The Great War - Day 5

Bheeshma is up quickly on the fifth day, and deploys his troops in the Makara Vyuha, or the Crocodile Strategy. Across the battlefield, Arjuna, Yudhishtra and Dhrishtadyumna decide that the Garuda will hunt the Makara. Bheema sits at the beak, and behind him is Satyaki, as eagle's head. Arjuna is the bird's neck. Drupada and Virata form the left wing and Kekaya brothers, the right wing. Abhimanyu and Draupadi's sons are the eagle's back and at the tail is Yudhishtra with Nakula and Sahadeva to support him.

With the sound of conches, the battle begins on the fifth day. Thousands die, in the inkling of the second. The battlefield is filled with the hum of buzzing arrows, sword rungs and inhuman cries. Bheeshma and Bheema meet on the battlefield, but today Bheema is in no mood for archery's subtle nuances. He veers away soon, and the Pitamah finds himself in front of Arjuna. The earth and sky are lit up with a barrage of astras. Bheeshma and Arjuna are finely matched and are at the heard of the war.

Duryodhana had been plotting the whole night to reverse the tide of the war in his favor. So, he rides to Drona and asks him to take the fire to the enemy. Drona, Bheeshma and Shalya, ride against Bheema, Satyaki, Abhimanyu and Drupada's sons. Shikhandi sees a chance and slinks past the protective ring and starts attacking Bheeshma. Drona shoots arrows at him and keeps him at bay, giving time to Bheeshma to escape. Arjuna now confronts the Pitamah. The Pandavas now seem to follow the Kaurava strategy. Choose one threatening Kshyatriya and attack him from all sides with full force. Bheeshma is rather pleased that Bheema is facing him, as atleast, Dhritarashtra's sons will be relieved.

Krishna skillfully maneuvers through corpses of men, horses, elephants and chariots and reaches Bheeshma. Once again the Kauravas rally towards the Pitamah. Suddenly Virata strikes Bheeshma with a shimmer of golden arrows. Bheeshma in turn covers him with silver shafts. Ashwathama fights Arjuna and Drona looks on, with pride in his eyes. His son and his best disciple. Arjuna is too fond of Ashwathama to enjoy the duel. He asks Krishna to take him away. Bheema and Duryodhana keep fighting. They fight with bows and arrows, from chariots and on ground. Abhimanyu has killed the maximum Kaurava soldiers today. He has blown holes through the enemy vyuhas. Lakshmana, Duryodhana's son, tries to check Abhimanyu's progress, but Abhimanyu is swift, and quickly unleashes a arrow at Lakshmana who staggers in his chariot. Kripa, helps Lakshmana out of the battlefield, lest Abhimanyu should kill him.

Satyaki fights like Arjuna himself, and it was not very difficult to observe the fact that both had the same smoothness, and the effortlessness. Bhoorisravas, comes to battle with him. He quickly pierces the shoulder of Satyaki with an arrow, that is like a lance. Bheema, quickly pounces on Bhoorisravas with a fury of arrows. Arjuna is still Yama personified on the battlefield. Thousands die every second with the arrows from his bow, which seem to be come like a blur. Bheeshma, immediately raises his conce to sound the end of day. The armies withdraw gratefully.

The day's honors have been shared equally. But Arjuna, Abhimanyu, Satyaki have killed more Kaurava soldiers than Drona, Kripa, Bheeshma and Ashwathama have done. Arjuna is silent and pensive. He still hates this war, and Duryodhana for having caused it.

The five days of war seems to have taken a toll on the soldiers morale too. Young soldiers suddenly seem as if they have aged over the five days. There are dark lines around their eyes. Most of them have seen death, the first time, in their lives. They have seen their friends die before their eyes, and know that the same fate awaits them. There is no more singing, dancing or laughter left in them. The soldiers sit silent, staring into the flames, while the images of the day's war, swing before their eyes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Hari
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