Once the kingdom had come to know and love me Drupad decided it was time for me to wed. He declared a great swayamvar where suitors from many lands came to win my hand and make me theirs. But the truth is the task my father had set the quest my suitors had to accomplish to
win my hand, was of such difficulty That there was only one with the skill to win me Prince Arjuna. He’d vanquished my father in battle and now he had come, disguised as a monk, to take away his daughter. I had been built to hate him But perhaps there were higher powers at play, I did not know I knew only this: I wanted him. Our eyes met across rows of failed suitors, as
one by one they failed the test I waited anxiously, not even noticing the many princes
as they broke in tears before me But the road to victory is never free of obstacles I’d never seen such skill. The stranger’s wolfish eyes told me he thought me
a prize already won. But who was he? Karna, they said. Sworn brother to the snake-prince Duryodhana. A warrior
whose eyes burned with a cold fury. And then they told me his father was a charioteer. A low-born upstart, aspiring to the hand of Draupadi? Wait! Yet even as the great hall fell into silence and I could hear my next words before
I spoke them, doubt filled my mind. What if this hard-eyed stranger was my doorway to escape? To a different life? Was I no more than an instrument of my father’s revenge? Was I just some prize? What if I let him try?