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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pages of the Mahabharat: Drishtadyumna, Draupadi and Ashwatthaama

Note: I have taken creative liberty to distort some facts (which are, interestingly, about the myths.)

He was dressed in a white dhoti carefully tucked near his navel. The sacred thread ran down his left shoulder with the Brahma knot exactly above his dark brown nipple. His chest was moving as he placed the deer on the ground in the ashram.

"Here is the prey I got today, father." he said to his sage father who was deep in meditation.

Sage Drona slowly opened his eyes and looked at his son. He felt proud today for what he had achieved for his son. The gold anklets Ashwathama was wearing were from Drupada's treasure - the same Drupada who had denied helping him years ago. The same Drupada who Drona had ransacked using his disciples and snatched half the kingdom from.

Drona's eyes felt heavy with tears. What had he done wrong, he thought. He just saw his wife mixing flour with water and feeding her son this new form of milk. He just wanted it to be better.

"What happened, father?", Ashwatthama shook his father's arm. The silver hair on Drona's arm perfectly matched the colour of the ash smeared on the loose skin.


As the toddler walked out of the yadnya fire, it strutted its way to the king. Without his upper garment, ornaments and his crown, the king looked like a glorified beggar. An asker he was. With a strong wish that he begged to be fulfilled. He picked up the baby and looked into his eyes - "You will avenge my insult", Drupada said into the baby's left ear softly. Either the baby understood it perfectly or not at all. But it let out a giggle and reached for his father's half-grey beard. The sages gathered around the baby to sprinkle holy water on his face.

Several years later, the baby grew up to be an able-bodied warrior, Drishtadyumna. As Sage Drona sat on the battlefield howling over his son's death, the now-warrior baby held the sage by his hair and chopped his head off with the stroke of a sword. This time, blood splattered over the baby's face.


As the baby played in the father's arms, a little girl walked out of the fire. Nobody seemed to notice her. Dressed in a white silk sari, she seemed to be comfortable. Her hands lept into the air for the king's attention. The king was too engrossed getting his beard fondled. The girl pulled up the end of her sari over her head and squatted on the floor.

Little did she know that she would grow up to be Draupadi who would in fact be the crucial turning point that would eventually lead to Sage Drona's death.


Drupada and Drona were both fathers. Ashwatthama, Draupadi and Dhristadyumna were all children to their fathers. The war of Kurukshetra saw the three of them continuing where their fathers had left off.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dogs and cats: The farewell dilemma

Tomorrow I leave the city I grew up in. There's this question which repeatedly keeps coming to me. Am I a cat or a dog?

Attachments and loyalty are said to be different in a cat and a dog. A dog loves the people of the house - the way they pet him, the way they play with him. A cat loves the house, the place - her favourite corner, her food bowl.

In these weeks of farewell, I have often wondered if I am a cat or a dog... if I love the places more or if it is just the people that makes the place so close to me.

Will I miss IIT, the place or will it be the people at IIT who made it so awesome?

When I realize that almost all my friends have now left IIT Bombay, the places that
I think, for me, it's the latter. I am a 'dog' among the 'dog-cat' options. And I won't miss Mumbai as much as I would miss the people that made me what it is to me.