Maharana Bhanupratap Sisodia screamed in a panicked voice when his replacement horse ran away after throwing him off!
Ali-ud-daula Siddiqui came down from his elephant which had terrified the puny horse and smiled triumphantly.
Maharana pulled out his double edged sword and fenced off, while screaming for his beloved horse. He knew that only Chetak can win this battle with his battle honed senses…
The anguished cry echoed amongst the tumult of a thousand swords and a million shields. It echoed off of the dusty walls of the brooding and ancient castles. The haunt wafted above the desert of Mewar and reached to the camps of Ali-ud-daula Siddiqui, where Chetak was locked away.
Chetak was standing despondently in his prison, when the war cry acted on him like a stimulant. His fertile brain conjured up grotesque and horrid images of the battle.
The mind has an exaggeratedly morbid sense of reality. Whenever we are confined to a static place while our loved ones are in a mortal peril, our mind conjures up the worst scenarios, which may be totally different and harsher than the reality. Chetak’s heart went out for his brave master!
His right ear flicked then his left twitched. He rolled his eyes, showing its whites and snorted in frustrated anger. He pawed the ground while looking around, looking for a weak point in his armored prison or in earth itself!
“Chetak… ” This wild call, which interrupted his frustrated recce, had a desperate haunt. Chetak’s trained ears detected that the screamer is hurt by an arrow, which has pierced his lungs. The bubbling scream meant that blood is boiling out of his lungs and will boil out of his mouth soon.
Chetak threw caution to winds and reared up on his hind legs. There are times, when even the most prudent of warriors grows reckless. Chetak looked at the shackles, which tethered him to the ground and pawed at it gently to test its strength. Once assured of its frailty, Chetak tossed his beautiful mane away from his handsome chestnut face and charged! The strong shackles were no match for the roaring dynamo in the form of the agitated and proud Andalusian stallion, and they gave way to the iron will of Chetak, who roared through the stable as an express train. He lowered his head like an angry bull and rammed into the tall fortified gate, which shattered into a million fragments with a deafening clap…
The potter in the adjacent hut turned over on his thin mattress restlessly and grumbled at the horrible racket going on till he was unable to stand it. “That goddamned ass!” He rose from his bed in anger and picked up the stout stick. “I will teach him a lesson today!”
His 7 years old daughter sleeping near her mother woke up groggily and followed him in the hope of some adventure in her grey life. Her eccentric father was usually up to something, which provided her with material to giggle while playing with her crude cloth dolls. The other day her beloved parent was trying to beat her mother while being drunk and ended up in the nearest pigsty because of the quick footwork and a cleverly administered jab in his head from her mother’s part. She expected something as hilarious tonight. She casted a last hopeful glance at her sleeping mommy and hastened behind his receding father.
Her mother briefly looked at the commotion, turned and slept again, cursing all the donkeys and men in general and her own ones in particular. She belonged to that glorious creed of ladies, who strongly believed that men and asses were similar psychologically and that their brains were interchangeable. ‘Hope he comes early tonight!’ She thought drowsily before smoothly sliding into a dream of something or another which happy women tend to dream.
The potter staggered out of his hut and moved towards the stable, when the ramshackle gate of the stable disintegrated before his disbelieving eyes and a small ass trotted out, braying its head off.
Chetak saw the iron clad Knight Commander of The Royal Stables barring his way with a small armed elite troop. He lowered his head like an enraged bull and charged fearlessly at the ensemble. The terrified cowards scattered like tiny pebbles knocked off by a petulent child. Chetak struck the Knight Commander in his armored chest and was gratified to see him toppling in a gutter, paralyzed by his blazing speed. He didn’t stop to gloat at his victory. Victory and defeat are always a major event for only people with an ego. Like all the strong and focused heroes of the world, Chetak was beyond such puny human emotions. His victory was as immaterial to him as was his defeat. What mattered was the loyalty for his master and his duty. He galloped off in the darkness, with the wild wind running her gentle fingers through his flowing mane and whispering sweet nothings in his alert ears. The wind, like Lady Luck, is a mischievous nymph, which loves riders and steeds. She accelerated the rush of adrenaline which pumped in his great heart.
The groggy potter stood paralyzed at the scene, while the ass romped up towards him and butted him hard in his protruding belly, knocking him down in the gutter, before trotting off in the darkness. The winded potter climbed out of the gutter cursing, while spitting gravel out of his teeth. Then he peered in the darkness and jogged off behind the hookey ass. He was followed by his laughing daughter, clapping her tiny hands happily and skipping behind him in hope of further entertainment.
Chetak ran for 20 km. He was shackled by the barbarian Ali-ud-daula Siddiqui for a long time in the Royal Stables and had spent weeks without a proper nourishment. Everyone knows that the minimum requirement for the survival of a youth is a regular feed and a continued access to their Instagram account! He saw a mound of green grass thrown carelessly by some rich farmer. His alert ears twitched ones. He couldn’t hear the anguished cry of Maharana. Chetak was a born philosopher. He knew that either the king was dead or was still going tongs and hammer with that infidel barbarian. In either situations, he knew that the king wouldn’t begrudge the life giving nourishment to his loyal steed. Well, even Napoleon’s army refused to march on empty stomach! Chetak decided to restore his tissues.
Suddenly he was attacked by a hundred guards, who, treacherous that they were, sneaked from behind at the unaware noble animal. Chetak tried to fight and was overpowered by the mighty army of Ali-ud-daula Siddiqui. His flanks were bloodied by the arrows and swords of the villains.
The middle aged potter was not used to any exercise as befitting any middle aged person in the world and the half kilometer trot taxed his heart, soul and spirit to the breaking point. Exercise is the duty and prerogative of the youth. Why should anyone on the wrong side of 30s should bother? We have worked for luxury and we have the right to enjoy the fruits of our labour, my friend! And, whoever objects is a communist! God knows why so many honest middle aged people die of heart attack! May be, God is a communist too! Anyway, our potter was bending double and spewed steam and wind through his nostrils and mouth, while doing a creditable impersonation of a surfacing whale, till he saw a small figure grazing in the meadows. He cursed a violent explicit, startling his daughter for a second.
His perky daughter screamed happily, “There is Ghunghru!”
This 7 years old girl loved the donkey. She loved those rides, when her father took her to the Thursday market. She loved the ascetic, introspective and amiable face of the ass with its look of polite curiosity, when she discussed those obtuse and poignant questions which 7 years olds are prone to do, to which we 70 years old don’t have an answer yet. Her father was too busy earning bread and her mother was too busy cooking it. Her only companion was this philosophical beast, who always agreed and nodded to her rhetorics. She was really broken hearted to see him running away and was truly sad when she saw her father attacking the donkey with that horribly huge club. Her lovely eyes clouded with tears.
O reader, I’m sure that you are a grown up, and we grown ups have a weird tendency to vent our entire frustration on someone who’s incapable to fight. We are at our most valiant when faced with the most inoffensive target. We vent all our pent up frustration at them and revel in our triumph. We regale our like-minded grownups with this tale for a long time. We forget that even we are a prey for bigger fish, which is more frustrated than us, and when we are at the receiving end, we cry foul!
The potter tiptoed behind the donkey. He shouldn’t have bothered. Our hero was too enamored by the beauty of the swaying grass to bother about any worldy distraction. The potter’s entire frustration had found it’s own inoffensive target!The stick rose and landed hard. The action was repeated till the actionable arm was rendered useless with fatigue. Ghunghru turned around with an amiable inquisitive look on his serene face, when the potter pulled him by his ears. The girl ran and hugged him, crying. Ghunghru had that eternal mildly puzzled look on his face, which all the asses of the world have when they are out of their depth and ask everyone what’s going on, irrespective of their physical or internal pain.
The mismatched trio trudged back to their common homestead. No mismatched set of souls with more morose hearts walked in that fields that night. The potter was grumbling and cursing. He let his staff loose absentmindedly, which incidentally hit the ass. The girl was confiding her own theory about moons and stars to the ass. The ass was lost in his own introspection, like all wise sages before him had done, before it saw another inviting glade of greens and beelined towards it.
It was a beautiful night. The Opal Moon was hiding behind the dark rain clouds, who were trying to disintegrate themselves in search of the glory. The tall palm trees laughed their soundless mirth at their stupid game. The flooded river smiled at the cosmic comedy like a pregnant woman smiling at a bunch of rowdy kids. She looked at the tiny figures at her bank and smiled indulgently. Suddenly the western gale rose playfully, whipping the wet palm trees. the pregnant and heavy river raised her waves as in benediction. The gale whistled gleefully and caught her waves, spraying the mist. They accidentally also caught a raised hand of a mortal and deposited it into the gurgling river.
The potter lost his mind completely. It’s really hard for a guy, who has toiled on a potter’s wheel all day, heard the curses of the village dealer of lamps and pots for not fulfilling orders on time, has born the ugly brunt of the burnt comments of his wife, was shaken awake rudely by his own stupid donkey in the middle of the night and made to run half a mile in half awake condition across desolate country in a rainy season… It would take the pith out of any man! He roared in anger and waved the stout crop in his hand wildly to hit the donkey angrily. In the process, he knocked the tiny girl down. Suddenly he found himself lifted in the air and slammed back in the deep and angry torrential river by a strong westerly gale, which ended in a waterfall, crashing 3000 ft below.
Unfortunately, the chestnut royal stallion was once again in the hold of that infidel Ali-ud-daula Siddiqui. The entire Andalusia was ashamed on this sacrilage of such a breed!
The proud horse was beyond caring. He had proved his valor and death was as welcome a guest to him as for any warrior in the field of battle. He looked behind at the darkened sky and lapping river and rose his head proudly. He walked a few miles, till he heard that death cry of his beloved master! His hind muscles were taut like so many piano strings… He reared his noble hoofs in air, startling his guards. The shortest way to his master was the flooded and friendly river. Chetak didn’t hesitate for a second before plunging in the icy water.
The potter had already seen his entire life twice and had drunk around 10 liters of water. This was the third performance of his spectacular life in high definition with cinemascope clarity. He was just going through his favorite part, where he was fixing a needle in the wooden chair of his maths master, when he was rudely interrupted by a muzzle. He felt a rough hide slide beneath his sinking body and he suddenly erupted through the boiling river, gasping for breath.
The first thing he saw while straddling the ass, which was trying to scramble out of the pulling waves off the slippery bank, was his beloved daughter, who was bent in the grass, talking to a firefly. He lost his often lost head again and screamed. The effect was a deluge on the head of the donkey, who turned his mildly surprised head and being reassured at the sight of Maharana, Chetak galloped over, and collapsed in the welcome grass.
That night, a tiny hut in the deluged countryside had a donkey as a guest of honour with a surly landlord begrudgingly acknowledging its valor in a situation, which wouldn’t have arised in the first place, if the ass would have behaved. A tiny whisp of a girl was catering to both of her loves. A matronly lady was presiding. She mentioned some rude words with rightly pantomimed actions about the illustrious parents of the potter, which this chronicler failed to capture, howeve true.
Let’s skim over such inconsequential things and move on.
The beautiful girl loved her stupid donkey.