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I am Sita. Devoted daughter, loyal wife, faithful mother. But first, I am a woman. With dreams and hopes of a life that lies in front of me. I was pampered and cherished as the only daughter to my parents, who has never made me feel that I was adopted. I was their own. I learned to fall in love with life, from those early years.
And when my father, the King, decided that I was of marriageable age upon blossoming into a young woman, I was apprehensive. I was young and new to the ways of the world. But the moment I set my eyes on you, my Lord, my worries vanished. For I knew this was the man who would protect me more than his life. When you passed the test set by my father for the swayamwara, I was the last person to be surprised. For I knew, deep in my heart, that you would always be the One.
Our joy sanctified by matrimony, however, was short lived. You loved with me all your heart, swore to protect me till the end of life. And I, believed. No, I trusted you with my life. And so, when you were forced to leave our kingdom behind and to take sanctuary in the forests, there was no thinking twice for me. You begged, pleaded and cajoled with me, asking me to stay back, lest I should face the hardships that I was not accustomed to, living in the safety of the Palace all my life. But you were my life, and I could not imagine spending a day without you by my side.
With your ever faithful brother, Lakshmana and me by your sides, we left for the forests. It did not feel so hard. Not when the thorns pricked by delicate skin, not when the Sun set my skin burning and not even when I had to step on stones, that tore my feet and drew my blood. The pain was nothing compared to the fire that was burning inside me.
You loved me with all your heart. You made it your mission to fulfill even the smallest of whims that I may have had. And so, when I laid my hands on the magnificent golden deer, you did not hesitate to go after it. Even when I sent Lakshmana to go after you, for fear that you were wounded, I did not think twice when the sly Ravana disguised himself and came asking for alms. It was an instinct that I acted upon, without regret.
And when Ravana showed me his true colors and abducted me to his kingdom, Lanka, my heart twisted not from fear, but due to the chain of events that would follow, for which I was the spark. A lot of it having adverse consequences. That one year, in exile, my heart wept, filling me with a longing merely to hear a word from you. I guarded my chastity as fiercely as my loyalty and nothing Ravana said or did would have made me change my mind.
A year of separation, my Lord, I have lived through hell and back. Till you finally came and rescued me from the clutches of Ravana. I have not felt such happiness and nor will I ever forget the ecstasy that I felt when I was finally back in your arms! If I was to die that day, I would have died a content woman. Ravana was dead and I was reunited with my soul mate. My heart overflowed with delight, not knowing that I would never be able to enjoy it again in a long, long while.
We returned back and you were crowned the King. But tongues soon started wagging, for I was a woman who had spent one year in the prisons of a stranger. You ordered Lakshmana to light a pyre for me. As a test for my 'purity'.
It is not for me, but merely to please the people of my kingdom. For as a King, I must practice what I preach. I could read the thoughts that you tried to tell me, but failed.
Did you notice the flash of anger in Lakshmana's eyes, my Lord? For the first time and perhaps the last, he dared question the action of his elder brother. But not one voiced their thoughts. Not one.
I decided to step into the burning flames, not just to prove my chastity to the hundreds of people. But maybe, it was for you. I could see the pride reflected in your eyes.
There she is, pure and unscathed. Devoted to me as ever. Your eyes said it all.
I realize today, that a part of me died in the fires that day. Or maybe it was a rebirth. I am still not sure. But what I know is that, a woman of great strength was reincarnated. In me, as me. A woman who vowed to herself, that she may lose all that she had, riches and relations. But this woman, would hold on to the shards of her dignity, no matter what she may lose with it.
You accepted me back into your life. Pretended as though nothing was wrong. But I could sense your eyes on me, watching me, when you thought I was not looking. Did you really think that Sita was a woman who cannot be trusted? Who would not hesitate to speak nothing but the truth? I tried to put it all behind me, at least for the sake of our children, when I found out that I was pregnant. You rejoiced with me on hearing it. For you would have successors to carry on your legacy now.
But even then, my joy was cut short. Didn't you realize that you cannot sew the common man's mouth? Despite the test of purity proven by Agni, your devotion was first to the society and second to your wife. You were, after all, the majestic King. Maybe I knew it was coming, for when you ordered Lakshmana to leave me back in the forest, despite my condition, I did not shed even a drop of tear. Or maybe my tears were all used and dried up long ago. I could see the dilemma reflected in your brother's eyes, the pain that coursed through his veins, but I reminded him gently that his devotion was supposed to be for his brother first.
I was taken in by a kindhearted saint,whom I consider my savior. I gave birth to our twin sons, Lava and Kusha. They grew up to be two fine young men, like their father. But did I manage to inculcate in them the most precious of human virtues? Trust and faith, that they must follow throughout their lives. To listen to their instincts, before they turn against the world? I hope so, my Lord. I hope so.
When you meet them finally, not just as your sons, but as the fine warriors they have turned out to be, do you feel a sense of pride? A sense of accomplishment reflected in your eyes? Like me? Or do I see a shadow of loss in them? Do you realize that you have missed out on the smaller joys that life has to offer when you were busy ruling your kingdom based on a rigid set of principles? I do not blame you, my Lord. For your sense of responsibility towards your kingdom and disciples have earned you the name as one of the most famous kings to have walked on Earth.
Now that they are rejoined with their father, who should rightly be the guiding light of their lives, here on. For our sons need the presence of the father who was missing from their lives all this time. In your hands, I give you my life. Guide them, protect them, teach them. Scold them when they are wrong, for they need to know that life does not always go as planned. And lastly, don't forget to love them. With all your heart and soul.
It is time for me to go, my Dearest. Dwell not in my absence. But in looking forward to leading a better life with our sons. Make them the mighty princes that you have always aspired to be. And make them even better human beings, for me.
Mother Bhumi, open up for me. It is time. Time to bid goodbye to the chains that have shackled me in this life. Time for us to meet again. You have made me and to you I shall return. I have relinquished all my ties. I want to be cocooned in your depths once more. Embrace me in your folds as you would hold a long lost daughter. Envelop me in your tenderness. Take me back. I am Sita.
P.S- This is a work of fiction, though I have relied on a lot of sources from the Internet, including Wikipedia for my limited research.
P.P.S- I have tried to do justice to Sita as first heard from my Grandmother where she used to weave stories that left all of us granddaughters, enthralled. It was a long time ago, many years in fact, and all I have tried to do is dust the cob webs away and tried to recreate the magic that I experienced back then.
P.P.P.S- I do not claim that the facts mentioned here as true, it is just my version of the story. At least, how I have always thought it to be. It is not meant to offend or mock any one.