A Thousand Desires

The whole court seemed poised on outskirts of tears as Tansen finished the soulful rendition of the lovers partition song . Some eyes though had already been washed and wiped in stealth. The sound, a sustained wail of mourning, had embodied parting lovers anguish. Having first found and then lost their other half, these genuine romantics were now condemned to live as incomplete beings.

Emperor Akbar was really moved by true love’s tragedy of engineering broken people. In court he wholeheartedly applauded Tansen for making him feel both phases of love, its full moon and its total eclipse however in his chamber he was sad to not have experienced it firsthand.

The mood and hangover of inexperienced love, dragged on for sometime and courtiers soon became aware that their king was missing. He had turned into a shadow, which inspite of being physically present does not impact anything. A huddle of well wishers ensued.

Immediate summons were sent to Birbal to come and rescue the king from mental island that he had stranded himself on. Birbal approached the king with caution.

“Sire, you seem to be lost in some deep thought. Is it some new frontier that needs to be conquered. “

Birbal, I have conquered many territorial frontiers in my life. I want to reach an emotional one now. I want to experience the depth of true love. Though I have been in love before however I feel I have merely swam through the surface. I want to take a deep dive and let myself go to explore its bottom. “

Birbal was internally alarmed. The King who oversaw the largest empire this land had seen in last 800 years, had one of the most powerful army at his command, was speaking like a wannabe poet or a god faring renunciate. The player of power games was wanting to switch to emotional adventurism. Something had to be done if this very public Monarch had to be prevented from becoming a private mendicant.

“That’s a great idea Sire. In fact why don’t we venture out anonymous to find you your true love:”.

“Why Anonymous Birbal”.

“Sire if you go as king, people will respond to your public status and true love being a shy bride of feelings will not venture forth. When you step out as nobody but as the person that you are in your skin, it is then that you would know if somebody is transmitting at your frequency. It is then that your soul antennas will be able to cut the noise and catch the signal.”

“Excellent Birbal, then it is decided, that this evening me and your will disguise as commoners and tour the kingdom to find my true love”.

“Evening found, king and his wit, escaping the walls of Fatehpur Sikri in plain clothes”.

As the royals, toured the citizen dwellings in quest of love, a strange sight awaited them. Black fever had just hit the kingdom and claimed many lives. All around people were in pain and there was shortage of food, medicines and relief. Neighbors were helping each other but resources were scarce and their demand high.

As the tenement tour ended king was in tears. He had seen so much misery and suffering that he was moved to his core. Coming back to his castle he called an immediate meeting of his ministers and scolded them roundly for keeping him in the dark about true condition of his people. Then he proceeded to outline the relief steps that should be undertaken.

The council of ministers paid Birbal with silent gratitude. Few days later, to an inquiring minister, Birbal explained

“Our king was pining to experience romantic love and its fickleness. Occasionally these kind of stray longings, random desires rear up in each one of us. Unknown to him, the emperor is already in love with his people. I took our distracted king on a tour, hoping that if I expanded his current realm of reality, brought in more of here and now, he would come back to things that really matter to him. Thankfully he did.”