Bolly! I need to speak with you my child.
Bolly rolled her eyes as she descended the long winding
staircase, her oversized sari dress trailing behind her. Her
father, the great King Ashana, was the oldest king in
all of the three kingdoms of Bollyworld. He was also the wisest
among the three rulers and knew that soon, he would no longer be
able to run his kingdom. His health
was giving way and he did not know
not how to tell
his 17-year old daughter that one day she would need to take his
place, and that day was sooner than Bolly could imagine.
Bolly walked towards her father, who was sitting on a cushioned
chair in the gigantic foyer of the palace in which they lived. The
King was reading the pa-per, his half-eaten breakfast in front of
him, and heard Bollys humming voice drifting down from the
Hearing the familiar sound, the King looked up. Today, the King
was plan-ning to talk to his daughter about seri-ous matters -
matters about the state of the Kingdom, and his ailing health. He
tried many times before to talk to Bolly but she either ignored him
or pretended she couldnt hear what he was trying to say.
Bolly said the King. There is some-thing I need to discuss with
you my child. What now Baba? replied Bolly, smiling at her father.
Baba- why do you have yet another gray hair in your beard?
The King looked into the innocent eyes of his daughter and
thought to himself, Maybe I will wait another day. Bolly, a letter
has come for you. said the King.
From whom? asked Bolly, as she gazed out the window into the
clear pink and blue skies of Bollyworld. Bolly smiled at the Sun,
who smiled back at her.
From Daman, said the King. It looks like a reminder, specially
dressed to you, that his big gala is
tonight. It seems that he wants to make sure that
you are going. He has been looking for his wife, you know.
Oh dear God said Bolly. Baba, I have no interest in marrying
Daman. He is so
corny. Bollys father looked disappointed and said nothing.
Oh Ok Ok, Im going. said Bolly. I know how much you
love those silly royal parties, But the minute he starts lining
girls up, I am leaving. OK Baba?
The King smiled and shook his head, and looked back down at
paper. Bolly strolled down the jew-eled, paved path in the
to the palace. It was early on Satur-day morning, and there were
few servants working the Garden here and there. As she passed
mango tree, she saw Mina strolling and playing with the
Good morning Mina! cried Bolly. Mina, a girl from the village,
who Bolly treated just
like a little sister. Mina turned towards Bolly and exclaimed
my lovely Princess! How are you? I have been wait-
ing all morning to play with and the
Bolly, will you take me on elephant ride today? asked Mina.
Of course, my lovely Mina. I will play with you all af-ternoon,
but I just need to have a quick chat with The Sun now. I promise I
wont be that long! said Bolly. Bolly contin-ued to walk deep into
her fathers garden, reaching the forest.
She continued to walk as the paved walk-way ended and grew into
patches of trees, all part of King Ashanas estate. There was no
chance of her running into any humans here, for no one other than
she and her father resided at the palace, and the gates of the
Kings estate were guarded by the Dragon-Lions, graceful and
powerful creatures, not to be trifled with.
As Bolly got
further down the path into a
secluded cove, she looked behind her to
make sure no one was nearby. She found an open-
ing where the branches let a bright ray of sunlight through.
this time of day, the ray of sunshine came in at a steep angle,
and so, only a relatively small beam pierced through.
Bolly stood before The Sun. Well my princess did you rest well
last night? he asked.
My Sun....I had nightmares, said Bolly, I dreamt of a great war.
Many men died and the land was left in sham-bles. My father was no
where to be found and his crown was floating in the river.
The sky was filled with dust. and the Gods flew into our land to
take away all the souls of the war.
Bolly, Ive told you on many a morning, those are
just dreams, fantasies that your mind makes up to keep it-
self occupied while your eyes are closed and your body is
resting. The reason you have so many nightmares is because your
head is full of worry, and you
havent yet learned to calm your mind... Listen to your
father... he knows best
and can teach you many ways of the world.
Bolly frowned, but tried to change topics. Oh my dad doesnt know
anything about wars...hes too old.... Anyway, I have to go to a
gala tonight. Which I guess means that I should have started
getting into my sari now.
But it was at that mo-ment that something shifted, and the world
changed. She could no longer feel the beam of warmth on her cheeks.
She opened her eyes, and it seemed as if the leaves
in the trees around her had suddenly grown dense like a great
green fog. She looked around and there were no longer rays of
sunshine peaking through the canopy
of branches. She called out, Sun? Where are you?! But there was
no response, for only through the light could the Sun speak
to Bolly and Bolly to the Sun. Bolly heard a strange sound,
unlike any other she had ever heard before. It sounded like the
hiss of steam en-gine. She looked around in the un-natural darkness
and could see only branches and more branches. But then, one of the
One...then two...then three, then several more. And then she saw
eyes with vertical pupils, and nostrils closing and opening, and
then tongues, slipping in and out of mouths with jagged jaws. And
all of these parts were ap-proaching her, and she found herself in
the midst of many smiling faces gaz-ing upon her. Hello therrrrre,
little Princess, rattled one of the smiling faces. What are you
doing walking alone in the forrrrrrest at this time of day?
Bolly was startled, but composed herself enough to speak softly.
Its not a forest, its my forest. Who are you?
Bolly could now make out the outline of the great green snake
amongst the leaves, for red stripes rippled down the scales of its
back. The multiple heads Bolly had quickly counted that there were
ten were held suspended by ten long necks that met at a thick
fleshy trunk, then extended as one long slippery body, ending in a
rattle. Come closer Bolly! hissed the snake. I am here to tell you
Bolly could barely move with fright. This garden belongs to my
My father is King Ashana. We reign over all of the lands along
the Eastern border of Bollyworld. Bolly spurted now with more
boldness. How did you get through the gates, and where did you come
fr--? Eeeeeeasterrrrrn borrrrrder! the Serpent erupted.
Bolly was completely disoriented, as his pierce got stronger and
closer. The Serpent spoke again: Ahhhhh, so you know that there is
a borrrrder to Bollyworrrrrld. Very good, verrry very gooooood, he
rumbled on. Closer and closer did the Serpent get to Bolly until he
hovered right over her, with his jaws wide open.
With each hiss, more faces began to emerge, until they filled
the entire tree. They began to grin and talk to each other, arguing
about who would take the first bite of Bollys arm.
Do you know what lies beyond the borrrrrder?
Well my Princess, what lies beyooooond the marble gates of the
East? Have you ever asked your father, the King, what, and
whoooooo, resides outside of your beautiful Bollyworrrrrld? For a
brief moment, Bolly forgot her fear, and thought to her-self:
What could be beyond Bol-lyworld, and who? She had
always assumed that the Eastern border
was simply where the Sun slept
then awakened, where he started his day-long walk across the sky
to the Western Border where he lay to rest at night and dissolve,
only to rise again in the East the next day. That is the ex-
planation that the Sun had given her long ago, when she was
just a toddler.
Dis-tracted for this mo-ment, she didnt notice that the many
heads had started speaking with each other:.. I want the firrrrrst
bite. You can
have the second. I spoke to her first, I get the flesh in her
neck, you can have her arrrrrrms. Sssssweeeeeet, sweeeet skin. I
bet it tastes like cane
ssssugarrrrr.....As they argued and the rattling grew louder and
louder, one of the heads suddenly swooped down with its
fangs open to bite Bollys neck.
Bolly instinctively put her right arm up. The fangs sunk into
her forearm, blood erupting and spill-ing onto the purple
Sun! Sun! she cried. Where are you? But no rays of sunshine
could pierce the leaves and branches of the surround-ing trees. The
other Ser-pent heads heard Bollys cries, and stopped argu-ing
amongst themselves. They realized that the first bite had been
taken. Each of them hissed in indignation, but wasted no time in
coiling back, ready to spring forward to get their share.
Bolly closed her eyes and braced for the rows of teeth to sink
into her. She waited a moment. And then another mo-ment, but she
didnt feel anything. In fact, her arm, which was bleeding quite
freely now and hurting badly, no longer had any fangs penetrating
it. She opened her eyes and saw a glowing blue light all around
Through the intense light, she could now see each head of the
Serpent look-ing at her, no longer grin-
ning or hungry, but rather... utterly terrified. For around each
of its necks was a brilliant blue hand, squeez-ing like an iron
vice, pulling each neck slowly away from Bolly.
Bolly looked for the be-ings attached to those hands but couldnt
see any bodies. She was sure that there must have been five or more
men standing behind the great Serpent,dragging each head away. But
there was no one.
And suddenly the Serpent was jerked violently away and thrown up
into the air and out of the Garden. To where, Bolly did not know.
Bolly fell to the ground and buckled over in pain.
And then she saw the violet blue glow again. She looked up, and
saw the outline of a human form. Who are you? she cried I cant see
you, its too bright! she called out,
covering her eyes with her unwounded arm.The glow diminished a
little, and Bolly took down her arm. It was a man with bright blue
skin, wear-ing a golden crown and dressed in a dhote.
It was a blue god, and the gaze from his intense, beautiful eyes
burned themselves into Bollys mind.
Suddenly, in what seemed to be a whisper, but louder than any
roar that Bolly had ever heard from any creature that resided in
the man spoke. I am....Krishna.
And then, he was gone.