Sunday, February 13, 2011

It happened thus!

One day in the palace of a great and vast kingdom. The King has left the kingdom after nominating his twin sons as the joint rulers. The brothers L & K, who lived in an ashram since their birth unaware of their lineage are new to the art of ruling but with the blessings of their father and approval of the public have taken over the reins of the kingdom. A great number of well-built, sturdy, tough looking soldiers guard the living quarters of the new princes. The identical twins can be differentiated by the colour of their dress and also manner of their speech. K is assertive and persuasive and L is vulnerable to suggestions. Both of them look drained by the new responsibility.

L. We should get a bigger throne that can comfortably accommodate both of us. I feel rather constrained in it.
K. [startled to hear the voice] Yes, I know. We should tell the Minister about this.
L. [looks closely at his brother] You seem rather distant.
K: Everything has happened so suddenly. This is a huge responsibility. I am yet to come to terms with it.
L. I also feel just the same. I feel disconnected with everything. The court, people’s veneration, power bestowed upon us. It all feels like a dream. No, not even dream. We can’t possibly dream about something we don’t even know anything about, can we?
K. No, it is not a dream. It should not be a dream also. This is the reality which should have been the only reality from the moment we were born. Since it was not so, we can’t take part wholeheartedly in anything.
L. I agree. We were not brought up as princes. We are used to the simple life style of the ashram. All this pomp and grandeur mean nothing to me. I feel like turning away and following the footsteps of our father.
K. We were adjusted to a certain way of life. Now this is totally different and may be just the opposite. Culture of the ashram is different from the royal life. That is the problem.
L. I know. I feel like fish out of water here. And it holds no charm to me. Music, dance and anything they do to amuse and entertain us look foolish.
K. [flinging his arms around] Look, if we had been born here may be you would not have felt alienated. Due to circumstances we were forced to get used to simple, minimalistic lifestyle of the ashram. Due to the values and principles that we were taught there, we feel this palatial royal living as luxurious and extravagant. The pleasures of regal life appear excessive.
L. [reflecting on his words] May be you are right.
K. I am also facing the same moral dilemma. The cause for this volatile conscience is our unfortunate and unnecessary past in the ashram. I can neither enjoy the delicious food nor the silks without feeling guilt pangs about how wasteful and worthless it is all.
L. Even I don’t have appetite for the many variety of dishes they bring every day and night. Other people who eat the royal food perhaps do not feel the way we feel about it.
K. No. They don’t. Just look at those guards. They grew up eating warrior’s food hence they are so well-built and strong whereas we look thin and frail because we were nurtured on satwik food during our growing years. I don’t like to think about it. But it feels as if our rightful childhood was stolen from us.
L. You are right. Our father was hasty and...
K. [before his brother could complete the sentence, gets up from the seat semi-excitedly] But I think much of the blame lies with that washer man who unfairly accused our god-like mother.
L. [with wonder and astonishment at last grasping K's point] Yes, the washer man is responsible for our present situation which is like [gesturing with hands] ‘we are here and also not here’.
K.He is responsible also for our loss of royal childhood. Don’t you think that that man should be made to pay price.
L.[meekly agreeing to the suggestion] He should be brought to justice.
K claps his hands to summon the guards
K.[like a man who has suddenly found the purpose of his life] Call the Minister and convene the court and bring the old washer man of the town to the court.

In the court, the twins are sitting on the throne, presiding over the session. They are guarded by two soldiers on either side. There are about 8-10 Ministers and other officials of the Palace. The old washer man and his two sons are standing at a distance from the royalty. Considerable number of people have gathered out of curiosity to watch the proceedings
Minister. Raja, as ordered by you the old washer man of the city has been brought to the court. He is waiting with his two sons to know how they may serve your highnesses
L & K. We wanted the washer man’s presence to settle an old inequity.
Washer man. Your highness, I will be much obliged to be of any use to you.
K. Minister, do you remember why our father, the most righteous king of our great and grand kingdom, deserted our pure, innocent mother?
Minister. [flustered by the allusion to the past]My lord, I have heard about the circumstances due to which the most revered king, your father had to take that drastic step.
L. But surely you know and you would agree with us when we say that this man who stands here before us pledging his body and soul caused that tragedy.
Washer man. Your highness, the most merciful kings, I beg you not to..
K. [cutting the speech of the washer man, angered by his audacity] Dhobi, you will speak only when you are ordered to speak. Minister, because of his comment our mother had to leave the palace and we were born in a ashram and we spent our best growing years there devoid of all the facilities and the benefits that would have come to us as the heirs apparent of this great kingdom. We lost our childhood and he is to punished for that.
Minister. [looks disconcerted] Washer man, what says you?
Washer man. [bowing before the kings and extending both his hands] Your highness, the most merciful kings, I beg you to not to punish this worthless soul for an innocuous comment made years ago in total ignorance of the consequences that might follow as a result of that remark.
K. [looks vindicated, beaming with pleasure] Look, he has accepted his guilt. I pronounce the verdict. The old washer man is guilty and he will be ....
First son of the Washer man. [in a pleading but with a voice of conviction] I beg your pardon, your honour. Kindly pardon me for this impudence. But it is our humble opinion that if the royal masters have a grievance and hold our father responsible then it is not appropriate for them to sit in the seat of judgement.
(sounds of consternation and murmurs of approval from the public and also from the palace officials)
L & K. [enraged and also alarmed by the turn of events] How dare you say so. It is not a grievance but a fact and your father has accepted the guilt. We are pronouncing the judgement.
[murmurs of disapproval]
First son of the Washer man.[without raising voice but speaking calmly and confidently]Raja, if you hold our father responsible for your loss of childhood, then you should also punish the old maid of your grandmother, who we were told, was responsible for the exile of your father, the most loved and revered king.
(giggles and snickers from the public corner. L& K look more and more shocked and at a loss as what to do next.)
Minister.[coming to the rescue of the naive princes] I beg my lords not to let the emotions dictate actions.
K.[enraged by the hint of disloyalty] Minister, you are taking their side. You are dismissed. Guards, arrest the washer man and his sons. They will be beheaded in full public view on the next public holiday to warn the people not to speak lowly of royalty.
L .[prompted by his brother, though looking stupefied] Guards, arrest them.
Murmurs of discontent and disapproval. Booing all around as the guards come forward to arrest the sons first. Public prevent them from arresting the washerman and his sons. Instead they rebel against the kings and establish people’s princes on the throne.
Public. Kings are gone long live the Kingdom!

Disclamer:This post is meant for entertainment purpose only. Any resemblance to mythological characters living or dead in the hearts and souls of anybody is purely coincidental. If you find any similarities to anything it is a credit to your perspicacity and I beg you to be generous and share it with me.

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