Work Header


Chapter Text

| paridevita - viprakriti |

In a different world, Maahishmati disregards her past.

She doesn't forget, only ignores it.

She doesn't weave tales over truth. She doesn't transmogrify swords into urumis. She doesn’t recast words of beach sand to stone slabs. She doesn’t braid meat on skeleton, tailor smooth skin over it, and then wrap in gossamer those bones that may never have felt the brush of cotton over non-existent flesh.

No. She sees how opportunely mankind forgets the goods and bads of past, and replaces, substitutes them with their own realities. She sees how kings and victors use metal to win prowess. She sees it all and allows the Sacred Fire burning above the crown of her palace blaze forth the testament to her omniscience.

This is a world where Maahishmati remembers the snakes slithering over her soil and Naga feet thundering their exotic dances on it.

She remembers her children--and oh, how the very definition of the word has changed--living by the Law of Prakriti. (She still cannot see what was so wrong in Matsya-nyaay.)

She remembers what she was before the children of Heheya advanced upon her land. The Naga feet stopped their arrhythmic thumps in favour of metrical strains. (But she wouldn’t know that. She knows harmony, not what makes it.)  

She remembers life before the architectural sensations rose. Before her limbs were cut down to make place for the people entrenching on her hallowed lands like ant to sugar. They toiled over her, like ants do, and were smarter together than alone, but failed to comprehend this simple arthropodal logic.

She remembers the times before her limbs were banished to crooks and corners of the red cities they made out of her soil. She remembers experiencing greater emotions than the gratitude she feels when she is allowed to retain those small pieces of land as wild and unmannered as she desires.

She remembers when all her girls walked like Sivagami.

She remembers when her females needed the endorsement or validation of no Agni Deva to let their fingers trail the expanse of whatever skin they wanted against theirs, at whichever time.

She remembers when her land was hers and her children smiled and took care of her resting soil and gay limbs with no complaint and reaped the rewards of their own labour with no question of gratefulness to her or to the Almighty. They needed only be proud of their sweat and blood.  

She remembers it all. She remembers, and she ignores them.

Then she sees her now, as her soil slips from her limbs.

She sees how her girls pour oblations to the Sacred Fire for granting them their liberty. She sees how even the far-sighted as Sivagami seek out glory measured in borders and disregard the right of females beyond Maahishmati’s soil to choose their mates.

She sees how her children form codes unknown and unneeded, misunderstood and prone to exploitation, and when they deviate from their own rules, they punish their own.

She sees how they transgress the natural boundaries of men and women and appoint the sin in accordance with their law.

(What is law if not Prakriti, and what is Prakriti if not compassion?)

Maahishmati looks to her sister--a similar, familiar city in a distant universe sharing her name--and holds her eyes. A lifetime shared, a past shared, a similar future coming to fruition, and she can look no longer.

Some things never change, she whispers, exiled to the bowels of the red cities,




... as exiled as her Baahu’s trust, as exiled as her Sivagami’s corpse, as exiled as her Devasena’s compassion, as exiled as her Mahendra’s identity, as exiled as her Bhalla’s love, as exiled as her Bijjala’s remorse, as exiled as her Kattappa’s belief, as exiled as her Kumar’s innocence.

Some things never change, she speaks in the caverns of Bhallaladeva’s haunted mind as he sees Amarendra’s lightning-smile behind his nephew’s rage, in the twist of Bijjaladeva’s arm as Devasena doesn’t even deign to look at him as she raises the crown.

Some things never change, she snarls up at the Sacred Fire burning yojanas above her, accusing, demanding justice she knows doesn’t exist.

And so, Maahishmati turns her wheel back to the first brick pounded on her flesh (as if beating will increase her beauty) . . . and waits. She will never be called impatient, impulsive. She awaits Mahakaal to work a miracle, a son like Amarendra, a daughter like Sivagami; Mahakaal allows her this, but some things never change.

. . . silenced, murdered, exiled . . .

Not this world. Her world has been sentenced. Acceptance is her only way out.

Beyond the fabric of time and space, her sister smiles.

Maahishmati closes her eyes of omniscience and erases her mind of memories. She lets the men--her children no more--write her story.

And then, she remembers no more.