The Darkest Hour of the Night

The night past a slow vigil , observing the Sarayu parting in two forks ,leaving a barren miniature island behind . The   bright moonlight of Purnima held her and the river in a soft chilled touch and the wind was heavy in the mysterious forest . But her heart knew no sleep . Closing her eyes led to the a thousand colorful pictures to rise in her blood ,so she kept them wide open staring at the mud form of Sarayu ,blank and vacant .

Her shadow etching slowly in the muddy water ,Sita did not dare to contemplate any thought . Her bangeled hands resting on her protruded navel , her feet cradled the heavy crown lying by her side . Abandoned in the prime of womanhood in a dark frightening forest , Sita knew  in her depths that there was no turning back to the warmth of Ayodhya. A cold , impenetrable forest was looming before her , revoking the cruel memories of the abduction and stressed confinement in the Ashoka Garden with ghoulish voices interrupting nightmares set  in by Rakhashi  Maya.But this single night seemed more dark and unbearable than those ceaseless nights of torture spent in the captivity of the Lanka . The assurance of Rama’s love that gave warmth in the face of chilly winds and gave shelter when the bare sky threatened her with its thunders was gone back to Ayodhya with Lakshmana’s retreating chariot .

Like the two fords of Sarayu , Sita’s life was torn apart from affections of her family . She was alone with the unease speculation about her unborn fatherless children and the terrible memories relived in the darkness of the forest .

You are Alone , Alone , Alone  and Alone … screamed the darkness at her perturbed ears , often tempting her to run into the Sarayu and end her god-forsaken life . But each time she attempted for the fatal rise , the heaviness in her stomach forced her down . In this limpidness of indecisive darkness she hung , her heart still refusing to accept her mortal fate .

Her eyes tired of blankness sook  relief in memories , tracing each repertoire of her queenly attire she relapsed into dreams , painfully oblivious of her fate . Her dark streaming hair which Rama had dutifully decorated with flowers , her proud Suhaag marks bearing their conjugal perfection . Was this the same Rama who had flung her into this darkness ? Memories soon begot unanswerable questions .

Her jeweled body drove her to Mithila, to the carefree girlhood of her father’s palace , of her sisters’ laughter and of her father’s strong –armed love . oh! Why did she leave her to father’s land , why did she marry and made a stranger’s family her own . She should have stayed back at Janakpuri and served her father , but she chose to love and serve her husband’s land only to be forsaken when she was bearing his very child .

The crown at her feet was an repository of pride and bliss . Sitting regally on the left side of the king , surrounded by faithful and served by  her brothers –in-law , she had seen the gleeful faces of her sisters and had felt that the rigorous tapasya  of fourteen years had culminated in fruitful fruition .   She had long yearned and worked  for this dream – a loving ,  compact , unbreakable family .  How swiftly her delusion was broken – the crown lay in the mud , broken and hapless .

Her flowery royal garments brought her the intense twang of awaited union and its fulfilling blessings . The mothers had playfully sauntered her with offerings of sweet –smelling confectionaries and appetizing savories; Lakshmana  and Shatrughana had made sure that her delicate feet never touch the ground .  And surprisingly , the usually duty –abiding Rama had relived her of all official duties .  With sharp pain the Queen realized that it was not out of care for her , but for an attempt to appease the doubting ‘Praja’ that Rama had limited her role as a Queen and forced her to rest .

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Rama had always been a King first and foremost , but in abandoning her he had failed even in that duty .  What face shall he show to his women –subjects , will they ever be able to repose their complete trust and faith in him as they did before ?  But for all their inner disgust  and condemnation , these women will never rise in protest for her . Her fate was inescapable , Sita knew ?

Fresh tears burst forth from her at this hard realization ,her heart ached back for her family for her love had been selfless and even in the midst of anger at the cruel betrayal ,her heart continued to love them with as much gentleness as before .

Patient Sita’s greatest virtue was her greatest misfortune .  Try as she may , the bonds of affections will never go away from her gentle heart ,even after a such inhumane desertion . This gave her fresh sorrow and will continue to torment her  entire life . Her unrequited undemanding love refusing to fade away even in the moment of the first bitter realization .

She wondered with trepidation whether Rama would marry again for the kingdom , but gave herself a faint reassurance that he loved her too deeply to give her place to another . But also, he too was the one who left her in this forest , if he was capable of abandoning her when she needed him the most , then he could easily try to forget her for the sake of his people ,who she knew would soon demand a new, ‘pure’ queen .But he had had given her a promise and the Raghuvanshis placed promises above family , life and even above their kingship.   No, he would not marry again . This thought brought a momentary comfort ,  only to be scared into silence by the hiss of a carnivore near by .But Sita made no attempt at moving to protection , the forest was on all corners dark and dangerous , and it was futile to hide from its inmates . Scared she lay limp on the bank until the carnivore’s smell moved far away .

Her repletion of memories was exhausted and her mind was back to the same blank vacant state . But at daybreak she would be forced again to think again of her life for she cannot just lie in the forest for the rest of it. She will have two lives to support and an identity to conceal .The daybreak she knew would test her patience to the utmost and the coming days would posit before her greater trials and intolerable pains.

But , at this moment, when the moon set to usher in the darkest hour of the night, Sita sank in mute contemplation of the darkest hour of her suffering .Burying in  the corner of the darkness the bitter memories of her past life, she shook up her resolve and awaited the day break to usher in the hardest and greatest struggle of her uncommonly hard life.There were no more tears or any wailing in misfortune, the Earth-Daughter resigned herself to her cruel fate’s unending trials and fell asleep reposed on her Mother’s comforting breast.

 

 

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About the Author

Isha isita

Isha is a 18 year old student of English Honors in Christ University. An aspiring poetess, a blundering writer and a hopelessly old school romantic, Isha, decidedly in love with English, Maddhava and all things read more...

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