A light rain fell. Fine mist of droplets. Cooling the night air, soaking the ground. Muffling our progress.
Chandra clung on to me as we raced to my unknown destination.
Surprisingly I was calm. The act once committed had purged away all sense of uneasiness I had earlier felt about it. I had expected to feel a sense of guilt or some amount of remorse for my seemingly heartless act. Yet I felt exhilarated . I felt like a caged bird set free.
I felt alive.
All my life I seem to have lived a life that seemed contrived. A life that was always lived in half measures. A life planned out by my father, lived by me.
I have questioned his intrusions. Not directly, but through Mahaprajapati, my foster mother. She who bestowed upon me her abundant love to repel the shadow of my mothers death.
It was through Ma that I had learned of my birth, the predictions and my father's inner turmoil. The stories had took on an aura of mysticism to keep me, then a little child, interested. Today I knew that theres an expectation that, somehow the birth and life of a privileged one should be different and more wondrous than that of an ordinary child. Today, at 29, Iam aware that my birth was no more or no less wondrous than the birth of a healthy baby anywhere in the world.
I was born to Maya, wife of Suddhodana, king of the Sakhyas. I was born , Ma told me, at the foot the glorious Palpa Mountains, in the Lambani groves. My mother was on her way to her parents place to have the delivery. This was our custom. My mother went into labour in the Lambini groves , much to the panic of her companions. They were forced to perform the delivery there and then. My mother held onto the low lying branch of a tree and pushed me out into the world, standing up. This particular type of delivery is not unusual in the hills, in fact, Ma told me that, it probably aided in the fast and painless delivery.
I must have been a perfectly formed baby. Later on Ma's version of my birth used to alter, depending on her mood, and my enthusiasm. She told me stories, which used to delight my youthful imagination. Stories about how I started walking from the time I was born, how from each step I took , a lotus bloomed.
To Ma, I could do no wrong. I was her ideal of perfection. Later I gathered that there was nothing unusual in her sentiments; to every mother, their child is the biggest miracle.
The cold wind chilled my body through the thin shawl that was wrapped around me. The fine mist of the rain had soaked through my clothes. I hopped that Chandran is warm behind me, protected by my body from the elements.
Kantaka rode on.
A man's life as it stands today is a sum total of all his actions and deeds. These actions and deeds are influenced by his experiences. The experiences in turn are perceived through his senses, which are filtered by his mind .
Today Iam running towards something, rather than away. I seemed to have been prepared by everything and everyone around me, for this day. I found comfort in that thought. My mother's death, my father's protectiveness, Ma's indulgences, the love of my friends, the secrets, my yearning, everything, helped to culminate into today.
Before I shed the known, let me indulge in remembering them one last time.