Me: I wanted to ask this question to you…
Her: Yeah, go ahead
Me: I asked the same question to a few of my friends and got some interesting responses. I wanted to hear what you would say?
Her: Ok, so are you simply building the suspense?
Me: Ah, nothing like that. Anyway the question is:
Which do you think is the best love story you have ever heard? It can be a book, play, movie, advertisement, myth… whatever. But the story should have made you think… Ahh! “that” is true love.
Me: It can be any kind of relationship that involves love… Parental, sibling, romance, patriotic… anything
Her: hmmm… I dont know. I cant think of anything…
Me: Come on you have watched enough romantic comedies… I am sure you have read your fair share of romantic novels.
Her: Not all romantic comedies set the standards for love… Anyway, why do you ask such weird questions?
Me: (with a smirk) Hey without asking questions you will never get answers… Now come on dont tell me you cant think of one story
Her: I dont know, movies and books talk about love but its never that great… its mostly about two people who are prefect for each other, finding themselves.
Me: How bout “Romeo and Juliet”?
Her: What is the point of finding love and then just dying? I mean its great sacrifice and all but who would want that?
Me: He he, totally agree on that point.
Her: Anyway assume I said something, tell me what is your answer.
Me: Hey come on, you didnt even try.
Her: I am not in the mood for trying, now tell me what is your answer. You must have an answer otherwise you wouldnt have asked.
Me: Ok ok, like I said love story can be from anywhere and between anyone.
Her: (prodding) Now you are scaring me.
Me: Have you heard of the story of Ekalavya?
Her: From Mahabharatha?
Me: Yeah the very same.
Her: “That” is the best love story you have ever heard? You realize he cuts off his thumb at the end right?
Me: Yeah ofcourse I know that. That was what made the love so special.
Her: I dont understand.
Me: Ok… As the story goes, Ekalavya was a boy who wanted to learn Archery. He approached Drona to become his student. But Drona refused as he had to only teach the princes.
Her: I thought he threw him out, out of arrogance.
Me: The version I read said that he wanted to accept him as his pupil but could not as he had already taken the princes as his students… Anyway, Drona wasnt entirely a harsh man.
Her: Not till the end of the story atleast.
Me: Anyway, Ekalavya is heartbroken and returns to the forest. There he makes a mud statue of Drona and starts practicing archery treating the statue as his teacher. Soon due to his dedication he becomes the best archer in the world. One day a dog comes to where Ekalavya is practicing and starts barking loudly at him. Irritated, Ekalavya shoots a string of arrows sealing the mouth of the dog. The arrows are so skillfully shot that not an arrow cuts the dogs mouth.
Her: Oh I didnt know the details… wow
Me: The scared dog runs away to its masters, who are the Pandava and Kaurava princes. The boys are amazed at the talent of Ekalavya and ask him who his teacher is. He says “Drona”
Her: That brings Drona to Ekalavya. Drona is shocked how a boy with how this boy he did not teach can be so good at archery. Fearing that he will overshadow Arjuna he asks him to cut his thumb as the price for the education.
Me: Hey cool down, you have some facts mixed up. Drona is actually pleasantly surprised by the boy’s talent. He also knows that this boy is the greatest archer in the world, but then remembers his promise to his favorite student Arjun, that Arjun would be the greatest archer in the world. Fearing that he cant keep his promise, he asks Ekalavya that if he was Ekalavya’s teacher then he must give him dakshina. Ekalavya happily asks his teacher what he wants from him. Drona says he wants Ekalavya’s right thumb, knowing very well that without it Ekalavya can never fire an arrow.
Her: Ok but what is so special about that story.
Me: I believe Ekalavya’s love for his teacher is how true love should be.
Her: As in?
Me: Here is a boy who loved his teacher because according to him it was his teacher that gave him all the happiness in the world. You might say Drona was not actually teaching him, but for him it was Drona not a statue presiding over his training.
Me: And then the dakshina… Drona asked him for the one thing that would take away all the happiness for him in the world. Yet Ekalavya obliged.
Her: I still dont understand.
Me: Look at it this way, people mostly recognize the people they love by the amount of happiness they get in their presence and absence… some people recognize love when the happiness of someone else makes them happy.
Me: I think true love is when you are ready to sacrifice all the happiness in your life for the happiness of the one you love. That is what Ekalavya did. The fact that he didnt have to think twice about it made his love that much pure.
Her: But isnt that sad?
Me: (smiling) That my dear is Love.
Conversations With Her – Stories of Love…
Me: I wanted to ask this question to you…