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By Anand Neelakantan

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Sample text

Why do you feel so embarrassed to speak the truth? Vyasa is the illegitimate son of my stepmother Satyavathi, fathered by the sage Parashara, before her marriage to my father. Vyasa, the son of a fisherwoman, is the father of Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidhura. ” Bhishma asked with a mischievous smile on his usually stern face. ” Shakuni whispered into Suyodhana’s ears. Suyodhana looked at his uncle for an explanation. Shakuni explained to the young boy that the Grand Regent had beautifully tied Dhaumya into a knot using his own arguments against him.

But it was not Bhima whom Suyodhana hated the most. Of his five Pandava cousins, sons of his dead uncle, Pandu, he most feared Yudhishtra, the eldest. Had not his Uncle Shakuni warned him repeatedly about his pious cousin? While the young boy did not understand the inheritance and political issues Uncle Shakuni kept talking to him about, he hated the sheer hypocrisy of his eldest cousin, who was ten years old, almost the same age as he was. Yudhishtra behaved as if he was the most obedient, god-fearing and innocent boy in the world, but his kicks were often the most vicious in a fight.

The boy was covered in blood but unhurt except for a wound on his left leg. His large, animal eyes looked at the tough warrior-prince with all the hatred he had gathered in his young life. It was at such moments that Bhishma hated himself. He could face a thousand arrows on the battlefield but the little boy’s eyes pierced his armour and reached deep into his heart. His Gurus would have advised him not to spare the boy’s life. When one conquered a country, it was prudent to finish off all the males and take the women.

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