Friday, April 11, 2014

Lakshmana and Urmilla - Part VI

Holding Urmilla in his hands, as she leaned her head on his chest, Lakshaman was even more confused. Here was a woman who was willing to surrender completely to him. 

And now, how could he just tell her that should a situation ever arise for him to choose between her and  Rama, he, Lakshmana, would unhesitatingly choose his brother? Will she not be upset? Yet, for him, life without brother Rama was unimaginable.

He stood there, unmoving, feeling the weight of her head on his heart. Her earring was pricking him on his chest, but he did not move. After all, it was nothing compared to the pain he was going to give her. At length, Urmilla disengaged herself from his clasp and looking up into his eyes asked "You love your  eldest brother don't you?

" 'Devoted' would be a better word" answered Lakshmana. "People say I am his shadow"

Urmilla continued " So much so that when walking together, your eyes are more on his feet than your own."

"Out of habit, I suppose...I am content to follow in his footsteps. But how do you know?"

"When the two of you, along with Rishi Vishwamitra, were walking down the Royal Avenue in  Mithila. The rishi was pointing out interesting things to both of you, but apart from occasional glances here and there, your eyes never left your brother's feet. You were walking exactly half- a - foot behind your brother, and you were careful not to overstep him, even accidentally.

"You were watching me?" Lakshamana asked, astonished

"Well, all of us had congregated in one of the balconies overlooking the avenue to get a better view of the princes from Ayodhya".  Urmilla answered, matter-of-factly.

She continued " And in the pushpa vatika when your brother was plucking the flowers..."

"Was I still half- a- foot behind him?"

"No" answered Urmilla calmly "you had stepped on to his side and you were anxiously looking at his hands lest he prick himself on an unwary thorn."

"You were observing me all that while?" Lakshmana was dumbfounded.

"Let's put it this way... Your brother was gazing at my sister, you were watching your brother and I was looking at you. We had also come to pluck flowers, remember?"

Urmilla continued "And at night, you cannot sleep until you press your brother's legs, despite his remonstrations."

"How do you know this?" asked Lakshmana, his eyes narrowing in suscpicion

"Remember the maid who kept popping in and out of your room on the first night of your stay in Mithila?"

Lakshmana replied "Yeah...vaguely..."

"That was me" replied Urmilla calmly

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