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By Hasita Krishna

The sound of anklets echoed through the dark corridors of her mansion. As she ran through the halls to see who her suitors were, the walls looked at her in awe - joy wasn’t a very common expression in that castle. She could have counted the number of times she’d laughed out loud, or spoken to anyone, or been happy in general. Krishnaa was an unwanted child, too dark and too ungraceful to be a princess. Her brother loved her, but the tender touch of a mother, she never knew.
Krishnaa had been born to change the world. She was told that she alone would be more powerful than all the warriors alive. As she ran through the main corridor now, she wondered who indeed would be the man who would hold her hand, the hand of destiny itself. Would he be strong, with eyes that burned fiercely? Would he be dark, like her? Would it be Arjun, the most powerful man on earth, or would it be Duryodhan? For reasons she didn’t know yet, she hoped it would be neither.
The minstrel was exhausted. He had shown the princess thousands of pictures of suitors from all over the world, but there she sat with her characteristic pout. No one had so much as gotten a second glance from her. In a final attempt, he took out the one last portrait he had. He had been forbidden from bringing the picture, let alone showing it to her. But he had no choice.
  Time lost its significance as she sat looking at that picture. The man wasn’t dark. He certainly did not have fierce eyes. In fact, they looked like deep pools of melancholy. Yet, there was an arrogant air about the man; the look of someone who has been through a lot, but knows that he can survive. It was in that seemingly endless span of time that she fell in love with him. He was the eldest of the Pandavas, abandoned so early that he knew not of a mother, except as someone to be loathed. He was Karna, and she did not know then that she would never be allowed to marry him.
Draupadi, she was to be. She would live to be the queen of the earth. She would marry five men, each one a noble warrior, yet she wouldn’t love a single one of them. Her words would drive them into action; the greatest battle in history would thus be fought. She would be the reason why a thousand women would be widowed on the plains of Kurukshetra. She would also be Sairandhri, a chambermaid. She would be gambled away. She would be humiliated in public and would spend her days in a forest far away from royalty and excesses. After all of this, she would die alone. Those she lived with wouldn’t love her, and those she loved would be too far away.
What she did not know then was that the sands of time had changed patterns, with that one decision to fall in love with the wrong man. She would humiliate him, just to deceive her husbands and hide her true feelings for him. The more she longed for him, the further he would be gone onto the enemy’s side.
As she kept looking at him, blissfully ignorant of what would happen, she scorned at the words of the chambermaid who had once told her that love is complicated. If only she knew then that she had committed the greatest of all sins at that very moment, would she have done things differently?
For falling in love had been quick, painless and simple.  Falling out of it, however, would be another issue.


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