In a village near Chitradurga, Sundari seemed like the happiest woman of the day. She had woken up an hour earlier than the usual. Had she slept at all the previous night was questionable. She had completed all her morning rituals much ahead of sunrise. Sundari was the river bank when she witnessed the sun rise. It was the usual time and the same scene, but on that day, it seemed like the most beautiful sunrise she had even seen in her lifetime. After the mesmerizing sight she filled her mud pots with water and headed back home.
As she reached home, her husband had woken up, completed his morning rituals and was offering his prayers to God. She hurried to the kitchen to make him a drink. He always had a glassful of Kashaya after the prayers. It was hot drink comprising of water boiled with pepper corn, cumin and few leaves of holy basil. She would add a clove and a cardamom too, so that it would lend a sweet flavor and acted as a mint too.
It was a special day for the couple. Their son was to return. He was taken away fourteen years back. Sundari remembered the day very well. The entire village had seen her cry. She wailed as if her son was about lose his life. In a way, it was true. He wouldn’t be a free person anymore. He would be bound. “Why at such a young age?” she would question her husband once in a while. He could only hide his tears and pat on her shoulder as she leaned on his body for comfort.
Her son would accompany her to the river bank. He loved flowing water. While she would sit at the banks, he would be busy swimming and splashing water all over. Once done and out of water, he would come running to her, she would wipe him and dress him up with fresh clothes. Both of them would sit on a rock nearby and watch the sun rise just behind the small temple on the huge mountain.
Both would go to the palace after this. Sundari was one of the maids there and her son was one of the playmates of the prince. The two boys were very close to each other. Together, they would have the best times. They would run around the palace troubling the guards and maids. Sundari once caught them red-handed, stealing a snack item from the kitchen. She chased them until they reached the Queen’s harem. The boys ran and hid behind the queen. She was a kind lady and did not punish either of them and sent them away to play, also assuring Sundari that it was alright.
She knew, for the prince, it wasn’t an offense, but her son, couldn’t be behaving this way in the palace. As a punishment, she did not take him to the the palace for a couple of days, but was forced to bring him back on the little prince’s orders.
Days passed by, one day the guards were at Sundari’s doorsteps. They were summoned at the king’s courtroom. She knew, they were in trouble, because of their son. They were in the courtroom; the couple were trembling with fear, although the boy was fearless and wore a beautiful smile and a twinkle in the eye.
What they heard in the courtroom was unbelievable. Sundari was speechless. She did not know how to react. They just bowed in front of the king and came back home. That night Sundari had tears flowing on her cheeks like flood. The next day, when the guards came to take her son away, she was uncontrollable. Finally, her husband had to drag her into the house, so that they wouldn’t come in the way of the king’s orders.
After 14 years, she dint know if her son would recognize her. She wanted to make dishes which he used to love and relish. But now, she wasn’t sure if he liked the same stuff. She din't even know, if her son would like anything back at home. Sensing her anxiety, her husband comforted her. He assured her, their son would love anything she had made. After all, he wouldn’t have had the luxury all those years, away from them.
Late in the morning, the guards came in a carriage and let him out. There was a man in his early twenties. He body seemed to be sculpted. He had a heavy bangle of sorts hanging on one of his wrists. A maroon cloth wrapped his upper body, and a shining white dhoti as a contrast for the bottom. His left ear was pierced and had a small yet thick ring. There was bright red vermillon placed in the centre of his temple. As the wind blew the shoulder length wavy hair, just tried to fly backward. He looked like the most handsome man, the village had seen in years.
Sundari was amazed at this sight. It was her son, in front of her, in flesh and blood. She wanted to run upto him and hug him, cup his face in her hands and feel the moment of truth. She was awestruck by his appearance.
He was looking at his humble abode. The house was decorated with wild flowers. The simplicity made it appear beautiful. But what caught his attention, was the sight of the couple, his parents. They looked the same as the day he left them. There were probably stands of silver on their head, but they were mostly dominated by the black hair. Also, a very few wrinkles, just to prove they had grown wiser.
He could no longer control his urge and ran upto them. He bent down to seek their blessings and finally the moment, which the trio longed for, he hugged his parents. It was lunch time and the couple were busy catching up with their sons life till date. They were grateful to the king for sending their son, along with the prince, to the Gurukul.