Vdharma, the biggest kingdom in Panchamani district, seemed to have been blessed by the Gods for its prosperity, wealth and peace. With such stunning atmosphere, it was no less than heaven on Earth. The only issue which stole the comfortable sleep of the King and the Queen of Vdharma was the lack of an offspring. They have lived a happy married life but even they could no longer ignore the absence of a child in their life. They performed series of yajnas and great ordeals of prayers, and finally the Queen gave birth to girl twins on a dark, stormy night.
Maduri, older by a few minutes, was as fair as snow in January, her skin radiant and glowing all the time, whereas Kaladri was as dark as the night on which she was born. The Queen, the mother of these two beautiful girls, always preferred Maduri. Proud of her fairness and the attractiveness associated with it, unconditional love and affection was showered on her, when her sister, Kaladri cried for just a few drops of it. She was left to the hands of the maids of the house to be raised. They refused to acknowledge her as their own as they believed her darkness-which kept deepening day by day-to be the black sheep of the family who will and is going to ruin their family name and status. They could bear it no longer, and one day their patience reached its limit, and they journeyed to the nearby forest in the stillness of the night only to abandon Kaladri under a tree.
A sage, who was making his way back to his hermitage in the early hours of the morning, found her sleeping peacefully wrapped in a blanket and decided his hut would make a better home for her than the shade of the trees. His divine sense informed him that she was the abandoned princess and he decided to raise her like one, providing her all the teachings which would come in handy in the future. A great change was coming and he had to prepare her for it, proving her worthiness along the way. He loved her like his own child. A few years passed and she grew up to be a talented and courageous woman with great skills in Vedas teachings, dancing, music, archery, literature, horse-riding and many more. She was always hungry for knowledge and like a sponge, she absorbed everything the sage taught her. She was humble, noble and considerate; always full of enthusiasm and willingness to help everyone and work for the betterment of humanity. She traveled around the world and visited religious institutions which helped her to broaden her horizons.
Meanwhile in the kingdom, Maduri’s upbringing was very different and as a result, she grew up to be the opposite of Kaladri. Over dosage of love and pampering led Maduri to be a mean, proud and condescending woman. She had no interest in taking educational lessons. She was snobbish and arrogant, which worried her father so much so that the kingdom’s business started going downhill.
Seeing this as the right time to attack, the neighbouring kingdom, Adharma, started plotting an attack. They strengthened their army and sent spies to find loopholes.
Kaladri returned from her worldwide journey as an apt warrior and a great leader. She was strong, powerful, intelligent and not even once the colour of her skin stood between her and her success. With the blessing of the sage she befriended the neighbouring villages and everyone instantly loved her. She was an icon for young girls; parents allowed their daughters to dream big and spread their wings.
New Year came with the expectations of new beginning, new relationships, new expeditions and progress, but at midnight Vdharma was attacked by Adharma, who having the advantage over Vdharma’s lack of preparations, won. The royal family was taken as prisoners. Maduri cursed her parents for the ill fate. The message spread far and wide and reached the ears of Kaladri. The sage could no more hold the secret of Kaladri’s origin and informed her as soon as he could. Kaladri thanked him immensely for all the kindness he had shown to her and prepared herself to fight for her homeland and family. With the help of her goodwill, she convinced locals to join her in the fight and together they formed their own army. She planned strategies to free Vdharma. She personally visited villagers and boosted their spirits. She sent a message to the king of Adharma to release her captured family, but the Adharma king only laughed at the naivety of a young girl and opted to fight.
Kaladri and her army fought with great valour and vigour. The battle did not last for long as the king of Adharma, surprised from her power, surrendered his kingdom to Kaladri and released her family. After learning the truth, the King and the Queen were full of remorse for mistreating their own daughter who had no obligations to save their life and their kingdom, but still did. Kaladri accepted their apology and embraced them with respect and love. The kingdom of Vdharma and Adharma were unified and renamed as the kingdom of Darma. Kaladri was coroneted as the ruler and formed a peaceful society with her utopian form of government where everyone lived happily. Her sister was sent to Gurukul to gain better morals and teachings.
Written by: Samyuktha
Adapted by: Mrinal Verma
Illustrated by: Soumya