After Krishna’s death, Pandavas along with Draupadi started climbing the Himalayas to reach heaven. Draupadi was one of the first to drop dead while climbing and reached heaven before the others. As she roamed there, she was surprised to see an Indian version of Champs-Élysées sprawled in one of the by-lanes. She spotted Costa Coffee, Barista, Café Coffee Day and Starbucks doing great business side by side. She had no idea what these shops sold and stood transfixed. Then a hand pressed her shoulder warmly. Scared that Duryodhan was back to eve tease her, she turned around with her most dramatic expression and saw a smiling Sita standing there.
“Yes. Sita? Oh Hi! What a pleasant surprise!” Draupadi was shocked to come face to face with the legendary figure. She was going weak in her knees.
“Which one?” Sita said pointing to the coffee shops.
Draupadi had no idea what Sita was talking about but she did not want to be an ignorant fool in front of a legend. She raised a finger at a random shop.
As both of them settled in their seats and ordered two cappuccino, Draupadi was taken aback by the laid back ambience. It was something she had never experienced before.
“Where did this idea come from?” she asked Sita.
“Oh! Brahma went into the future and drank a cup of Latte at Barista. He was so hypnotized by the taste that he drank 78 cups per head that day, met the owner and convinced him to open an outlet in heaven. The rest they say is history.”
The Cappuccinos arrived and Draupadi had her first taste of Costa Coffee. She looked at Sita with amazement in her eyes.
“That look on the face of first timers always makes me so happy,” Sita beamed. She studied Draupadi as she gulped her coffee.
“I saw what happened in Mahabharata. We had a giant screen here in heaven. You won’t believe the kind of frenzy it created here. Brahma told us that the euphoria will be unparalleled till a lady called Ekta Kapoor will be born on Earth and kill someone called Mihir Virani.”
“Yes, it was all terrible. So much blood. So many families destroyed. Both of us were a part of terrible wars. So many people died and for what?” Draupadi said looking at Sita.
“You do realize that we will be blamed for both the wars, don’t you? People will always say that it was Draupadi and Sita who started the wars,” Sita said with a glum expression on her face.
“It is always beauty that is at fault, never the lack of a spine.”
Both of them sipped their coffee in silence for a while.
“So, 5 husbands, eh? Lucky you!” Sita said suddenly to lift the mood.
“It was exhausting!” Draupadi said rolling her eyes. Both of them laughed.
“How the hell did you end up with all 5 of them? I thought it was Arjun who married you?”
“Don’t ask! They were so obedient that they blindly did what their mother said even by mistake but when it came to blindly breaking someone’s neck for disrobing me, they turned a blind eye.”
“You’re telling me! My husband abandoned me in a bloody jungle all by myself just because he could not stand all the suspicious talk. I was pregnant at that time, dammit! And he did not even had the courtesy to do it himself. He made Laxman do it.”
“I know. I have read it a hundred times and it never made sense to me,” Draupadi said as she gently held Sita’s hand.
The air had suddenly turned acerbic. The coffee was going cold.
“Do you hate them?” Sita asked wiping a lone tear.
“Should I? I hated them with all my heart when Dushasan was trying to throw me naked in front of the whole court, when Duryodhana asked me to sit on his lap. You cannot imagine the rage that filled me. I shudder to think what would have happened if Krishna would not have helped. But then the war happened. I washed my hair with Duryodhana’s blood when it ended. Now there is no rage in my heart but love cannot mend every crack,” Draupadi said with a sad smile.
“Duryodhan is in heaven. I saw him at the Apple store the other day,” Sita said.
“Is he?” Draupadi said giving a surprised look.
“Yes. He served some time in hell but then Indra put him back in heaven.”
“Well, then he must be having a great time with Ravan,” Draupadi said sipping her coffee.
Sita mulled over Draupadi’s answer. If Gods can forgive a prince and a king for molesting a woman because he was a great scholar or a valiant warrior, then the tides have truly turned. They have set an example that would reverberate through centuries.
“Do you hate Ram?” Draupadi asked.
“There is a difference between your situation and mine. You were let down by your husbands before the war. Mine let me down after it,” Sita said as she picked up her coffee giving Draupadi a thoughtful look.
Darupadi nodded. She had her answer.
“Its gone cold,” Sita said and smiled.
“What are they playing?” Draupadi said pointing at a couple in the café.
“Scrabble. Want to try it?”
Sita got up and picked up the game from a shelf nearby. She explained the rules to Draupadi and quickly placed 6 tiles in the centre of the board to start the game.
“So tell me about Krishna. I saw him today at Starbucks in a deep discussion with Ram,” Sita said as she ordered another coffee for both of them.
“I will. First tell me more about Mihir Virani,” Draupadi said as she placed her tiles in the rack.
Next part – Barista Banter – Ram and Yudhishthir
I recently picked up a book called ‘The palace of illusions’ which is Draupadi’s take on the story of Mahabharath. It is a whole fresh perspective of the tale from a woman’s point of view and you seem to have dine full justice to the both of them here 🙂 Would have loved even more if this was a longer piece!
Akansha the book indeed was really good. have you read “Sister of My Heart” by the same author?
Loved the book too!! and Really really want to read Sister of My Heart..
Thanks for the recommendation Akanksha. I have heard a lot of good things about the book and have added it to my wishlist. 🙂
I too would have loved a longer piece but I try to keep my post length upto 1000 words. The readers lose interest when the post is too long. A part 2 maybe. 🙂
Have you also seen the book “Panchali’s Secrets?” Another modern take on the epic.
If Sati, savitri & ahalya had been there too, it would have been quite a bitchy-gossipy kitty party! 🙂
Haha! 🙂 Now you are giving me ideas. I too have ideas to carry it forward but I am still in the thinking phase. 😉
Hahah!! Oh yeah!! would love to read that version! Far more interesting!! 😀
And I should give them 5 packets of Lays so that we are not able to understand what they are saying. 🙂
Whos this dude at the end?
That is Amar Upadhyay who played Mihir Virani in one of the most successful soaps of Balaji telfilms – Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. When the soap was at its peak with phenomenal TRPs, Ekta Kapoor (the producer) decided to kill Mihir. You will not believe the kind of frenzy it created. Every damn person was talking about it. Even the animals were discussing it.
@Nidaa I was about to ask him that question.That last hindi soap that watched was kasauti zindagi ki when I was in 10th.
It’s ‘Kasautii Zindagii Kay’. Don’t forget the extra Ks and Is. It was a trademark Ekta Kapoor move.
ha ha 🙂
I was tired of watching Prerna getting married to Anurag basu and Rishab Bajaj like they were having a child’s play. and finally stopped watching it.
Oh My, he looks too humble (sad?!?) to be such a huge star!
I was not into TV at all till my 10th, except for Sunday movies & catching snippets while going to kitchen.
Then I started watching Remix & Shararat n college. Dont think they were tht famous.. Quite youthy you see..
Now Dil Dosti Dance in V bcz my friend is in it & Rishta.com (awesome & classy sitcom by Indian std). And yea, I remember the DD-1 Tehkikaat. Loved Gopi 😀
I have seen Shararat. I liked it.
I too was into television only till I was at home. When I left for hostel, I left all my couch potato abilities behind me. 🙂
Hahahah……omg..how do u come up with this, Amit? Coffee….apple store was the killer…5 husb? Awesome….Krishna died and they went to heaven…heheh…..beautiful…you should write a series…:)
Thanks Latha. 🙂
Well, the last bit is true. After Krishna died of the arrow which struck his ankle, the Pandavas decided to walk towards heaven. As they walked up the Himalayas, they started dying one by one. I think only Yudhishthir reached the heaven in human form.
Yes, yes. I might write a series. I am thinking about it. 🙂
If mythology was indeed true, D must have been the first indian woman (and thankfully, not the only) woman to have had a choice in bed, though she never could use it fully. I wish they had bitched more 🙂 may be on their MIL’s! Read the Palace of Illusions 🙂
And the best part was that her mother-in-law gave her that choice. Even after realizing that she had done a mistake, Kunti never took her words back. That is actually the shocking part for me. 🙂
I wanted to make the post longer but maybe I will do a series. 🙂
Yes, yes. Added it to my wishlist.
It ended all too soon 😦 May be that’s the key. You leave it to the reader to pursue the thoughts you have implanted. Since, I avoid TV especially serials like the plague, I had to ask Google about Ekta and Mihir. Costa and Apple in heaven, absolutely hilarious. Wonder if my favourite fashion brands made it up there as well? Wouldn’t mind dying and going to heaven then.
I am surprised by the number of readers who wanted the post to be longer. Thanks maximsoflife, I will do a series on it. 🙂
Read my reply to Nidaa as well. I have added a few bits there.
Oh, yes. There was a full blown Champs-Élysées there. 🙂
A good way of bringing them together and making them reflect over the state of affairs. I have a lot of problem with all mythological tales and the morals they subconsciously propagate down generations. And five men, if one is not married to them, is not such a bad idea ;-).
Thanks Rachna. Yes, I agree that a lot of wrong things are propagated down generations but I think we have a tendency to pick and choose certain parts of the stories which suit us. No one actually objects to Duryodhana and Ravan being in heaven. It basically shows that we are fine to let go criminals if they are big shots, something which we still follow.
I don’t think it was the norm to have 5 men as husbands during those days. Maybe this was something prevalent in royal families only. But that must have not been a very good arrangement for the husbands. 🙂
But then Ravan had good qualities too? Aren’t we being judgmental when we negate all his good qualities? However, I do agree with your point that we are selective in our approach and sometimes pick things out of context and react as well. I think it is an insult to a woman that she was supposed to go along with the arrangement of having 5 husbands, just because her mil said so. I mean how do we even come up with these “out of ass” tales?
//But then Ravan had good qualities too?
That is the whole point. Can we forgivee all the crimes of a person if he had some good qualities?
Can we forgive a convicted rapist if he is a noble man and have done numerous good deeds?
I really do not believe that she was married to all five of them but maybe polygamy was normal in those days and that is why she was fine with it.
Was Ravan a rapist? Are we putting them on trial. In which case the husband must be put on trial for desertion as well. No, there are certain crimes for which there is no forgiveness. I was merely pointing out that often we judge a person based on one aspect and neglect all others. I don’t believe any of these stories anyway. To me these are just idle fantasies.
The rapist example was not in reference to Ravan. I was just giving an example. Sorry, if I was not clear. 🙂
Please do tell me that this was just Part 1 of the series? 😛
I am thinking about it. 😀
“It is always beauty that is at fault, never the lack of a spine.” beauty. The best part is how you brought out the current issues which were rampant back then too .
Thanks Jas. 🙂
Hehehe, too good ! what wonderful ideas you get, Sirjee!! Enjoyed this thoroughly and am joining the clamour for a series 🙂
The predicament of Draupadi is fascinating and unparalleled even in mythology. Five husbands!!! Must surely have been tough! I never got why Kunti couldn’t take back her words, or why even Draupadi couldn’t demur. Surely Draupadi could have said that she married only Arjun and not the others–after all she was known to speak her mind and was never one to mince words.Or was it that she was secretly pleased at Kunti’s mistaken command?
Thanks scribblehappy and I am seriously thinking about the series. 🙂
I think we should take all our mythology with a pinch of salt. I can believe that the basic thread of the story is true but a lot of modifications happen in a story as it is passed through generations. What we hear is a very very twisted version of the reality.
hahahahah! oh god! hahahahah! I am clutching my stomach and laughing here! too good
Thanks R’s mom. Areee, you are making me laugh too. 😀
Lovely! The ending was too good! Along with the Palace of Illusions, you must also watch Sita Sings the Blues. It’s Ramayana from Sita’s perspective.
Thanks Sreetama. I will definitely watch it.
This is the link
Nice one! enjoyed reading! You’ve managed to convey v. well how women think about men;)
Haha! No I didn’t. I was just trying to understand what Sita and Draupadi might have felt for their husbands. 🙂
oooh just loved the Mihi Virani twist!! And you put in strong messaging beneath all that humour…… Look forward to more episodes on the same line!!
Thanks Nirvana. 🙂 I will cook up something. 🙂
lol.. i am waiting for the second part.. had to goggle to findout who this Mihir Virani is.. :).. i think there aremany versions of Ramayana and Mahabharata, each with different charterers in priority. it changes the story line itself..
Thanks ashreyamom. 🙂 You can also refer to my reply to Nidaa to know about Mihir.
In Lord Of the Rings, Galadriel speaks the following lines which rightly sums up what our Mythology has turned out to be – “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.”
Have you read “Place of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee? If you haven’t please do read. Maybe you can write a review of the book.
This post was a master piece (actually I am falling short of words ). I hope there are more to come..please please 🙂 I am reblogging it!
No I haven’t but it seems everyone else have. 🙂 I will definitely read it.
Thanks metherebel. I am very glad that you found the post worthy of sharing. 🙂
Reblogged this on The Rebel.
Thoroughly enjoyed this conversation between the two women of the myths. Also the way you have brought in the contemporary scene in the country vis-a-vis women. More of the same please!
Thanks Zephyr. While I was doing a bit of a research for this, I was surprised to find that Duryodhana and Ravan were given a berth in heaven even after commiting such sins. Even if this is just a story, it sends some pretty wrong signals.
Yes, yes. More shall be delivered. 🙂
Amit,You have a fan in me,sharing this 🙂
Thanks glimpsesandglances. 🙂
LOVED this! Things haven’t really changed since those times, have they? 😦
Thanks TGND. Yes, sadly they haven’t.
Superb post Amit. Your posts are so funny and yet, to the point. It makes me laugh and think at the same time. Waiting for the next part.
But in the Mahabharatha version I have read, only Yudhishtara went to heaven of the Six. Draupadi was not sent to heaven as she showed partiality to Arjun among the 5 husbands !
For just one mistake of each, Draupadi and other 4 of the pandavas did not reach heaven. But Yudhishtara reached heaven, that he kept his wife as an object of Betting and his inaction when his wife was being ‘molested’ by Duryodhana , was not reason enough to deny him heaven. And Duryodhana’s and Ravana’s crimes were overlooked as they had other virtues. But Draupadi’s all virtues were overlooked but partiality to 1 of the 5 husbands was punished. Seriously, our great epics are full of paradoxes and clearly caters to the patriarchy. How else could you explain Ram being called ‘Purushottam’ when he abandoned pregnant Sita, even after she had given ‘Agni pareeksha’. In fact I always felt Sita should have abandoned Ram the moment he asked for ‘Agni Pareeksha ‘, if she had some self respect. ( I might get shot dead for Blasphemy 🙂 )
Thanks Seena. 🙂
Ok. It seems we have heard different versions but I think that is ok since there are so many of them.
The version which I have heard says that only Yudhishthira was able to reach heaven in human form. The rest of the brothers and Draupadi died while ascending the Himalayas and their souls reached heaven.
Read this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yudhisthira
If you will be shot dead for blasphemy, I wonder what my end would be. I made Sita and Draupadi drink coffee and allowed Duryodhana in an Apple store. 🙂
I read the link . “While climbing the peaks, Draupadi, and four of the Pandavas, each fell to their deaths, dragged down by the weight of their guilt for their sins. Yudhisthira was the only one to reach the mountain peak, because he was unblemished by sin or untruth.” So the difference was being dead and reaching heaven and reaching heaven in human form. I might have remembered it wrong. Thanks for the info.
But yet the point is still valid, Draupadi’s died ‘dragged down by the weight of her guilt for her sin’ and Yudhisthira ‘was unblemished by sin’. So what he did to his wife was not a sin at all 🙂
//Yudhisthira was unblemished by sin.
I wonder what was Draupadi’s sin? Aarrghh, our mythology is such a bag of contradictions that it is better to leave the stories alone. 🙂
This is awesome.I always wanted to write something of this kind.Then refrained from publishing it as I thought it was not the right time to become famous 😛
Once in our hostel a night out session discussing about this topic made us go insane but cannot post anything from that discussion in a public forum 😉
Thanks Bhavia. 🙂 And this post will not make me famous. Believe me. Someone might take offense though. 🙂
I get it. I too had similar discussions with my friends in the hostel. 🙂
An interesting revelation of how so many (mal)practices have actually trickled down from our mythologies and are still followed and even defended with same fervor.
Eagerly waiting for second part 🙂
It seems that we have forgotten or deliberately sidelined the actual lessons of the stories.
Thanks My Era. 🙂
Smashing!! As usual. 🙂
I was wondering whether Karna would make and appearance and finally propose D. Something like atonement you see! 🙂
And I didn’t know both Ravan and Duryodhan got berths in heaven!
And I wonder how all the husbands including Ram got into heaven when all of them were far from ideal!
Thanks Maddie. 🙂
Haha! That will be blasphemy when all the five husbands are around. 🙂
Yes, it was surprising about Duryodhan and Ravan. I found that while researching for the post.
It seems that everyone got into heaven irrespective of their deeds. Really strange.
I loved this take. Totally agree with most of the readers here….make a series out of this.
Hats off to your imagination Amit 🙂
Thanks Visha. 🙂 I am glad that you like it.
This has to be one of the best coffee chats I’ve read. Kudos! Awesome stuff.
Thanks Shivya. 🙂
I like Costa Coffee, too. Just hoping for that day when I’d not feel guilty spending 100 bucks on a singular cup of coffee. ;->
Yes, we Earthlings have to think about money. It is free in heaven though. The money goes from the treasury.
gee; tht’s one helluva cuppa chat amit. Wish you bring in more femme fatales to spice up the sessions. part 2 may be ?
I am not thinking of adding more females but a different twist in part 2. Hopefully everyone will like it.
Thanks Priya. 🙂
Our mythologies do give a whole lot of wrong signals. Rapes and molestations can be taken lightly, but single motherhood is only acceptable if the wife was abandoned by the husband. If there was no marriage, single motherhood means the young mother should abandon the baby in a trunk in some river 😦
IHM, a lot of stories are irrelevant in the current world. The stories were written by men in the age when equality of genders was nowhere in the picture. I am sure sooner or later people will understand this. It might take centuries, but it will happen.
“There is a difference between your situation and mine. You were let down by your husbands before the war. Mine let me down after it,” and “It is always beauty that is at fault, never the lack of a spine.” – awesome lines!
We used to have a teacher in school who would ask us to brainstorm what went wrong in the epics. I loved that class. We would try to read the epic from different perspectives (certain scenes only) and we actually would get to hear our teacher (a delightful lady) talk about how we have imbibed only the wrong.
Time to bring out a new version that serves as a good example, eh?
You are very lucky for being taught by this teacher of yours. Very few people have the brains to distinguish what the stories actually pointed at. We selectively propagate whatever suits us.
My God this is just brilliant! The realism .. the coffee .. all the elements needed to make a crunchy cracked-up post!
Love it – and I can’t wait for more. Wohoo!
Thankyou very much!
Part 2 coming soon. 🙂
This is great! Similar, but even more irreverent, I’ve recently read a book by a London based Indian writer called “Panchali’s Secret.” Has anyone else read it? It’s very graphic, but also takes a modern female look at Draupadi.
Thanks Indian boy. I haven’t heard of this book but it seems interesting. Will keep it on my radar.
and yes I think Mihir was a better man than all the pandavas, Ram and Krishna put together..
atleast his heart was in the right place
I don’t think Mihir was a better man. He had an extra-marital affair. Twice, if I remember correctly. 🙂
ROFL.How did you come up with this? hahaha
Loved the conversation between the two women
Thanks Sia. 🙂 I must thank Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the idea. He made Paro and Chandramukhi meet even when nothing like that was written in the novel. 🙂
Hahaha Very true 🙂
An extraordinary post Amit 🙂 🙂
Thanks dauntlessdaisy. 🙂
The French might sue you for defamation for daring to suggest that they have Costa and Starbucks on Champ d’elyees!
And I believe Draupadi was the original ambassador for Loreal – five problems, one solution.
The French might spare me if I tell them that my first thoughts while writing the post were to have Chacha ke Chole Kulche and Bittu Tikki Wala on Champ d’elyees. 🙂
Novel concept. I really liked the idea. Although, you could have tried a bit more to use some more humor. Its a little plain.
good job, dude
Thanks Tushar. 🙂
I hope you will enjoy the next part more.
Marvelous! I too really want to read more of it!
Thanks rajrupa. 🙂 Well, its a three parts series so more will be coming. 🙂
It was hilarious.. Laughed till the end.. I expected a lot more.. Really want to read the extended version or the part-II I guess… Excellent post.. Well deserved and awarded…
Thanks Harikishna. I am glad that you liked it.
The second part is already out! 🙂
I have no words to describe the genius writer in you, Amit! You’re a writer par excellence!
Excellent excellent post!
Thanks Deeps. I am blushing. Really. 🙂
Now this is what I call an awesome work of fiction .. loved it to the core..very well written
Thanks Ravindra. 🙂
Reblogged this on Sapna's Blog and commented:
Absolutely loved this!! “It is always beauty that is at fault, never the lack of a spine.” What a wonderful statement!!
Thanks Roshni. 🙂
goodness me, this is so well written..loved it….
Thanks Bhavana. 🙂
awesome .. the question still stands .. how do you write such fictions Amit ?
Hats-off to you !
Thanks Rahul. 🙂
Reblogged this on A monster's view of all that is wrong with Movies and TV Shows and commented:
ah, Insightful as well as funny!
Thanks for reblogging. 🙂
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Its such a pity I didnt find your blog until today. This had me in splits. Its fun, isn’t it? Bringing them into our lifestyle… I do enjoy doing it, but I have stuck with Krishna… you could check out, if you want… http://sulakshanabadri.wordpress.com/category/fiction-5/the-kay-madness/
Thanks SB. 🙂 I am glad you liked the post. Yes, it was fun cooking all this up.
One of my FB friend shared ur post .And I am happy that i clicked the link . Good read . Love the way your presented both of these graceful women from our history . I am a big fan of these two 🙂 . Kudos !!