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The war cries were fading making the night calmer and somber yet her heart was pounding with an unidentified pang of foreboding- to be ready for the worse! Sita was restless at this weird feeling as she was aware that Ram had won the battle after killing the mighty Raavan. She was waiting for an anxious Ram to embrace her affectionately, kissing out all her pain and suffering. But in vain. Neither Ram nor any message from him. The ever righteous- perfectionist Ram- the man who was almost divine.
The sun-god touched her feet in the morning bringing Trijata, alongside a serene, pious Mandodari dressed all in white, to escort Sita to Ram. All these days in the captivity at Ashok Vatika, Sita generated unique- nameless bonds with many of them- an extended family in emotions. Exchanging solemn smiles, the ladies proceeded towards palace gates- to a destiny none conceived of!
“Sita”, spoke the calm yet resolute Ram, “I am happy to have you back in my life yet you know I am not only your husband Ram but…….”. There itself froze Sita realizing that the man facing her wasn’t her lover-her companion- but a future king and a victorious leader. It did not take her long to understand that she had to enter a burning pyre to prove herself pure and untouched by the vice of Raavan!
Wordless, hurt, humiliated and angry Sita beheld up the sky invoking the God of fire till the test was over, the fire extinguished. An ashamed fire God saluting Sita vouching her purity. Ram gave another smile of victory looking around the awestruck crowd chanting her name and his with reverence. He, now, held out his hand towards her- only to be rejected by a negative look in her fiery eyes.
Thus, came the thunderous reply, “Dear brother Vibheeshan, I stand here to request you to permit me to stay in Ashok Vatika living a life of prayer till my last breath”. Dumbstruck Ram and shocked Vibheeshan had nothing to say when Sita added, “Mandodari didi, since we bear the same pain of being humiliated by our husbands, can you be my companion in this?”
Then with small but determined steps Sita receded away from Ram and the patriarchal chauvinists who proclaim to be the owners of their better halves and write their destinies in whatever way they wish!

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