Chapter – 1: The Prediction

Their chariot rolled through the busy streets of Mathura, its people thronging to see the newlywed couple. Devaki had recently married the Yadava lord, Vasudeva, and they had decided to take a tour of the city before the lord took his wife to his home. Their chariot was driven by Devaki’s brother, Kamsa, himself. He looked proud as flowers rained the path in front of them. Nothing other than his sister’s comfort made him feel happy. Devaki was the apple of his eye, a sister he loved even more than he did himself. Or even his wives – the two daughters of Magadha.
The sun shone high in the sky. The afternoon had come quicker than he thought and wanting to prevent the sunlight from scorching his sister and her husband, he drove the chariot towards a cluster of trees that grew on the borders of the city.
“The sun shines hot. We should rest under the cool canopies of the trees before we go back to the palace,” he said.
Vasudeva and Devaki had no choice but to agree. They could not say no to Kamsa.
Even as the chariot drove towards the trees, the jubilant crowd followed them, calling out their names aloud in praise.
Kamsa jumped out of the chariot and taking Devaki’s hand, he led her down the steps onto the ground, but not before making sure that her bare feet did not get hurt by the pebbles strewn on the earth. It hurt him to see Devaki in pain – something he did not relish to see very much. And so he always made sure everything that could hurt his sister was taken care of.
“Come, my dear sister, come. The spot is not far away.”
Devaki knew what the spot was, although her husband did eye her brother with amusement. She remembered her day in the childhood where she and her brother would come into these forests and play with each other. They always had time for each other. Every day, they spent at least two hours playing with each other. Kamsa had never cared that his friends made fun of him for playing with her. As long as he was with his sister, their taunts did not matter. And Devaki was happy that he did. She never did have many friends, being the quiet one among her siblings.
Kamsa led them both to the spot at which they used to play as children. It was a wide clearing with the tall trees providing them the shade they required. The birds chirped loud and as soon as they saw Devaki approach with her husband, they flew around her in circles. Devaki giggled at their behavior. Her husband, though, looked at them amused.
Kamsa clapped his hands at which two soldiers appeared and quickly laid out the colored mattresses. The maids who were following them brought out platters of fruit and laid it out at the center.
Devaki was not surprised that her brother had gone out to such lengths in order to make her feel like she was on the top of the world. She strode towards her brother.
“Dearest brother, you have gone beyond your usual today, and I thank you for it. I want to let you know that even now that I will be going to another home, you shall never be forgotten and shall always have a place in my heart. Not many sisters have a brother like you.”
Kamsa smiled. “And not many brothers have a lovely sister like to you, dearest Devaki.” He moved to hug her, but right then, the air around them thickened. Sensing something was amiss, Kamsa looked high into the sky and saw dark clouds approaching, threatening them with a thunderstorm. Lightning crackled through the sky in flashes of silver and gray.
“The weather is changing, sister,” roared Kamsa. “We need to go.”
Devaki nodded and was about to turn when a brusque voice spoke through the air.
The sister, who you love, shall bear many children, O Prince of Mathura. But don’t you think that you will be happy! For fate has spoken. Her eighth child will be your death.
The silence fell as sudden as the voice had spoken.
“Who is this?” shouted Kamsa, his eyes flared up in anger. “Show yourself.”
The lightning crackled in laughter and smote the dry ground. A fire rose in between the brother and the sister, each staring at the other. Tears leaped through Devaki’s eyes, but Kamsa looked at her as if she had betrayed him.
“Eighth child!” he spat. “I will make sure I kill him myself. And that is my promise to you, little sister.”


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