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Monday, December 05, 2016

The Other Radha

Krishna was reigning supreme in Dwarka with Rukmini. The divine engineer Vishwakarma had built a golden city on the right bank of River Gomti. Dwarka, meaning 'the gateway to Heaven' was fit to be the abode of the Gods. The outer gates of the fort opened to the sea. In the rays of the setting sun, it looked like the flames of Agni Dev (The God of Fire) had risen from the sea to create a magical realm. The citizens prospered, and so did the city. Mansions made of the finest marble had doors and windows embellished with gold, silver, and precious gemstones.  Peacocks danced to their delight next to ponds filled with fragrant lotuses.

But Krishna was not happy. There was a hounding feeling that he had forgotten something. Something important. He had forgotten his promises to Radha.
Radha sat on the banks of River Yamuna in Vrindavan, lost in the thoughts of her beloved cowherd. It had been years since she had last seen him, but the sound of his flute still filled her mind and her heart. Occasionally, she danced to music only she could hear and embraced tamal trees thinking it was her dark-skinned beau.

The Gopis could not bear her plight anymore. Latika, Vishaka, Chitra and the others loved Krishna with great devotion, but they also knew that Radha was special. She would wither and die if she didn’t see her Lord soon. They convinced her to go to Dwarka to meet him.

Radha: But will he remember me?

In the sabha (courtroom), Krishna barely recognized her. The lusciousness of her youth drained in years of solitude. No shringar (grooming). She looked like a flower the gardener had taken great care to bloom but had then forgotten all about her.

Radha appealed to Krishna, ’Lord, I am an unfortunate woman from Vrindavan. My Lord has forgotten me and I have no means to live. Let me be your dasi (servant) and live the rest of my days in peace. I promise to ask for nothing more than Your Lordship’s happiness.’

Krishna smiled benignly at the strange request of the strange woman. Radha commenced serving Krishna and Rukmini in the palace. Sometimes, she stole a glance of the Lord and smiled. Content just to be near him. How enthralling his smile was! It made her feel that there was no pain in the world. No sadness, no grief, no illness. He is Manohar after all. He steals hearts with his smile.

But with years of intense hard work and a broken heart, Radha fell severely ill. When she realized that she had very little time to live, she embarked upon a journey to the banks of Yamuna of Vrindavan.

Krishna, missing his favorite dasi, got to know that she had left the palace for her home.
He remembered something from the days he was a young cowherd. The sounds of the anklets of a fair maiden. The companion of his Raasleela.

He commandeered a chariot and started in the general direction of Vrindavan, his childhood home. He found her lying under a tree, breathing wearily. He ran down to her side, took her head in his lap while tears rolled down his eyes.

Krishna: Why didn’t you tell me Sakhi?

Radha smiled faintly as her vision blurred with tears.


This is a take on one of the most revered lovers of Hindu mythology- Radha and Krishna. It is said that Radha spent her last days waiting for Krishna by the River Yamuna. What if she had gone to Dwarka to see him. Would it have been any better?

I had fun imagining it. Hope you liked reading it.