‘I am sick of this!’ she grunted loudly.
‘Still thinking of your dream?’ Tara calmly inquired, her gaze fixed on flowing Godavari.
It’s the dream of that fateful night that kept chasing Ilaa for last four years. And every-time she dreams of it, she wakes up to be a different person. Ilaa dreams and Sudyumna wakes up; Sudyumna of Rahuji Somnath’s ashram dreams and Ilaa comes back.
Tara was not complaining. Sudyumna had the best of plans, he was not only articulate to the last detail, but could cough of examples and reasons to support their cause, from every Purana and Upanishads you can name. And Ilaa was Chandika incarnate. When she moved with her sword, no one dared to come close. They both were an asset to the guerrilla group they formed to save the common Marathi’s’ from the rampaging Mughal army.
“So we are meeting at midnight?” Ilaa wanted to confirm.
“Yes of course; there will be only a small contingent with the Mughal tax collectors,” confirmed Tara. “But before you leave I have some news for you.”
“What is it now?”
“My dad is coming tomorrow.”
“Hansaji Mohite? Chief General of Shivaji, coming? Is everything all right?”
“Shivaji is coming with him too.”
“What? What is going here? What are you hiding from me?”
“I have to go – he is coming to take me to Raigad. I am to wed Prince Rajaram Bhosale in fifteen days.”
“Oh my god, you are going to be a queen? But what will happen to our troop?”
“I am leaving it under you. Train them well. I hope Sudyumna also teaches them well. When the time comes, I will call for you. We have to fulfil Guruma’s prophecy. You and me together, we will make sure Maharashtra rises.”
With her eyes fixed on the flowing water of Godavari, Tara said, “Men say, we need to be protected, as the first thing any invader does is to attack the land’s women. We are Shakti. If they believed in us, we could not only protect ourselves, but them, and our motherland.”
Tara saw two unfamiliar beads of tears swelling up from her friend’s eyes. Ilaa picks up a scoop of Godavari’s water in her right hand, and places it on top of Tara’s right hand. Together they vowed to fight together when time calls, to rewrite India’s and Maharashtra’s history.
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