The wood logs in the embers crackled and dulled, signalling that the blaze was dying out. The crisp mountain air made Yashodhara wrap the blanket around her new-born. Twelve years and now the labour of her love was beside her. Intense happiness flowed through every bone of her body. She was a mother. The smile never left her lips yet there was a constant tugging in her heart. She cheered herself up. It was the best day in her life. It was a special day, the full moon day of Vaisaka, the birthday of her love, also her birthday. The kingdom was celebrating, she could smell the oil of the flickering lamps, hear the fireworks as the bright flashes lit the sky.
Her Siddhartha was yet to come to her palace. Maybe he was out in the night riding his chariot. Her eyes closed involuntarily after the pains of labour.
One last look was all her wanted, he smiled as he saw her beautiful face and the sleeping innocent child. He bid a silent goodbye.
A shrill cry pierced the air. Startled she saw her baby crying. She took him to her bosom to feed him. The cries of the baby subdued and he was happily chuckling now. There was no sign of the prince. Where was he?
Putting back the baby in the cradle she summoned the guards.Her heart blazed with anger as her prince hadn’t even acknowledged his son. The guards looked at each other and bowed their heads down.
“ Where is the Prince?”
In came the charioteer with a tray of the silks and jewels of the Prince and the crown on top.
“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded.
“ Your Highness, the Prince is in search of enlightenment, He considers your son and you to be a shackle, a fetter in his journey”
This was like a whiplash on her. The music of the last decade, the smiles, the handholding, the love, the affection, the togetherness flashed before her. Why did he not bid goodbye to her? Her dam in her heart broke. She felt dizzy that he left her and held on to the bed post. The whimper of her newborn calmed and soothed her.
Overnight from a princess she became an abandoned wife, a single parent, a young beautiful woman without protection from uninvited male eyes. She prayed to Goddess Durga to give her the strength, the strength to bring up her boy on her own, Rahula, the fetter in the path of his father’s journey to nirvana.
The dawn broke, the pinks and the purples gave way to the yellows and oranges. The brightness of the sun blazing hot bore into her fair face. Silent tears dropped, but she promised herself not to cry in grief. The love she had for him will see her through, she will wait for him. The treasure he left her for will be hers one day.
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