Once upon a time, there was a king
Who ruled in a land far, far away
Disliked by some, though he was
Over his fiefdom, he held sway.
He believed that he could do no wrong
With a coterie of sycophants by his side
A crafty monarch who had remained in power
With the age-old tactics of distract and divide.
Then one day, a dreadful pestilence
Spread in the kingdom like wildfire
The helpless people rushed to their king
Who for them was God, their saviour.
“Oh! Mighty king, please do something
You’re the only who can save this country
Lives are being lost and people are ill
The doctors need your help and so do we.”
The king may have been predictably clueless
But like any good orator worth his salt
He address the kingdom with an impassioned plea
And in one swift move brought it to a halt.
“At five o’clock, I implore you all
Stand in your balconies and clap your hands
It will boost the morale of our doctors
And drive this disease away from our land.”
But a few wise men started to wonder
Wasn’t this an empty symbolic gesture?
Sound policies are the need of the hour
Only to be heckled and branded as traitors.
The doctors meanwhile soldiered on
Putting in their blood, sweat, tears and toil
With little help and no protective equipment
The king’s indifference made their blood boil.
The people again turned to their king
“Oh! Mighty king, while you are safe and secure
Please do something for millions of us
Helpless on the streets, with no food or shelter”.
“And while some of us are inside our homes
This mass quarantine is not enough
For the day you lift it, the disease will spread
And then the devil will have the last laugh”.
The king decided to give another speech
“Light some lamps in your balconies
We need to be together in our resolve
And this is a symbol of our unity”
Again the people did as they were told
The king had found the perfect strategy
Token gestures mixed with emotion
Would send the people into a frenzy
But one day the people said, “Enough’s enough”
The death toll was slowly starting to rise
The king’s rule would one way or the other
Spell their doom, they began to realize.
They got together and stormed the palace
Forced the king to abdicate
It was time to take things in their own hands
Otherwise it would be too late.
After testing in bulk, they isolated the infected
While also ensuring the welfare of the poor
And contained the spread and eradicated finally
A disease which was believed to have no cure.
They had also learnt the lesson of a lifetime
To never again depend on a single ruler
Collectively looking after all their needs
Was the only way to live happily ever after.
(This write up has been sent to The Lede by Shukr Usgaokar. All opinions are the author's alone and not necessarily that of The Lede's.)