Fiction

The King

Sitting on his chair, Simha the king took one last look at his large mahogany desk which lay in the middle of the room. It was 300 years old. The office he was in was more than 500 years old. The office was constructed using the finest quality stones available at that time. He held this office for 25 years. He could have been in office for 25 more years, but his laziness cost him his job.

He had been lazy ever since he was born, and became even lazier after he was declared king. He looked at the portraits hung on the wall of his predecessors. They had facial hair like him. They had been lazy like him too. Only their female partners hunted. He looked at the empty portrait next to his own portrait, and tears rolled down his cheeks. He was afraid that nobody’s face would occupy that empty portrait.

‘How could this happen? How did the others turn against me? How did his loyal subjects turn disloyal to me?’ he asked himself. He knew the answer before he could finish his question. ‘It’s all because of those damn humans. Technology has made them powerful than they actually are. I don’t know what they call those funny looking devices they hold in their hands. They do funny stuff with it. Research they call it. I saw the humans injecting some liquid into a monkey. I don’t know what the humans discussed among themselves, but after sometime they left the monkey alone.

The monkey woke up after sometime and wobbled back to the top of the tree. Wait a minute, he was lying on the floor and was an easy prey, and I did not catch him. Oh no. Well anyway, the humans do something on the pieces of paper. Writing they call it.’ When Simha was a baby he had found a piece of paper which was left behind by a small human. The piece of paper had an outline of his face written in blue ink. He smiled, and then ate it before his friends could get to it.

‘The humans proved that we lions are lazy and we hunt during the night. We always hunt in prides but never alone.’ There was always lone wolf, but never a lone lion because lions preferred to hunt in pride. He had seen a lone wolf howling at the moon once, but he never got to see his face. He tried hard to go after them but could not get to them. His predecessors said to him that wolves are elusive creatures and they cannot see. Legend had it that wolves saw the world with help of the moon. The idea of being a wolf fascinated him. One night when everybody slept, Simha came out of his den and tried howling at the moon.

Tonk, he heard a sound. Tonk tonk tonk, he heard the sound again. He wondered where it came from. He looked behind and there was his mother. The moonlight was shining on her face. Simha then realized that his mother knocked him on his head with her knuckles.

‘What are you doing? Go back to sleep.’

‘But mom, I want to be a wolf’, said Simha.

Tonk, on Simha’s head, harder this time. Simha went back to sleep and gave up nurturing the idea of wanting to be a wolf again. He had seen a face of a huge animal. It had a trunk. I hate elephants he thought as soon as he pictured an elephant in his head. It seems the elephants are intelligent than us lions, or any other animals in the animal kingdom. Elephants and humans have been hand in glove for more than 15,000 years. Elephants have helped humans win their wars, travel to far off places, for recreational rides, etc. I guess humans are returning the favor now. That is why the humans wanted the elephants to be the king of the jungle. Or is there more to it? I guess I am too lazy to find out.’

‘I should have seen this day coming. We should have been friends with humans. No one even dared say anything against this Simha, now all the animals are mutinying against me’, said the lion king pointing a finger to himself. Simha had the habit of talking to himself when he was agitated. He was agitated because his time to vacate the office had come. He turned to the empty portrait in the room and said, ‘I was the king, but it all changed for me after this elephant came. He wants to be the next king of the jungle. I had not bothered to know his name, but one day I asked his name when I caught him staring at me at the pond where all the animals came to drink water. What’s his name? Ah, yes Gajendar it is.

That animal always ate banana bread loaf. Yes it’s true. I am not being funny’, he said shaking his finger in the air. ‘Why couldn’t he eat bananas just like the other elephants? He began his crusade to oust me even before I was born. He had been campaigning against us lions since a long time. My father was too lazy to stop him. Now I am lazy too. That animated animal, that elephant never took a commercial break. He made his money by selling his idea of freedom from us lions. That elephant that ate banana bread and wore polka dotted trousers barged into my office one day and drove me nuts. This is absurd. Now that human, what do they call him? Ah yes, Steven Spielberg. He’ll make a movie called ‘The Elephant King’. This cannot happen. Roaarrrrrrrrr. Cough cough cough.’

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