The Prince & The Hard Times

The Prince and The Hard Times

Image Credit – Tatiana Syrikova on

The two chairs sat opposite each other, one behind and one in front of the sun.  

The wintry afternoon sun continued working hard to warm up the chill in the air bravely.  

The shadow of the mumty (raised wall to cover the terrace stairs) on the terrace provided the shade, which though a blessing during summers lost its reverence during the cold December month.

I sat comfortably on the chair with the back towards the sunlight, hoping to warm my shivering body while reading ‘The Prince’.  

The eyes suddenly began to move quickly from left to right.

A neighbour about 100 yards farther across; an older woman in her 70s suddenly turned angry.  She began her verbal abuse of no one, in particular, shouting at thin air. The shrill voice continued to scream while her eyes stared blankly at the skies, the wrinkled face still bore emotions of disgust and anger.

And just as it started, the screaming suddenly ended, replaced by soulful singing. As she began singing the folk, youthful song of her younger days, I immediately felt the music of the mountains distinctly audible in the lyrics, and her soulful rendition.  The quietness of the afternoon, ensured I could hear her clearly.

It was mesmerising. 

A song after all was anytime, a far better alternative to listening to verbal abuse, no matter who it was directed towards.

I carefully changed my position as my back began burning now. The sun that appeared balmy at first suddenly turned hot even as the cool breeze tried balancing the heat.

I moved my chair, so it exposed half my body and legs to the sunlight while the other half remained safely hidden in the wall’s shadow.

The hot sunlight gently balanced by the shadow of the wall, even as the cool, soft breeze tried mediating between the sun and the shade, ruffling my hair as I felt the goosebumps running all over me again.

I must have been on the penultimate page when I felt unusual. 

I looked around and quickly realized, she has stopped singing, reverting to the old oral stabbing again.  The ephemeral enjoyment of the soft rendition of her song vanished as she suddenly decided to stop for some reason, I could not comprehend.

The sun moved even more forcing me to shift my chairs again, to where the sun fell directly on my back exposing myself maximum to its warm sunlight.

I prayed for her to sing again.

Suddenly, even before I could start the next book ‘Hard Times’ by Charles Dickens, she magically reverted to singing again. 

I heaved a long sigh, closed my eyes and began to enjoy the melodious rendition again.

It excellently combined everything, a pot-pourri of soft sunshine, the wall’s shade, and the meditative breeze, all melting together, spiced with live music, creating an almost perfect environment for reading a classic.

And then suddenly something happened.

A herd of pigeon flying above realized they had found the perfect place to relieve themselves as I discovered Charles Dickens being blotted by one of them.  Even before I could comprehend what should my next action be, I realized something falling on my head too.

‘What could be it,’ I wondered and decided to feel it with my palms first.  Watery fluid touched my hands as I explored my hair.

‘Wow, my head has become the bird’s pot now,’ I congratulated myself.

Pushing the chairs across, I decided to run downstairs.  

As I began running down, I also realized the background has turning cacophonic again; loud verbal expletives replaced the hills’ soulful tune as the old soul decided to empty her emotions.

I smiled at myself and the birds.

The bird loved Dickens way more than Niccolo Machiavelli.

The Prince after all was blemish-free while the Hard Times maintained their reputation even in the birds’ eyes.

(This is fictional but could be true as well, I am not sure)

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