An Unexpected Twist…. Chapter Two

Vasusena reached Hastinapura after dark and went straight to his apartments without meeting anyone and as such he missed the news of Suyodhana’s disappearance. He had not wanted to meet anyone and felt relieved that neither his friend nor any of his allies came to him.
The emotional upheaval that had happened to him also meant that he noticed nothing amiss in the lack of guards outside his room as also the fact that no discussions on battle strategy happened that day.
He wanted to go back to Anga, to the comfort of his parents’ arms. In this time of upheaval, he sought to find security and peace in the familiar.
He had the perfect excuse to go too. With the war looming large, the armies of Anga had to be mustered. He had to bring his men to join Suyodhana’s army.
He looked at the carved ceiling depicting the night sky. Every room in the palace had a ceiling depicting the night sky with the moon having a prominent place. In some, the moon was shining full, smiling benevolently down as on the ceiling in the assembly hall. In some, the moon was waning and in some others, waxing.
In some, the ancestor was wrathful and in some, he was smiling. In some, the other celestial bodies were there paying homage to him and in some, he was paying homage to some unknown entity.
Vasusena had always liked the ceiling of his room which was why Suyodhana never gave this set of guest rooms to any one else but him. The ceiling had the clear night sky, indigo in colour. The stars shone brightly on it. The moon and the sun stood face to face. They both were smiling, as if sharing some secret joke.
Vasusena had often wondered about that carving. No one in the palace knew the story behind it. The moon and the sun together on the night sky seemed an impossibility, and yet, that carving seemed real.
But tonight, that carving failed to soothe him. The sight of the sun only reminded him of who he was in reality. How ironic! Thought he. He had both the sun and the moon for his ancestors! And yet, he had been mocked all his life for his low birth.
He turned on to his side to shut out the view of the ceiling. Tonight, the room seemed too small and suffocating. He rose and went to the windows and flung them wide open. He stood there at the open windows, gulping in the night air, in an attempt to ease the suffocation he felt.
He knew it was of no use. It was his heart that felt suffocated. And there was nothing he could do to relieve it.
It was then he noticed the unusual activity in the courtyard. Soldiers were running hither and thither. Duhsasana was shouting commands. Some of Suyodhana’s other brothers were mounted on horses, as if ready to move out.
He noticed with some trepidation that Suyodhana was nowhere to be seen in the midst of all this activity.


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