The cover illustration of this story has been done by the author’s four-year-old daughter Keiya Krishnakumar.
Once upon a time, many years ago the kingdom of Jeerpore, was ruled by a king called Raja Bada-Moochee. He was called Raja Bada-Moochee because he had a great, long moustache. Well, Raja Bada-Moustache was not his real name, his real name was Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd. This is the story of how Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd came to be known as Raja Bada-Moochee Dildaar.
Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was not a very bright or brave King. Raja Cheetah Sing the 2nd was quite plain, and spent his days, roaming in the forest that lay at the back of his palace alone, or attending to his moustache. He would spend hours in front of the mirror getting his moustache done. Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was very whimsical and quirky. Raja Cheetha Sigh the 2nd liked to have his tea from only royal blue ceramic teacups with a golden rim. He liked his sweet buns with plenty of tutti-frutti on them and a sugared bright red cherry on the top. Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd would pin-up his thick bushy moustache to either side of his nose with special gold pegs, so they wouldn’t get in the way of his eating. Psst… Nobody knew this, but Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was scared of Cheetahs.
The great great great grandfather of Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was a daring, ruthless king who loved to hunt animals. Legend says that the senior Raja had once gone out for a shikaar and killed a Cheetah, with his bare hands and thus he was named Raja Cheetha Singh the 1st. But Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was only named after his great, great, great grandfather and was actually quite the opposite. If Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd so much as heard a Cheetah growl or saw the pug marks of one, he would quickly turn his horse and gallop back to the palace.
Now it so happened that one hot afternoon Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd was out in the jungle. Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd was on his knees inspecting the dragonflies when suddenly he heard a low growl behind him. Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd turned and came face to face to a big and mighty Cheetah. Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd froze, his heart beat faster, his head started spinning, his eyes began to lose focus, he fainted and fell into a big bundle.
Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd woke up to cool water being splashed on his face. The Raja sat up and looked around. He found himself sitting inside a mud hut. The hut belonged to a hermit.
“What happened?” asked Cheetah Singh the 2nd surprised.
“I don’t know son. I found you lying unconscious in the jungle and brought you here.” replied the hermit.
“Where…where is the Cheetah?” asked Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd, still trembling.
“Cheetah! There is no Cheetah here”. said the hermit.
“Oh yes, there is! I saw it. It came to eat me. I thought I would die,” said Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd whimpering.
“I did not see any Cheetah, son. Why don’t you have some water to drink?,” said the hermit offering Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd some water.
“Thank you from saving me from the Cheetah,” said the Raja.
“I did no such thing.” Smiled the hermit.
But Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd would just not listen. He kept asking the hermit how he could repay him.
The hermit was an old man and was getting tired of Raja Cheeath Singh the 2nd.
Soon the Raja’s men came looking for him and asked the Raja to return back to the palace, but Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd shook his head. He fell at the feet of the hermit, “You will come with me oh great sage. You have saved my life. From now on you will accompany me everywhere.” declared Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd.
“Oh, no, no, no, no,” said the hermit. “I cannot leave. I want to meditate”
But the Raja insisted. The hermit was tired.
“Ok then, you must give me a lucky charm to protect me from the Cheetah”, said Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd pulling on his moustache.
“Lucky charm! Your moustache!” cried the hermit, “that is your lucky charm. Never cut it!” He said solemnly.“As long as you let the moustache grow it will protect you.”
Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was delighted, “Really!”
He jumped for joy, cuddling his moustache, “I will take care of it and never, never, NEVER cut it. Thank you oh holy man and now I take my leave.”
“Please,” said the hermit exhausted and glad the tiresome Raja was leaving.
“Now did you hear that?” asked Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd’ to his guards,
“You must protect my precious Moustache.”
From then on Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd took even more care of his moustache than he had ever before.
Special people were recruited to take care of the moustache. Expensive oils were ordered and applied to it. Twice a day the Raja was given a face massage. Special food was prepared for the Raja to help the moustache grow strong.
Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd’s moustache began to grow; and how it grew and it grew and it grew.
On either side of the Raja’s mouth, the great big moustache grew. First one meter long, then two.
Small boys were employed to hold the moustache to prevent it from dragging on the floor.
People came from far and wide to see and admire the royal moustache.
Before long, Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd came to be known as Raja Bada Moochee.
When Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd went for his rounds in the forest, the moustache was neatly rolled and tucked into his turban.
A couple of years passed, one late evening Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd had gone into the forest. He was chasing some deer playfully when he found himself at the very same spot where he had seen the cheetah. Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd began to feel eerie. The sun had begun to set, the moon was already out in the pale sky. A cool breeze was blowing gently but Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd was feeling very hot. Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd gulped, large beads of sweat began streaming down his sides. The jungle appeared to be still. All at once, Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd heard a soft purr sound from a bush. He felt a pair of eyes following him. Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd froze, he narrowed his eyes and looked hard into the bush. He hurriedly stepped back with a jerk when he realized he was looking right into the eyes of a great big Cheetah. As the Raja took a step backward, from the bush sprang out the great big cat. The Cheetah began circling around.
But this time the Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd was not afraid, Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd remembered the words of the hermit, he knew he had his big long moustache to shield him, Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd believed that his great big moustache would somehow protect him.
Raja Cheetha Sing the 2nd was thinking what he should do next when it dawned on him that his moustache could not actually help.
An inner voice told Raja Cheetah Sing the 2nd to run “Run, Run Raja Cheetha Sing, run, run for your life. You are an intruder into the Cheetah’s kingdom and she does not like it. She is here to warn you to watch your step. Leave her alone and Run! …and that is just what Raja Cheetah Sing the 2nd did. He turned and ran. Raja Cheetah Sing the 2nd ran as fast as he could. Raja Cheetah Singh the 2nd ran over stones and over thorny bushes, jumped over brooks and ran under the branches of trees. Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd could hear his heart beating in his ears. He kept running and running and running until he came to a little hut. Into the hut ran Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd trembling, mumbling and out of breath. Inside the hut was a hermit.
The hermit was the same one that had rescued the Raja a few years ago.
The hermit looked at Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd and said, “Don’t tell me the Cheetah is after you again”
“Yes, Yes”, said Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd, “the Cheetah is indeed after me.”
“Ah, but that moustache has been protecting you,” said the hermit
“Oh no, the moustache cannot save me, but the moustache sure taught me how to believe in myself”, laughed the King. “This time I have learned how to deal with the situation. It is true I saw the Cheetha, but I realized that I had intruded into the Cheetah’s territory and must move away from it. So I ran away as fast as I could to take myself out of danger”
“Ah, said the Hermit, “so are you going to chop off your moustache now?
“No,” said the King, “No, I am going to keep it, to remind me of what a fool I have been.” And so the big moustache stayed on the face of Raja Cheetha Singh the 2nd and that is how he came to be known as Raja Bada-Moochee, Raja Bada-Moochee Dildaar the great king who respected, cared for and protected the animals in his kingdom.
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