I hardly ever fell in love with Mortals. I am far beyond their reach, far ahead than their capacity to comprehend, control or love. Yet, there have been some exceptions. The last time I fell in love was when I lay my eyes on a king when he was hunting. This young king captured my attention like no mortal ever had. I appeared in front of him, and eventually we consummated. I had been cursed to bring about the death of my first seven offspring. The eighth was Bheeshma, the uncle of the Pandavas and Kauravas, one of the finest men mankind had seen. Many years, decades, centuries have passed since and I had yet to see another mortal worthy of me. I am Jal, the nectar of life and mortality. I am the creator and destroyer of these mortals. I am the reason they live and die. I am that which lives forever. I am the most beautiful being on Earth and all that I give nourishment is, in turn, beautiful.
And yet, I got obsessed by another mortal in the Kalyug. So black were those days, so ignorant the people that they kept poisoning me after innumerous warnings. I lashed them with Tsunamis and storms, floods and droughts. Ignorant humans! I had lost all hope and faith in these fickle beings that polluted me so brazenly! These creatures that I waited to wash out, and purge myself from! These beings that I withstood for so long because their death was eventual and imminent! These mortals that still had a part to play, and thus, must be forgiven and spared! Oh, how I waited for the one time I could purge the earth of these ungrateful wretches! I had seen no one pure enough in decades of waiting for one pure soul, one mortal whom I could love, who would give me a ray of hope to hold me together and control my emotions.
And then I saw him. Just a baby. As soon as they dipped him in me, I knew that there was something different about him. I did not know what yet; I had long lost my touch of humanity. But I was willing to find out everything about this mortal. The prayers that they were chanting as they dipped him in the stream behind that Devi mandir suggested that he feared me fiercely, and this was to be his cure for this phobia. A sudden urge gripped me. I had to make him love me! This one soul had to know me, love me and adore me! He had to be the one! I needed him!
They called him Vishesh, a suitable name for the big heart and infinite soul that he possessed. I fell in love with his name, in awe of his soul’s willingness to overcome his fear, and his own childish innocence. I fell in love with him already as he was calmly seated in my lap and splashed around, wetting himself with my waters. I poured my heart out to his excited heart so I could bond with this mortal that I wanted to know completely. How had I not noticed him earlier I wondered; I was glad I did. I just started believing in ‘Better late than never’. Now that I had accomplished a bond with his soul, I could identify him anywhere.
I had started to feel human emotions again once as I kept a watch on Vishesh. The first years of his mortal life had been beautiful- he learnt to bathe, learnt to swim, learnt to fish and learnt to boat. He did not yet know the pangs of mortal love and jealousy. I had watched for too many generations of mankind rise and fall, and knew when he would begin to experience those pangs. He did, faster than I would like, and I felt jealous once more when he first fell in love with an inanimate being. It was a rainy day and I was in my most beautiful form. And there he was, standing and staring on the black box which he called a camera. Her name was Cannon and she stood on a shelf, not even acknowledging the existence of such a beautiful soul who had fallen in love with her at first sight. I could feel the rush he felt when he saw her. I could feel his dejection when he knew he could not afford her. Did he feel my jealousy because she had a physical form which I could not take? Did he feel my loathing because she chose to remain ignorant of his newly established love? Did he feel my dread as I thought of the possibility of him finally possessing him, as he later did? I felt so helpless that day, and so angry- that he chose to ignore my love for a person who chose to ignore his love- that I reared up a dark and muddy puddle and splashed myself all over him! I know he hated me that day, for I had broken his hazy reverence. But I couldn’t have him hurt by her.
After that moment, I felt so aggrieved by my own actions. It rained for two more days, there were floods in many lands and the seas were in turmoil. I felt so many emotions! My children- the lakes, rivers and seas- cried out and begged me to stop! I had attached myself to a mortal too much, and too quickly, they said. Relieve yourself, Oh Mother! Realize your duty once more!
The waters receded and so did my feelings. I realized my folly and the importance of my duty. I couldn’t have a mortal all for myself, and if he had to love me then he had to love me in his own way. I gave him some space after that.
I still don’t know if it was because of the space I gave him, or if he longed for the attention I showered him with, but he paid more attention to me then onwards. Maybe, though I hate to admit it, it could have been because of his inanimate love, Cannon. He carried her everywhere and she showed him sides of me that he wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. He went on to click pictures of me in all different forms and moods, and contributed his love of water and photography to the world as long as he lived. And for the few hundred of his mortal years I rejoiced in his love, as he rejoiced in my forms, and we had a quiet and deep pact made between us.