Gargi and Rajni in the Forest
Bhanu had the vision of that prisoner again. But he could not figure out who it was, except his eyes looked familiar to him, or may be the tears. Bhanu started having restless nights and days that resulted in mistakes—mistakes that he started making in his daily chores, which angered Sunaina, but she didn’t punish him. Well, because, often magic affects your body a lot, it weakens you physically. But, Bhanu or Prince Rudra Narayan now gets beaten up almost every other day. Well, that’s not bothering him much now, what’s bothering him is a hawk, well not exactly a hawk, because a hawk can’t have that red beak. The beak of that bird was not just red but Blood-Red, as if someone has painted the lips with blood. But that’s not it, what’s even weirder is that Bhanu is now seeing this bird almost every other day. After Sunaina has gone out with her cat, the bird comes and sits on the window sill. Bhanu had tried to shoo it away a lot of time, but he had failed every time. It seemed to him as if the bird is memorizing every detail of the room. Bhanu had never seen a bird like this before.
That day was, however, different, the bird didn’t sit on the window sill, instead, it flew inside the whole roam, and Bhanu didn’t say anything. “At least someone is enjoying freedom,” thought Bhanu. Before moving out of the room, the bird came and sat near Bhanu’s feet and looked at his chain for a long time, Bhanu thought, may be the bird looked sad, but soon shrugged it off. “A bird cannot possibly be sad, can it be?” Bhanu asked himself. Before, he could get an answer the bird flew out of the room to almost to the core of the forest. There on a tree, it sat for a moment when a woman, wearing a red saree, arrived. She was around twenty-eight or twenty-nine may be she came with a dead bird, a few dry leaves and wood. Well, she also had few plants and leaves with her, which was not dry. She kept everything on the ground and looked up. Soon the bird came down, and after a moment there was no sign of the bird, instead there stands another woman, a bit younger than the other, bruised all over her body. She was wearing a brown color saree, the way she was carrying the saree, it seemed it’s not just a saree or a cloth; rather it seemed to be a uniform. Both of the women’s clothes were soiled and crumpled, torn out here and there, which proves that they are having a tough life; may be they are out for a long time. Soon, the woman, who looked younger, hugged the woman-in-red, and said, “Gargidi, I missed you. I have so many things to tell you, I can’t see the princes going through so much pain.” Gargi caressed the other woman and said, “I will listen to you dear, but first let me cook dinner for both of us, we both are hungry. With an empty stomach, we can’t fight a battle.”
Well, before proceeding further, let’s have a brief introduction, about Gargi. Gargi’s mother died when she was very young, and her father was a Vaidya or a physician, who once went out in search for certain plants, and never returned. Since, then Rajni’s father, the Acharya of the Gurukul had treated her like his own daughter. She was quite a geek and a bookworm during childhood, she used to talk very less, and except for Pratap and Rajni didn’t have many friends. Rajni was like a younger sister to her. Rudra Narayan, the most popular student of the Gurukul never noticed her properly. But she had always noticed him, behind her books, while studying, and even while praying. It was not that Rudra Narayan was rude but Gargi was almost invisible. Even when Rudra Narayan tried to have a conversation with her, Gargi used to get nervous and stammer a lot that Rudra Narayan used to think that maybe he is causing some kind of embarrassment to the girl. Gargi was all alone in the class because both Pratap and Rajni were her juniors and belong to a different class. Gargi left Gurukul on the day Rudra Narayan left, but on a different time, on a different path.
Gargi had always wanted to be a Vaidya or a physician like her father. So, Gargi went to the Vaidya Ashram, to the East and Rudra Narayan towards his kingdom to the North. While studying there she received the news of the Acharya and Rajni along with the news of Gurukul being burned down, but almost a year after the incident. As soon as the news reached her she left the Vaidya Ashram, a good decision on her part because soon that too was closed because the Queen thought spending on Vaidya Ashram is a waste of money. Instead, money should be saved to make the army stronger and a few more are needed for their luxury and to spend on the king’s travel expenditure.
Gargi soon found out Rajni in a wretched condition, with only Pratap Narayan standing by her as her support. Not a good support although because he too was a prisoner then. Pratap’s condition too made her sad. Her only two friends were in a wretched condition, and the man she would steal glances secretly, he is missing.
Soon, she and Rajni set out to find Rudra Narayan. Rajni had the power to change her shape to a bird. It gave them an advantage, after three-four years-long search they found out about Rudra Narayan, now they just need a plan to free him from the wicked Sunaina. Gargi and Rajni know they will and they can free Prince Rudra Narayan from his captivity and slowly they are getting themselves ready for that.
Slightly far away in the tower, amidst the same jungle, Prince Rudra Narayan was yawning and massaging the feet of his mistress like every night, unaware of the fact in the same forest, two women are making a plan that would free him from this slavery, from this captivity.
to be continued…