I cannot explain in words, how much Botu’s presence relieves me at times. I was waiting for him entire day with an anxious eagerness. Even ladies do not lead me to such an unfathomable anxiousness these days. Botu is a person with whom I can share my feelings. Sharing dark secrets hidden in some mysterious corner of my mind too becomes effortless before Botu.

Servants lighted the evening lamps sometime ago. The forest looks even darker having a small illuminated area in the middle of it. He gets down from the cart; his unhurried steps towards me annoys me. The clever Brahmin knows that. He knows how impatiently I have been waiting for him since morning. He pretends to be clueless. His pretention makes me even more impatient. He comes closer, bows before me with folded hands. I get up from my seat and enter inside my tent so that he has to follow me. I won’t give him time to take rest or wash his feet. He has to first listen to me, feel the sufferings I am going through since last couple of days and embalm the bruises in my heart. God has been kind on me the whole day while I did not hear the voice of that awkward Peggy. I do not want to miss the chance of her absence. Who knows when she is going to reappear!

“You know my king! She must be the daughter of another Brahmin whose parents might have been passed away.” – He expresses his Brahmin-like presuppositions after listening to me with his usual patience. Why are Brahmins so cunning?

“Brahmin girls are no such nymph-like beauty that they can mesmerize King Dushmanta.”

“Then she must me a heavenly nymph! They are dangerous my King! Better avoiding them than being entrapped!”

“I did not bring you here to ask for suggestion.”

“Whatever my master decides; but this could be dangerous in two ways. If I am caught by those strict Brahmins in the penance-practicing hermitage for espionage, I won’t be able to argue against them with my Royal-patronized Brahmin-power. Secondly the king may have to face Brahmins curse for mischievous practices which will cost a lot.”

His words bring a slight chill in my spine. True that penance practicing Brahmins are too vociferous when they suspect any kind of moral mischief. Who do not know about how King Bali had to leave kingdom because of showing pride as a donor? The sages Durbasa and Viswamitra will be remembered for ever for their bursting in anger time to time. Who knows the sage Kanva does not fall in the same clan? I take a pause.

But no, attraction for the girl is mightier than my fear. His suggestion turned me more polite but firmer. “You have to dig out a way my friend. Even if there is no wide road to reach the destiny, we may have to take the narrow forest path. Conquering battle is the dharma of a Kshatriya, Who does not know that the battle of winning a woman’s heart is the fiercest one? You are a Brahmin; do not know the pleasure of making love with a celestial beauty that you conquer in a battle. That is one reason I employ you for this task. I do not fear you will be attracted by her, even though her charm is comparable only with the heavenly Apsara. You do not know what women means, but you are loyal to your King! You do not want to see your King suffering from the pain of love. I am sure you will work for me, as you have always done. Go my friend; bring me more information about her. Save me from this torment.” – I stop as my voice chocks in tears – I still feel feverish as I remember the girl sitting beside the jungle pond.

The lackluster Brahmin understands my pain at least, if not anything else. His face turns serious. He tells me, “I will try, My King! Let me take rest now.”

I heave a sigh of relief. I can depend on Botu. Brahmins do not have fine taste, but they are loyal if they are recruited with proper remuneration. Once Botu promises, he will do it. He leaves the tent taking my permission. Another tent beside mine is prepared for him.


Peggy is awake as well – though not talking much like before!

He lies down inside the tent after evening meal. He changes cloths. He could be envy of a Bollywood hero if born in our time. I close my eyes for morality’s sake while he changes; what else can a good girl do if trapped in a male brain thousands of years back? Anyway cannot resist looking at him when he looks at himself in the mirror. He has an attractive moustache with beautifully curved ends – looks much better than the clean shaven face of my Joy; not really my Joy- my ex-boyfriend to be precise. To be honest, now his face seems dull in comparison with this tangy face of King Dusmantas – or mine? Love this! And what a pair a lips below this! I feel like kissing them – only if self kissing was possible! I realize the plight of the narcissistic people – It’s not possible to make love with oneself, not even a French kiss! And now he is planning to engage with another girl. I know I cannot stop him, but this is even worse than polygamy! He is planning to ditch an innocent girl I see, that too before my eyes. I feel restless. When shall I have chance to go back? I feel like crying loud.


I cannot stop my tear flowing down as I lie down on my bed – only if that forest girl knew how much she is tormenting me? King Dusmanta the all-powerful of the Land is crying for her lying in bed.

Suddenly I heard someone whispering. “Hi Lord Dusmanta!”

Her voice surprises me once again. Irritates too – who dare call me like this but that hopeless Peggy. Is she hiding somewhere inside the tent? No way am I going to tolerate her to enter my dreams like this. But – the sound comes from my own vocal cord as again she tells, “You know how much I like your face now!”

I order, “You should show respect to your king.”

Peggy remains adamant as ever – she starts giggling. “Hey you look like a king; not a complete king I mean – as long as I stay inside you. You are only a half king and you have to listen to me.” She takes a pause. “I actually wanted to compliment you this time. You have attractive lips.”

Her words upset me – do not find words to express that. How can I make this stubborn girl understand that I do not need her compliments to understand how attractive I am; the number of my queens in my palace and admirer ladies in my kingdom are enough to prove that.”

I start boiling in hopeless anger – she destroyed my plan of dreaming the beautiful unknown girl tonight. And I do not know how I shall get rid of this monstrous lady!
To be cont.