Standing under the bright golden sunlight of the autumn, I remember it all – I am king Dusmanta, born in the family of the Bharatas, the great lunar dynasty. People believe that my ancestor was some Puranic king Chandra, whom the illiterates of the land equate with the Moon-god. I never bothered about my origin, though I am proud of being associated with such a big name. I spent a happy childhood knowing myself as one of the powerful kings of this world; also prepared myself to become a powerful one in my youth.  Yes everyone knows me to be valiant. Only one thing is…well, I don’t want to indulge myself in a negative thought now; these people are waiting for my order. I earned fame for upholding Dharma and punishing the punishable. I am ruling over a large territory, am dominant and handsome and attractive. The many qualities of King Dusmanata already made me a legend. Women in my state compare me to the god Kandarpa – the symbol of male beauty, my numerous wives find me as stimulating as Kama-the god of love. My skill in archery makes skilled hunters envious – I am good at hunting; aim at both the forest–animals and the city-women. King Dusmanta came for a hunting game here and a group of hunters as well as a small army is waiting before his tent for his order in the morning. Their presence brought me my much awaited spirit back which I somehow did not find inside the tent.

At the end of the rains when the earth dresses up in fresh green attire and when the animals of the forest roam free not seeing the sign of hunters in the territory, it is our time of pouncing on them all on a sudden. This is king’s time to prove his valiance and virility – both are best expressed during the hunting season.

I the king Dusmanta announce, “Be Shiva the God of the god’s on our side! Let us start!”

I jump on my horse. Kings are supposed to hunt sitting on the elegantly dressed royal elephant. My elephant accompanies us along with a group of elephants. But I prefer horse during hunting. Targeting the hunt from horseback and killing it from there – especially using Bow and arrow sitting on a trotting horse is difficult. And accomplishing difficult task expands the shade of a king’s vigor – vigor that is indispensable to keep hold on his territory. I need to show my vigor – blowing faster than the wind, hitting harder than the storm. None in my territory should have a doubt about the vigor of Dusmanta, the King of the kings, the Hunter of the hunters. My thunderous voice makes the army move. They follow me as I lead them towards the forest.

My force takes position surrounding the large forest tract within a short while. My people have informed about the availability of many wild animals in this area. Bear, wild boar, deer and birds should be countless here. And if we are fortunate – we will have tigers too.

To be cont.