Thursday, April 2, 2015

B for Betrayal

Do people really Betray or are they victims of their circumstances? Whatever the answer, the feeling of being betrayed in love never goes away.

Here’s a tale from the Mahabharata which features a tale of betrayal and how circumstances led to it.

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Amba’s heart pounded loudly as she waited for her beloved in his chamber. 

How happy he will be to see me back, she thought. 

The handsome King Shalya had stolen her heart the first time she had laid her eyes on him. His voice had been mesmerizing and his looks captivating. She could possibly have no place for any other man in her life. 

How dare Bhishma abduct her and her sisters to be married off to his cousin?  

Just then, Shalya entered the room limping, bandaged and in obvious pain. The dual with Bhishma had left him wounded physically, but it had also left him sour and vengeful. He looked at Amba, as graceful as a swan, as beautiful as ever, looking at him with pain in her eyes. It was easy to fall in love with her. For a moment it melted his heart, but the image of her being taken away by Bhishma, and his own humiliation at Bhishma’s hands, came flashing before his eyes and hatred filled his heart all over again.

‘Why have you come here? You married Vichitraveerya, didn’t you? He turned to look away from her, lest looking at her face soften his feelings for her.

Amba rose and walked towards him, ‘How could I, my love? I could never betray you and marry another.’

Shalya laughed cruelly in response. ‘Betray?’ He turned to face her again, looking at her accusingly, ‘You seemed too happy to be abducted by Bhishma.’

‘No, my love. My sisters may have given in to Bhishma’s might and married that cousin of his, but I defied him and demanded that I should be brought back to you… for I love you with all my heart. Please accept me as your wife,’ she said placing a loving hand on his shoulder.

‘Go away Amba,’ he thundered putting up his hand to stop her advance, and the anger in his voice frightened her. ‘I cannot marry someone promised to another man. Not only that, Bhishma forcefully abducted you.’ His anger then turned to rage as he recalled how he had been humiliated by Bhishma, ‘When I look at you, all I can remember is that humiliation. You betrayed me.’

And with that he strode out of the chamber, leaving Amba alone and weeping. She wondered if she had indeed betrayed him or he was now betraying her by accusing her thus.

For Amba, this was the just the beginning, a tale of two betrayals and more to come, that would lead her to end her life and be reborn again with more vengeance than history had ever seen.


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Who do you think was to be blamed? Who betrayed whom? Share your thoughts. 

Linking back to the A to Z challenge.

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This day...Last year...B for Believe

40 comments:

  1. This piece is a lesson. Anger inflicts pain. Betrayals, dissent, hatred are all born from it. Thanks for writing this. I love the way you are researching every word.

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    1. well said Arpita...Anger is indeed a destructive emotion that is the root cause of so many other emotions!

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  2. I agree, the tale holds a lesson for life. Betrayal is a very popular and powerful motif for stories, and you have used it well.
    Here's my link: http://www.devikafernando.com/blog/blogging-from-a-to-z-challenge-letter-b-broken-heart

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  3. I definitely don't think it was Amba who betrayed Shalya but it was the other way around. Isn't it? She came back for him but what did he do?

    We have chosen the same word today :D Read my post Betrayed

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    1. yes...that's right, but unfortunately Amba directed her anger at Bhishma for kidnapping her and it is his destruction that she sought!

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  4. Interesting post! Refreshed my history and gave me an idea to weave a tale for my six year old

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  5. It was definitely Shalya who betrayed Amba because he shunned her for no fault of hers. Wonderfully narrated. Loving these small gem of stories from Mahabharata.

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    1. Thanks Prasanna! and I'm loving narrating them albeit with a little bit of spice and tadka!

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  6. I think Shalya betrayed Amba! His betrayal was coloured with anger, humiliation and defeat.
    A story told so well :)

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  7. I was not aware with this piece of story. What happened next? Who was she reborn as?

    Waiting for the next post eagerly.

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    1. Amba was reborn as a eunuch- Shikhandi and s/he sided with the pandavas in the kurukshetra war..it was s/he who killed Bhishma.

      Btw, this is not a series, so u may not find the next part tmrw...:)

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  8. Wow! I had never heard of this piece from Mahabharata. Great post and I will hop over to your letter A now :)

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  9. Well, the guy's a jerk, obviously. I have encountered this in other epics as well, where even though the girl is not married, her love rejects her because she is courted by or promised to another man. It was a man's world, after all...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. hahhaha...Jerk! it is the cutest thing I've heard about Shalya...! it is a man's world indeed!

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  10. I think Shalya betrayed Amba. Misdirected rage on both parts. Shalya was humiliated by Bhishma and vented his anger on Amba. Amba humiliated by Shalya and vented her anger on Bhishma, In the end no one won.

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    1. That's a perfect explanation Suzy! misdirected rage indeed!

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  11. I am not aware of such pieces of story. Anger or betrayal both can be very painful.

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  12. All our mythological stories are full of such episodes, women being used for power play and favouritism...used as pawns. Amba was a victim of circumstances.

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    1. true janaki..women have been manipulated and used as sacrificial lambs since time immemorial.
      Thank you!

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  13. I would say it was Shalya's bitterness that was responsible for this betrayal. And this betrayal would fill Amba's heart too with bitterness. Infectious.

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    1. Yes Chicky, Bitterness and Betrayal do go hand in glove!

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  14. Betrayal. What story can be written without it? I use it often as it allows me to introduce new conflict.

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    1. true...where there is love, the feeling of betrayal could often sneek in. Thanks stephen!

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  15. perfectly said! We both have written the same word .. hmn :)

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  16. It definitely seems like Shalya betrayed Amba! Sometimes what looks bad on paper isn't what it seems at all.

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  17. This is such a powerful story in the epic. Of course every story of Mahabharata is powerful in its own way, but this one sets the stage for such important events that will be unfolded in the future. Your A-Z series is very interesting, Titli, and you are doing wonderful job retelling these stories!

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    1. Thanks Beloo! This epic has captured my imagination like no other! and though some incidents may not have happened exactly as I have described them, I have taken liberties with constructing events and feelings according to my imagination, keeping the plot intact. thanks for your appreciation!

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  18. Mahabharata is full of many interesting subplots ... loved this one.

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  19. Women have always been treated like puppets throughout history it seems. But a scorned woman can be so dangerous. Just goes to show that men never learn ;)
    Beautifully presented story Titli. Loved reading it

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    1. Thank you for reading! I found this aspect of Amba's life very fascinating...

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At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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