Rajinder Singh Bed)
PRABODH AND MAITRIYA
[Editor s note In 1964 when S^tar Publications (Delhi) brought out a new pocket edition of Bedi s masterpiece, lEk Cadar MailT ST Bed/ wrote the following piece for its introduction The translation is based on the text that appeared in %jkal (Delhi), October 1984. pp 4-5 and 22
As she listened to the Immortal Story Parvati began to doze off Shiva saw it, but being himself high on hashish he continued Prabodh and Maitnya a pair of pigeons nestling high in the ceiling of the cave, heard the story and became immortal
Ages passed Time lost its edge for Prabodh and Maitnya One day Prabodh said, "My queen, times have totally changed Do you remember the day Adam s son Cain knocked his own brother down dead with a rock9"
"Yes," replied Maitnya 'And for a girl who wasn t much to look at Who was in fact their own sister'"
Prabodh felt irritated "You still don't understand Male and female are the two fundamental principles of nature—what has kinship got to do with it7"
"But what9" asked Prabodh shifting a bit away from Maitnya "Does nature keep track of the breezes which carry the pollen of one tree to another7 Does nature keep track of the trees9 Nature s law is the propagation of the species—no matter how or through whom "
At that moment Prabodh was thinking of all those innumerable female pigeons who were extremely attractive because they were mortal The rings on their necks were shiny black from the kisses of nights and their eggs soft and spotless white like puffs of cotton This mental act of intimacy with them caused a fatigue to come over Prabodh He said "There has always been trouble due to woman and there will always be "
"Why blame the woman alone7' Maitnya asked with some heat "After all, there are also gold and land in the list of trouble- makers "
Prabodh cast a lustful glance at her then said, "Yes. land makes for big trouble and gold for still bigger—but have you considered the fact that the two are merely different forms of the woman7"
Maitnya turned her delicate neck to one side and was lost in thought for a while Then she hooked her right wing in the left wing of Prabodh s and, casting a noose of love over him said "Won't you get me those ankle bells which still lie in the ruins of Athens hidden