Lakshmana took a breath to calm himself and holding Urmilla by her shoulders spoke to her “Urmilla- I have something important to tell you.” Lakshmana turned away, unable to look into her soft eyes. “In fact, Urmilla, I owe you an apology….” His voice faltered.
“Not to me but to my venerable father” Umilla responded
Lakshmana swung around. “To you father? What on earth for?”
“For the way you shouted at him…”
“I shouted at him? But when?” Lakshmana looked bewildered.
“At the swayamwar sabha. When none of the kings were able to lift the bow.” Urmilla’s eyes widened as she recollected the scene and held her palms over her ears. “My God…..the way you stormed and ranted at my venerable father. Did you know that even great sages talk to my father with respect. My father is known as ‘raja rishi’”. Urmilla said proudly
Lakshmana gulped uncomfortably.
Resented being lectured to by his newlywed wife Lakshmana retorted “Your father too was not without blame. How could he claim that the world was devoid of heroes when my brother and I were sitting right there? And did I say anything objectionable ? All I said was….”
“You had the ability to lift the whole world like a ball and smash it like a clay jar; you could break Mount Meru like a raddish and as far as the bow was concerned – it was, for you, simply like the stem of a lotus carrying which, you could run a hundred yojanas” finished Urmilla.
Lakshmana looked at her amazed “How do you remember each and every word that I said?”
Urmilla lowered her head and giggled “Because then I thought how wonderful it would be to get married to someone like that”
Lakshmana felt a warm glow spreading through him.
Urmilla looked at him with her large eyes- they had a hint of brown, Lakshmana noted- as she asked him “Is it true, Aryaputra? Your brother only broke the bow, but would you have been really able to pick it and run a hundred yojanas with it?”
Lakshmana spread his chest and answered dismissively “Well, I probably got carried away at that time, but yes, we Raghuvanshis are rather good with bows and arrows.
However Lakshmana soon came back to the thought that was on the top of his mind. “Urmilla- I have something to tell you….”
Urmilla interrupted him once again “Oh there’s one more thing- you should surely seek pardon from Sage Parashurama”
Lakshmana was startled “Apologize to Parashurama?”
Urmilla replied self righteously “You argued with him too, didn’t you? My venerable father says Parashurama is an avatar of Narayana himself.”
Lakshmana held her by her shoulders and looking straight at her said “Urmilla- your husband is rather short tempered. You better get used to it. I am not going to apologize to all and sundry.”
Urmilla looked shocked. “But my venerable father says…..”
Lakshmana hit his forehead with his palm and forcing himself to keep calm, spoke with exaggerated calmness, “Urmilla –did your venerable father always have to say something or did he also keep quiet- at times, at least?”
“Oh my father used to go into silence for long periods, for it is in silence that Man connects with his inner nature. My venerable father used to say…..” Urmilla stopped and sensing something asked “Are you making
fun of my father, Aryaputra?”
Lakshmana hid his smile and keeping a straight face answered “Me? I wouldn’t dare too”
Urmilla heaved sigh of relief “Oh thank you. For a moment, I thought you were….”
Lakshmana made one more attempt to voice his thoughts “Urmilla I have something to tell you. We four brothers share a unique bond….
“That’s so wonderful. Even we four sisters are like that. My venerable father says…”
This was too much for Lakshmana. He hollered at the top of his voice “WILL YOU PLEASE GIVE YOUR FATHER A REST AND LET YOUR VENERABLE HUSBAND SPEAK?”
Urmilla lapsed into silence, pouting.