Monday, May 26, 2008

Queen of Hearts

The sun fades under the pillars of the palace balcony. There is no news from the battlefield yet. The king's walk starts to gain pace and his senior counsel matches every step to step closely behind. Not a word has been spoken for quite a long time. Anxiety in the air.

"Are you thinking what I am thinking, Guruji" asked the king. The Guru, taken aback by the abrupt stop to a rapid walk shivered, "Pardon me, my Lord." He continued, "Yes, yes I am worried about the same thing. Hopefully the messenger brings us some good news otherwise it would not be a bad idea for you to sending the queen to the field before you step in yourself."

"Send the queen before myself! How can I do that, Guruji? That would be unbecoming of a king to send his wife to save the kingdom. Are you doubting my capacity?" rages the king to silence the Guru. They resume their walk with no further conversation.

(Sounds of footsteps)
After saluting the king with the customary praise, the messenger hands over the leaflet to the king. The king hurriedly opens it. "It is from the General", he shouts in excitement. He continues to silently read the entire leaflet much to the curiosity of the Guru.

Guruji comes closer as the king folds the scroll - "The general says things are getting out of control. Our men are fighting bravely but the enemies are aggressing with all their might. They have reached the banks of Tungabadra. If they cross the village we will have to surrender or die. There is no question of surrender.
Tell me Guruji, what can we do to stop the aggressor?"

The Guru hesitantly "Maharaja...". The king angrily intervenes, "You want me to send my beautiful queen whom I married after falling in love, to the battlefield before I myself take up the sword and armour. What do you have against my queen? She has always been respectful to you and admired your spiritual and intellectual depth. Why would you suggest sending her. Or are you doubtful of my ability to defend my kingdom and wife! I am baffled by your suggestion, dear Guru. Please explain your position or you will feel sorry."

Oh!my Maharaja. How can I ever doubt your strength and tact? There is no person in the world to match your valour. Your brother and you together can take on an entire army. However the situation here is different? Your brother has already been killed. The aggressor is ruthless. He is moving inside our territory very quickly. You must be very careful and not allow them to penetrate the three villages that lead to our city. The Maharani is very popular in the villages . Remember when her father was the king, the people from these villages were working closely in the Princess's palace. They will do anything for their Queen. The same is not the case with you. You are pretty new to them. Only the villagemen can slow the enemies down. Our army is strong enough to defeat them if their speed is fluxed. Only the queen can garner this support."

The king ponders for a few seconds and reacts; "What would history say about me Guruji. Here is a king who has all four limbs intact in his body. Yet he sends his wife to defend him. That is the greatest insult that can ever happen to me. I cannot let this happen to myself. I would rather go down valiantly than to hide myself behind my beloved. Afterall, she is my life. she is such a devoted darling. The way she looks after me and our children, her interest in arts and her care for the welfare of my people have all been impeccable. I cannot send her to war and sit at home."
"Then take her with you, my Raja"; quips the Guru.

The king has decided to go alone. The brigade is ready in the morning for him to lead. The valiant king reaches the banks of Tungabadra and fights hard. The enemies are hurt badly but more and more keep coming at the kingsmen. After a long battle for eight days, the king finally succombs to injury and fatigue. A brave fighter he was but he has fallen to the might of the enemy's army. The enemy king runs through the villages and captures the city. The Queen of hearts becomes the new Queen of Spades for her beauty and appreciation for art remains intact.

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