The mystery and excitement surrounding love has to be experienced to be known. Romance blossoming between two people is the tenderest of emotions and can often knock one off their senses!
This is one such tale of the tender romance blossoming between a beautiful princess and a prince disguised as an ascetic* (Yati).
“Beautiful,” said Arjuna, lost in Subhadra’s mesmerizing eyes.
“The food?” teased Subhadra.
“Ummm…hmmm” said Arjuna, his gaze transfixed on the fair maiden before him.
Subhadra broke out into a laughter. His reverie broken, Arjun was visible embarrassed.
“I mean, tasty, very tasty,” he clarified with a silly, shy smile beginning to form on his lips.
She had been serving him food and tending to his needs ever since he had come to Dwarka as Krishna’s guest. He had been living as a yati*, and she did not know who he was. He had been smitten by her beauty ever since he had first seen her. He loved the attention she had been showering on him.
“Tell me about your travels yatiraj*, tell me about the beautiful places you have visited,” she would urge him with the innocence of a child. He would answer them all patiently, and she would spend hours listening to his charming voice.
An expert charioteer, the horses obeyed her to a fault. He had seen her command the six horses chariot as effortlessly like one would pluck flowers from the garden. When she rode, her hair would fly all over her face making him go weak in his knees. Her knowledge and expertise in several skills was amazing. As the days passed, he had begun to fall in love with her.
Last evening, he had been hiding behind the trees watching her play blindfold with her friends, and she had caught him, imagining him to be one of her friends.
“Caught you”, she had screamed in joy, wrapping her hands around his back. Her soft palms rubbed against his skin, and he felt a bolt of lightning course through his body. As she removed the blindfold and saw it was him, she had run away embarrassed.
Oh! How he wished he had stayed locked in her arms forever!
He almost thought she wouldn’t turn up today, but she had, and she also had the nerve to tease him!
Maybe she liked him too. He must know.
“Subhadra,” he said, unsure of what he must ask her, “I have heard that you are in love with someone,” wondering if she would bite the bait, “Would you like to tell me about him?”
Subhadra’s blushed, her face turning the deepest shade of pink. How had the yati known what lay confined in her mind? Maybe he was all-knowing. Should she tell him who had stolen her heart? Perhaps he would bless her and grant her a boon, and she would be united with the love of her life.
“Arjuna,” she said, turning to face away from him, lest he saw the longing in her eyes.
Arjuna was shocked. Did she see through his disguise? How could she have known it was him? Did Maadhav tell his sister who he was?
“Yes?” he asked, thinking she had called him.
“Arjuna, the greatest archer ever, has stolen my heart, oh great yati,” she said unabashedly. “I have secretly nurtured the dream to marry him and have a son like him, who will be the best archer in the world.”
Arjuna was pleasantly surprised. Subhadra was in love with him? But when had she seen him?
“Subhadra”, he said, trying to suppress his happiness and yet keeping up the pretense, “Have you met Arjuna?”
“No, yatiraj,” she said still looking away, “But I have heard about his lovable qualities and beauty from my brother. Bhratasri says, he is as handsome as he is valiant; he is as charming as he is skilled, and he is as loving as he is dutiful. Bhratasri cannot stop talking about him and I am always eager to hear more,” she said still blushing.
Subhadra had fallen in love with him without even seeing him?
The thought made him incredibly happy!
Emboldened, he decided to tease her further, “Subhadra,” a mischievous grin adored his beautiful face, “If I could call Arjuna here, right now…”
She suddenly turned to face him, her heart pounding with joy. “Do you know him? Is he in Dwaraka?
“Yes he is,” answered Arjuna, “and he is listening to the most beautiful woman in the world tell him how much she loves him.”
This day...last year....R for Romance