Vichora - Separation
Once upon a time there lived a family. Their names are not important, at least not for this part of the story. The daughters in the family were as close as most sisters tend to be. Nonetheless, each of them had their own distinct qualities. The sisters belonged to an affluent family and because of this they attracted many an unwelcoming gaze from far and wide. Their mother knew how much her daughters were sought after; over the years, she had been equally admired for her own wealth and the influence she possessed in the region.
‘You are powerful’ she would remind her children. ‘You are powerful because you stand side by side. This will make others feel threatened. They will want to destroy you and your relationship with one another, because they want what you have. So long as you all stand united and stick together, you cannot be crippled. But so long as you are united, you will always be in danger.’ Their mother spoke from experience, for she had been assaulted countless times for the material assets she had amassed over the years. Their mother had spent most of her life protecting herself and her daughters from all sorts of threats ranging from political to physical. To say that she had seen her fair share of bloodshed was an understatement.
Where the sisters lived didn’t help their cause either. They were constantly exposed to the envious eye of those around them, and their privacy always invaded. However, it wasn’t always so bad. Because of where they were located, they had welcomed many a weary traveller and been host to many sages and saints. They had enjoyed the company of these enlightened beings with whom they had the personal privilege of meeting and providing their hospitality to. Their encounters with the holy saints increased the popularity of their family, so much so that the sisters and their mother were often referenced in the work of the most famous writers in the land. Ballads, poems and songs were written about them, and in fact still continue to be written about this famous family. The more the sisters and their mother were hailed through music and literature, the more others took notice of them.
The wealth and influence that the family had acquired was no secret. This invited the unwanted attention of many looking to exploit the sisters and their mother for their own personal gain. Despite their best efforts to keep the persisting threats at bay, the sisters and their mother eventually suffered a grave tragedy that would change the face of their family forever.
Vayu was always the first to know everything. During some of their darkest times, it was Vayu, the trusted family messenger and ally, who had kept them informed of any talks (public and private) being had about them. A few months before that fateful day, this very family was all that everyone seemed to be talking about; and what Vayu had heard was deeply disturbing. As time passed by, Vayu relayed to the family all the plans that were being made to ruin them. It brought him great distress to tell the daughters to be prepared for an inevitable betrayal from the people closest to them. Their mother’s prophecy was fast becoming a reality.
And that is exactly how that fateful day arrived - haphazardly and in haste.
Up until that point, the family had endured more than their share of pain and conflict. They had resisted opposition and challenges time and time again, but never succumbed to their physical wounds or scarred psyche. Each time they would come away relatively intact and rebuild themselves again.
But when the fateful day eventually came, as their mother had forewarned, the sisters were powerless to stand united against the onslaught that followed. As Vayu had rightly informed them, they had ultimately been betrayed and now nothing would ever be the same. The level of barbarism and turmoil they witnessed shook them beyond repair. In the chaos that ensued, the sisters watched in horror as their mother was raped and then brutally maimed - her body carelessly hacked into two pieces. As for the sisters, they had finally been separated and sent to new homes. They would never see each other again.
After that day of doom, even Vayu, their trusted friend and messenger disappeared.
Many years later, on a warm monsoon evening, Vayu decided it was now time to pay a brief visit to the three younger sisters in their new home.
‘Sisters, it has been too long. How have you all been?’
The first sister replied, ‘It is difficult to forget what has happened. The trauma is so deeply etched into our spirit. The soul-shattering screams and the savagery of the blood-thirsty perpetrators still haunt us to this very day.’
Vayu remained silent. After everything the sisters had endured, words of consolation seemed pointless and hollow.
The second sister then spoke, ‘Tell us Vayu…is it not true that when you move to a new place, everything ought to be different and unfamiliar - the sights, the sounds, the smells? Is that not how it should be?’
‘I have often contemplated this same question’ said Vayu. ‘Truth be told, your new home here is not much different to where you used to live. The climate, landscape and food are all the same. It really puzzles me. I have heard Grandparents singing the same lullabies to their children over there, as they do here. They tell the same tragic love stories too! Speaking of lovers, even they sing the same songs in the streets and the wedding parties.’’
The third sister sighed heavily and responded, ‘How strange that everything seems familiar, yet so much has changed. Alas, we have no choice but to move on with our new life now. This is what was destined for us.’
Vayu agreed. It was all to be water under the bridge now.
‘It’s time to take my leave. In fact, I’m actually on my way to visit your two other sisters. They are not far from you. Would you like me to pass a message to them?’ asked Vayu – God of the Winds.
The three sisters all looked at one another. A sadness came over them at the mention of the other sisters who they had not seen since they were all separated from one another.
Finally, the first sister, stepped forward wiping away the tears that began to flow, ‘Yes. Let them know that no matter what has happened, we can never truly be separated because in the end we all merge into the One source.’
‘Nonetheless’ added the second sister, ‘we cannot help but think how things would be if we were all still united, together in one another’s lives.’
Vayu then turned to the third sister and asked if she had anything to say.
‘Well, Vayu...’ she paused for a brief moment before continuing, ``No matter how much time has passed since that bloody day in our family’s history, not one single day goes by when we don’t think of them - our dearest sisters, Sutlej and Beas. ‘’
(Image Credit: Pran Nath Mago)