This forest was a unique and a wonderful place. The animals who had settled there knew they made the right choice. It was wonderful for the sheer beauty and diversity of the trees and animals there.
It was unique for two reasons. Unlike in other forests, this forest had tiger as its king. And surprisingly there were two tigers who were selected as the kings of the forest. So, this forest was ruled by two tiger kings. Very unique indeed!
When the two tigers came together to rule the forest, there were a lot of issues initially. There were constant arguments and fights about solving the problems of other animals, the security of the forest, the up-keeping and maintenance of the forest etc. One day, they sat down and decided to stop these fights once and for all. They identified each other’s strengths and weaknesses and decided to divide the roles and responsibilities.
Each tiger made a list of strengths and weaknesses for himself and the other. The points that appeared in both the lists were considered as the valid points.
The tigers thus identified their areas of expertise and the decision making was accordingly divided among the two of them.
One was meticulous in his ways. He was good at making long term plans and making sure the plans were executed well. He liked routine and never missed a step in the process. The regular maintenance of the forest, the review of the water levels, population of different animals, trees etc was his department. He was slightly older than the other tiger.
The younger tiger was more impulsive. He was the motivator, the one who brought fun to the life in the forest. He made all work look easy and doable. He was called when there was an emergency and there had to be a quick change of plan. He could think on his feet and implement it. He enjoyed that adrenalin rush and worked the best under those circumstances.
Both of them had their weaknesses as well. The older tiger never liked to change anything. He could live the same way for his entire life. He got very disturbed by challenges thrown at him. He took too long to make a decision and he always thought he made the best decisions.
The younger tiger got bored of things very easily. He had to be constantly reminded to do the regular stuff. He loved to change things frequently. He was impatient and got bored easily.
The forest dwellers never knew anything about the tigers’ weaknesses because the two of them managed everything very well between them. They had a clear understanding and that worked perfectly. Even if the older tiger had a different opinion about a decision taken by the younger one, he never interfered if it had been identified as the younger tiger’s zone.
As time passed, the older tiger got more rigid with his ideas and younger tiger started losing patience in trying to convince the older tiger about his plans and changes. This led to frequent fall outs and though they managed to put up a cheerful face in front of the other animals, they knew the differences were getting bigger. They still enjoyed sipping some cold waters from the spring together but it had become less frequent now.
That summer was extremely harsh and long. The rivers and springs had dried up and there was very little water for the inhabitants. A forest fire had destroyed a lot of trees. Some animals died of drought and fire and the birds flew away. The animals approached the kings for advice and direction. Some of them wanted to move out.
The older tiger knew that it would start raining in a couple of weeks and was of the opinion that it was safer to stay put. The younger tiger knew that things would never be the same because of the damage that the forest fire had caused. The other part of the forest would be a better option. There could be unknown dangers in that part. But then, it was not safe here too because the burning of the trees in the forest fire had made it more accessible for humans.
The two tigers had a lot of discussions about it. They were so convinced about their own decisions that they just could not see the other’s points. The discussion did turn ugly at times with each one almost attacking the other. Since this was a rare situation and was not identified as any one tiger’s area of decision making, both of them stuck to their own decisions.
Finally the tigers decided to part ways. The older tiger would stay put and wait for the rains and learn to deal with any kind of human encounters. Some animals stayed back with him. The younger tiger went ahead with his plans of moving on to the other part of the forest and learn to deal with the challenges that came along. A lot of animals moved along with him.
The two tigers still live in those areas and rule their respective groups but things are different now. They miss each other when there are tough decisions to be taken . They miss each other’s strengths. They are more conscious of their weaknesses now because they are out in the open for all animals to know. They wish they had come to a better conclusion but it was too late now. The older tiger could not travel that much to meet the younger one and the younger one was too busy setting up his new habitat.
There was nothing unique or wonderful about the forest anymore!
The other animals knew that if only the older tiger had agreed to move to the new habitat until this part of the forest grew back its trees and water had become abundant, things would have been so different. May be he would have started to like that place!
Or, if the younger tiger had shown some patience in waiting for the rain to start and then checking if the place could be restored, things would have been different now! May be the place was not that bad after all!
Alas! All animals except the tigers knew there were other ways of dealing with the problem by staying together!
Sadly, that was the end of the reign of the best tiger king duo.