The Queen Is A Wife
November 27, 2011 4 Comments
Another of Akbar-Birbal stories aired for the first time!
This was a day when Emperor Akbar summoned Birbal to the court to tell him: ‘Birbal, I would like you to create an image, a visual that I cannot take my eyes off. By tomorrow morning it better be ready for my viewing,’ leaving a menacing ‘or else’ unsaid.
‘But I’m neither a painter nor a sculptor, as your Majesty knows,’ Birbal remonstrated.
‘I don’t care how you do it. Now get started, you’ve little time.’
Birbal knew it was useless to reason out with his Emperor when the latter was on a whimsical trip. He bowed out with a frown on his face.
There were many in Akbar’s court envious of Birbal’s closeness to the Emperor. They were happy to see Birbal’s current predicament. He was sure, on this occasion, to earn the Emperor’s displeasure and punishment.
For the rest of the day, they kept Birbal under watch. Wily that he was, he could get some artist to come in and help him out. To their intrigue, all was quiet at Birbal’s house right through the day. Only a maid stepped out late evening to return in an hour. Otherwise their all-night vigil did not reveal any unusual activity. In the morning they returned to their houses empty handed but mighty happy Birbal’s goose is now cooked well and good!
It was time to go. Birbal stepped out of the house followed by his servant carrying a large package hinting at a drawing canvas.
The set-up was completed well in time. A silk cloth covered the work of art.
Birbal smiled as he saw the Emperor coming in accompanied by the Queen. The maid had done her job well. The news had reached the Queen’s ears of the program to present to the Emperor a rare visual treat and she wasn’t not going to be around when it happened.
They were followed by members of his court keen on watching Birbal squirm in discomfort.
Salutations completed, Akbar was a little impatient, ‘Are you ready, Birbal?’
Just then the stern-faced Queen elbowed out Akbar and stood squarely in front.
The cloth was pulled away to reveal a full-length mirror facing the Queen.
‘All yours, my Lord,’ Birbal said with a twinkle in his eyes and a challenge to the Emperor to dispute the image he saw.
A look of irritation fleeted across Akbar’s visage before turning sheepish while the Queen’s broke into a captivating smile, her fears dispelled.
So there was Birbal to live for another day to regale the Emperor and his court.