The horrid witch of the Black Mountain showed her ugly fangs and swooped towards Prince Mohanan with an unearthly scream. He braced himself confidently and drew his great broad sword. He let out a powerful battle cry and rushed like a hurricane sent from heaven towards the witch. She came closer. The brave Prince could smell her foul and fetid breath and stared fearlessly in her ghoulish eyes. She kept a rotting palm on his broad armored chest and pushed him. Her horrible, creaking voice resonated in his ears:
“Ae bhai! Kidhar jata hai? Itna lamba line dikhta nahi kya tereko?”
Mohan was pulled out of his daydream and went sheepishly back to the end of the long queue for local railway tickets. People were looking at him and giggling. He hid his rolled umbrella behind his back and stood with studied negligence.
Mohanlal Waswani was a junior clerk in Bajaj Insurance. After 20 years of service in the same capacity, he had realized that ‘Junior’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Young’. He just hoped that he was promoted to a Senior Clerk before his retirement. At 5′-4″ height and with a diminutive build, Mohan was never considered seriously for anything by anyone, including his wife and kids. Human mind is a marvelous machine. It has its own safety valve. The incomplete desires vent through a surrealistic phenomenon called dreams. These dreams don’t only rule the sleep, sometimes they express themselves when we are wide awake. Then we rehash events in our minds and twist the endings to our own satisfaction. People thought that Mohan was a freak as he daydreamed and talked to himself. But in fact Mohan was as normal as the guy next door. Ask Freud, who knew a lot about dreams and human psychology.
Mohan had a fixed routine, day in and day out through his existence. It was as constant as the ‘C’ in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The life of a junior clerk in an insurance office is about as exciting as of a little goldfish. Especially, if the goldfish is of a timid specie and is afraid of its own shadow. Now, if such a guy doesn’t live his unfulfilled expectations in a dream, which is tailor made according to his own needs, I would like to know of any other better option.
Usually, Mohan was successful in surviving the daily ordeal called life. But, today was not a usual day. His railway pass expired the day before and he had to stand in the long queue, which resulted in he missing his regular train. Consequently, he arrived 30 minutes late to office. As soon as he entered, the peon asked him to meet the manager urgently. Mohan’s heart sank in his boots! He knew what this summon entailed. He went in with a quaking heart as Daniel might have gone to the den of lions.
Prince Mohanan saw the ugly giant with his back turned towards him, and smiled languidly. He caressed his broad sword lovingly as a lover traces his finger across the sweet face of his Donna. Today his sword was going to quench it’s immortal thirst by the black blood of this monster! He glided in like a dark rain cloud born by the all pervading wind. The giant sensed him and turned. The Prince was instantly on guard. The ugly demon boomed in it’s repulsive voice:
“What the fuck you mean by sneaking behind me like this? And, is it the time for you to report to office? Where the hell is the audit summary of Chinnappa & Sons?”
So many questions! The overwrought brain of poor Mohan was trying to sort and select the easiest one.
“Sir, actually I missed my train because my pass expired and… “, he bleated.
“Aw, shut up!”, the majestic boom of his boss cut into his pitiful whimpering. “Always these damned excuses! Go and get me the file within the next 30 minutes or you are fired.”
The monster did his best to kill the brave Prince, but the Prince was too elusive for the giant sloth. He put up a great fight and caused considerable damage to it. The magical hide of the monster was immune to the blows struck by the warrior Prince. Sun Tzu has quoted in his ‘Art of War’ that a well planned retreat is always better than an unplanned and insane attack. In a brilliant tactic of retreat, the wounded Prince stepped out of the Devil’s Den to recuperate and marshal his resources for another attack. A crowd had gathered outside the den on hearing the tumultuous clashes of the battle within. The fair ladies swooned over and the gallant gentlemen applauded the bravery of the charming Prince. It wasn’t for nothing that Prince Mohanan was worshipped across seven continents as the bravest of all!
Mohan nearly jumped out of the cabin. He ignored the mirth and giggles of his colleagues and went to his desk.
He sat despondently for some time with his head in his hands, then tried to do his best with the said file. He anyhow completed it within the proscribed 30 minutes and submitted. He managed to emerge unscathed from the barrage of artillery of his boss and avoided anymore troubles till the clock struck 6. He let out a long sigh and left the office hurriedly. No one likes to stay in a jail for longer than forced. But, in Mohan’s case, it was merely a transfer and not a reprieve. He headed to serve the remaining of the sentence in another jail, which had a witch as the jailer and two little poltergeists as wardens. He left for his home.
The Prince was hurt, but not down. You cannot put out a brave soul. The wise Prince knew that certain things are predestined and even the bravest need to submit to their fate. He sighed in resignation and spurred his Andalusian stallion towards the setting sun. Suddenly he saw a commotion from a corner of his eye and reined in his horse. A damsel in distress was screaming for help. The Royal blood of Prince Mohanan surged and he jumped off his ride.
Two ruffians were trying to snatch the handbag of a middle aged lady, who was screaming to high heavens. God is the witness! The only precious thing in her handbag might be the latest Maybelline lipstick or a new nighty, bought at Crawford Market for 500. The way she was raising Cain, one would have thought that she was the carrier of Royal Jewels! People started to converge and the ruffians panicked. They forgot the purse and decided to get away.
Prince Mohanan saw that the bunch of bandits had left the dainty princess alone and took to flight when they saw his Royal persona. A lying elephant will always be taller than a standing dog. A wounded prince is still more than a match for a band of unruly bandits. The Prince gave a chase. Around 50 bandits stood the ground and took out their swords. Prince Mohanan laughed and brandished his Royal Broad Sword. Today was the day his honest companion will feast! He attacked as a fearless lion attacks a group of hyenas, cutting them down with his broad sword as a scythe cuts down the ripe harvest. Four of the rogues used their cowardly cunning and stepped in from the blind side of the Prince. The Prince caught the leader of the band through his throat and raised his glorious sword. “You astonish me with your affrontry, you wretch! The Seven Continents know that Prince Mohanan is always willing to spill his own blood to save the damsels, children and widows! You still had the gall to perform your nefarious deeds in my province? Die, you scoundrel!” He was going to bring the great sword down in a glittering arc, when the poisonous swords of the other four rogues flew towards his brave armored breast…
The ruffians were astonished to see a bespectacled, middle aged and balding guy chasing them, brandishing an umbrella! One of them whipped out his knife in panic, hoping to scare him off. Unfortunately, he had never met a junior clerk of Bajaj Insurance in his life and wasn’t aware of their tenacious nature. The balding guy caught him by his collar, swiped his rolled umbrella and screamed something about spilling his dirty blood through his umbrella. He saw the mob rushing to help and panicked. He plunged the knife till hilt in the soft protruding belly of the guy with umbrella and sprinted away as soon as his hold was released.
Mohan felt a searing pain in his stomach. He looked unbelievingly at the intestines, which suddenly spilt out of his stomach. His detached mind recalled that his teacher had taught them in 6th standard that the small intestine is actually large and is around 120 feet long. He thought absently that now he’ll never be promoted to a Senior Clerk!
Prince Mohanan felt the poisonous swords searing through his armor like a burning knife through a slab of butter and smiled. What’s death to a warrior? Just a change of home. Didn’t Krishna affirm this in Gita? The brave Prince tried to kill one of the cowardly ruffians with his sword arm, already weakened by the approaching death, and failed. He shut his eyes in peace, resplendent in blood and glory. His brave body came to rest amongst the dead bodies of those bandits he had slayed. Like a polished diamond in a heap of coal, his mild face, reposed in the tranquility of death, glowed amidst the carnage and gore. No wonder people of seven continents worshipped him as the bravest in the realm!
“Kya chutiya aadmi tha! Faltu me mar gaya! Koi chhatri le ke gunde se fight karta kya? Sala Rajanikant! Movies ne public ko bigad diya hai. Kya faltugiri hai!” someone from the crowd commented.
The Prince still lives on in the psyche of his subjects, who are trodden and crushed by the juggernaut of life.