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Ganesh and Karthik were nowhere to be seen – no doubt attending to the numerous requests they received every day. Parvati had been waiting for this moment for a long time.
“My Lord!” She chimed in her musical lilting voice.
“Yes?” He bellowed.
She cringed, but decided not to back down now. “Shall we go for a spin?” She asked.
“Why?? The Earth seems to be functioning normally. Why destroy it now?”
Parvati gave an exasperated sigh. Why couldn’t he think beyond the destruction of evil? She took a deep breath, curbed her condescending tone, and said “No, I meant the two of us. Let’s go for a ride around Kailash. It has been so long, and we have been so busy. We rarely get to spend time together, and I thought…” She murmured, lowering her lashes.
Shiva was fully aware now. He looked at his beautiful wife and how much she had put up with in the last few years. She was right. They needed to spend some quality time together.
“Let’s take a 3 minute break” Said Shiva gently, “ Nandi, let’s go!”
|Shiva and Parvati on Nandi|
On jumped Shiva and Parvati, and Nandi, uncharacteristic of him, maintained a healthy gait. They discussed everything under the sun – from Ganesha’s nose block to Karthik’s pet peacok. After a minute, they were riding on in companionable silence when Nandi stopped abruptly, throwing the two off balance.
“Are you hurt?” Shiva asked Parvati urgently.
She checked herself. She felt a searing pain in her cheek, but apart from that nothing.
“Bring me a mirror.” She said quietly.
Shiva immediately took her to the mansarovar lake, waiting for her to scrutinise her reflection.
Parvati saw the cause of her pain – her cheeks and shoulders were bleeding. She knew the cause of it - Shiva's stubble. She closed her eyes and let anger wash over her. Shiva was getting increasingly nervous.
“Did you see that?” She almost whispered.
“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to…” He spluttered.
“I will have a scar for days now. What will my devotees think when they see me?” She asked quietly.
Shiva knew and dreaded that tone of her voice. He had to remedy this quickly before they had another silent fight. The last one had lasted for eight years, and he had ended up doing tandav every other day.
“How can I rectify this?” Shiva asked.
Parvati was lost in thought. Then she took out a phial filled with a clear blue liquid and gave it to him. “Give this to Vishnu.”
“What is it?” He was almost afraid to ask.
“0.1% of that liquid mixed with a bit of fire will be now common for all female creations. It will instantly turn then off against any man with a stubble. On the other hand, they will have an uncontrollable attraction towards any clean-shaven man”.
“But isn’t that cheating?” Shiva asked, scratching his chin.
“Not really. I can put up with it since I get only three minutes in a year with you. Lakshmi can put up with it because Vishnu is in his final avatar now. But the rest of the women don’t have to.”
Shiva knew when he was defeated. He immediately asked Nandi to take him to Vishnu.
Nandi looked back at the receding form of Parvati and winked. She winked back.