“Long live King Dusmanta, King of kings, the Gem of Chandra dynasty”.

The long formal salutation from Botu surprises me. True all my employees to bow before me with these words, but Botu never follows the rule and I do not mind my childhood friend’s being an exception.

“I am surprised at your salutation!”

“You proved yourself to be a wise King – I should acknowledge that. But before beginning, I would pray for a reward from you.”

“Oh yes, of course!” Botu has done a great job for me and I think the precious coral chain I am wearing would be proper reward for the difficulties he has gone through. I readily remove the chain from my neck and the foolish one reacts, “No, I don’t jewelry any longer.”

“What then, you want as reward? I know you have gone through a tough day yesterday. I did not give you a horse so that the hermitage-dwellers start doubting your intention. This is only my way of expressing gratitude. Or do you want some more land for cultivation? Nothing is too big a reward for your perilous undertaking.” – I remember apart from my gold coins, he does not have much as source of income. His poor father did not leave him enough farmland so that he can have a comfortable life. I feel pity for him.

“No, not land,” –he fumbles while looking at the ground, “I want to leave the city after this task of mine is over. I and my wife will be happy to spend the rest of my life in a hermitage.”

I never expected such a shock in my life. What is he telling? I give him some gold coins at least and the life he lives with that s far better than how they live in a forest hermitage. I try to understand him taking a sharp gaze. He is looking downwards – his jaws tightened. Taking a pause I asked, “You can tell me whatever trouble you are having here my friend! If you had difficulty getting information about the girl yesterday, you may take another couple of days – I am not impatient person you know.”

“I do not mean that, My King.”

I suspect the imprudent Brahmin has some emotional issue and need some practical information. “I do not know why you want to leave me. The Hermit Brahmins are born poor. They are habituated to live the life of beggars. If you are influenced seeing the unbelievable simplicity of their lives yesterday, you should have asked if any of them had ever seen a gold coin in their entire life. I know you do not belong to one of the wealthy courtiers in my kingdom; reason for that is you are not interested in trading. I won’t compare you Brahmins with the trader community. But look at my astrologers and poets and writers. All of them are trading their skill and that is how earning enough to live a luxurious life in the city. Even you could do the same – I know you could become a good storyteller in my court, only if you try to polish your talent. Even if you feel you do not fall in the category of storyteller, I am ready to pay you some more gold coins every month. But leaving me should not be option for you.”

Now he looks straight at me. I see his eyes burning. His tightened lips scare me. He tells slowly as if from a different world, “Don’t worry My King. We will find the way of life suitable for us. You have given us enough gold to spend luxurious life anywhere in this land. Greed does not suit us. Acquiring more will entrap us in the cobweb of greed. Do not be so kind on us, My King. Only let me permit to serve my last duty to you. I will consider myself fortunate if I am able to give you all necessary detail about your exquisite beauty before leaving. The exotic beauty will be so fulfilling that you will not need me again after this.”

Do I want to resolve this conflict and keep this impractical Brahmin with me or get rid of him as he is voluntarily providing me the opportunity now? I in fact agree that I will not need him for long. He is becoming more like a morality teacher than a friend to me. Probably aging is killing him from inside. I am scared of his aging – scared that aging may turn a contagious disease very soon, making me a wise moralistic preacher like him. Is not it better to let him go? In fact I can recruit other Brahmin pimps for this kind of task paying half of what I pay him. Anyway I should not display my feeling of respite before him. I show a serious face instead and announce, “Fine, if you really want to go, I have no power to bind you forever. At some point of time in life, people develop spiritual inclination. I see you are spiritually motivated now. My duty is to release you in that case. Tell me my friend what information do you want to give about her?”

Do I hear Peggy chuckle? Or her voice is only a delusion of my strange lover’s mind? My eagerness knows no bound at this moment – what information Botu is carrying for me?

To be cont.