Topics: Duryodhana, Krishna, Arjuna Pages: 8 (3164 words) Published: February 29, 2012




‚I asked for one, you gave me five and yet none. A wife wants a husband and a mother a son, You gave me five for both and yet none. I changed not once, but five times for my love, They budged not once; shamed five times was their love. I gave not once, five forever times for my love, They gave not once, many times to their other love, And in the end when we run for the heaven, You make me die, while those five survive. When I ask why, you blame me of my untrue love, But I smile at you, happy to be freed of those five shackles.‛

I was probably five years old when I first heard of Mahabharata. My grandfather had made me sit in his lap and then told me the episode of the legendary bridegroom-choice ceremony ‘Swayamvara’ of Princess Draupadi. As per his version, Draupadi, a woman beautiful and witty beyond description, was desired by not just the mortal kings but also the immortal Gods of Heaven. King Draupad, Draupadi’s father had laid down an almost impossible task in front of these kings and Gods, in order to win Draupadi. The task involved picking up a mystic bow from the ground and hitting the eye of a revolving fish with an arrow, only by looking at its reflection in the water. One after the other, each king tried his luck but only in vain. Forget the hitting, not one could pick the bow from the ground. There was some supernatural force from within that kept pulling the bow towards the ground. Looking at all this, Draupadi got a bit tensed. What if there was no one who would be able to complete the task? Will she remain unmarried all her life? While I was listening to his tale, in my mind, I knew that there had to be a hero. It was always like that. There is a heroine who is always in trouble and then out of nowhere, a young and handsome hero comes and saves her life. And then they get married and live happily ever after. After listening to a series of Indian mythological stories - Nala and Damyanti, Seeta and Rama, Rukumani and Krishna, Dusyanta and Shankuntala etc. my mind had been programmed to think in this particular fashion. However, to my disappointment this story did not end in a similar way. The entry of the mighty hero Arjuna, his accomplishing the almost impossible task and finally winning Draupadi’s heart and hand both went well with my above logic. But the latter part of the episode did not. Instead of getting married only to Arjuna, Draupadi married his four brothers as well. I had to ask my grandfather what made her do so? A fast recap of my own family weddings and the ones shown in the movies made me realize that no one had ever done something like that. To that my grandfather explained, ‚Draupadi had prayed for a perfect husband with five distinctive qualities. However, God could not find one such man on earth. So, instead he asked her to marry five different men, each having one of the five qualities.‛ Now let me tell you this is just one of the versions that my grandfather mentioned. There are several other versions which have varied explanations for Draupadi’s act of polyandry. Getting back to the incident, an innocent little face of mine looked up into his eyes and asked, ‚Wow! Is it like I wanted just one chocolate and got five instead?‛ Grandfather shook his hand and asked me a question, ‚Who according to you is the perfect heroine in Bollywood? Also, what five qualities of her make her the perfect one?‛ To that I jumped out of his lap and started singing ‚Mera piya ghar aaya ho raam ji...‛ Definitely, Madhuri Dixit was the perfect one. She had a beautiful smile, lovely curls, a nice and slender body, versatility and she was the best dancer in Bollywood. Though at that point of time, I was too young to point out all five. My grandfather helped me out with few of those points. He then explained, ‚Now consider five different women; one has her smile but not the rest. One

has her...
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