The nation’s misery
The king had decided to reveal to all that he was naked. Never before had the citizens encountered something so strange. The guy who sold brinjal and okra beside the cycle repair shop exclaimed about it. His vegetables seemed exhausted and defeated by the time the sun had climbed to its 12 PM position in the sky. Clearly, the number of customers would now dwindle so this was his time to discuss world affairs in a tone of perennial amazement. I often wondered if cynicism had passed him by completely. He always seemed astonished by the duplicity of the king and his courtiers.
The king’s revelation had paralyzed the will of the people. How could the country function if its king was naked? Wasn’t that a violation of natural laws? Was it even legal for the country to function like that? The lady who sold lipsticks in the mall, wondered aloud to her colleague, an anorexic girl in her late twenties. The lady wore her profession proudly on her lips every day underscoring it repeatedly till they look obscenely scarlet. Today, the scarlet had worn thin but she let that slide as she looked askance at the girl, waiting for a response. The girl just continued to arrange the racks of nail enamel mutely, as if the king’s matter was something too uninspiring to be discussed. Over across in the gentlemen’s underwear aisle, a stocky man threw lingering glances her way. The anorexic girl was aware of them, but she chose to ignore. His salary was a pittance. No point acknowledging the glances of someone who was at her pay scale.
Soon the hushed whispers of the cabinet gave way to mutiny. Mild at first and then increasingly vehement. The king needed to be replaced. The world was laughing at the nation with the king who was naked. History would judge them harshly. HISTORY!! It stopped everyone short. Of course, he needed to go. Nobody messes with history and gets away with it. The owner of the cycle shop didn’t care about history, he told the okra seller while sipping his fourth cup of tea. His children could deal with it. What good was history to him when he was dead. But yes, a naked king. That was definitely an inconvenience. Okay, okay…an embarrassment he said hastily, before the okra guy’s amazement magnified a hundred fold.
The next day, an elaborate announcement was made. The king was considering stepping down to make way for younger talent. Somebody who could bring the nation together. As the prime minister walked into the king’s chambers to get it signed by the king, he stopped short in surprise. The queen stood before him, her feline looks cast him a malevolent glance. The king is not naked, she said chewing on every word before spitting it his way. He’s wearing his top hat and fig leaf. Why would you want to tell the world a lie. He glanced over her demurely clad shoulder at the king who stood there wearing his usual idiot grin. The king nodded at him in glee and while the prime minister fumbled for words, the queen went up to him and hissed venomously, tell the world the king will stay until I say so.
As he turned around to leave he heard the queen say aloud, every legacy needs to be built carefully and we’ve just started building ours.