It had been ten months since the destruction of Duryodhana and his brothers by the fire of Draupadi. Since that time there has been nothing but heartache and general sadness for the heroine. It would be a short while later when Draupadi lost all her sons, in an epic battle against the avengers of the Kauravas. There had been a wide circulating vow of this manipulative clan to cause as much pain to Draupadi as possible. They started off with the war that would take all her sons, and two of her husbands, Bhima and Sahadeva. Then when she thought it couldn’t get worse these revengeful followers made it their mission to further destroy the love she held so dear. The information that they told Yudhistira was she had willingly entered another man’s home and therefore compromised the very virtue she diligently defended months before.
“I saw her come out holding the hand of a strong man. A beautiful man, who was the embodiment of Rama.”
“He is as powerful as the greatest gods and more magical than any Asura,” another man spoke with assurance.
“She looked as if she was as hot as the sun, obviously making love,” said a very poor woman.
“She looked happy and said to us that she did not love you or your beloved brothers,” said a holy man wearing beautiful silks and golden jewelry.
“She truly is a vile creature,” said another.
“Yes, she is a creature. She is surely demonic!” someone yelled in the distance.
“ENOUGH!”said Yudhishthira while raising his hand. “I have no reason to believe that you do not speak the truth. I see happiness within your eyes that would make any king believe the words you speak.”
Afterward Yudhishthira dismissed each person with a kiss on the hand. Thanking them for having the surviving Pandavas’ interest at heart, he summoned Draupadi next.
“Hello, my beloved husband, is it our year yet? Surely, it is not. Maybe I lost track of time…”
“SILENCE! I have heard of your wicked ways, bedding another man. Your loyalty is to your husbands!”
“Yudhistira … I”
“I said silence! How dare you call me by my holy name! You are nothing to me…”
He then exiled Draupadi to live her life of servitude with Kichaka who was was the brother of Queen Sudeshna.
It had been nine long months for Draupadi. She missed her life with the Pandavas greatly. She missed the luxuries of being royalty, the comforts that it offered and most of all the protection it provided for her. She missed the very husband that exiled her to live out the torturous existence. Despite the destitution she just could not let the love of the Pandavas go and she firmly believed she wasn’t meant to. She was convinced one day they would hear the truth from the mouths of Duryodhana’s followers, but by month eight of her exile she had exhausted all hope of ever being rid of her life of servitude, under the roaming hands of Kichaka.
“Do not touch me, you evil man! I am the wife of the Gandharvas! I will not break the promise between a woman and a man not ever!” Speaking with ferocity she knew to expect repercussions.
“How dare you speak to me that way! Kichaka, the brother of the King and Queen! You are mine!”
“I am no one’s!” She yanked her arm out of his grasp and turned her back to him to show a complete lack of acknowledgement and in his eyes disrespect.
With this lack of acknowledgment Kichaka reached a heightened sense of anger and grabbed Draupadi forcefully. He would have this woman. With this act of violence Draupadi reacted out of violence of her own. She had long since promised (since the day Duryodhana and his brothers were killed by her) that no man would ever lay his hands on her.
That woman killed him suddenly, or so the servant said, when he recalled it to Kichaka’s parents.
“One minute Kichaka was holding Draupadi in a warming embrace and the next her eyes became fire, and the evil spirit within the horrible woman made him catch fire and burn!” The servant wept for the prince and continued to tell only the half-truth.
“She is an evil spirit. She does not belong in our world; she will destroy us all!”
It was because of the servant’s half-truths’ that the King and Queen concocted a way to rid the world of Draupadi. With the very thing that made her…fire.
3 Hours Later.
She was led to the pit of fire that was built for her. Draupadi only briefly looked down into the pit. Then she held her head up high with pride.
With a hard push from the henchmen the King, Queen, and Duryodhana’s followers looked on with cold faces as Draupadi fell into the pit of fire. All of them thought at last Draupadi was dead.
Draupadi rose from the fire. She was now completely consumed by her powers and her body was in flames.
“You fools! I’m Draupadi! The wife of the great Pandavas! The destroyer of Duryodhana and his brothers! I’m made of fire! How dare you try to kill me with what my blood relishes in!” With this she reached her hands out to each person causing them to burst into flames.
“Now this is my kingdom….” she laughed wickedly.
After that fateful night, Draupadi did become queen. She ruled the kingdom with such callousness that she would kill anyone who got in her way, a far cry from the hero she once was. The fire that coursed through her veins at a heightened pitch caused her to act out in the evilest ways.
It wasn’t until Arjuna came to talk to Draupadi that she did finally meet her demise. She was given an ultimatum, either surrender her land to the Pandavas or die. She, of course, laughed it off. Arjuna then stabbed her with a sword given to him by Kali, who was convinced that Draupadi was an Asura.
Author’s Note:I didn’t initially seek out making a sequel to another story. I just couldn’t find anything that I 100% liked at the end of the story. I felt Draupadi’s story was not finished yet for me. I felt that way when I was writing The Jackal and the Princess, but I stopped myself because I was well over the acceptable limit of the assignment. The continuation of Draupadi’s story is her dealing with the consequences of her actions: the destruction of Duryodhana and his brothers. Even though it may have been justified the idea that a woman took down a group of powerful brothers was something that I knew would not be acceptable in the world of Indian Epics (at least I don’t think so). So, I wanted to really play into the expectations of women and the breaking down of Draupadi. I found that the only way I could do it was for her entire being to be question, because after all she “is a woman.” This is a new twist on the Indian Epic instead of Draupadi just getting angry she actually kills them. I also decided to have two Pandavas die to really turn Draupadi into a tormented soul, someone who will cave into her dark side and go on a path of destruction and hatred. I also wanted to use Kichaka as a source of discomfort and also a person that furthers Draupadi’s downward spiral of hatred. In the story I read, Kichaka attempts to pursue Draudpadi while she is in hiding at his sister’s palace. He also humiliates her in front of a room of people. I wanted to have a character that was obsessed with Draupadi. So, the concept of devolution from who she was in “The Jackal and the Princess” (link above!) is shown. All these things have caused her to go evil.
Bibliography: “The Mahabharata” by R.K. Narayan. TM-Narayan