Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Tale of Princess Lavanya

(Slightly experimental. Ever since I first came across Bhaskara's Lilavati, it has been a fancy to attempt something like this. Would love feedback on this one specially.)

In the Great Kingdom of Maharanya,
Lived the famous Princess Lavanya.
She was of marriageable age,
Thus pronounced the Royal Sage.

The Princess was the epitome of refined glamour,
Her eyes shone with diamond lustre,
The radiant, dimpled smile could cause a flutter,
In the hearts of the most chaste Bhattar.

Her luscious tresses, the jet-black hair,
Cascaded down to her ample derriere.
However the secret of her beauty,
Stemmed from the quiet air of authority.

But one winter day Lavanya was overcome by dejection,
As she listened to Charulatha’s narration.
The fine eyebrows were knit in concentration,
With the full red lips curled in consternation.

"The Mighty Prince Vijayaraghava of Naimisha,
Had vanquished the noble Vikrama of Uttararishika.
However, he had got quite a scorch,
By the Agniastra in his sensitive crotch!”

“At this rate, I’m fated,”
The astute princess postulated,
“To end up drinking the divine payasa,
Just like the poor queens of Dasharatha.”

She galloped on her trusted steed, Vatsyayani,
To consult the Goddess Maheshwari.
After having obtained wisdom timely,
She came back feeling more easy.

The land was filled with great excitement,
As the day of the Swayamvara approached.
Princes came from far and wide,
To claim the hand of the fair bride.

The prospective suitors were seen practicing,
Rather frantically, arts like horse riding,
Sword fighting, archery and just to be sure
Some even brushed up on their cooking!

The day dawned bright and clear,
Even the squirrels chirped about the ceremony near,
Coming forth the brightly decked bride,
Announced the test for the groom destined.

“To avoid the fuss made by his Satraps,”
The Princess began her teaser
“The King decided to divide his taxes thus;
To each he gave a weight of gold,
Equal to the total number of Satraps.
This left the King with six thirty times what each got
And another seventy six for the foreign gifts.
Pray, tell me, O intelligent men here,
How much did the King keep for the year?”

The room filled with anguished murmurs,
The Princes stifled a collective curse.
“What use is thinking for one in the royal family?
Shouldn’t we be tested on things more manly?”

“This is a simple equation of the type quadratic”
From somewhere came thus a squeak.
“It can be solved by application of the formula,
Propounded by Sridharacharya”

While the shocked suitors looked in askance,
Vasudeva emerged with a quiet air of nonchalance.
The Princess, whose hands were slender like a creeper,
Garlanded the geek with a palpable ardor.

Contrary to popular expectation,
Vasudeva emerged a ruler of adequate competence,
And the couple lived happily ever after,
Not least due to all the activity nocturnal! ;)