At Koshala

Krishna looked around as the people aroundwatched him with bated breathe. A decorated pedestal stood at one end of the arena which seated King Nagnajit, the Lord of Koshala. Nagnajit had announced the test for the swayamwara of his daughter, princess Sathya. 

On the left side of the Arena, stood seven bulls, restrained by experts. The excited bulls. Nagnajit had announced that the suitors would have to successfully control and harness all the seven bulls to claim the bride. 

The announcement seemed to have discouraged most of the suitors who did not even make an attempt to move from their seats. The crowds from Chedi and Magadha started to call foul over the test. The princes were trained to tame horses, fight elephants and some of the braver ones ventured to subdue lions. But a challenge to tame seven bulls at the same time seemed humanly impossible to most of the suitors present there. 

Krishna seemed oblivious to the voices around him and focused on the bulls which were ready to charge. The retainers were waiting for Krishna to signal his readiness before they left the bulls free into the arena. Krishna observed the bulls. Two of them seemed to be restless and wilder than the rest. A smile lit up his face as Krishna moved around, measuring the moments of all the bulls. 

He signaled for the bulls to be unleashed. The seven bulls charged into the arena, causing the dust to raise, thereby clouding each other's sight. Agile all the time, Krishna seized an opportune moment to throw the noose around the bull which strayed farther from the herd. The bull was taken by surprise and pulled away with all its strength, dragging Krishna along with it by two paces. He had to duck and step aside in order to avoid another bull. He took an opportunity to throw a handful of dust to blind the second bull for a while and simultaneously pulled the one he caught closer to him.  

To the amazement of others around, he tenderly touched it on its forehead and seemed to speak into its ears. He released the bull from the noose and turned to the second bull. Nagnajit and Sathya could not bat an eyelid as the bull seemed to listen to Krishna and as if to obey him, stood guarding him from the other bulls. Krishna's calculations were right. This one was the leader of the herd. Five of the younger bulls were controlled by it. Hence, they choose to listen to their leader and stopped charging. Now Krishna was left facing the seventh bull, which seemed stranger to the six.  It was a matter of sometime before it was subdued and brought together with others. 

The crowds started cheering as the scion of Shooras harnessed the bulls, speaking to them in a language they understood and endearing himself to them. He had won the bride!

The trumpets blared with the supporters blowing into their respective conches in jubilation. Nagnajit welcomed Krishna on to the dais where he was seated. He took Krishna into his arms, not minding the dust that covered his whole body as the result of his encounter in the arena. A coy Sathya  stepped forward with garland in hand. Her eyes glistened as her gaze met his while she garlanded him.

Rude shouts interrupted the moments of celebration for Nagnajit. To his dismay, he found the Chedi warriors up in arms daring Krishna. The Yadava host had already formed a protective circle around the dais. Nagnajit signaled to his generals to have the army ready in case of an undesirable situation. He was appalled to think of the swayamwara turning into a battle field. 

"Take heart, Your Majesty. Your fears are unfounded." Krishna's smile was assuring as he turned to face his detractors.

The situation was about to erupt when another conch was heard blaring.  Krishna turned to wards the direction, his smile becoming wider. Not long after, the familiar monkey-banner came in sight. 

TBC

The End

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