The crow was flying in a straight line because that is what was expected of it everytime someone uttered that ill-fated phrase “as far as the crow flies.” Poor crow. It had an errand to do; it had to reach a Land Far Far Away. Was this crow a harbinger of doom? Or filling in for a dove of peace? Or, was it just an average Crow in search of a refreshing drink of Sprite from one of those open terraces? Perhaps, it was a messenger of love… a disguised lovebird? But, I digress, or get ahead of myself in this chronicle. This is not the story of that crow, though even that tale must be told. All I ask of you at this moment is to spare a moment of thought for that poor crow with aching wings that had to fly as far as a crow flies.
So, in a Land Far Far Away, 14 hours by Volvo bus ride; this part of the world which is known as Madras in parts of India north of the Aravalli mountains, known as Dawg’s Own Country in circs travelled by sages as perpetually The Angry Old Man as certain avatars of Vishnu we wouldn’t like to name, lived a pretty curly haired princess named Kuruvi. Picture to yourself a polished young lady with alabaster skin and a voice like the tinkling of silver bells, the big doe eyes of classical Indian mythology, and sweeping eyelashes. Keep that picture in mind, it might make you feel better!
Her high heeled shoes trampled the bleeding hearts of many a young prince who serenaded her in her impregnable castle. But her heart was not to be turned. She had other pressing matters of state to discuss with more influential old kings.
She was of the really royal kind: the kind with blood blue enough to be used as ink (royal blue Chelpark might give you an idea!) This was the direct result of fifteen centuries of carefully conducted swayamvaras where her grandmothers (to the power infinity) were asked to pick their favourite blue blooded alpha prince.
The blue bloods were of a different kind. Faced with expulsion from the Pretty World of Far Far Away, they married and remarried so much that invariably the next nuptials would be between fourth cousins at the best. Their grapevine was the envy of the BBC and CNN. The most talked about news item was “Who is marrying who?” and “How long will the engagement be?” The answer to the second used to be 27 years more often than not because they decided their partners at the not-so-tender age of 1 month.
The conversations between parents used to run in these lines:
Boy’s Mother: “My dear Varghesekutty is 2 months old.”
Girl’s Mother (holding 10 day old baby in cradle): “Oh my god! You haven’t got him engaged? He’s not getting any younger you know!”
Boy’s Mother (looking fondly at boy blowing spittle bubbles): “Yeah, but he’s such a handsome young man. I would like the best girl for him. So, Thomachan and I decided to wait for the right young lady.”
Girl’s Mother: “Look at Dolly here. I think we ought to get the two engaged.”Boy’s Mother (mentally sizing baby Dolly up and finding her nose crooked) “Oh-KAY. I will ask Thomachan and we’ll get back to you.”
And that’s how blue blooded engagements took place.
Now, young Kuruvi’s parents were proud of their not-so-little one and hoped that they wouldn’t have to settle down for anyone less than the best. How could they not, wasn’t she of the alabaster smooth skin and the pretty curly hair? So, Kuruvi waited; for 21 long ringless years, all the while hoping for a solitaire (set in platinum) to grace the fourth finger of her left hand, counted from the thumb.
What of Kuruvi’s dreams? Had she set her mind on some charming young whipper snapper with ordinary red blood? Had her hormones run away with her? Unknown to her parents and her best friends, Kuruvi harboured dreams and dark secrets. She was a closet romantic! Literally!
On opening her cupboards, you would find women swooning in arms of large muscled men. On the cover of books, you pervert! One was almost tempted to put down the fainting fits to bouts of heat waves, except for the singular lack of clothes on the duos. But that’s the stuff for another story.
Coming to her Royal Highness’ four friends, (“Oh! You need to learn how to mingle with the commoners too, Kuruvi.”) they were her “bestest friends in the whole wide institute of higher learning in spite of your red corpuscles”, as she so beautifully put forth in her tinkling voice. Her greatest expression of love came when she asserted “Hum tum dushman” which she supposed was the highest compliment she could pay humans of the same persuasion.
The five had already decided what turns their life would take. KuPi wanted to follow ol’ Chris Columbus in his discovery of the New World, and take the world to GREater heights, the divine one would study to become a scientist: the kind that blew you up if you moved the wrong muscle, the shrewd one wanted to mismanage the world, and the loveliest person in Hyderabad, though she was yet to assume that title, had modest aspirations: she wanted to stop electrocuting herself every time she went into the lab.
But, what of Princess Kuruvi, you ask? “I want to be the first princess with a job,” she tinkled two weeks into first year. “After my Prince and I are one, it depends on his royal wishes.”
“I want a dog,” asserted KuPi, “they’re better than any man.” A loud bout of coughing followed this statement.
Kuruvi continued, unperturbed, “I will be engaged by the time I am 21.” The shrewd one spent 1 minute calculating how many days that would be. She didn’t want to run out of practice. In the meanwhile, the bells of Doom were ringing loudly. Oblivious to the cacophony, Kuruvi’s eyes misted over. “I’d like a solitaire diamond platinum ring.”
I did say she was a pampered princess.
Four years flew by on dragon’s wings, and Li’l Kuruvi found herself in the Silicon Valley of Further Away. No, not Los Angeles, gutter mind. She was single and jobbed, or so her friends thought. Save the hapless KuPi who found herself the confidante of the Princess. They even found lodgings together and walked daily.
When, one fine day…
Princess Kuruvi was walking down the Boulevard of Shattered and Trampled Upon Dreams. Behind her, bled the thousand hearts of Roadside Romeos. When suddenly, she was ambushed from all sides by a dacoit called Gabber Sing, so named because of his peculiar way of talking.
“Muahahaha… Now, you are MINE, Kuruvi…”
“Nooooo…,” tinkled Kuruvi frantically, “Some Prince please help me.”
There was the sudden thundering of hooves and in rode the charming, dashing prince on white horse.
Kuruvi’s eyes lit up. Was this the chance for her closet romantic dreams come true? The horse, unfortunately, tripped on the nearest cobblestone and the prince found himself tangled in his shining armour.
Gabber laughed some more for dramatic effect. “Arrey oh Sambar! Yeh kaun hain bhai? Maybe he will entertain me.”
His henchmen laughed dutifully.
The Prince stood up and declared, “I’m the blue blooded Prince from the Land Two Hours Away and I’ve come to meet Kuruvi. She’s MINE.”
Gabber was amused (or not) “If you want her, you have to sing, sing for me… unknown prince.”
The handsome prince opened his mouth…
“Twinkle, twinkle little star…”
Kuruvi swooned. This was her brave young prince, Suddenly, the skies opened up and the rains fall down. The three henchmen melted. Gabber was all alone now! Helpless! Now was the Prince’s chance. He pounced on Gabber and beat him up.
Gabber was reduced to a blubbering mass, “You just can’t decent henchmen nowadays. Nowadays, they all melt…”
The Prince untied Kuruvi lovingly and stared deep into her eyes. Kuruvi’s heart turned somersaults and she whispered, “Hamesha.”
“Huh?” asked the Prince, breaking the spell.
“I said ‘I love you’”
“Is that what Hamesha means?””Doesn’t it?”
…And off they went to see Lagey Raho Munnabhai in the local PVR, all the while singing, “Pyaar hua, ikraar hua hain.”
Princess Kuruvi suddenly had a doubt. “By the way, what is your name, Oh Prince??”
“I am Novino Kuruvi, Kuruvi…”
The bells rang out in deference of fate.
Here’s to the Kuruvis and their wonderful almost-love story…