Sanya Mehta

she was a child of the earth.
beauty, wildness, mystery in her veins
she grew up a princess
grew up educated, fierce and loyal
then came the day where she knew it was going to change forever
he came
like a miracle she thought at the time (she isn’t quite sure now)
won her hand (maybe her heart too)
she thought this could be it
he could be the one
she didn’t know what came with him (or rather who)
she didn’t know she would be shared
like an object
maybe she felt humiliation, embarrassment (we would never know, the historians rarely focus on a woman)
so she stayed with one brother a year
and was passed on to another (she couldn’t leave, maybe she didn’t want to)
the five brothers were heroes
all hailing from the gods
what was she compared to them? (a woman, they thought; a child of nature itself, she whispered)
they told us that she loved them all equally (they didn’t tell us what kind of love)
she ruled for a while
an empress
compassionate, merciful and knowledgeable
they played a game
a game that would decide the lives of hundreds (the life of one, she thought)
the eldest played (the eldest born was always the best, they assumed, they were so so so wrong)
he staked everything (greed is a dangerous thing)
his brothers, his kingdom, his wealth (his dignity)
he lost them all
finally he staked her (some people thought he could, he was the husband of course, he owned her didn’t he?)
he lost
he lost
he lost
(the horror settles in)
she finds out her fate
a slave
she questions him (of course she does)
the enemy (though we are still not sure who that is but for now it is duryodhan) sees red
(she dare question the game, the men, the king, the ones in power)
she is dragged into court by her hair
they call her unchaste (as if she had a choice, as if she would willingly marry five brothers)
duryodhan commands to remove her garments (her last shred of dignity, she thinks)
her husband(s) fail to protect her
she prays
she prays
she prays
(he answers)
another queen walks in (maybe she knows, maybe she understands, maybe she just wants to save her husband from the wrath of a woman, after all hell hath no fury like a woman scorned)
the king (who remained quiet all this while) gives her two boons (maybe he knows the anger of a goddess)
she asks
she asks
for her husband(s)
for their wellbeing
(never for her, nothing for her)
he asks for a third (wish? request? a choice?)
she refuses
(kshatriya women only ask for two. they can’t be greedy. their men anyways are)
they leave
but another proposal is offered
another game
the eldest accepts
(doesn’t he learn? she thinks)
she can only watch as they are sentenced to twelve years of exile
she is abducted
they let the abductor go
(he is related to us, he is family, they say)
(so am i, she wants to scream)
(she can’t)
another man full of lust falls in love with her,
her beauty is well known among the lands but not her intelligence, not her worth.
(sins are present in every man, she thinks)
she refuses (she is loyal)
he doesn’t take no for an answer (are we surprised?)
he touches her
(when will my suffering end, she thinks)
she runs to court
demands justice
the eldest does nothing
(he never does, he is the embodiment of righteousness)
she stays with the other women during the war
(women don’t fight wars, and they certainly don’t start them)
it is as tragic as all other wars
she loses her siblings
her children
she vows revenge in the only way she knows (she is a woman after all)
she vows to fast to death
her offsprings are avenged
her wrath subdued
after the war
her husband(s) retire to the mountains
she follows them
(she is a good wife)
out of them all
she falls first
the eldest says she fell because she preferred one to all others
(disloyal, unfaithful)
she ascends to heaven
she is a goddess
she is a warrior
she is draupadi.

1 comment

  • This poetical mass has all the glory that has been associated to the life and name, ‘Draupadi’, and a poetry piece, of the same title, written by Shreesham Pandey, has put, in the exact dramatic and exemplary depiction of surrealism, the essense and expression of the historical-figure of Draupadi. Great.

    Sohail 'Zanab'

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