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The news of Bhima's strength made the Kauravas even more likely to avoid him. All except Duryodhana, who took it upon himself to beat him in combat. Drona was a good but biased teacher, preferring Pandavas over the Kauravas, with Arjuna being his favourite. Drona's love for Arjuna was superseded only by his adulation for his own son, Ashwathama, who also joined these classes, and himself became a good friend of the Kauravas.
Many theories abound as to why exactly Drona preferred the Pandavas over the Kauravas. The most obvious one, but one which has been crushed prominently over time, was one of sexual favours. Drona, like other men of those days, was not exactly a one-woman man, and he really liked his women. Kunti, as we have all seen, was sex-starved. It was a win-win situation for both, and Kunti further used it to her advantage by asking for a better treatment of her sons. Kripi probably knew about this relationship but kept quite about it, as those days there was no National Commission for Women to turn to. Ashwathama remained her only hope, and she secretly incited him against the Pandavas. This also explains why Ashwathama grew closer to the Kauravas, and why Kripa, the erstwhile teacher of the princes and Drona's brother in law, favoured the Kauravas a bit more. Kripa had to pay for it by a reduced role in the Mahabharat, and despite being an ex-teacher, his only other major contribution came on the last day of the Mahabharat war many years hence.
Kripa: Drona, there are certain rumours I have heard, and I want you to say that those are false.
Drona: Rumours, what rumours? Ohh, the one about Kunti and I. Yeah, even I read it in the tabloid today. I dont know where they come up with this stuff. I am planning to sue them. Will you become my lawyer and file the case? It is about time your experience with Hastinapur and its law comes to my aid.
Kripa: So you are saying there is absolutely nothing between you and Kunti? What about the tabloid claims that you have been seen coming out of her part of the palace late at night for the past whole month? And Kripi also tells me that you come home later than usual, and dont tell her where you have been.
Drona: Ohh, about that. Those are just regular Parent - Teachers meeting, and Kunti is regularly busy with all the palace stuff during the day, and I need to monitor the students during the day, so get time only in the night. As for Kripi leaving, I hope she comes back. I miss her.
Kripa: Then why dont U go and meet King Dhritrashtra for these Parent-Teachers meeting? Are not the Kauravas also your students?
Drona (angrily): Kripa, you are asking a lot of questions. I am not bound to answer you. You have made you angry, and I curse you that people will forget you and you will get only a small part to play in this story.
The start of the relationship, or the events that lead to it atleast, are mentioned in the Ved Vyas version. The princes had just started their training under Drona, and he decided to test the princes by having an archery contest. All princes were expected to shoot the eye of a bird sitting on a branch of a tree. The boys were lined aged wise, which meant that Yudhistra led them, followed by Bhima, Duryodhana,Yuyutsu,Dushasana and the other 98 Kauravas, Arjuna, Nukul and Sahadeva.
Turn by turn, all of them readied to take aim, and Drona asked them: "What do you see?" And all of them stupidly replied, "I see the tree, the leaves, the bird and the bird's eye", hearing which Drona would prohibit them from taking aim.
By the time Arjuna's turn came, 104 princes had already given the exact same answer and prohibited from taking aim. It does not say much for Kauravas intelligence that they did not figure it out, but they had learnt just one thing all their lives: to follow Duryodhana, and so they just repeated what he had said. Arjuna, however was smart enough to understand there was something wrong with the standard reply, and so when Drona asked him the same, oft-repeated question, Arjuna smartly replied, "I see only the bird's eye." Drona was very happy to hear it, and told him to shoot, and Arjuna shot the bird's eye, making him an instant favourite of Drona.
Poor Nakula and Sahadeva did not get a chance, as the bird was already killed. Just one of the many cases of the exploitation of the sons of Madri by the sons of Kunti.
Arjuna became Drona's favourite, and this love was only increased further when Drona was rescued by Arjuna shooting and killing a crocodile who was carrying Drona away, while the students and teachers were playing in the Ganga.
And then came that day, when it all started.
One night, Arjuna was having supper with his brothers when the electricity went. It was a condition not often seen in the palace, which was immune to power cuts, but the main power plant had to be suddenly shut down because of a fire threat, and the lights were shut off. Even in the dark, the Pandavas continued eating, which gave Arjuna an idea. (Well, actually only Bhima continued eating, the others, as it turned out, were busy slapping each other, and trying to blame the rest. It was a game that Arjuna himself started by slapping Yudishtra, and blaming it on the poor Nakula. Noone ever dared involve Bhima, and seeing the dedication of Bhima eating, Arjuna got his idea. An idea that was to change his life).
Now this is nowhere as revolutionary a thought as the one Newton got when the apple fell from the tree, but you can argue as to why others did not get the idea? As it happened, Arjuna thought that if he could eat supper in darkness, why could he not practice archery in the dark too. And so he left his food, and picking up his bow and arrow, started practicing on the archery range.
Kunti saw him get away and went after him, for he had not yet finished his food. You know how mothers are! So she went after her and kept shouting Arjuna, Arjuna, who, fuelled by his infinite desire to learn, did not heed her.
The reader might be interested in learning what Kunti was wearing at that time. It being almost bedtime, and the public appearance being over, Kunti had removed her white saree, which was a symbol of her being a widow, and had slipped into a comfortable white, a bit transparent nighty. She was an exhibitionist, Kunti was in her heart, and her figure was fully exposed in it. This being the middle of the Indian Summer season, her top two buttons were open to expose a pretty huge cleavage. Despite years of acting like a widow, Kunti had taken good care of her figure, and it was in full show in the nighty. Her mounds good give a good run to Pamela Anderson during her Baywatch days. No man had ever seen her in this figure hugging dress so far except her young sons, but now she ran off after Arjuna, hardly caring about her clothes - or lack of them.
Drona was just finishing off his desk work - he was writing a progress report on each student when the lights went off, and he was just closing up and was readying to go home, when he heard the twinge of an arrow. Curious as to who it might be, he made it to the archery ground, and saw Arjuna practicing in the dark. He was avowed by his dedication, and was about to go to him, when he heard Kunti shouting for Arjuna, and suddenly realized what many men had realized about Kunti: "She is so hot." She looked ravishing, Kunti did, and when she turned to face him, Drona suddenly realized something.
He realized that he was only in his dhoti, and he could feel the blood circulation to his crotch increase, and that his erection was evidently visible. He looked towards Kunti, who had stopped watching Arjuna, and was eyeing him with seductive eyes, and both knew what they wanted.
An hour later, Drona was coming out of the palace with an afterglow. Kunti had sex after a really long time, Drona had managed to get the best lay in town, while Kunti had made Drona promise that Arjuna would become the greatest archer ever, Bhima the best mace wielder, Yudhistra the best spear fighter, while Nukula and Sahadeva would excel in sword fight.
However, the promise to Kunti was never really fulfilled by Drona. For over the next years, two better archers were to appear and rattle Arjuna - Karna and Eklavya, the greatest warriors of the Mahabharat.