Now, Krishna was growing into a handsome young boy, tall and slender, dark as the monsoon clouds. And the gopis, the young milkmaids, who had doted on him as a boy, found themselves falling in love with him all over again.
They felt his presence everywhere. When they were out collecting water they heard him in the fields with his cows. At home when they looked into the mirror they saw him smiling back, his eyes twinkling with mischief. When they churned butter, their bangles sang to tune of his flute. And when his flute called them, they went to him dropping all their chores, thinking of nothing but him. They would find him by the river, leaning against a peepul tree playing his flute and they would sit by his feet for hours losing themselves in his divine magic.
The lovely Radha would come along too and Krishna would watch her watching him. They shared an unspoken bond, an unconditional love, a belonging that transcended time and space. He found himself melting into her loveliness.
And despite his sway over all of Vrindavan and his many victories, in those moments Krishna felt inadequate. He was just a boy after all, dark skinned and awkward and Radha was a woman, lovely and fair like the full moon.
It upset him and he didn’t quite know why. So one evening, he spoke to Yashoda, his mother, as she was serving him his meal, ‘Why is it that I am so dark and Radha so fair?’ as casually as he could.
Yashoda smiled in her wisdom. She could see the torment in his eyes. So she made light of the situation. How does it matter? She said to Krishna. It is only colour after all. Colour her any colour you wish, and she will still be Radha. And you will always hold all the colours in you, like that dark space that holds all the wonder.
Krishna smiled at the thought. He would do just that. The next day he gathered his friends and together all of them armed with handfuls of coloured powder, ambushed the unsuspecting gopis on their way to the river. Krishna found Radha and smeared her with all the colours of spring and she became lovelier still. The gopis caught unawares, fought back by emptying their pots of water on the boys. And they all laughed and frolicked in this spontaneous sport, their hearts brimming with joy.
The eternal love between Krishna and Radha soon blossomed into a legend which is celebrated to this day with the same riots of colours and fun and romance.
Happy Holi to all my readers !!!!