Thursday, June 9, 2016

Chapter 7 - Amba and Bhishma

Amba entered the Kingdom of King Shalva and happily went inside the Court of the King. She saw the king being treated for his injuries. She was about to go forward and talk to him, when his look stopped her. Shalva was looking at her with intense displeasure in his eyes. Before Amba could even understand what was going on, Shalva asked her coldly, 'What are you doing here?'

Amba looked bewildered. 'I told Bhishma that I loved you. When he heard that...' Amba smiled at how magnanimous Bhishma had been.... 'He sent a royal chariot with riches so that I could marry the man I loved....'

King Shalva looked angry and coldly at Amba, 'What makes you think I will marry you?'

Amba looked surprised and hurt and looked at King Shalva without understanding. King Shalva said haughtily, 'Bhishma took you by force from me. Do you think I will take what someone has given to me, after he had grabbed it from me...What sort of warrior do you think I am?'

Amba looked stunned and afraid. 'Shalva! What he did was without knowing that I loved you...If he knew that....he would never have....'

King Shalva looked furious. 'It does not matter to me, whether he did it knowingly or not....I lost you to him...' King Shalva said contemptuously. 'If anybody has the right to marry you, it is Bhishma...Go!' King Shalva angrily flicked his wrists. 'Go back to Bhishma and ask him to marry you! I do not wish to see your face again....'

Amba looked too stunned to speak. Numb with grief and stunned beyond words, her thoughts swirling, Amba slowly walked back to the chariot which had dropped her at Shalva's kingdom....
**********
Bhishma was waiting for the charioteer whom he had sent to drop PrincessAmba. He was a trusted charioteer and Bhishma was not worried. The thought of Princess Amba was what was worrying him....He had brought a woman without her permission. For a warrior of Bhishma's stature, that was an unforgivable crime. He knew he would not rest until he knew for a certainty that Amba was back where she belonged....

Probably deep down Bhishma felt that he had wronged Amba, or probably he had some inkling of something wrong happening, whatever the reason the normally calm Bhishma was restless. He waited for the charioteer to come...

After an agonizing wait, Bhishma's sharp ears heard the hooves of the horses entering the palace. Knowing that it could only be Amba's charioteer, Bhishma went outside the palace.

Bhishma was stunned and numb to find that not only had the charioteer returned, he had returned with Amba.

Numbly Bhishma registered the fact that Amba looked like someone had yanked the world from under her feet. She slowly staggered out of the chariot. She looked around her and saw everything and nothing. She walked as if in a trance. She focused her eyes as she saw Bhishma. She rushed forward and fell at his feet, sobbing unable to say anything.

Bhishma lifted her up and patiently waited for her to tell her everything. The princess's hands were shaking and her voice was trembling. Finally after a long time, she told Bhishma everything.
Bhishma looked aghast as Amba sobbed before him. 'I....I....' Bhishma was downcast wondering.... The suddenly his eyes brightened. 'I will speak to Vichitraviryan!'
And so Bhishma spoke to his younger brother. 'Please brother! Consider this! I brought Amba here along with her sisters Ambalika and Ambika. You have married Ambalika and Ambika. Please brother, marry Amba too!'
However for once Vichiraviryan refused to follow his elder brother. 'No brother! It is not correct!'
'But....'
Vichitraviryan raised his hands. 'Please hear me out! I know you bought Amba here for me! But she has already accepted Shalva as her husband! How can I marry her now?....I do not think it is right!'
Bhishma pleaded with his brother some more, but Vichitraviryan was firm. Finally accepting defeat Bhishma went back to Amba and told her everything that had happened.
Amba was listening to everything with listless eyes. She was no longer interested in anything....
Bhishma was pacing the floor muttering to himself when he looked at Amba again. 'Shalva! I will speak to him!'
Before Amba could even register what Bhishma had said, Bhishma was out of the palace. He called his charioteer and made preparations to go to Shalva.....
*************
'Shalva! Please listen to me!' Bhishma was in the court of a furious Shalva. 'I took the princesses of Kasi for my brother. At that time, I did not know....that Princess Amba loved you!'
Shalva huffed angrily. Bhishma bristled and then controlled himself. 'She still loves you....please accept her as your wife!'
Shalva looked coldly at Bhishma. 'I loved Amba! I fought for her, and I lost....to you! What sort of a man do you think I am? Why should I accept someone I lost. If you are so concerned about her well being,' Shalva said scathingly. 'Why don't you marry her?'
Bhishma looked coldly at Shalva. He saw the firm mouth and realized that no matter how much he asked Shalva would never change his mind. Angrily he went back to Hastinapur.
*********

Bhishma told everything that had happened to Amba. As Bhishma finished, Amba took in a deep breath and looked coldly at Bhishma and spoke with hatred. 'There is no other choice! You have to marry me now!'


2 comments:

  1. then..??? please write the next part also..i love your writing very much..

    ReplyDelete