He is a despot, not a benevolent one, who ruled his kingdom with an iron fist. His clarion call, loud and clear, would bring his several subjects scuttling to him, whether at the hour of midnight or the earliest hour of dawn, and his wish was their royal command. He led a life of privilege, an enviable life of entitlement, with people feeding him at regular intervals and changing his clothes four times a day, all branded with reputed labels and perfect fit.
He indeed had a keen sartorial sense. He was a law unto himself; he acknowledged no authority except his noble mother, once in a while for a fraction of a second. He spoke little, but when he spoke, he was heard.
In spite of his dictatorial impulses, he sported a glorious smile that would have challenged the angels and tried to make amends when pangs of remorse smote him. He lay in several arms and soon abandoned them with good-humoured disdain when he came across others. He had what you would call a charm offensive—a lethal weapon that brought people to their knees and reduced them to tears.
People waited for his grace and asked God to bless him with all that He could offer. Sometimes his eyes wore a distant look, as though reflecting on the existential crises of life and being, the mystery of the world and its workings, its divinity, tragedy, and comedy. Then he looked at the pondering philosopher, quiet with wisdom and profound with thought.
Often, he would be seen murmuring to the birds that flew past him and the tall trees swaying in the evening breeze. The innocence of the birds and the grace of the stately trees growing into the skies were his. He loved the great outdoors, and he welcomed the sun, the rain, and the twinkling stars with pure, undiluted joy.
History and the collapse of civilizations have taught us that tyrannical regimes did not last, and people were finally liberated. But what is it here that so mesmerises people into thraldom like birds in gilded cages? How could they enjoy their captivity and abjure their freedom forever? There was never a question of a revolt or even the semblance of one.
Here lies the answer. The other day I stepped into his drawing room, which looked like it saw mayhem with books, papers, and artefacts strewn all over—a case of royal rage, or so I presumed, ruefully. But I was pleasantly surprised to see him in his walker racing towards me at top speed and stopping masterfully short of a crash. He held up his arms. I picked him up with all my tenderness. He is all of ten months old, and his name is Kabir Krishna.
(Published 10 November 2023, 18:39 IST)