Draupadi's Story

My next story is the story of Draupadi. Draupadi was a strong woman, who could be just as aggressive as passionate and caring, depending on the situation. Her life was full of hardships, but it was also full of wonderful rewards as well. One thing that is for sure about Draupadi is that she was beautiful. There was no denying that she was a true beauty- her skin, eyes, and hair were all gorgeous. However, there was a strong soul behind that beauty too. Thanks to her strength of soul, she was able to face many challenges not only in her adult life, but also in her childhood as well.

                Draupadi was the daughter of king Drupada. The king was a very loving and trusting father who wanted the best for Draupadi. Draupadi also had high expectations for herself as well. When she was young, Draupadi experienced something awful that would stay with her and help her persevere in her adult life. One day, when Draupadi was about nine years old, the King took her on a hunting trip. Draupadi was so excited! She packed her best gear and planned out the whole trip. After the long journey, Draupadi and the king finally arrived at their destination. The first day and night was wonderful- everything went smoothly and according to plan. However, at dusk on the second day of hunting, a group of four boys started bothering Draupadi. They made fun of her because she was a girl on a hunting trip- they could not take her seriously. But Draupadi stood her ground and did not allow the boys to talk bad about her. She snapped and said something insulting to the boys, who became extremely angry. The boys decided to kidnap Draupadi to teach her a lesson. Draupadi knew she was no match physically against the four boys, so she let them take her. However, the whole time she was planning her escape in her head. She waited until the boys were not paying attention and ran from their grasp. It was dark, and with a head start Draupadi was able to get away and hide from them.

               
Although this moment should have terrified her and traumatized her, Draupadi used this experience to make her stronger and that strength carried into her adult life. Draupadi was the wife of the five Pandavas, which was unique in and of itself. Although it was shocking when she first found out that she would have five husbands, Draupadi accepted her situation and came to terms with it. This was not the end of her challenges, however. Yudhishthira, one of the five brothers, played a game of dice, betting everything he owned. Slowly but surely, he lost this bet, too. Now Draupadi was a slave of Duryodhana, Yudhishthira's cousin who had won the gambling match. Of course, he lost this bet too. Then, in front of everyone, Duryodhana orders his brother Dushasana to take off Draupadi’s sari. Her sari amazingly became endless, never revealing her naked body! Although she never ends up being naked in front of everyone, this event would be extremely terrifying for anyone. Draupadi handles it in the best way she can, and she escapes in a decent condition. Her bravery and ability to handle scary situations started in her childhood and carried over into her adult life to help her in that awful situation.

                Draupadi has always been brave, ever since she was a little girl. She can be aggressive when need be, but she never loses her sense of compassion. She is an extremely admirable woman!

Author's note: I chose to write about Draupadi because she has a great blend of characteristics. After I read that she can be both aggressive and kind, I knew she would be a great woman to write about. Also, the story about her being part of the dice game really bothered me, but I loved that Draupadi was okay in the end. I wrote the childhood story about Draupadi being in a scary situation where she was overpowered by men to foreshadow the adult story that I would write about. I wanted to lay a foundation of experience for Draupadi and show that she has been in tough and disturbing situations before and persevered. Draupadi is complex for me- she doesn’t completely fight back but she also does not totally submit to the situation either. She is extremely clever in that way- and although she knows she physically is no match to the men, she is a match mentally. She can mentally handle situations a lot of women could not, and she uses those experiences to make her stronger rather than weaker. If she is capable of being the wife to five husbands, she must be a strong and smart woman. It takes a lot to be a wife, and if she can do that successfully she can do anything.
 
Image: Draupadi
Web Source: Dolls of India
 
Story: Draupadi
Author: Narayan
Book: Ramayana
Year Published: 1972
 
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