In his most recent encounter with the Pandavas on the Kurukshetra battlefield, Alambusha took credit for killing Arjuna’s son, Aravan.

“The gods smile on me.” He slipped his thumbs under his grisly garland and held it out. “Today, I’ll add Ghatotkacha’s head to my trophies. His head will hang around my neck and witness the death of the Pandava line.”

Alambusha and his warriors, clubs and tree trunks and maces held high, rushed towards Ghatotkacha. Their running and jumping feet landed heavy like a herd of elephants on the rampage. They pushed aside their Kaurava allies, who ran towards them, fleeing from Ghatotkacha’s onslaught.

The two rakshasa armies collided. The noise combined terrible gnashing teeth, high-pitched howls, and deep-throated roars.

Ghatotkacha and Alambusha squared off and charged at one another. They were like two bull elephants fighting over a female in oestrus. Again and again, they smashed one another with their maces. When the weapons disintegrated, they picked up fallen clubs. The clubs shattered into smithereens, and they plucked out tree trunks. When there were no more tree trunks, they grappled in hand-to-hand combat; threw punches and blows at each other.

Alambusha was a monstrous and determined fighter. But the blood of Bheemasena ran in Ghatotkacha’s veins; and his astral uncle, Hanuman of Ramayana fame, had no equal in the past and present, and the future.

The white-haired rakshasa grew tired and made a fatal mistake; slipped and fell.

Ghatotkacha held high a massive boulder and was about to smash Alambusha, but stopped.

“Why hesitate?” said the White One. He clicked his tongue. “Release me.”

Bheema’s son will never strike a fallen man. But another pair of rakshasas who were also engaged in single combat crashed into Ghatotkacha’s back. Hidimbi’s first born fell forward, and the boulder crushed Alambusha’s head.

The White One died in an instant; and the manner of his death was similar to Aravan’s demise.

But Ghatotkacha, distraught at the accidental killing, did not stop to grieve, or rejoice or join his men in their victory dance.

“Attention!”

He roared and turned to face a fresh army of elephants that Drona had sent to blunt the Pandava breach. His energy inexhaustible, Ghatotkacha picked up his special mace, one that his father, Bheemasena, had gifted to him; and punched a wide hole in the onrushing elephantine army. The ground turned slippery with a layer of thick blood and blubbery entrails.

*** Copyright @ 2022, Eric Alagan ***

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