It was the day in which his life filled with darkness. Till the day before he slept with head on his mother’s lap ,hearing the stories of his brave father ,whom he believed the unconquerable warrior of Aryavartha. On that cursed day everything went upside down.He lost his father in the war. His elder brothers were also killed brutally by the enemies.His mother who was his last resort did sati in his father ‘s funeral pyre.If it was not for his granda ma,he would have also jumped into the fire along with his mother.
All of a sudden Vrishketu felt the painfull loneliness.He consoled his grandma ,and tried his best not to cry in her presence.It was too much pressure to handle for a twelve year old..He wanted to face the person who had killed his father so badly ,revenge was burning like poison in his mind..He heard from his grandpa that the war has ended and the opposition of his father won the war.
Vrishaketu went to the riverside where his father used to spend hours praying to Surya Narayan .He took a handfull of water ,keeping the most admirable figure of his father in mind he did tharpan .Opening eyelids he stared at the round figure of God Sun.There were a lot of questions reflecting in his eyes.Unable to face his innocent gaze ,Sun went to hide under the water.
Vrishketu saw one figure approaching the riverside..It must be another person who lost everything in the war he thought.The person came near him..Vrishaketu had never seen the person before ..He couldnt understand why the face seemed familiar to him.The stranger smiled at him.
The smile…He had rarely seen his father smiling.He used to be a loving father ,but strict at the same time.He recollected the moment once he saw his father at the riverside with a gloomy face,father was literally crying back then . Vrishketu told his father that he would kill all his father’s enemies and will make him smile.Father gave him a wet smile then..He felt that very strange,how this unknown person’s smile did remind him of his father’s!!
Looking deeply into his eyes the person spoke to him..” Son ,I came here searching for you..”he paused there as if struggling to get proper words to continue..”Do I know you?Your face seems very familiar to me.I thoght you also came here to do tharpan for your lost relatives … Oh ,Iam Sorry…why do I think that everyone are like me!!” Vrishketu looked at him eager to hear why did the person came looking for him..
” Son ,I am also like you..I lost my relatives in the war.Including My Jyeshth Bhrata…But the only difference between us is that I had to kill him with these cursed hands and now Iam doing tharpan with the same hands..It is absolutely meaningless..” The person broke down into tears..Vrishketu felt the situation very similar to that when he met his crying father at the riverside..Why this person is reminding of his father again and again.The thought was really disturbing..
“Why did you have to kill your brother ,If you were in such a situation you could have sacrificed your life for him!!I would have done that if I were there in your place..”Vrishketu felt confused..
“I would have happily sacrificed my life for him ,but I didnt knew that my son..I didnt knew that he was my brother.I am not defending myself..I have always seen him with my enemies from my childhood.. I counted him as the most dangerous enemy and spent a hell lot of time thinking only about his death..”The person fell down on his knees,tears falling down from his eyes..
Vrishketu saw the repentence in his eyes..He felt extremely sorry for the person.He put one palm on his shoulder.
“Dont worry ,I dont know you or your brother..But iam pretty sure about one thing that he would forgive you..You didnt do it on purpose.”Saying that he turned away from the person and about to walk in the direction of his house..Suddenly the thought occured to him.He felt an urge to know the identity of the person..
“May I know your name?”The person stood up and placed one hand gently on Vrishketu and hugged him closely..”Forgive me my son, Your father Maharathi Karn is my Jyeshth Bhrata.”
Vrishketu was shocked.His whole body was shaking.The person whom he wanted to kill ,is standing there asking for his forgiveness..He seperated himself from Arjun’s hug in a haste..He couldnt utter a single word..Giving a dark look to Arjun the child ran back to his house.
Vrishaketu never imagined a situation like this.He wanted to slay Arjun to take revenge for his whole family.He was not able to take breath when he arrived back home..There he saw 4 men and a lady waiting for him.He didnt need anybody to tell him who they are .The child didnt know what to do..He saw One of the four men was in conversation with his grandfather.”Please allow us to take him to palace..Being the son of elder brother Karna and the only surviving child in our next generation he is the only hope for us in future.Dont worry, 5 of us will take care of Vrishketu ,he is our son anyway.
How dare him say that?Vrishketu thought.without waiting for the decision of his grand father he told everyone.”I am not coming,anywhere..grand pa ,please dont let them take me”He moved closer to his grandma ,holding tight putting his hands around her waist.By that time Arjun reached there following him. He was sweating badly. Seeing Vrishketu crying and refusing to come,he felt really bad for the child.
“Jyeshth,dont compell him. He is too young to handle it. “he turned to Vrishketu.”My son ,take your own time..Ask permission from your father.I am sure he is still alive in your heart ,just as he is in mine. I will make you the greatest archer in the world..You have to rule the kingdom with all the luxuries and honours denied for your father.”
Yudhishthir continued..”Son ,your father would have defenitely wished for you to become a maharathi like him..We are leaving for now.Please let us know once he changes the decision.”he finished looking at Athirath..
Vrishketu couldnt sleep thinking of the whole incidents of the day..Pandavas whom,he considered as the greatest enemies came out to be his only remaining blood relatives..He saw his crying mother jumping to the fire. He saw his father praying to Surya narayan at the river side..Vrishketu saw himself standing at the river side staring at his father..He turned to look at him.
Vrishaketu saw the glittering earrings he always admired ..He even blamed his father for not giving him a golden armour by birth.He wondered if his father had these two by birth,why didnt he get them!!Father aproached him.gently placing one hand on his shoulder he told Vrishaketu”My son ,dont hate Arjun.He was not the one responsible for my death..Dont hate any of them..go with them..I am sure you wont regret it ever”
“But ..”before he opened his mouth to speak Vrishaketu saw his father walking away..He had a lot of questions to ask.But He was not able to raise his voice to call his father. Everyone were happy to hear the news that Vrishaketu finally agreed to join the family.They were there to welcome him when Vrishaketu came with Arjun to the IP palace..He saw his grand mother who abandoned his father in his infancy ,Vrishaketu did a formal Pranam to her..But he didn’t go anywhere near her.Even though everyone were showering affection on him he felt completely out of place in the palace. Subhadra was the Only person with whom he felt comfortable with.Her wet smile looked similar to that of his mom.He knew that she lost her only son Abhimanyu in the war and his father is one of the most responsible persons for his death..But he felt her love and caring even warmer than the others.. She never loathed him for being Karna’s son.
Vrishaketu started the archery education under the guidance of Arjun and Krishna.He got mesmerised by the charm of Krishna very soon.Even before raising a question ,Krishna used to clear his doubt..Vrishaketu was pleasently surprised with this,and he considered it as a privilege to call him uncle.But he never addressed Arjun like that,he used to call him teacher and outside the school,he tried his best to avoid eye contact with Arjun.He never responded to the kind of affectionate guestures ,but he continued to be a respectfull and obedient student.
Arjun was too disappointed at this behaviour of Vrishaketu.He approached Madhav for a solution.”Madhav ,will he be able to forgive me anytime..I do consider him as my Abhimanyu ,may be due to this reason I cant tolerate the distance between us..”Krishna smiled at his friend,he could see the heart of a father craving for the love of his son.”My friend ,I know that Vrishaketu matters to you a lot. But I cant help you in this matter. You should wait for the magician called time to perform his tricks on your son.There might be some unhealed wounds ,which cant be cured by any medicines but time.
I assure you one thing that ,gradually he will start loving you,just like he loved his father. I will tell you one thing ,whenever you interact with Vrishaketu,forget that you are Arjun,who killed his father,instead think that you are his father..It will be easy for you,as Karna is your brother,a part of your Soul,believe me he is still living in you.Once you are able to do this,Vrishaketu would start finding his father in you and I am sure he will come closer .” Arjun felt slightly relieved at these words of Krishna.
“Putr Vrishaketu, how far is your education?.I heard that you are a brilliant student”Subhadra asked Vrishaketu while serving food for him.he looked up at her with a smile.”Who told you this ,mata? I know it woul be uncle Krishna..He is very fond of me.its nothing.I am just an ordinary student.”He told her remembering the situation where Arjun tried the whole day to teach him Sabdavedhi technic..At the end of the day he was able to send one arrow perfectly aiming the sound.Krishna came near him and tapped on his shoulder saying it was done very well.But his teacher was not satisfied.
Vrishaketu felt that Arjun was rather disappointed with himself.He didnt tell any thing,Vrishaketu knew very well that his performance of the day was not impressive..His concentration kept deviating.He even felt doubt on the intention of the person who was teaching him the technic..If someone got injured,or cursed him,what would happen!!Vrishaketu never wanted to bear the burden of curses like his father..But his teacher,Arjun was so determined to teach him this dangerous technic.”where is your Mind,my son..Dont think too much when you are sitting in front of your food.Just enjoy the meals”Subhadra’s words brought him back to senses.”By the way it was not your uncle Krishna,who told me about you.It was your father.”
“My father!!!How do you know him?Did he ever come in your dreams to talk to you”Subhadra smiled at his innocence.”No,my dear son..it was not ,jyeshth bhrata Karna…Aryaputr Arjun told me about you..You used to call me mata,then why dont you call him kakashree too.He would be really happy to hear that from you.I know from the proud tone of his, He is seeing our lost sons in you. He was too proud that you were catching things very soon.”
The picture of Arjun ,who was sitting on the riverside rock with his head supporter by one palm came to Vrishaketu’s Mind..He felt it was very similar to that of his father who used to feel disappointed,at the poor performance of his elder brothers at times..He never saw him scolding them..He would give appreciation ,but only once they clearly deserved it.He even saw Vrishasena practicing the whole night ,not to disappoint their father.Vrishaketu felt a strange feeling inside him.He always obeyed Arjun ,when it comes to Archery education,because he was studying archery for the sake of his father..For the first time he felt he had to study this for himself,for his teacher who is having a lot of expectations from him..He shouldnt make Arjun disappointed anymore,Vrishaketu took that decision in his Mind.