Drona is best known as the teacher of the Five Pandava brothers and their infamous cousins. But I think of him first as a doting father and a hurt friend.
Drona and his best friend Dhrupad meet as little boys at their Gurukul. Here the two live, play, eat and study together for many years.
But the day comes when they have to leave the gurukul and go back to their respective worlds. Young Dhrupad who is the crown prince of the kingdom of Panchala, hugs his friend Drona and says, “you know Drona, all that is mine is yours as well. Come to Panchala whenever you think of me and we will be together again.” and the two part with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes.
Drona, goes on to study further with great teachers and in time he becomes one of the greatest scholar warriors of his time. He is content to keep on studying and feels no need to earn a livelihood. Poverty does not bother the young scholar. But one day his son Ashwathama comes home crying. “What is milk, mother? My friends say it tastes sweet and delicious and they have it every day, I too want to have milk”, cries the child. The child’s mother, looks around, finds a little flour and jaggery. She mixes the two with a little water and gives it to her son. The young son, drinks it and dances for joy and runs out to tell his friends that he too has tasted this delicious thing called milk! When Drona sees this, he knows it is time to meet his friend Dhrupad and put an end to this misery.
Drona reaches the kingdom of Panchala. Dhrupad, now a mighty king refuses to recognize his childhood friend and treats him as he would treat any other poor supplicant at court.
An enraged Drona, refuses to take any of the alms that are offered and turns around and walks away, his eyes smouldering, his heart breaking and his mind plotting ways to avenge this great let down and insult by his childhood friend.
And so it is that Drona the doting father and hurt friend decides to become a Guru to the royal princes of Hastinapur. For this job assures him both the financial welfare of his family as well as a way to avenge his insult in the court of Panchala.