A prince’s tale- Three musketeers

By the time he was growing up to be a teenager, The Prince had a very striking habit, a habit that he was not conscious about. When the sun showed itself in the morning, The Prince would spring awake when the dawn starts setting in, as early as the peasants and palace workers sometimes.

Even though The Queen had prepared for him a glaring silk curtain to prevent the sunray from gushing into his chamber, he had the habit of leaving the curtain open for the night, and hugging himself tight to fight against the cold breeze of the night. And when sunshine comes, his eyes would open and stare right at it. The Prince felt good. He felt he had the entire day ahead of him to live for- all the more today will be a special day.

He walked to the verandah and looked up far ahead into the mountains- since his verandah has the best horizontal view compared to the rest of the castle. He saw a tiny dot somewhere beyond the mountains, a tiny dot that he knew was moving. A smile appeared on his face. His rested his chin on the railing, and looked on intently, wondering if that small moving dot represents the distant arrival of a person that he has been anticipating for of late.

But he wouldn’t find out if it is that person or not, because The Queen had barged into the chamber, and had called him for breakfast. By the time The Prince had finished showering and having his breakfast, he would hear the chatter at the palace’s gates, and he knew they have arrived. But whether they were the small dot that he saw in the morning, he did not know. That was how The Prince was, always that little wonder etched in his mind.

But that wonder did not stop him from running ahead of The King and The Queen to greet the person he was waiting for- The Elder Prince.

The Elder Prince is The Prince’s cousin, but a very close cousin, whom he regards as his own brother, given the fact that The Prince himself did not have a brother to begin with. Even though still relatively young, The Elder Prince had his way of being independent, The Prince thought. He had arrived is a small donkey that suited his size, beside his parents who have their own horses. This is the time of the year that The Prince loves the most- when the Elder Prince arrives to spend a short holiday here.

The Prince had plenty of relatives, both through The Queen and also The King, but many are individuals who are living a more grandeur life that The Prince, and The Prince hardly found himself feeling at home or comfortable in such surroundings. There were only two cousins with whom he feels comfortable- with the Elder Prince and the Young Prince, who is yet to arrive.

The Elder Prince loves to taunt The Prince, but at the same time, shares a lot of common enthusiasm with The Prince. He too, like The Prince, arrives from a modest background, and does not come from a grand kingdom. This is why the three of them form a great group, because all three are not pampered princes, but rather belong to modest backgrounds, and do not mind mingling even with the peasants’ daughters and sons whenever they are together.

The Young Prince comes from the most modest background of them all, and is very well versed in all the activities that the peasants’ sons and daughters take up to. He does not sleep in the comfortable chamber, but instead prefers sleeping in a patterned rug in the palace’s living hall. He also had a peculiar habit of attracting accidents. He had the same wondering habits that the Prince possessed, but he was rather adventurous and liked to try out few things much more physically rather than standing at the verandah and looking at sceneries. Instead of looking, he’d rather try to track and figure for himself what these sceneries have to offer from close.

For this very reason, they had the habit of sneaking out when the night begins to set down, and try to find out what is around and beyond the kingdom gates. But they would succeed in only one of the ten attempts they take, as most of the time they would be caught red-handed by their parents.

The Young Prince would, from time to time, poke his fingers to anything he finds peculiar and gets himself hurt or bitten, most of the time with generous amount of blood. The Prince and the Elder Prince have gotten so used to the habit that they would laugh every time such an incident occurs- instead of putting up a worried face. Even the Young Prince had the habit of laughing off any mess he gets himself into.

The three of them would often gather at the Young Prince’s generously built independent house. The Young Prince lives in a village, and not a kingdom. His village is much secluded, and his house a rather big one, with plenty of space to accommodate all the relatives from The Queen’s side who would often come and stay in the house during festivities.

Fireworks, imaginary camps, group activities- these were the best times The Prince had during his early youth.

This particular morning though, The Prince and the Young Prince have come to accompany The Prince through the night as their elders make a trip to the northern borders to meet a famed healer to cure certain health problems. The princes blinked at each other with the prospect of having the whole palace for themselves.

They played, shouted, ran around and ordered the peasants as they wished- they were the kings of the day. They did not sleep when the whole kingdom went to sleep. They stayed through the night, chattering and exploring and doing whatever they can do to further spend the night awake. And as The Prince strolled down to the living hall from his chamber where they were camped, he saw a white figure whizzing past him into another chamber. He was taken aback, shocked.

The other princes asked him what was wrong; so The Prince told them what had happened. But none of them shrugged it off as just an imagination. They dared to take the matter seriously.

“We need to do something,” The Elder Prince said. And they were set to do something- they felt important. They were the kings, they will be the heroes.

A Prince’s Tale- Episode 2

At Rutnam’s heroic burial during the dusk of that battle-ridden day, very few tears were shed, there was more of a lingering uncertainty as to the direction this small community had to take upon the passing of a leader who had served for 50 years in the ruling committee, and 22 years as the sole leader of Aasman.

Everyone looked beleaguered, unsure as to who will take Rutnam’s mantle. And then the wily old aide of Rutnam stood up feebly from his chair and declared, in his feeble, breaking voice- The one who conquered Rutnam in the war should succeed him as the leader of the nation- that little nation in the form of Aasman. And so The King in his eventful voyage had found his own kingdom alas.

“We will progress,” The King proclaimed, after spending a good hour mulling over and digesting his new position as the leader. He looked cautiously at his people, his new commands, knowing that he is planting upon them an idea that they were not used to for decades.

There was utter silence. Suddenly, the same wily old aide of Rutnam clapped, as if the proclamation by The King was the best he had ever heard in his life. And today, the kingdom of Aasman was formed. It still retains the same small community size, but it has a more comfortable lifestyle thanks to The King’s progressive thoughts.

The old man who clapped died one week after he openly declared The King as the new King. His potrait still hangs over the main ballroom, as The King pays tribute to the one who had appointed him to be who he is today. But as The King looked at the portrait on this New Year’s Day, a small flicker of thought appeared in his mind. How would he explain about this portrait should anyone ask him what is the significance of the man in the portrait? What if his own son asks it?

The King has been doing too much of thinking of late. He is nervous. The time is drawing closer. The New Year has just dawned. It’s time to light the lamps, and make this a colorful event. As the palace workers and guard set about to do exactly that, The King still has the worry seeded in his mind.

And then a guard’s quick steps down the stairs were heard. Out of the many workers jostling around the castle and the noise outside of it, The King instinctively knew that this guard’s steps are the steps he was awaiting for. A female cook came about and served a platter of sweets right on The King’s face. There was a brimming smile of the guard’s face.

“You have a prince,” the guard said. The King took a sweet and munched delightfully. A fellow palace keeper bent down and lit a divine lamp at a corner of the ballroom.

And so our story begins- with the birth of this prince. Because this tale belongs to the prince, and not the king- as the title might have suggested to you so far. The prince was born exactly when the sun was rising steadily on the New Year’s Day for Aasman.

The kingdom greeted the prince’s arrival with much enthusiasm, and renewed hope and vigor spread through Aasman, like a disease quickly spreading on every other person. The prince quickly became the most adored being in the whole of Aasman, despite only being days’ old, but without his knowledge, his arrival had already served a greater purpose.

The King and The Queen, prior to the prince’s birth, were having a rocky relationship. There was always something about the other that had caused dissatisfaction between them- always a point of contention. It seemed not right to the extent that The Queen took a quarter of the township with her as she travelled back to be with her sister across the sea, in a different place altogether.

It wasn’t until she got pregnant that the The Queen decided to finally return to the palace, under a very subtle request by The King, to make her delivery here.

“How is The Queen?” The King asked, still munching his sweet, temporarily halting in his actions. “Very fine, my majesty,” the guard retreated, still wearing a smile on his face.

It was a difficult task to keep Aasman relatively silent and small yet progress at the same time, thus the challeneges that the The King face was enormous even though there was very little threat from any other greedy kingdoms aiming to spread their wings. It kept The King busy.

That was when, impressed by The King’s success, his mother travelled all the way across the sea to come and witness how her second son is faring. She made it quite clear to him on what her assessment was. He was still moderate in comparison to the success that his brothers have achieved. But The King’s mother liked the fact that The King is ruling a kingdom of relative peace and largely low-profile, it served her well to go about walking and taking her own sweet time, doing the things that she had always loved doing. She loved the Prince as well.

The Prince would spend a huge amount of his childhood with his grandmother, who would cuddle him and cater to every little need that he has. But she had problems with The Queen. There was always about The Queen that dissatisfied her, and she would go around and narrate to the normal citizens of Aasman what a bad queen The Queen actually is. That she had left her son and ran away when situations got difficult. That The Queen is such and such.

But Prince did not know all of these things that are happening, he was still that little baby, hardly learning how to walk, who loved his mother and grandmother equally as much.

That was until one morning, as The Queen woke up from her retirement, and walked to her baby to greet him with her normal morning smile. Watching his smile would make her troubles fade away. But his skin was yellow; The Prince’s eyes were swollen. The smile disappeared.

To be continued…

A Reality without a Shadow- Cupid in the town

“How long has it been?” Maya asked, pushing another mouthful. “How long since what?” Yuva asked. It was an amazing contrast, and a weird one at that. Maya, being the woman, was galloping down her food merciless while Yuva wasn’t doing any justice to the food’s existence as he scribbled at every grain of rice and hardly ate any of them. “Your love story…I can’t believe you hid it from me,” she said.

“No, we are not together,” he said.

“Then?”

“Well..,”

Maya blinked and stop eating.

“Wait…what have we got here?”

Yuva looked down on his plate and sighed. Maya drank a little water, and choked halfway seeing his reactions.

Thoda,”

“What?” he asked.

“One-sided love? Oh my…what has happened to you? What’s up American boy? What’s with suddenly being filmi?” she asked.

“Please, it’s not one sided, don’t underestimate me,” he said.

“Oh, then, what are you waiting for?” she asked. Now Yuva looked at her, and carved a smile on his face, a very wide, cheesy one.

“Here?” Maya asked, looking at the studio from outside. Yuva nodded. They walked slowly inside. “I’ve got nothing to do with this place,” she said as they were walking.

“Neither did I.”

“What made you come here in the first place then? You knew you were going to fall in love the only time you would ever venture to cover an entertainment news?” she asked.

“Please don’t tell me you believe in destiny now?” she continued before he could react.

Yuva chose against his urges to react to her mockery. He had mocked her one too many times to make a fuss about this. He pushed open the door to the almost-empty studio, and there, at one corner, practicing dance with her colleagues, was Priyanka.

“I suppose this isn’t an official meet?” Maya asked Yuva. Yuva still chose to remain silent. He even chose to remain silent by not interrupting Priyanka from her dance. Both of them looked at her from a distance until she noticed their presence and froze in her tracks.

“Hi,” she said, sweeping her sweat using a considerable large towel as she approached them. Maya smiled. “Not bad macha,” Maya said.

“Remember I told you that I have someone that has to say okay after meeting you first before we can go ahead?” he asked to Priyanka, while putting extending his arms across Maya’s shoulders.

“She?” Priyanka asked.

“You didn’t tell her?” Maya asked.

“I think I’ll leave you guys to it,” Yuva said, and started walking away. Both of them tried calling him to come back, but decided against it as they started to open their mouths, before looking at each other and releasing an awkward smile.

“You want to go first or…?” Maya asked, realizing there is something they need to clarify each other with before they can continue with their casual conversation, which has been going surprisingly good for the past half-an-hour.

“Do the honors,” Priyanka said. “He hadn’t told me much, except that he is from the US, and wanted to be a cop and ended up a journalist,” she continued.

“Well…we are not actually Americans. Both of us are Indians. We were born in India,”

Priyanka started reacting with interest.

“We were adopted by the American government because of an arrangement they had between these two countries back then. We were guinea pigs basically. They wanted to train us in the US, breed us as cops, and send us to back to India at a certain age, with a set of skills that can be better than local Indian cops. So basically we were at our foster home all these years, and now we have come back to home. Only that it hasn’t quite felt like home yet,” Maya explained.

“And he didn’t end up being a journalist. He resigned. He was pretty good at what he did, but there was plenty of attention on us, in a negative way, especially when your colleagues are jealous of your special position, it isn’t easy. He cracked, and he resigned. I’m still here, weathered the storm, and am the police chief now,” she added.

“Well, that basically means the program did work then. I mean, you guys came out good,” Priyanka said.

“Not necessarily. He was there for barely months. It’s a failed program anyway, they have decided against continuing it after I wrote an official latter making it public,” Maya now looked intently at Priyanka. The tables have turned for the storyteller role.

Priyanka smiled.

“Well, I can’t believe he is asking me to meet you and approve you before he wants to start a relationship with you,” Maya said with a grin.

Deep inside, she is flattered by how important Yuva had considered her to be in his life that would to put a relationship on hold so that she could give her stamp of approval.

“Did he say its about making me his girlfriend?” Priyanka asked curiously.

“Yeah, about being together,”

“I thought it was supposed to be for marriage,” Priyanka said.

Maya looked stunned.

“What..?”

“I would have killed him if he had said wait, someone needs to approve before we got into a relationship. I mean, he was literally chasing and wooing me all over. I thought I can never trust someone of American lifestyle that easily so I wanted him to commit further. And, here we are, for that reason, I guess,”

“That son of a…,” Maya started.

“Please, no bad words,” Priyanka retorded.

“Oh my, he found himself a damsel,” Maya exclaimed.

Priyanka mustered a smile.

“Oh my god, you two are going to be so mushy,” Maya added.

To be continued..