Wednesday, February 06, 2008


King Solomon is presiding over a solemn gathering of wisemen in the court of justice. There is a peculiar case for today, and Solomon has come to judge. The crowd looks on eagerly as two women present their case.
The facts are simple. The two women gave birth to a boy child each and one boy died in the night. One woman claims that her child was alive and the other woman swapped the dead child with hers. The other denies it and says the living child was hers. There are no eye witnesses.
Solomon broods for a while and checks the day’s tabloid. The daily horoscope says that he should never take half measures at work and a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger can change the direction of his life. He folds the paper, smiles wisely at the gathering and says, ‘Cut the child into two and give one half to each woman. There, I’ve spoken!’
The court clerk says to himself that King Solomon is losing his touch. He’s been solving every case by asking things to be cut up in half. Vegetables and land disputes is ok, but last month he asked a two-storeyed bungalow to be cut in half when a divorcing couple fought over it and the royal guard had to saw through it for two days and last known, the couple is still not satisfied. This time he’s gone too far asking a day-old baby to cut into two halves.
The crowd gasps as a soldier, eager to please his King, raises his sword to deliver justice. “No!” cries a woman, “don’t kill the child! I will let her have the boy and bear another, than see my own child getting killed!”
“I agree”, says the other, spitting out the betel leaves she’s chewing. “Give the baby to her instead of killing it. I can’t see my kid being sliced like a loaf of bread. I’d go adopt a kid or something!”
“Ah! A classic case of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan at work!”, remarks Tenali Rama, who is in the crowd. “Evidently, both women had middle school education. I too read the original story in my fourth standard English subject.”
“But the original story says, only one woman will not agree with the judgement and she is the real mother!” says the Court Clerk. “Both women are saying it now. How do we solve this case?”
“Check the kid‘s hands. If they are red, he belongs to the betel-leaves lady. For no woman can resist nibbling at her kid’s fingers when she sees it for the first time!” says T.Rama, the wise jester.
The court clerk checks, but the child has clean nails! The betel-leaves lady runs away shouting, “Oh! They caught me red-handed!” Justice is delivered. The crowd and the wisemen nod their approval, for justice is always delivered in King Solomon’s court, just as it is written in Scriptures.
“By God! The newspaper’s prediction is true!” screams King Solomon. “The half-measure idea didn’t work and I think I’m done with this Judge thing after this. I don’t think I’m good enough anymore. Besides, I can sell this tabloid astrologer’s time at $4.99 a minute on internet and become a net mogul!” He turns his back on the Court and walks away.
“I didn’t know they pay $4.99 per minute on internet!” screams Tenali Rama. “Or I’d never waste time copying daily predictions from 20 year old papers, for that lousy piece of bread-wrapper that calls itself a newspaper! Wait, O Wise King. You may want to talk to me!”
Sun sets in the West and the wisemen smile gladly that Solomon finally retired. They can inaugurate the court building that has been held up for 25 centuries now.

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