A Royal Pain

Francis Joseph Charles I, Austrian monarch in early 20th century, said just after ascending the throne,” What should I do? I think the best thing is to order a new stamp to be made with my face on it.”
To yours truly, this explains what the Royals are. For whom, the most important thing is, of course, themselves. And history proves yours truly right, more often than not. One thing is for sure, the monarchy – world over – was never busy thinking about people. For the Royal bunch, it was always, I, me and myself…
And the people… err… the subjects suffered.
But things have changed, or so, you would hear.
We now have a republican structure, with a President heading the nation (who, like the King, graces festivals, and is felicitated just like his predecessor head of the state, used to… Has he started giving autograph too?).
Officially, the former Royals have been reduced to a civilian status, with the rights only civilians can have (give or take a few luxury vehicles and some escorts).
And the people… err… the subjects still suffer.
The issue in question is the 32nd birthday of the former Princess. Though never considered very Royal by the people, err, subjects, one can’t forget that she was ‘the next queen’.
She decided to visit a few places, including temples and an old age home near the best loved temple of the Royals (remember the adage ‘Pashupatinath le hami sabai ko raksha garun’?). Yours truly is impressed with the gesture shown by the former Princess, to visit a home for the elderly, on her birthday coinciding with the International Day of the Senior Citizens. Impressive stuff…
The issue does not end there. With the former Princess on her way to the Home, paparazzi was sure to follow – a chance to actually get some sound bites, and a picture sans her former Royal husband would be too tempting to forego for the Press.
Press – just like other people – do await, with morbid anticipation, the fall of people, loving every second of it, and the reaction of the person who has fallen. Perhaps we love to see signs of vulnerability in people we once worshipped, made them demigods.
And top of the paparazzi list was Kantipur TV, who spotted the car she was travelling. Kantipur, in its bid to prove that we are no less paparazzi than the rest, had to do something special.
And a special audio visual package was prepared, showcasing the princess’, dressed in her most gracious smile, visiting temples and giving away edibles to the elderly, who have been forgotten even by their own family.
Picture perfect, except that there was a minor glitch. The package was aired too. Just that to air it, the program showcasing it was prolonged, killing time of a news bulletin, that yours truly had to appear on. Somebody, who shall here be nameless, and who shall – for his actions should remain jobless – decided that the 11-minute audio visual package was to be shown, even if meant extending the current affairs program by adding bhajans in it. And yours truly, along with the premium air time, was held hostage in the unplanned conspiracy.
 It takes a genius to think the unthinkable but it takes something more to do the un-do-able. And here we surpassed even that. Can you imagine yours truly actually appearing on a news bulletin without a single commercial break (an average Kantipur News break is 5-7 minutes). History was made.
Yours truly was left gasping for breath, while his producer was trying to learn the new tricks of the trade, new rules of the game. We blamed the Royals for all that went wrong, all the while doing the same things that we despised them for. Taking people for granted is just one of those.
And you are left thinking, Who is the King? The mortal who has been cornered, or the immortal ego within us, which loves every chance to resurface.
Yours truly once read these lines, by Lord Byron:
The heart ran o’er
With silent worship of the great of old, –
The dead but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.
Guess, it still holds good in modern times.

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