Do this for me. Sit down, right now or as soon as you can, and listen to The Jungle Prince. That’s what Nell told me to do, and that’s what I did.
Here’s the headline for the podcast, a series of three episodes, each about 30 minutes: “For decades, they lived in a crumbling palace in Delhi, claiming to be the royal heirs to the fallen kingdom of Oudh. Who were they?”
There is so much more to the story. For starters, the family—a woman and her son and daughter—lived in a train station for 10 years as a protest, before the Government gave them a derelict palace to live in.
Experiencing this podcast reminded me of when I fell into a deep, disturbing, and somehow beautiful place listening to the podcast “S-Town.” But “The Jungle Prince” is much more economical in its storytelling. The jolts and twists hit you out of the blue. The story is so…human. It’s such a tangle.
As I listened, I longed for more photographs, to see the faces and places depicted in the story. I guess I wanted to confirm that they were real. Handily, the New York Times published a long-form article, with many images, a video, and much more detail about the story. But please: don’t read it until you’ve listened to the story.
Prediction: “The Jungle Prince” will be a movie. I hope they do it justice.