By Rakesh Raman
It was a serene winter dusk. Birds had started flying back calmly toward the distant crimson horizon that brought the sky down to kiss the land. Soon the night will descend in its dark garb and devour the already fading brightness.
Will there be light again? Or will it be an eternal dark night that will never allow Sonika’s dream to see the light of day?
Aging queen Sonika was lost in her thoughts as her eyes were groping the vacuum around her. When her mind was under the control of her thoughts, she heard a susurrus at the doorway.
Without moving her head, Sonika darted her eyes in the direction of the approaching rustle. She saw from the corner of her eye that prince Rahu in his customary white kurta pyjama (a casual dress) was tippytoeing – face downward, chin nuzzled deep into his chest.
Sonika always desired son Rahu to rule the kingdom that for the time being she had given in the hands of cruel dacoits, looters, and vampires who were sucking people’s blood and leaving no stone unturned to make a perfect hell in the kingdom. All under Sonika’s nod.
Now the time had come for Sonika to play her next move, her dream move for which she has been waiting for all these years. Today, Sonika had called Rahu to reveal her move. She’d ask him to take the kingdom’s control in his own hands. But how? Is Rahu ready for the job? Are there some other roadblocks? How will Rahu respond?
Here’s that behind-the-wall conversation between the queen and the prince:
Sonika: Rahu Baba… Today I’ve called you to tell you somethin’ important, somethin’ secret.
Rahu: What’s that, mommy?
Sonika: As you know, I’m already on the wrong side of my age. And even after regular treatment from other rich kingdoms, my ailment is still not under control and it’s soon going to consume me.
Sonika: Before I leave this world, I want you to take charge and become the next king of our kingdom. That’s my dream and that’s my aim.
Rahu: Mommy…Mommy. That won’t be possible.
Sonika: Er… What are you saying? We wanna make you the king and you’re saying Nah.
Rahu: That’s because I’m angry at you, ma. Why did you neglect me and make MMS the king, the Prime Minister (PM)? Now, how will you dethrone him and throw me on the throne?
Sonika: Oh…I see. That’s why you’re angry. You were nearly on the bottle when I handpicked MMS. But you need not worry about him. Let alone king, MMS is not even a full man.
Rahu: Full man! How can you say so?
Sonika: It’s a secret. I will reveal it to you today.
Rahu: What secret?
Sonika: Before dying, your father gave me a magic key. He said if I use this key on any man, he will work as my slave. I chose MMS and tried this key on him. The key worked.
Rahu: You mean, MMS is your slave…
Sonika: Kinda. If you wanna know all about MMS and my choice about him, you should read it here.
Rahu: Okay. What’s your plan now?
Sonika: While handing the magic key to me, your father told me that it’d be effective for 10 years. I have been using this key for the past eight years to tame MMS. Now, only two more years are left. During these two years, you have to become the king.
Rahu: Great idea, mommy. But you know, I’m totally dumb. How will I control over one billion people in our kingdom?
Sonika: Don’t worry, my son. MMS is equally dumb – a good-for-nothing moron. If he can befool people with my hand on his head, why can’t you? I’m sure you’ll be equally notorious among the gullible people of our country.
Rahu: That’s okay. I won’t disappoint you. But why don’t you let some competent man rule the kingdom?
Sonika: Excuse me! What made you think that we’ve a competent man in our kingdom?
Rahu: Not even among our opponents like the political group that keeps shouting and calls itself some Bekar Janata Party (worthless people’s party) or something?
Sonika: No. Lemme be clear here, Rahu. If we’re bad, they’re worse. They can only shout and we can rule without shouting. But I must admit that together all of us have made this kingdom a hell.
Rahu: Yeah, you’re right, ma. I read about hell in my school book. Hell is full of disease, misery, unrest, deprivation, pain… When I see people in our kingdom, it reminds me of hell.
Sonika: Let’s not think about others, Rahu. These people are suffering because of their bad karma, it’s their destiny. They can’t escape. They have to keep suffering and then face their natural death. Why should we bother?
Rahu: That’s what I think, mommy. Now, we’ve completely ruined our kingdom. Let’s run away from here, as we’ve already stashed away enough bucks to live peacefully for the rest of our lives. We must not try to bite off more than what we can chew.
Sonika: No son. If we won’t, someone else will bite it off. There’s still some blood left. We must suck all that before running away. So, you’ll be the next king. MMS already knows about my decision.
Rahu: But mommy…
Sonika: Don’t hesitate, my son. No one can stop us.
Rahu: I can understand. But mommy, I’m totally naïve. I don’t know what’s happening around me. I don’t know what’s happening in the world. I can’t think. I can’t speak. I’m always surrounded by some funny friends who keep advising me and I keep uttering what they teach me, though I prefer to keep silent. I can’t be the king, mommy.
Sonika: But those are your genes, my son. No one in our family had any qualities to rule this kingdom. But we’ve been ruling here for decades. Why should you worry?
Rahu: But I’m worried because if I’m the king, others from outside will invade our kingdom and we’ll again be slaves like we were before.
Sonika: That will be the right fate for our kingdom because now it’s so damaged that no one can damage it further. That will bring a ray of hope for the people here; as they were always better off before independence that we got six decades ago. When that happens, we’ll flee.
Rahu: Mommy, you always think positive. You could see a ray of hope even in slavery for the people of your own kingdom. I learn a lot from you. My mommy. My dearest mommy.
Sonika: So, be an obedient son and get ready for the kingship. That has been my only dream to see you as the king.
Rahu: I’m ready, Mommy. Now, I can’t wait for these two years. Do something to throw out MMS and make me the king.
Sonika: I’m trying my best. We’ve already damaged his reputation by cunningly spreading a word about his involvement in a big corruption case. That is just to ensure that he never even thinks to come back as the king or the PM. And don’t forget that your father’s magic key is still effective, just in case.
Rahu: You’re my, mommy. A king’s mommy.
An owl’s hoot outside broke their dialogue. It was already dark; but not as dark as the future of Sonika’s kingdom. She saw Rahu moving out. He’s getting ready to bring the ultimate doom for the people of the kingdom. The stage is all set.
This is a virtually real or really virtual story. I was inspired by some happenings around me to write it for you. The characters in this story are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. You can expect a sequel to it.
You can also read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman