It all started few months ago. There was a festival at the temple. That is where we go to see and be seen with the expectation that we will get new lovers. Also I knew that I would be bothered by that pest if I stayed home. He is the King’s brother in law. I had resisted him all along. He has even threatened me at times. No, I don’t want to yield my body to him !
Therefore I went to the temple. There were also many dances. When it started getting late, my friends asked me to go back home with them. But the dance was good and there were many handsome men. I wanted to stay for some more time. I told them I will come later.
As I left the temple to go back home, I noticed somebody following me. I did not worry initially but I was beginning to get afraid as I started going through desolate streets. I had many gold ornaments on me. I covered my body completely with my saree and started running. The person who was following me also did likewise. Now I was sure he was after my ornaments. I ran into a narrow street. The fellow must not have seen me. I went into the compound of a house. The door was not locked and I crept in. It was quiet dark with just a small lamp in the corner.
There was a handsome youth sitting by the lamp and reading a book . He must be a scholar. I curtsied to him upon which he stood up and asked me to take a seat. I told him of my predicament. I asked him whether I could deposit my ornaments in his home and collect it tomorrow. He laughed .
Are you not taking a big risk by giving it to me ?
No, Sir ! I am sure it will be safe with you
Lady, May I know your name?
Certainly Sir, I am Vasantasena..
Oh! The famos Nagaravadhu (courtesan),, I have heard of you and of your beauty. You truly are beautiful
Sir, You are embarrassing me. May I know who is it that I am addressing?
Madam, I am Charudatta, a merchant by profession, a scholar by inclination and poor as only scholars could be.
Sir, But this is a magnificent house ..
True, I inherited it from my parents. But see how dilapidated it is. I don’t have money to get it repaired… Sorry, I should not be telling you all this.
Yes, if you feel like you can deposit your gold ornaments.
I could not take my eyes off him. But I could not stay there for long. I left the ornaments in the youth’s house. I did go home but I could not sleep. I realized now it was not just the ornaments I had left in his home. I had left my heart too. Yes, I had fallen in love with him ! Madanika, my maid, could easily recognize that I was in love. May be because she was also in love. The object of her affections was a nice but a lazy fellow. She wanted to go away with him but I wanted to make sure that he could support her. I told her that I would let her go if he could prove that he has enough money .
I was busy for the next three days, mostly training young girls int he art of love. Yes, it was three days ago that I was in Charudatta’s house. Many had come in the last two days to seek my favour but I refused. Shakaara, the king’s brother in law was also here to torment me. When I was combing my hair in the afternoon , Madanika came in to say that her friend has come to show that he indeed can take care of her. When he was let in, he opened his bag and brought out several gold ornaments. When I looked at it closely, I saw that they are my own ornaments ! Upon questioning, he confessed that he stole these from Charudatta’s home. I chided him but also realized that the man was deeply in love. I gave half of these ornaments to them as my wedding present and sent them away !
Sometime later my other maid announced that Charudatta has sent a a messenger . It was actually Arya Maitreya , the good friend of the merchant. After I greeted him and offered a seat, he took a diamond studded necklace from his bag and gave it to me. When I was wondering about the present, he said that Charudatta was a compulsive gambler and had gambled away my ornaments. Seeing his worry, his wife took off her necklace and asked that it be given to me in place of my ornaments. I realized that Charudatta , apart from being young and handsome, was also a very honourable man. He must have found out that my ornaments have been stolen and his wife must have come forward to part with her necklace. A great lady indeed ! I accepted the necklace because I wanted to meet him again. That would be the pretext ! I would give back the necklace and tell him I am in love .
When I went to Charudatta’s home next evening, Arya Maitreya was telling him about the problems in the city. Palaka, the king and his brother in law Shakara have plundered the city. One could not get any work done without a bribe. And everybody knew that the king and his brother in law were getting a big proportion of the bribe money. Aryaka is the name of the peson leading the movement to get rid of the king. But nobody, not even the city police , knew the whereabouts of Aryaka. Arya Maitryea said that everyday there was loot and arson in the city
(Film Utsav was based on this story)
As Charudatta and Arya Maitreya were talking, I went into the court yeard and saw Charudatta’s y
oung son. He was a very cute boy and barely 5 years old ! He was playing with some toys . Among them, there was also a little clay cart. Showing it to me he said that he actually wants a golden cart to play with. I took off some of my ornaments and put it on the little cart. He exclaimed A GOLDEN CART and I said yes indeed. He said his mother has gone to her parents. I realized that it was really a golden opportunity to express my love to Charudatta.
When Arya Maitreya left, Charudatta came in, I could not control myself. I went upto him and embraced him. He reciprocated . We were in bliss for the next month. I did’nt even leave my lover’s house. He also did not step out of the house. It was love in the morning, love in the afternoon and love in the night. Madanika visited me at the end of the month . She told me that Shakaara was looking for me everywhere. I was afraid but I had to go back home. All the girls in our home looked up to me for help and guidance. I told Charudatta that I have to go home. He wanted me in his arms all the time but he let me go .
As I left the house, two men from nowhere came and caught me.They put me in a cart and asked the cartman to speed away. I was blindfolded and my hands were tied. After an hour, the cart stopped and I was taken out. When I opened my eyes I found myself in the big park by the side of the lake. I asked the cartman why hehad kidnapped me. He pointed a distant figure who was approaching us. God ! It was Shakara. I closed my eyes. Shakara again implored me to love him. When I said I don’t want to even look at him, he started threatening. Finally he put his hands around my throat and tried to choke me. I thought it was my end and started gasping. And then…
When I woke up, I saw a shramana (Buddhist monk) sprinkling water on my face. I told him that somebody had tried to kill me. He knew me. Though a monk he did not shun me, a courtesan. Instead he looked after me well for the whole day. When I woke up next morning, he told me that there was a news all over the town that Vasanatasena was dead and she had been murdered by Charudatta. I could not believe my ears ! And also that the judges have given a death sentence to Charudatta and he would be executed shortly. I could see that it was all due to Shakara. The shramana said that we have to hurry to the city center where the execution would take place.
As we went near the place, we saw that everything was ready for the execution. Charudatta was consoling his wife and son. Shakara was standing nearby and telling the executioners to hasten. As soon as Shakara saw me, he knew his game was up and started running. Aryaka, the rebel leader, came from almost nowhere to catch Shakara and hand him over to the soldiers. Aryaka also announced that the king Palaka had alredy been dethroned and was in prison. When Aryaka said that he would be the new king , people started clapping. Aryaka himself went to Charudatta and released him. When I went and embraced Charudatta , there was again wide applause. Aryaka also said he would release me from the bonds of the city and that Charudatata and I should be married! It was such a happy occasion for me! Charudatta came upto me and asked me to come with him. I looked at his wife There was no smile on her face. I told Charudatta that I would come later.
I went back home to collect my things. As I packed, I started thinking whether I was doing the correct thing by marrying Charudatta. Yes, there are many men in this world with two wives. But I also knew that his first wife would be neglected. He would devote more and more attention to me. I was after all a new found love for him. Added to it was that I was proficient in love making as only I could be. I realized that I was not doing the right thing by going to him.
The king had made me free. I did not have to lie with all and sundry any more. What else should I do ? I had heard a lot from the shramana about the great Buddha and his teachings. The Lord himself was expected in the nearby city of Shravasthi in a week. I will bide my time and then go and see the Master . I want to join your fraternity. That is what I will tell him. And I know he will welcome me
(This is based on the famous Sanskrit play MRICCHAKATIKA (THE LITTLE CLAY CART) by Shudraka. The I in the story is Vasantasena, the heroine of the play. I have made some changes
(Sudraka`s Mrichchakatika was written during 2nd B.C and is one of the earliest known Sanskrit plays in the post Vedic era. Rife with romance, sex, royal intrigue and comedy the play won accolades for its plots and the number iof twists and turns. It is the story of a young man who falls in love with Vasantsena, a rich courtesan. Their love is given a third angle by a royal courtier who loves Vasantsena too. The plot is further complicated by thieves, mistakes, etc thus making it entertaining.)
( Thanks to the internet for the pictures. I dont own them)
thanks for the visit and the commetns. Yes, UTSAV was a treat for the eyes. Regds. Palahali
the film has lovely songs and Rekha is the best choice for Vasantasena! Shashi kapoor couldnt lose the weight he put on for the movie.
No, you don't have to read it. It is the same with a different name. Incidentally I have read Bhasa's charudatta long time ago. If I remember correctly, it is not a finished play. Also I think Sudraka must be earlier (slghtly ? ) than Bhasa. Regds. Palahali
Oh, thanks, I will read your other post
I am also reminded by Bhasa's 'Chārudatta' which is the archetype for Mricchakatika.
Thanks for your comments. No, I did not forget. My previous post ( the one I had put in a day earlier) was from the original Mricchakatika (almost). As you know, there is no Vatsayana in it. I had called it THECOURTESAN AND HER LOVER . In a repost I called it the UTSAV STORY for a better connect. Regds. Palahali
You forgot the best past
that is, Arya Mallanāga Vātsyāyana's researching his Kama Sutra.
if you do ravana in white i'll be happier too.
and sure will read more of you as soon.
Thanks for the visit and the reco. I am glad you liked the story. As you probably know, the film itself has a different ending.
Sita ! No I have not done any on Ramayana. Mahabharata and our myths lend themselves more easily to different interpretations. . Both Rama and Ravana are not really white and black. I may try Ravana but Sita is difficult. I think her crossing the lakshman Rekha is very interesting. . Will keep thinking, Regds. Please read some other stories of mine based on myths etc.when you have time.Palahali
kudos for this end Palahali! much logical and in sync with those times - the Buddha era. beautiful narrated in the first person.
have you done the Ramayana? i seek it from Sita's viewpoint. The Sitayana. a short story on it has been done in Assamese by one upcoming writer here. please do let's have one from you.
Thanks for the revisit. The film is quite sensuous. I liked it. But there are people who think that the famous play is made into soft porno. Shekhar Suman was never able to exploit the fame from the exposure at least in films. Also the ending is different. Int he original play vasantasena marries charuddatta. In the film charudatta leaves vasantasena and goes back to his wife; vasantasena at the end even welcomes the ' villain; to her home ! In my version, she becomes a disciple of Buddha! Regards.Palahali