The Prince and the Princess

By Shobha Diwakar

There lived an uncrowned king and an uncrowned queen in a land endowed with rich resources, beautiful temples, ravishing mountains that drew tourists from all over the world. A galaxy of exquisite handicrafts flooded the winding streets with throngs of people that fluttered in and out from one shop to another to satisfy their un- quenched thirst to explore the delicately displayed apparels, handicrafts, silverware and earthen pots and pans of all sizes and shapes, dressed up in alluring colors.

Human curiosity has always killed the cat and so it happened that the throngs of people that ‘pelted’ into the city were immensely attracted to the stories they heard about the prince and the princess who were said to have been born with not gold or silver but platinum spoons in their mouths! Wow, they vowed to themselves they would not budge out of this captivating panorama of witnessing this astonishing, glamorous city without a peep into the retinue of superficial, but tottering half- baked followers who swore their allegiance to the self-proclaimed landlords of the country and so it all happened one day….

The king took seriously ill and after a brief illness solemnly left for his heavenly abode leaving behind the disoriented queen with her prince and princess. The followers swore they would do or die at the holy feet of the queen to proclaim their honesty and devotion towards the ‘nation’ under her spirited commitment to guide and prosper…

After some time the days seemed to crawl like a turtle as the prince who had inherited the kingdom, let himself be willingly surrounded by ‘yes men.’ These ‘yes men’ were aware that the young prince had an expanded ego and was a BIG BRAGGER. The problem was though he had the barest of education he claimed he was a first rate orator who knew and understood the intricate art of oratory; and no one besides him had read or understood the ancient scriptures, which he had implicitly explored. However, not having grasped the meaning interpreted it according to his whim, as and when opportunity knocked at his doorstep. Little was he aware about his own inflated retinue that made fun of him behind his back.

So much for the fascinating prince, but what happened to the blooming young princess is anyone’s guess. Well she lived ‘concealed’ within the four walls of her great palace inherited by the courtesy of the ‘nation.’ She had married into a very rich family that simply adored her and would not let her out of sight. Soon she was blessed with delightful, adorable twin daughters whose birth was rejoiced by the entire nation for they were the future ‘guardians’ of the ‘nation’ next in line to rule. Days passed the twins grew up into tall, beautiful young girls who no longer needed anyone to guard their wings; no evil eyes to look upon them yet security followed wherever they ventured. Privileged and secure… they soon captured the attention of the media, which raised the anxiety of the princess. Despite the fact, the young and charming princess soon realized that if she stayed back home as a doting mom, the future would be


bleak and the cream be licked away by none other than the prince. In high authorities the benefits are availed by those who remain in limelight albeit they may not be deserving…if opportunities are lost not once , not twice, but thrice, the chances are the bells would never ring again at her doorsteps. It was now time for her to leap forwards and hold the reins firmly… it was now or never. The retinue hailed her arrival… new ones seeking fame and wealth lined up for a glimpse of the beautiful ‘new arrival’ ready to lead the ‘nation’ under her ‘concrete’ footsteps. Meanwhile, the queen delved solitarily into her den relaxing and enjoying the arrival of her fond heart throb on the ‘national’ scene to hold the diamond studded crown awaiting a ‘head’ to wear it.

The roads were now divided for the two aspirants… one headed north, while the other headed southwards. With no prior knowledge of the country’s high ideals, it’s cultural heritage, it’s customs and rich Vedic literature the two squashed upon the scene like novices in a new job not knowing how to deal with local, social or national issues. The ‘problem’ was they created problems where there was none! Time swung, the clock raced, the marathon began with a bang. The rapid- fire rounds gushed forth like a barrage of bullets, unchallenged, undefined, atrocious and crude. The vocabulary ceased to be polished it became venomous and stung on raw wounds of the past awaiting a poultice to calm the gashes. Unrefined and brutal, the prince as well as the princess together competing for the crown dashed upon the scene not with the olive branch but with torches burning in the daylight with curses ringing out of their foul mouths.

Suddenly clashes began even as people desperately ran helter skelter to save their lives. Shops shut down, while those loitering on the streets rushed around seeking shelter wherever they could. In less than an hour, the chaotic, rustic rioters clashed with the unheeding public that had no place to hide. Taken unawares, the rustic throng dragged whomever they could and hounded those that made a futile attempt to hide behind barricades placed in concealed places. The disastrous city was in flames; heads knocked out bleeding and bruised to the core. The sight was miserable, the crowd uncontrolled, led by aspirants who considered themselves to be the future leaders of the nation.

The miscreants set ablaze the once quiet city. They laid the blame on the unemployed youths, the rising prices, the continuous rapes and murders, and the slow process of justice with unethical defenders of the guilty. The juveniles won the ‘ grace’ of being underage and ‘blissfully’ committed adult crimes but benefited with loopholes in the law unlike their criminal counterparts in other parts of the world. There seemed to be no winding tracks to rewind the paths of the distraught youths; they had viciously trapped themselves into a valley of no return.

Meanwhile, those in ‘ivory towers’ did nothing to usher peace. In fact, the dried up ‘haystacks’ of misled youth, armed with ‘hideous weapons’ of foul speech and ‘unholy’ dialogues kept igniting and razing the city, dousing its ancient tradition of peace and prosperity and maligning it’s aspirations to rise above all. Unfortunately, the prince and the princess had disappeared. The queen sat brooding over the loss of law and order but made no attempt to calm the agitating rustics. As quietly flowed the dawn a distant ray of hope shone across the previous, tedious day’s demoralized crowd, which  appeared to disperse because of internal conflicts amongst themselves. Soon a sudden silence grew upon the city as the army marched across the streets while the police took control of the retreating hooligans.

The next day, and the next, and the next the media blared. Debating authorities out spoke one another, yelled and raged tempestuously into the microphones as though competing for the ‘lost crown.’ Not a sympathetic word did they utter in favor of the national loss of property… their sympathy rested on the laurels of the rioters. The nation had halted, the nation wept. The unshed tears swam in the eyes like the restrained waters of the dam ready to burst the edges. The cheap, dirty work of those concealed behind the rioters was achieved… the damage was done, the nation was tottering on crutches, thanks to the ‘raw ideals’ of some disgruntled… while the prince and the princess discreetly crept away under the canopy of their castles.

This is a work of fiction. Resemblance to any person living or dead is a mere coincidence.

About the Author:  Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. 


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