A GAME OF FRIENDSHIP

pagade

A pleasant sunny morning; a soft breeze rustling the leaves and carrying the scent of summer, had found its way through the castle of Hastinapur.
Along came Karna, a fierce warrior and the best friend of the Kaurava King, Duryodhana.
Expecting his friend to be in his room, Karna knocked on the door of Duryodhana’s room.
He was welcomed in by Bhanumati, the wife of Duryodhana.

“What a surprise! Please come in. Welcome to the palace!”

“Thank you, your Highness! I hope by God’s grace you have been well”

“Yes Karna, everyone in the Kingdom of Hastinapur is sure to be well when we have such a caring King”

Karna smiled and nodded his head in agreement.

“It doesn’t appear like the King is here, is he?”

“No, your friend left early in the morning on a Royal city round.”

She was alone in the castle.

Karna took to leaving but she asked him to stay for a while as she was bored and wanted to play the board game of ‘Pagade’.

“Please feel comfortable to stay. He should be back by the time Sun hits the zenith. We shall play Pagade until then to pass the time”.Β 

Karna agreed and they sat down at the table. She served him a cup of fresh fruit juice and then they began dicing. Pagade was a royal game. Princes and the princesses grew up playing them. So Bhanumati clearly was good at it. But she was astonished to see Karna playing it exceptionally well. He was brought up by a family of fishermen and he had learnt the game only after he became the best friend of the King. He had grasped the game so well that he went on to defeat Bhanumati.

“No! How is this possible? You can’t be this good!”. Her tone indicated that she was flabbergasted.

“It must’ve been by fluke that I won. Let us play one more time”. He said in a humble voice.

As the dice rolled, the sandclock had somersaulted several times.

After having been beaten for about seven times, she could no longer stand it. It was apparent that his skills were of no match.

“I am bored of this Karna. It is clearly not my day today. Luck must’ve forgotten me. Let’s call it a day now.”

“With all due respect, Why don’t you just admit that I am better than you at this? Come on, finish this game. There is no luck in this world. It is just a conceived illusion that losers choose to blame upon”. Karna’s expression suggested that he was enjoying his wins and could go on.

She laughed at him and stood up. Karna saw what was coming next. He tried to catch her hand even as she overturned the board. Somehow his bracelet entangled itself to her delicate waist chain and the pearls on the chain fell all over the place.

There was a thud at the door as someone had entered the room.
Karna and Bhanumati were appalled.
Duryodhana was in front of them.
There was a moment of tension in the room.

Duryodhana had entered the scene to witness his friend holding his wife’s hand and her waist chain broken on the ground.

What do you think ran in everyone’s mind?

What explanations were they to give about the situation?

Imagine yourself in each of their shoes.

One could hear the distant sound of the river Ganga if one listened to; there was so much silence in the room.

Duryodhana broke the silence by asking Bhanumati, “Do you want me to repair it or get you a new waist chain?”.

His face beamed in happiness to see his best friend after a long time.

He bent down and embraced Karna.

It was the happiest room in the world at that moment.

There is a reason why mythology still prevails in this modern 21st century. Our ancestors have paved down the values of life for us through the mythic stories. Don’t you think it is an obligation for us to learn something from this?

Life is but a game of relationships. One of the most important ones being Friendship. Those who manage to respect each other’s feelings and become capable of seeing things through and beyond the boundaries of mere sight, win at this game.

Through this figment of my imagination on the backdrop of Mahabharata characters, I wish friendships and trust were as pure and pristine as they used to be once upon a time. Let us hope that we will be blessed to have such friendships. More importantly, let us be those friends.

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