A Long Time Ago — Chapter 13
A guard led Sage and Livia into a massive ground. They found Krishna observing a radiant-looking youth practice his combat skills.
“Hey, Sage and Livia! My nephew Abhimanyu’s last training session with me today,” Krishna said, focusing intently on his nephew.
“Doesn’t Abhimanyu go to a Gurukul?” Sage enquired.
“Gurukuls are great because they offer customized lessons but Abhimanyu’s gifted. So, I’m training him privately,” Krishna explained.
“Gifted? Aren’t all of us gifted,” Livia pondered aloud.
“Certainly! We’re all gifted, but this is different,” Krishna said.
“A different gifted? What — ,” Livia started.
Before the conversation ended, Abhimanyu walked up to them. He flashed a big smile and said, “Hey! Time travelers! Nice to meet you.”
“News spreads fast,” Krishna remarked, winking at Sage and Livia.
“Sorry, I’m in a rush. Have to prepare for my travel,” Abhimanyu stated.
“He’s getting married,” Krishna announced.
“Sage and Livia, beware of Uncle Krishna. Tell me if he troubles you,” Abhimanyu teased Krishna as he waved them goodbye.
Soon, Sage and Livia arrived at the wedding venue with Krishna. It was a beautiful palace in a small town. Here too, they were ushered to their place of stay by several attendants. Within no time, the whole area sported a festive look.
When they had settled down, a guard took them to a part of the palace that appeared to be a royal court.
“This Upaplavya town is small but pretty,” Livia noted when she saw Krishna.
“The five Pandava brothers got this town as a gift from this region’s king, whose daughter is to wed Abhimanyu. They’ll stay here until they retrieve their kingdom,” Krishna replied.
A guard announced the entry of the four Pandava brothers, and Krishna muttered, “My dear friend Arjuna isn’t here yet.”
The eldest of the Pandava brothers was a six-foot-tall man with elegant features and a prominent nose.
“Hi! I’m Yudhishthira. Your time travel fascinates us! Hope you’re comfortable here,” he said, walking regally up to the kids.
“We’ve been living a royal life. Thank you,” Sage spoke courteously.
“Sorry to hear about your exile,” Livia said to Yudhishthira.
In an unfair game of dice, Emperor Yudhishthira’s cousin Duryodhana snatched their kingdom and sent them into exile for thirteen years.
“It was a consequence of my poor decision to gamble. We’ll head to war with Duryodhana soon. Well, let’s enjoy Abhimanyu’s wedding now! By the way, meet Bheema, Nakula, and Sahadeva,” Yudhishthira said, pointing toward his brothers.
Just then, Draupadi walked into the room. Sage elbowed Livia and whispered, “She’s the common wife of the Pandava brothers.”
“That doesn’t sound right,” Livia said softly.
“I know what you’re wondering,” Draupadi said with a faint smile.
“Oh! Sorry,” Livia said sheepishly.
“You don’t have to be,” Draupadi said, then changing topics, she continued, “You can’t wander around in dirty clothing! Let’s get you both changed. Sage, Nakula will take care of you. Livia, please come with me.”
“You sound like my mother,” Sage grinned.
“Awesome! I love this festive outfit, and my hair looks fabulous,” Livia awed after Draupadi had dressed her up.
“I worked as a hairdresser during my exile.”
“Hairdresser? Wow!” Livia said and then became pensive.
“What happened?” Draupadi enquired.
“Can I ask you something? Not sure if it’s appropriate, though.”
“Please speak it out.”
“When I grow up, I wish to be a fashion designer, but my parents don’t like it. Weren’t your parents angry when you decided to marry all the five Pandava brothers?”
“A strange situation forced me into such a marriage. My father was furious, but Yudhishthira convinced him,” she answered.
After a pause, Draupadi added, “Every decision comes with consequences, Livia. If you can own up to your decisions, speak to your parents politely but firmly.”
“Consequences? Hmm… If I don’t get popular as a fashion designer, I’ll have to settle with meager incomes,” Livia reflected.
“Yes, that’s a lifestyle choice you’ve to make.”
“I’ll have to think this through! Thank you,” Livia said, giving Draupadi a quick hug.
When Livia met Sage, he looked different. Nakula had dressed him up in traditional festive attire, complete with a turban on his head.
A few moments later, Arjuna walked in with Abhimanyu.
“You got magically transported here,” Arjuna said.
“You know?” the kids exclaimed.
“Everyone knows! Abhimanyu has been spreading the news like wildfire,” Arjuna replied, laughing.
Later, Abhimanyu’s wedding rituals got concluded. When it was time for fun, Sage and Livia danced their hearts out along with the other guests.
“Someone once couldn’t stand me. He’s now dancing with me,” Livia joked.
“Dah! Do I have a choice?” Sage said, with a false frown on his face.
“You fought with me! It’s the consequence of that,” Livia said with a smirk.