Text by Arshia Sattar
A roaring whirlwind tore over the rocks. I knew Tataka was inside it, changing shape and form, appearing and disappearing in the thick dust storm.
I saw the princes stand back to back and raise their weapons. Their arrows were powered by the gods, their swords gleamed and their spears whistled through the air.
I saw Rama stride towards the palace, his broad shoulders thrown back, his carriage straight and strong, his face radiant. He looked every inch a warrior but I noticed that his eyes were as deep and tranquil as a pool of lotuses. At that moment, my heart blossomed with love, as a flower does at the first touch of the sun’s rays.
I thought of the seven steps we would take together around the sacred fire and the seven promises we would make to each other. I knew that Rama and I would be together as husband and wife for seven lifetimes, as the gods had ordained – each step a promise, each promise a lifetime.
What does our love mean, Rama, if I do not come with you to the forest? What are our promises worth, the promises you and I made to each other on our wedding night far away from the ceremonies and the people and the fire and the priests and the gods? Our marriage has given us seven lifetimes together – fourteen years in a forest are nothing!