Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Prince and The Pauper- and Hell a Lot of Trouble...

Check here for previous stories in this series.

That morning, as usual, Rajagopal Master was walking towards the tea shop of Raman Pilla. The tea shop, as in any village or suburb of Kerala, was a nucleus of local information. News on local politics (sometimes even national and international politics), gossips and all nuggets of info that make the monotonous life a bit interesting are exchanged and debated there and it was the only connection of the retired Rajagopal Master with the outside world. The debates there gave him much needed mental exercise.

There was a good kilometer to the tea shop from his house. In between there is a stretch of mango trees on both side of the road, so densely planted that it gave the place a feel of forest. Even in the humid May, the trees gave out light breeze and chill. Master loved this spot a lot as he felt that the place rejuvenate him. The smell of ripe mango fruits reminded him of his adolescence and all the mischief and misadventures associated with it. He saw a ripe fruit fallen on ground not far from the road. Master walked towards it with an intention of picking it.

"No! Don't come near me! Who is it? Master! What do you want now? Are you planning to give me a maths test and trying to extort a pension to live off your retired life?"

The deep sound echoed as a thunderbolt and Master was shocked by the suddenness of it. He took two steps back and tried to identify the sound coming from behind the mango trees. It was that of Subrahmanian, the right wing local leader who was also the Panchayat President. Like many dignitaries of the village, he also was a former student of Master. He used to be pretty bad in Maths but had an ability to tackle brilliantly the questions related to money matters. That and his good oratory skills along with his opportunistic behavior had convinced Master that he, in future will surely end up in politics.

"Suppu..." Master called out in a mellow voice. "Is that you? What happened to you? Why are you hiding there?"

 "Master..." Subramanian appeared from behind a tree. He looked disoriented and dishevelled. His eyes that used to be like two deep wells of power, now looked confused and his strict nature was displaced by a submissiveness. "Please save me Master. I am going mad."

 "What happened? Don't worry, we will solve whatever it is!"+ "Master, I had always felt that the future of our party, government and nation rested on the shoulders of him, our Crown Prince, Madam's charming Son, India's blooming Sun. I had always supported him, believed his young blood will cure the nation of all our sins... and he did this to me."

 "What did He do?" Asked the puzzled Master.

 "Did you not read the paper or watched the news? A newspaper boy tried to sell a paper to the Prince and he received Rs 1000 as a gift. And then they gave a job to his father and a monthly allowance to the kid and then an assured medical seat in a private college for him by the time (if) he completes his studies. The news spread like wild fire and from morning all the newspaper boys, milk vendors, flower sellers and vegetable sellers of the locality have gheraoed my house hoping all of the party leaders will follow the footsteps of the Prince."+ "Oh, that is a grave situation!" Exclaimed Master.

 "The mob started to turn violent in no time. More people- taxiwallahs, autodrivers, tea shop and panwalahs, even school teachers joined and started demanding the treatment given to the paperboy. I tried to run away through the back door of my house. And do you know who was waiting for me there? Busstand Mathu, she too wanted a lifetime offer for her kid born out of wedlock. I tried to dodge and run, but my dhoti fell off somewhere on the way. And I ended up in this forest hiding myself."

Inspired from this article

1 comment:

  1. Apologies for not visiting earlier. Incredibly visual story Harish. I could imagine the hot humid May and the Mango lined stretch of the road.

    PS. How's your pretty wife?