Sunday, November 25, 2007

Death of Siddartha - Chapter 3

My life has been a fable to me. A series of stories. Bedtime stories merging with reality. As I grew up, I learned to differentiate between the real and the unreal.

I was born into the Gauthma gotra of the Shakya clan. My father was the commander in chief of the clan. Ours was the prominent family in Kapilavastu. The ruling of it fell upon my father, King Suddhodana.

I have no recollection of my mother. She died 7 days after my birth. I have learned about my mother from Ma. Mother revealed herself to me as bed time stories.

It was my mother who introduced me to death; the finality to an existence; but it was Ma who kept me away from being engulfed by its concept.

'Did she die because of me, Ma?' I had asked. Lying on the wooden bed, cushioned with cushions filled with yak hair, my head on her lap. I was five.

From where I lay, I could see out the window. The dusk was approaching and the palace guards were already lighting the torch around the compound. Ma's fingers stroked my curly hair.

She leaned forward and kissed my forehead.

'No, Gautama, you were the easiest birth a woman could ask for. You never gave her any trouble. She was a fortunate mother to have you. ' She said.

I smiled. I had no recollections of my mother. I have seen a painting of her in my father's bed chamber.It showed a young woman in flowing clothes, the clouds behind her curling and flowering plants around her. Her face seemed the same as many I have seen in the silk scrolls of the traders who came from beyond the mountains.

'Maya used to dream of your coming.' Ma continued.

She had noticed my silence.

'Really?' I asked.

' Yes Gautama, you were the reason for her life and once you were born, her karma was finished and mine started.'

'Is that why she died ? , because she had completed what she had to do in life? ' I asked.

'Yes, Gautama'

'What is life, Ma?' I asked.

Ma was silent for a while. I waited for her answer. Looking up, I saw her looking out the window and watching the lite torches lining the palace walls.

' Go to sleep now child. You are destined to lead the Shakyas, like your father and become a great leader, perhaps even a king.'

A king.

She was just parroting what has been told to me a hundred times, since my birth. The destiny that was in store for me revealed by Sage Asita to my father. I was being lead through my life like the goat taken for sacrifice. My fate foreseen, written and decided.

I closed my eyes. Waited for that sleep which never came.

I felt Ma gently lift my head from her lap and lay it on the pillow. I felt my body being covered by the thick peshwani blanket. I heard her withdrawal from my room. I heard her sigh and the creak of the bed in my father's chamber as she sat on it.

'Is he sleeping?' I heard my father ask Ma. His voice gentle. I imagined him next to her, his hands on her shoulder.

' Yes'

'I heard his questions.' my father said, ' Iam grateful for your presence here.'

There was silence. Outside I heard the shuffling footsteps of the guards. My eyelids felt heavy.

' Maya has not left him. She still envelopes him'

My fathers words echoed within me as I succumbed to the night


Ziah said...

The flashback is quite interesting!:) I liked the part where he wonders about his mother's death and life. Now I'm quite curious as to where are you taking this... :)

Madhumita. said...

Poignant. Where is the rest?

Thinking aloud said...

***A series of stories. Bedtime stories merging with reality.***

interesting tys...sad too..

Bubba Free Rain said...

Tys: this is excellent, limpid and lyrical. you've really broken through here. bold thematic choice. keep it going.

Sahefa said...

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Ziah said...

Garfield 2 style - Can I have some more please???? (*makes big eyes*)

You competing with me on story stretching?? Get on with the programme dude! :)

Sahefa said...

Do read my latest post!!!!

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--xh-- said...

I hope you will treat us to the rest of thsi story one day... waiting for that day.

Vidya said...

*poke* is this blog still alive?

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JuXtApOsEd_BlOgGeR said...

firstly...u are getting a lot of spammershit in ur comments...secondly, where is the rest?nice work happening here.

diana_soriano84 said...

Good writing, mister!
If you want, C&LH magazine can publish some of your creation.
Please e-mail me to the address:
Daniel Dragomirescu, editor-in-chief of Contemporary Literary Horizon, an independent and multicultural magazine.

11thoughts said...

In blogger, you have an option to set the posts in reverse chrono order. that would work better for this purpose of yours. good stuff.

Hemal Shah said...

I quite like the mystery that is being developed and really liked the flash back! keep it coming tys!

Siddhartha Joshi said...

Wow...this is really great :) I am completely enjoying the series.

Though most of us perhaps already know the story, it's still so interesting to read the fresh first person account!