With kids exams over it is the best time to indulge them in reading books. And what better way if they can win a book and goodies bag along.
(Open to individual legal residents in India and are the older of 18 years )
Siddhi watched from a safe distance as Ganesha bowed to the warrior and requested him to wait until Shiva granted him permission to enter. But Parasurama angrily pushed him aside and strode towards the cave. Ganesha intercepted him, causing the angry warrior to raise his axe to threaten him.
Finding that his antagonist would not listen to mere words, Shiva’s son extended his trunk by many lengths and wound it around Parasurama 100 times. He then raised the warrior into the skies so that he could see the seven mountains, the seven oceans and the seven islands of the earth below him. Then he whirled him around and showed him all the lokas including Vaikunta, where Lord Vishnu presided on his lotus throne with Devi Lakshmi. With his yogic power, Shiva’s son granted Parasurama a vision of Goloka, the purest of realms, where blue-hued Krishna resided with Radha and his gopis.
After showing Parasurama how insignificant he was when compared to the primordial universe spanning endless time and space, Gajamukha dropped him gently on the ground outside Shiva’s cave. He smiled at Siddhi who stood dazed, clinging to a tree for support, as she too had been granted the supernal vision by Ganesha’s grace. She realized now that her cheerful friend was called Vakratunda not because of his crooked trunk, but because he was the one who straightened out the crooked.
Parasurama recovered from his stupor and saw that he was lying on the ground at Ganesha’s feet. Incensed by this humiliation, he sprang to his feet and took up his mighty axe. The parasu hurtled towards Ganesha with a deafening roar. Siddhi trembled, certain that her friend would not survive the dire power of his father’s weapon.
Strangely enough, Gajamukha made no attempt to counter Parasurama’s axe. Instead, he joined his hands in worship to the parasu and stood calmly as if reconciled to his death.
Siddhi heard a horrific crack as the parasu struck one of Ganesha’s tusks and severed it completely. It fell to the ground with a crash, smeared in blood, looking like a crystal mountain covered in red chalk. Shiva rushed out of the cave, followed by Parvati, who turned into fiery Durga when she saw that her son had been wounded. She discerned what had happened and raged at the warrior who stood before her with the axe that had returned to his hand.
‘O Parasurama!’ she said. ‘You may be learned and wise and the son of a great sage, yet you have allowed wrath to overcome you. You received your parasu from your guru, Shiva, but abused your gift by using it to wound his son. Ganesha, on the other hand, allowed the axe to sever his tusk due to his respect for his father’s weapon. What next will you do, Parasurama? Will you assail mighty Shiva himself? Presumptuous warrior! I curse you this day that though you are an avatara of my beloved Vishnu, no one on earth or heaven will ever worship you!’
Parasurama cowered before the angry goddess whose fury grew by the moment. ‘It is only due to Ganesha’s forbearance that you are still alive, for he can kill a hundred thousand Parasuramas in the blink of an eye,’ she said. ‘But I am unwilling to be so tolerant and will end your life today!’
Durga rushed towards him, with her trident aimed at his head. Parasurama stood unarmed and unresisting. He closed his eyes, joined his hands together and surrendered to Krishna.
‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya!’ Parasurama chanted, invoking his god with his last breath.
At once, Krishna appeared before him, lustrous and omnipotent, granting him protection with one raised hand. Durga stopped mid-stride and gazed at Krishna. Her wrath vanished, dissolving like mist in the light of the sun. A beatific smile adorned her face. She offered him a reverential welcome along with Shiva.
Krishna addressed them gently, a calm smile on his face. ‘I have come here to rescue my devotee,’ he said. ‘Though Parasurama has committed a grievous sin, I request you to forgive him, Parvati. He is your son too, for you are the divine mother, the refuge of all creation. As for you, Parasurama, you have to undertake a severe tapasya to attain forgiveness. Worship the Devi who animates the three realms in the form of the gentle Gauri and the fierce Durga. Seek the blessings of Ganesha who is now Ekadanta, the lord with one tusk.’
Having offered his counsel, the lord returned to Goloka. Parasurama prostrated himself before the gods and laid his axe at Ganesha’s feet in tribute. He then retreated to a distant mountain to begin his worship. Parvati took her son into her mansion, to coddle him after his fierce encounter.
Sharvari is the first standalone novella in the Royal Romance Collection. The story is set in ancient India and mirrors the dynamics of that era.
Betrayed in love and war, Sharvari makes one final attempt to save her people by offering herself to the victorious rival King of Sindh, Brihadrath. The handsome king gives her a hope of a new start. But life at her new home is ridden with challenges. While she is coping up with a slew of palace intrigues and assassination attempts, the man from her past haunts her. Can Sharvari overcome the hurdles and find love again?
If you love intriguing stories of steamy romance with a guaranteed HEA, do download and read this one!
“Move!” The goad hit her shoulder. She heard another soldier forbid the first one from hitting her again. It did not matter. She had grown numb to the pain. The second soldier caught hold of her bound hands and yanked her back to her feet. Many pairs of eyes stared upon her dusky hued limbs, a feast to eyes, for the wolf skin tunic that had made for the most of her clothing had been cast off long before. Save for the ragged jute that covered her breasts and her loins, her youth was on a display.
Modesty was the last of things on her mind as her legs gathered whatever strength they could to walk in to the court. Her lips quivered at an odd lewd word she heard while walking ahead, the ropes still pulling at her hands. But her eyes stayed fixed on the ground, on the marble flooring of the court hall, on the art that adorned the floor, on the flowery carpet that covered the stairs to the throne seat and on to the feet that wore the intricately carved sandals.
The Victorious King! Her gaze froze there. A cheer erupted in his name. “Long live King Brihadrath!”
Sharvari felt her limbs go numb. With an effort, she lifted her gaze to sight the blue silken Dhoti held in place by an ornate golden waist band. She then saw the garland of flowers around his neck, a whiff of their fragrance swept till where she stood. Strings of precious gems shone against the sunlight. King Brihadrath knew to groom himself! Or at least he knew what it took to impress a woman at the first sight.
Is what I heard about him correct? She prayed it was. As disgusting as the idea was, that was the only way she could save them all.
Her eyes met his. Sharvari saw them widen for a second before his lips parted as he signalled to the general to come closer.
“Were women captured and dragged along?”
The forbidding frown that momentarily passed on his forehead locked her gaze upon his face. Sharvari thought fast. She was ready for this. At least she thought she was.
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Ashvini is a management professional turned story teller. She loves to dream history and weaves romantic fantasies set in ancient India. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.
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