a prophecy that Shambara would be killed by the son of Queen Rukmini and Lord Krishna. Shambara wanted to make the prophecy wrong and he abducted you when you were a 7 day baby...'

Mayawati told Pradhyumna everything, right up to how Pradhyumna was found inside the stomach of the fish.

Pradhyumna looked at Mayawati. ' the son of Lord Krishna?' His question was part wonder, part fear.

Mayawati nodded her head. 'I am here to fulfill my destiny!...' Pradhyumna looked at the palace where Shambara lived with his children. It was because of this demon that he was without his parents....It was because of this demon that his mother still cried for him, thinking that he was dead....Pradhyumna now knew what he had to do. He picked up his bow.

'Shambara is going to die today!' He said angrily.

Mayawati slowly nodded her head. 'Yes, I know!' There were tears in her eyes.

Pradhyumna looked at Mayawati. 'Who are you?'

Mayawati smiled. 'You are not yet ready for the answer....Now go, my prince!'

And so there was a brutal battle between Shambara and Pradhyumna. First Shambara sent his sons to fight Pradhyumna. Pradhyumna defeated all of them easily. Realizing the power of this young man, Shambara himself came out to fight. The battle was evenly matched. Anything that Shambara was able to fire, Pradhyumna cut it down before it reached him. But Shambara was also a good warrior and Pradhyumna was  not able to cause serious damage to him....Shambara turned to the art of illusion. To his surprise he found that Pradhyumna was also very adept in the art.

Slowly Shambara understood that the boy was depleting his reserves of Maya. He looked at him and shouted. 'Who are you? What do you want?'

Pradhyumna shouted angrily. 'I am Pradhyumna, the son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini! I have come to kill you and fulfill my prophecy!

Shambara looked blankly. How on earth could the boy before him be Pradhyumna....He had killed the baby himself....But here he was....Would the prophecy against him come true? In despair Shambara pulled a powerful illusion which was taught to him by Goddess Parvathi herself. He knew that it was a powerful weapon and could not be used just like that.....Shambara also knew that he had no other choice.

Indra who was watching the battle between Shambara and Pradhyumna promptly sent for Narada. 'Sage Narada! Shambara is getting ready to use the weapon of Parvathi!....The only way to defeat it is for Pradhyumna to know who he is....You have to tell him and tell him fast!'

Sage Narada raced to the battlefield and spoke to Pradhyumna who was waiting for Shambara to start  his next attack. 'Pradhyumna! Shambara is getting ready to use his most dangerous weapon.....It is a gift from Goddess Parvathi....' Pradhyumna looked panicked as Sage Narada said quietly. 'You just need to know who you are to counter this attack...Now....RECOLLECT YOUR PAST'

And so with a flash of memories, right there on the battlefield, Pradhyumna remembered about his past life...He was Kama Deva, the God of Love – his wife Rati – his mission – how he was burnt by Lord Shiva – And now he was reborn to become one with his Rati – Mayavathi!

As Shambara got ready to fire his weapon, Pradhyumna knew exactly what he had to do. He closed his eyes and let out a prayer to Goddess Parvathi. 'Goddess! I was born because of the boon you granted Rati! Now your own weapon is going to destroy me! Please help me!'

As the weapon was about to be fired, Parvathi spoke from the skies. 'Shambara! This weapon cannot hurt Pradhyumna! Long back I had granted a boon to this man's wife that she would get him back....I cannot take back the boon. I am afraid, this weapon would not hurt Pradhyumna!

Needless to say the illusion did not affect Pradhymna. When the weapon reached Pradhyumna, it turned into a lotus garland and fell on Pradhyumna's shoulders.

Pradhyumna smiled. He fired his own weapons in return and Shambara was destroyed.. He had completed the prophecy for which he was born.

Victorious Pradhyumna marched up to the palace and went straight to Mayawati. 'Rati! I am back!' Mayawati smiled through her tears, unable to say anything...


Rukmini was in the palace, when she had a sudden strange feeling. She knew that something had changed. Something had happened. She ran to the balcony wondering what it was....

There far away she saw Krishna coming towards the palace. Krishna was followed by a woman....

Rukmini blinked again. Krishna could not be there. He was here in the palace with her. Then who was it... Rukmini stared long and hard as the young man came closer. He looked like a younger version of Krishna....the same dark body and beautiful features.....But then who was he?

Rukmini watched the boy and she suddenly thought of her first born son – Pradhyumna....if Pradhyumna had been alive today, he would be the same age as this young man....Rukmini thought wistfully. Sighing, Rukmini shook her head. She looked again and saw the young man come closer. This time Rukmini could study his features better and for a moment her heart stopped still....Could it be....

'Krishna!' Rukmini called almost yelling as she ran out of the palace.

Krishna with his knowing smile followed Rukmini as she almost stumbled outside the palace.

The young man came forward and fell at the feet of the Dark Lord and Rukmini. 'Father! Mother! Please give me your blessings!'

Pradhyumna looked at the face of Dark Lord, unable to say anything more...He had been destroyed by Lord Shiva and he had now come back as the son of the Dark Lord and he was back with his Rati....Probably there was nothing more he ever wanted in this life.....

Rukmini hugged her son as she had no more doubt in her mind. By some stroke of luck her son had come back....come back to her....Back from death....