Mee Radhika: Book 3- Chapter Radhikabai's Shrimant Vishwasrao Peshwe
|Radhikabai Peshwe, fiancee of Shrimant Vishwasrao Peshwe|
Radhikabai was not always deeply in love or even fond of her Shrimant Vishwasrao. As a child, around the age of 6 years, she knew him as a blue-eyed boy who loved teasing her. Little Radhikabai was a proud girl , she didn't like anyone teasing her. So, she rebuffed this little boy, who was 4 years older than her. However, Shrimant loved teasing her whenever he came to Satara where she stayed with her aunt.
Chakuli would forget him in every six month's time. She would rebuff him, then when Shrimant would offer her dolls and guavas, she would mend her ways. The young peshwa was always fond of her. She looked to him like a live doll that he always wanted. Therefore, he was always present to assist her. Right from young age, he was gallant and respectful of the opposite gender.
Hence, he easily impressed Radhikabai when she became 7 and half years old. The two kids began to stroll the mountains of Pen, Satara and Nashik. Usually, their company would be Parvatibai and sometimes Bhausaheb also joined them. There, Vishwasrao would become her ride. Help her climb the trees and pick fruits. Sometimes he would do that for her.
Then when she became 8 years old, Radhikabai remembered her visit to Shaniwarwada during the Holi festival. Shrimant Vishwasrao made her sit next to her as the grand feast began. This was not the custom in the conservative Peshwai. Women, small or big, rich or poor would sit separately. However, Chakuli's father had allowed her to be quite a loving glitch.
In satara, she was taking lessons in martial arts like mardani khel and bow and arrow. In Nashik, Sardar Gupte would allow her to speak among men and eat among them too. She breached boundaries and nobody stopped her.
Shrimant Vishwasrao knew and loved her habits. He was fond of her unrestricted approach. In Satara, he would insist his aunt Shrimant Parvatibaisaheb to let him feed Radhikabai. So, when she came to Shaniwarwada, he made her sit next to him. To the achari, he insisted to give her the platter and serve the food.
The acharis were surprised or rather shocked. But they couldn't refuse, the 12 year old Shrimant. Therefore, they did as they were told. But Gopikabai's favourite maid servant Vithi saw this and went to contact her baisaheb.
Gopikabai rushed to the dining hall. She was sure that the ill-mannered Radhikabai had "barged" into the men's dining area. Perhaps, this was due to her uncultured parents uncultured way of bringing her up. Upon rushing when she saw Vishwasrao putting a morsel of food into chakuli's mouth, she yelled.
|Radhikabai Peshwe as the Ascetic|
She grabbed Radhikabai by her arm and calling her "shameless" started dragging her out.
She didn't know that she was deeply enraging her beloved son. Just like a furious cobra, young Vishwasrao yelled at his mother.
"Aai Saheb! Leave her arm. Aamhi sangitle aahe tyana ithe basaila (I've told her to sit next to me). Aamhi tyana ghaas barvinaar aahot (I'm going to feed her). You leave."
Feeling embarrassed Gopikabai, tried to give her son an illogical explanation. However, Shrimant stared at her with his deep penetrating blue eyes and didn't budge. His mother cowered down. She even patted her most disliked would-be daughter-in-law's cheeks. Smiled embarrassingly, and went away.
Radhikabai fondly remembered this incident till date. Not because it involved Gopikabai's insult, a rather public one. She was not at all vengeful by nature. She was clear as crystal with a generous forgiving heart. The only reason why she remembered it was because on that day she felt a deep thud in her heart.
Chakuli was a bright child, rather a child prodegy. Her grasping power was amazing and she was good at understanding complex things. Even as a child, she understood life and it's unfairness. Durga inside her burned but the Gauri within her had "Vishwas" in god. Although, as a kid she was fond of reason not rituals. She had high IQ and extremely high EQ, that made her sensitive. That is why, when her Shrimant took her side so boldly, her Vishwas in him increased tremendously. So, she felt the deep thud.
Her intuitive heart told her that she was extremely lucky.
to be contd...