C is for Chitrangada from the Mahabharat.
In the Mahabharata, Chittangada is a warrior princess from ancient Manipur. She takes on the role of army chief and protector of the land in her father’s kingdom. She revels in this and is known for her valour, bravery, strength and muscles. All is well, till she has a fleeting glimpse of the Prince Arjuna. He is handsome, debonair and one of the greatest archers of his time (the third brother of the five Pandavas). Chittrangada falls head over heels in love with him.
For the first time, Chitrangada feels the need to be beautiful and soft and attractive. She feels ashamed of her masculine looks and realizes, that her face, body, bearing, skill sets, so valued on the battle field are not valued by men, when they are looking for a partner. Fearful of being rejected by the great warrior Arjuna, she prays to Kamadeva, the God of love and asks to be turned into a beautiful and soft woman. Arjuna as expected falls in love with her and marries her.
And so, Chittrangada finds herself beautiful and soft in the arms of the man she loves. Her eyes lashes they flutter, her lips full and red they quiver and her ample bosom they heave, all is well, or is it?
What then is this unrest in her heart, this unhappiness in her being? This niggling fear, that the woman being loved is not herself but a sad caricature of her true powerful self?
Soon war breaks out in the kingdom and Chittrangada has to decide, whether she will let Arjuna fight her battles or will she step out in all her fierce authenticity. Authenticity wins and she reverts back to her old self. The warrior rides out in all her majesty, leads her people , fights valiantly and wins the day.
And Arjuna falls in love all over again, with this powerful brave and strong woman. But more importantly Chitrangada herself resolves to always be true to herself.