The Boy Prince Holdeth the Great Sword


[An abridged version of this post appeared in the Times of India, August 14th 2011 issue]

Grandpa: That the Boy Prince would ascend the throne and take his place in the Line of Gandhars had been prophesied ever since the Young King, his father, fell to an assassin from the Deep South Lands.

Little Girl: Ohh the Line of Gandhars? You told me about them before.

Grandpa: Yes I have little one. Remember The Rose Monarch who started the line of Gandhars and the Iron Empress, his daughter, in front of whom all enemies trembled, the mother of the Young King?

Little Girl: Yes yes I love their stories. But tell me, being the Prince, he should have ascended the throne right after his father’s death right?

Grandpa: Yes he should have. But the Wise Men of the Hand, a secret cabal of powerful nobles, were of the opinion that The Boy Prince was not yet ready to rule. He was too young and there were enemies all around. They decided to let the Queen Mother rule in his place, till he was able to take what was rightfully his. But there was a problem with her ascending the throne.

Little Girl: What Grandpa?

Grandpa: The Queen Mother was from a distant land of the Pasta-Lasagna and many of the subjects objected to being ruled by one with pale skin and blue eyes. In it they were instigated by the Orange Knights, the sworn enemies of the Line of the Gandhars. The Queen Mother, who was very intelligent, stepped back from the throne, an act that was seen as virtuous and noble and self-sacrificing.

Little Girl: But it is noble, isn’t it?

Grandpa: Well the Queen Mother did not stop ruling. She just did not sit on the throne. She figured “Why take the responsibility of failure or the daggers of enemies when I can get someone else to do it for me?” Plus she needed to keep an eye on the Boy Prince and his enemies, which she could do only off-the-throne.

Little Girl: So there was no ruler in the Great Lands?

Grandpa: Oh there was. A satrap, a throne-warmer for the Boy Prince, came to rule—-the one they called “The Silent”. As the Green Ghosts attacked with explosive charms and the nobles of the Wise Men of the Hand looted and sacked the land, “The Silent” sat there quietly whispering to the butterflies.

Little Girl: What was the Boy Prince doing all this time?

Grandpa: The Boy Prince was growing. He had become a handsome lad, with eyes as blue as a rainless sky and a body that would put Apollo to shame. He learned the art of War from the Raja of the Middle Grounds, a grand wizard of Truth and Falsehood  who became not only his Master but also the Boy Prince’s Voice, concentrating his attention and that of the Boy Prince on whom they perceived to the biggest enemy of the Line of Gandhars—–the Orange Knights.

Little Girl: Why did the Boy King need a voice? Was he unable to speak?

Grandpa: Of course he could speak. He would speak in whispers to the Ambassador of the Great Eagle, telling them that the greatest enemies to world peace were the Orange Knights. But on issues and matters that needed speaking, he would not open his mouth. The Queen Mother and the Wise Men of the Hand were afraid that if his opinions were heard, people might begin to understand what the Boy Prince truly was. So he spent his years doing what the Big Books calls PR-stunts, meeting a commoner or shaking a hand but absolutely nothing of any true significance.  And yet his fame spread far and wide, and people awaited his coming.

Little Girl: How did that happen? How did he have fame based on nothingness?

Grandpa: Aaah. The Wise Men of the Hand controlled the Troubadours through a system of honors and incentives. They it were who made sure that the halo around the Boy Prince’s head stayed intact. They made sure that the words of the Wise Men of the Hand got to the people—-every success (and they were not much) of the Satrap were credited to the Boy Prince while every failure (and they were much) were credited to the Satrap. Who merely smiled and shook his head and stayed Silent.

Little Girl: So then what happened?

Grandpa: A time of great trouble and strife came onto the Lands. The greedy nobles overstepped the boundaries of greed. They sold the rights to the Air itself, they looted the coffers with nary a look over their shoulder. The Mad Monk and the In-and-out Breathing One would each stop eating for days together, unless they too were given the right to govern. While the Glorious Lady with the Priceless Bag came to charm the Silent and his men, her minions the Green Ghosts killed and massacred by the dozens. In all, bad times.

The Wise Men of the Hand had been forever confident about handling the Orange Knights, weak as they had become, digging their knives into each other, old and infirm, sometimes dancing for no rhyme or reason.  But then their real enemy, an Orange Knight himself but still distinct, the Renegade Ruler of the Western Provinces, hated and feared and loved, grew in power and influence. The strategy of shielding the Boy Prince and giving him Troubadour-manufactured successes was now coming to an end.

Finally when the Queen Mother fell ill, The Wise Men of the Hand now decided, together with the Queen Mother, that the time was right to give the Boy Prince the Great Sword, a mythical weapon that is held by the ruler of the Line of Gandhars, the one the Queen Mother had been guarding. He was not to be made the king yet, the Silent was to take the fall-out of the strife that had engulfed the lands till the time was right. But the world was told that the Boy Prince was now ready to rule, ready to take over the mantle of what was his by birthright.

Little Girl: Then? Did he ascend the throne? Did he cross swords with the Renegade Ruler of the Western Provinces?

Grandpa: I shall tell you some other day little one. For now I must watch TV. Rakhi Sawant’s “Gajab Desh Ki Ajab Kahani” is about to begin. I need my fairy-tales too, don’t I?






106 thoughts on “The Boy Prince Holdeth the Great Sword

  1. Wow …. Awesome writing, would like to look at the next part of this story after 10 years. when hopefully the Renegade ruler would have politically defeated the line of Gandhars

  2. AC 1st Class!

    Attempting a ‘guide book’ please add the ones I missed/mistook. Don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a blog post this much!

    [Suhel: Since people dont want the guide-book, edited it out]

  3. Great piece if writing. One of your best! Creatively better than fakeiplplayer but conceptually similar. Keep these coming…ur FAN

  4. Hilarious post, Although I wish subhadeep and suhel wouldnt write down these names. I had fun.
    I am quite tired of this madness though… in real life and this was like comic relief in an extremely pathetic movie.

  5. @greatbong: You are Nostradamus reincarnated. Did the orange Knight templer win the crusade against the crescent ?

    Anyway, I simply loathe guide books .

  6. No guidebook please. Just spoils the beauty of the brilliant post. It’s like an old aunty on back seat explaining the “Memento” in linear fashion to her neighbor in theater while you are actually trying to enjoy it.

  7. Awesome. Total representation of the facts. Loved the mahabharat touch and the final reference to fairy tales. Nice one GB!

  8. To put it a bit differently: The Tsetsarevitch getting ready to be crowned the Tsar of All Russias. After the Last Tsar of All Russias was blown up by Nihilists, the Tsaritsa appointed a Regent to put up before the boyars and throw to the wolves when required, who can now be despatched to Siberia. Now that the boyars feel that the Tsetsarevitch is good and ready, the Nihilists have been joined to the ranks of the boyars, the Tsaritsa and the boyars have decided this is the best time to throw the Regent to the wolves, who are getting uncomfortably close to the Regent’s throat. Only a matter of time before the coronation of the Tsetsarevitch. Long Live The Tsar… God, Country and Tsar…

  9. nice…though there shld have been a mention of the boy prince sowing his wild oats in the distant land of Columbia….

  10. Suhel and Subhadeep, Thanks for removing the guide book. Its better to understand instead of being told about things. Arnab, Thanks again for a great post. I’m going to buy your novels on my next India trip.

  11. This is classic GB! This one has all the elements of a Hollywood period film! May be, you should consider selling this to the film-makers.

  12. Buhrilliant!

    The only piece missing is the princess who looks like her grandma, the iron empress. the one with far more charisma than the prince

    [edited out the rest]

  13. Uff. Daarun. You made my day. I am a great fan of allegories and in my opinion, you have a talent for writing them. Crazy times we are living in.

  14. One small correction. It should be Ghandars and not Gandhars. You know the surname of Firoz was Ghandi – that is how the parsis spell their Gandhi and his relatives, some of whom still live in colaba do today- The Iron Empress’s spello(?) has helped the dynasty enormously

  15. Really enjoyed it. Is it pathetic that to get some honest opinion on what’s happening in India we have to read blogs like yours than the mainstream Indian press. The Indian press incidentally are still not bothered about the fact that the queen mother and her minions thought it fit to inform the foreign press before the Indian press about the illness issue.

  16. ” While the Glorious Lady with the Priceless Bag came to charm the Silent and his men, her minions the Green Ghosts killed and massacred by the dozens. In all, bad times.”

    I got confused here. The green-ghosts were minions of ‘glorious lady with priceless bag’?! Please clarify without any key/guidebook.

  17. Off topic, Has anyone heard this joke or bitter truth ?

    Mahatma gandhi came to Sonia Gandhi and asked. Maine Marte waqt congress ko apni 3 cheeje dee thi. Topi,Chashma and Lathi, Ab wo kahan hain ? Sonia said Gandhi topi aajkal Rahul gandhi ne pehan rakhi hai. Chashma Manmohan Singh ko pehana diya or Lathi janta ki gaand main daal rakhi hai.

  18. True. The ruthless renegade Barbarian from the Western Provinces with an awe inspiring reputation, and stellar record of killing the Green Tribes, ghosts and otherwise, will soon rule the entire land. The Gandhar Crown Prince, with enemies on all sides, will be vanquished, either banished from the throne by the Barbarian or from mortal coil by the Green Ghosts..

    The real fight will then be between the Crown Prince’s sister – The Princess, who will come back to reclaim her legacy – and the Western Barbarian.

    And all this time the peasants will rant and rave, a spit and swear using terrible but ineffective weapons like words, curses, and expletives – safely hidden in their sometimes-sordid, sometimes-beautiful villages like Rediffpur, ToIletgarh, and Blogistan.

    And Game of Thrones will go on…

  19. Wow! Its trully a wonder and tragedy of our times that you havent been nominated for the Pulitzer or Booker prize or both, considering how imaginative and wonderfully allegorical your writing is. What a shame!! MAybe it also is a conspiracy of ‘the one hand to rule them all’ lordship!!

  20. The queen mother did not take the decision of stepping down willfully. He was forced to do that because the land had the rule that it would treat foreigners in the way the foreign country (which was the country of citizenship for the foreigner) treated the people of the land. The foreign country has a rule that no people of this land can be a king of the foreign country. Therefore, the queen mother cannot be an almighty person of this land. One person from the orange knights filed a petition in the court and based on that petition the Topmost “Brahman” of the land had to inform the queen mother that she could not be the next queen of the land.

  21. Love it !! Absolute fun. Though I don’t think ‘the In-and-out Breathing One’ wants to govern. I think he genuinely has nation’s interests at heart.

  22. Imagine if the ‘Silent’ exploded and went all ballistic on the Line of Gandhars? Like some monk who had had enough! 🙂 Or Imagine if someone, would please break that bleddy ‘Great Sword’…That would be an awesome finisher! 😀 Great writing!

  23. What about the Husband of the princess, the Feud who can travel all the Land without being checked upon, and has reached hitherto unknown heights of the riches? Does he have a future in this mythology some where?

  24. Why everyone nowadays seem to walk the path of “The Mad Monk and the In-and-out Breathing One” in one way or other! I kind of woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, let us do some “Line of Gandhars” bashing, that would surely make me feel good! Long live democracy, three cheers for Internet. With sword of democracy and shield of internet, Prince Adam shouts “I have the power” and voila turns into a He-Man !!!

  25. Who said our literary prince is dead (today is baisey shrabon) hail the new king of write ups the GREAT GREAT GB. floored GB what a write up

  26. crap post..plagiarized from the styles of other more popular bloggers.. but what amuses me are your so called “fans”.. dumb idiots..who have never read anything else in their lives.. sycophancy at its best

  27. @anonymous: I can’t believe GB plagiarized from other blogs. He’s too intelligent for that. And if this post looks similar to what you ‘sensible idiot’ has read on other more popular blogs, why did u bother to read the whole thing and the comments of his so-called ‘fans’ as well and take time to comment? As for other blogs, I honestly read very few blogs coz some people have a life to live.

  28. He got his own “Ass Kisser” army it seems ….LOOOOOOL (Love the new age internet lingo, it makes you sound so cool)

  29. Why am I not surprised.. This is exactly what you Indians do.. hail someone and lick his ass for the rest of your lives and then fight n kill each other. Good Luck!!

  30. The names of the characters “The Silent”,”The Mad Monk and the In-and-out Breathing One” sound really coool! But if someone could explain who the lady is when GB says “While the Glorious Lady with the Priceless Bag came to charm the Silent and his men, her minions the Green Ghosts killed and massacred by the dozens.” it should be easy to discern who “the minions” are.
    This is one of the best blogs i’ve read till date!
    second you ‘I hate hypocrites’

  31. “While the Glorious Lady with the Priceless Bag came to charm the Silent and his men, her minions the Green Ghosts killed and massacred by the dozens.”

    I am really confused with this line…can someone explain it…please…

  32. Excellent … too good … hats off to you greatbong.

    @sunbong – for you
    Glorious Lady – “Pakistan’s Foreign minister Hina Rabbani”
    Priceless Bag – her stylish Hermes-made Birkin bag worth at least $9,000 (£5,500).
    Green Ghost – do you need any more explanation ?

  33. Anonymous
    August 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    You are talking so irresponsibly about a blogger who had once kicked all other bloggers’ asses in the Indiebloggies. And an author whose book, MIHYAP is perhaps one of the most original works in the recent past, especially at a time when all your other bloggers are perhaps busy writing about IIT-IIM campus crap stories. Neither are you offering anything to back your baseless allegations nor do you have any spine to show your original identity. If you can do neither, please shut your trap. And dont bother to comment here. Go drool on those other blogs and mop it up too.

  34. I know your blog is extremely popular but this piece should have a much wider circulation. This is an exceptional post and everyone should read it. Everyone.

  35. @ Surya: Let it be…so someone has a difference of opinion, why should he/she be castigated for it. It’s just one negative comment in an otherwise sea of fanboy comments.

    Not that I am fan of GB either for the past few years. Also ‘MIHYAP is perhaps the most original works in recent past’…hehe love your sense of humour…it honestly was a chore to get thru

    No doubt GB knowz what he writes about sometimes..but often times he is just shooting off. He is the one who wrote sometime back that F1 fans go to watch F1 for the crashes or one can recall that piece he wrote on World Cup football.

    Fanboys: Relax…

  36. Dear anon…

    I’m sure you are one of the secular intellectuals responsible for bringing the by far biggest pseudo secular powers on earth to rule our country. I am glad for you, you are not in the country anymore.. Aapka to kaccha bhi chura lete kaangressi… 🙂 No offense meant…

    Everyone is in politics to make money…. But there has to be atleast 1 percent given back to the tax payers…. You wont believe Mumbai Mirror (A times of india supplement) recently launched a contest on the queen of potholes… I.E the largest stretch of roads with the most number of khaddas would be the winner…

    Seriously… Roads in Mumbai have never ever been so bad. What to do… We shrug and move on …

  37. Off topic
    just saw the first look – a song of Mausam. It rocks. Two thumbs up for Pankaj Karamchand Kapoor.
    If movie is as good as its song, i think it is going to be the next big thing for Shahid after Jab We Met and Kaminey. Hope Sonam doesn’t spoils it like Ayesha etc.

  38. we are running out of fresh ideas, i.e., in the field of music,literature, cinema et al, so can be said about fairy-tales, so why not be greatful to queen mother and crown prince and their team of not-chambal-progeny docoits fr availing us interesting fairy tales to be told to generations of not-so-lucky of this bunder-baant Indian-political era

  39. one of the finest satires I have come across in a long time… the first two lines and i was hooked… its like what the press used to do at the time of the Raj… mockery with a stroke of mastery..for all to know and none to see… :)great work!

  40. hi, AR, where has the gandhars queen mother vanished? is she gone into hiding in the name of unnamed illness or has gone she gone away to the foreign lands to hide her trillions of ill gotten wealth as some bad guys have started questioning the huge riches the royal family has accumulated?

    great article from u and deserves an A+++.

  41. Great Arnab. But “The Silent” is not only obsessed with butterflies; he is also enamoured of “uncle Sam” and ‘radio-active materials’.

  42. One word suffices for one of the most intelligent and imaginative (and yet weirdly enough, based on facts) articles/blogs I have read in a long time – “Brilliant”. What a relief to come across it, instead of the same-old same-old that we are fed in the ‘news’papers everyday. All I can do is thank you for sharing it with us.

    p.s. I am an ordinary Indian with a Finnish wife (who incidentally stumbled across this first in the paper) who started putting 2 and 2 together and then asked me to help her decipher it for her. I think she has learnt more about Indian Politics from this than all my attempts to explain it to her over the past 2 years.

  43. It is a pity we all know the facts and still helpless to this type corroution let there be civil war some of may not servive but there will be light and that genration of that time will have fresh air .

  44. Pingback: The Boy Prince Holdeth the Great Sword

  45. Can we have some more on the grand wizard of truth and falsehood from the middle grounds? Maybe an exclusive???? 🙂

  46. Arnab…in your next post . do tell us about the Prince’s Cousin ….the V Gandhar….the one with who joined the Oranges and has managed to reach the senate…..holds aspirations to take back the crown which could have been his own , had the fate not intervened …Y did the Oranges let him join themselves…..

  47. Pingback: The Battle Clouds Loometh | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  48. Pingback: Ten Years Of The Blog | Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

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