Short story

by P.Raja


Bartruhari banged his head against a nearby stone pillar as a mark of helplessness.

On second thoughts he asked himself, “Why should I punish myself?”

Seconds later, he mumbled, “These lecherous rats… Huh! They deserve corporal punishment for their lusty act…”

Something in him said, “Who knows? You may be at fault. Who ever knows who is at fault unless one is prepared to probe into the matter?”

He stood still like a statue, in the dark, watching two silhouettes making a beast of two backs. He was sure of the woman’s voice. That was his wife’s… the right royal queen’s. And the man’s voice. He was not sure. That was a certainly a man in the royal stable.

The stable keeper! The stable keeper’s assistant! The stable watch! The stable cleaner! The stable feeder! He was not quite sure. But certainly a man from the royal stable.

“Oh! My mare! My mare! What a wonderful body you have my lovely mare!” Bartruhari heard the man tell the queen, who was naked to the skin.

“My king! My king! I am all yours. Allow your sturdy hands to move over every bit of my territory, which is all yours,” Bartruhari heard his queen tell the stableman who was also naked but for his headgear.

Bartruhari’s nerves burned as an upshot of his royal blood running very hot. His hand quickly reached for the hilt of his sharp sword. It was the very same sword that had feasted on the blood and flesh of his enemies who obstructed his path of progress. How many heads of warriors it had rolled off their bodies in all these years!

As he was about to draw the sword, something in him said, “Who ever knows who is at fault unless one is prepared to probe into the matter?” He withdrew his hand as if he had touched live coal. He folded his hands against his chest, as if his hands were tied with an invisible rope. He kept his eyes and ears open.

“What if the king sees us now, while, we make love?” said the stableman in a hushed voice as the tip of his tongue began to slide down to her earlobe.

“Ha! Great! Don’t ever make any mention of the king paralyzed in his loins,” the queen snorted and slapping him familiarly upon his rump, she giggled.

The stableman winced before he began to make his attempts to draw the first of the several breathless cries from her throat.

“Paralysed in the loins!” King Bartruhari expressed his doubt by a gesture of surprise. “I have lost count of beauties in my harem… Must be in thousands. My enemies too envy me and call me a connoisseur of fair sex. But this queen of mine…Who ever knows who is at fault unless one is prepared to probe into the matter?”

The queen slightly turned her voluptuous body to offer the stableman a full view of those twin ornaments. They were full, rotund, meaty bubbling with youth. They looked like good grenadiers at attention.

They caught Bartruhari’s eyes too. “Spiked helmets – spikes standing up like pointed thimbles,” the king said in glee as if he were seeing them for the first time. He heaved a sigh.

“Wah! Wah! What are these? Horse horns! Horse horns! A rarity indeed.” The stableman whispered. “They make me dizzy,” so saying he rested his dizzy head on the soft buxom pillows.

After a moment, he lowered himself to such a position as to be able to plant a solid kiss upon those juicy jugs and mammoth melons which were so receptive that the queen could not suppress a cry of pleasure at the emotion his tongue provoked as he began an assiduous probing.

As the stableman’s eager and brisk hands began to move over the queen’s limbs and breasts with natured grace and instinctive fervour Bartruhari shut his eyes tightly.

Realization dawned upon him. Thanks to his enquiring mind. In spite of the innumerable beauties in his harem that was under his service for all the twenty-four hours, he was the most inexperienced lover.

A couple of hot tears trickled out of his closed eyes, and soon disappeared into his well-trimmed beard.

“The vast number of minutes that you take every morning to trim your beard…Ho! Ho! Ho! Had you spent half of those minutes with the queen every night in her bed… Ha! Ha! Ha!…”

The voice he heard was shaky as if disguised. It came quite nearby. He allowed his eyes to roam but in the dark his eyes were powerless. Hence he wanted his ears to be attentive, that he might recognize the voice.

There was a long silence after those words.

As if to break the frightening silence, there was laughter in the air, a lax, spangled, spiralling laughter. “Is the queen more beautiful than those charming beauties brought home as booty from many conquered lands?”

The voice he heard was quite youthful and vigorous, as if disguised. It too came from quite a nearby quarter. Bartruhari felt a shrinking of his whole body. He felt it would be futile to search for the black cat in a pitch dark alley. He was sure that he was confronting with himself. He had no other go but to stand still and listen to the arguments and counter-arguments of his soul. He smiled so swiftly that he was not even certain it had been a smile.

“Aren’t inner chaos secret volcanoes in search of a fissure through which to explode?” Bartruhari reopened his eyes to find his queen lean over the stableman and joyously impaling herself on the man’s sensual mast.

“Wah! Wah! Nothing like a ride on a man of one’s choice. A hundred or so husbands cannot equal a stallion like you,” the queen said in delight.

“I know all the trickeries in this war of love,” the stableman’s voice was higher and thinner.

“Trickeries in this war of love… Ha! Ha..Ha! How many of these you are familiar with?” The king heard the shaky voice again.

Bartruhari turned his head slightly and allowed his chin to rest on his left shoulder. But quickly his chin switched over to his right when the youthful voice came from that direction: “Women are very much offended if you are not always ready and in the mood to play the romantic lover.”

“You were in the queen’s bed only when you were not in a mood to go to your harem… In the queen’s bed you were a door mat…funny, fowl-smelling, dormant like an exhausted warrior. Exhausted warriors have no place by the side of woman longing for the war of love,” That was the shaky voice.

“The queen gets lost in the endless deserts of insomnia almost every night. Pity her. Your presence made no difference to her. Blessed is the man who quenches her thirst. Adore him.” That was the youthful voice.

Bartruhari was startled by the appearance of a young man at his left who exactly resembled himself. It took no time for him to realize that he had been confronted with himself.

“Tired, my lady?” The stableman’s voice distracted Bartruhari and brought him to the world of reality.

The queen, her eyes still closed, cooed: “I felt a warm joy permeate my entire body. It never before happened in my life. You have awakened the woman in me. I can’t understand why I have not met you before.”

She kissed the stableman with gratitude. She caressed his arm, kissing the nook between the elbows, the shoulders. “The beauty of your arm is exactly like that of your body. If I didn’t know your body I would want it, just from seeing the shape of your arm.” She fondly looked at his arm as if everything she had experienced were but ordeals and this the shelter, the place of happiness.

King Bartruhari envied the man who had charmed his queen. He saw both of them drying their bodies with each other’s clothes.

“Moon baths do not make people sweat. Yet these two are profusely sweating. That is the sign of good love making.” Bartruhari heard the shaky voice once again.

“If you ever want to be with a man who will readily make love to you, come to me. My service to you, my mare, will be kept as a secret…a secret that will become ashes with me,” the stableman said.

The queen, who had experienced the avalanches of the body’s tremors, hugged the stableman tight and planted on him kisses wherever her lips could reach. Finally she arched her body and reached for the thing that penetrated the deepest of her body and planted a long and hearty kiss.

“Think of the night the queen has done that to you, you master of men, women and children. To extract such act from a woman, all that you need is passion and patience. But you have never found these in your place, be it the palace or the harem,” said the shaky voice.

Bartruhari could see the life size image so far standing behind his shrunk inner self walk into him. He then turned to his right. The life size image of the youthful Bartruhari smiled indulgently and before he walked into him said: “Women are what they are. You have to believe them. They are chaste to their chosen man. They can’t help being faithful to themselves…to their feelings.”

King Bartruhari’s mind began to wander between two worlds: one—the world of his queen’s feelings; two—the world of internal truth.

His mind began to oscillate like a pendulum, gathering momentum at each swing…faster…faster…and faster.

And as if the pendulum stopped all on a sudden, his mind began to be at peace with himself. Perhaps Truth, the funniest joke in the world, dawned upon him.

He turned back and found no life size image of himself standing anywhere near.

“Truth should be silent”, King Bartruhari said to himself, and began walking back to the palace. It was not mad rush, but unperturbed calmness brought him wisdom.

Fathered by pain and mothered by love, wisdom taught him the art of seeing all other’s faults and feel his own.

Bartruhari turned wise in time. By dawn he donned a saffron robe. In the place of his crown,  a saffron headgear. His body has disowned all pieces of silver and gold that were hanging on to him till yester night.

He had no sword or sabre for a sanyasi needs neither of them.

Bartruhari began to trot out of the palace.

“Who is it in the palace at this hour?” The voice was quite familiar to Bartruhari.

He stopped and turned back. The queen’s sari was soiled and turds of pressed horse shit showed up here and there. She stank of stable.

The queen smiled and said: “I know…I know this will happen one day. I never knew this would happen so soon.”

Bartruhari spoke no word. He maintained a yogic silence.

“I am happy,” the queen said and continued, “I am happy that I am instrumental in making an emperor a sanyasi,”

“It’s not you,” retorted Bartruhari. “The credit goes to the stableman”.

The queen stared at him full and round. She turned to walk back to her empty bed.

“Wait a minute,” Bartruhari said. “When do you intend to make the stableman another sanyasi?”


P. Raja

D-88, Poincare street,


Pondicherry-605 004

Cell: 9443617124


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