What if…. Chapter Fifteen

Vrishasena was bemused as the young men introduced themselves. Or rather, Ghatotkacha the eldest performed introductions. The others were plainly nervous.
He led them to his tent and offered them refreshments which they accepted gratefully.
“How many of you are there?” He asked.
“Er.. Just us, and four more. They are not here.” It was Prativindhya who answered.
“I see.”
An uncomfortable silence fell.
Abhimanyu cleared his throat. “So, how many brothers do you have?”
“Three, not counting you lot,” he replied. “They are all back in Anga now.”
“Maybe someday, we can come to Anga and meet them?” Asked Niramitra.
“That’ll depend on my father, but I don’t think he’ll object,” Vrishasena replied.
“We,” Prativindhya paused as he fidgeted with the goblet in his hand. “We wondered if you would come to Indraprastha someday.”
“Is that an invitation?”
They all nodded together.
“If that invitation is endorsed by your fathers, then certainly, I shall come.”
“Good,” said Abhimanyu. “You shall be in time for my baby’s birth then!”
“Baby?”
Abhimanyu nodded. “Uttara is pregnant,” said he proudly.
“Didn’t waste much time, did you?” Vrishasena asked.
The rest burst into laughter even as colour flooded Abhimanyu’s cheeks. But the tension among them dissolved in the laughter.
“I have a son too,” said Ghatotkacha. “He’s still in the camp.”
“Why didn’t you bring him over then?”
“I will, next time,” Ghatotkacha beamed. “Do you have any children?”
“Two, a son and a daughter. They are twins,”
“How old are they?” Asked Sutasoma.
“A few months old,” he replied with a reminiscent smile.
“Then we have to come to Anga. We have to wrangle an invitation from our uncle somehow!”
Vrishasena smiled, but was silent. His father might not object to his nephews, but the history of enmity with his uncles was not going to be washed away in one day or many. It was going to take a long time.

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