know your neighbour

Posts Tagged ‘The King and Courtiers’

The City of Happiness

Posted by chimeki on December 1, 2016

Dear Mr. Turnbull,

I am very happy to write to you and I am sure you too are happy there.

Ever since the Emperor has declared showing disgust, pain, remorse, sympathy and all such old human feelings a crime we all have become very happy.

Let me confess to you that initially I was quite unsure of this Royal Proclamation and I thought this wouldn’t work. But one day when my son got a good beating from the Spread Happiness Armed Force for showing disgust while standing in the long ATM queue, I realized that this one is a coup. I can’t tell you how happy I am today to see my initial inhibition proved wrong.

I learnt that your mother passed away last week. I am glad happy to hear that. And I am sure that she must have died happily. Your father must have been very happy man now and her happy demise would have added to his happiness. You too must have been very happy too to see your mother gone who, you told, loved you very much.

How is your son? Has he got a job? Here, my son is still hanging around happily without a job since the lockout. His wife, overcome with happiness, has filed for a divorce and left the house happily. I am much old now to tell my grandchildren how fortunate they are to live in this happy time where they don’t have to go to schools as I have no money to pay fees and buy them books.

'Instant Christmas happiness! ?1.'

Now I learn that the Emperor has ordered to prefix Happy with every citizen’s name and soon we will be issued new Aadhar Cards. So Mr Turnbull, are you ready to be called Mr Happy John Turnbull. I am sure you are. And I am so glad happy too that I will be called Happy Joe Smith. In our neighborhood people have already started adding Happy in their nameplates. There is nothing better than being happy all the time.

Oh God, I was about to forget telling you that I have bought a pair of smileys. My wife and I wear it all the time. First I thought, this plastic smile wouldn’t work but when the shopkeeper told me that even the ministers of our Emperor wear it all the time I decided to try them. You know what the shopkeeper even changed my 2000 rupee note which I was not able to use since my bank issued it last year. Now my wife and I put the smileys on our faces all the time. Only when we have to speak or eat we get them off but never for longer. Anyway we don’t have much to share these days. In our city this thing is a hit. On roads and on metros every second person is seen wearing it. Wearing it is good for the jaws too. The strain that comes from smiling all time is gone. I read in the newspaper the Happy Times that soon our government will be selling it through the PDS in subsidized rates. What an idea. I just want to forewarn you that don’t sleep or go in front of the mirror with it for you will think yourself an intruder.

At last we have seen happiness. I wish my parents were alive today to see this happy time. I am sure they would have died with this overdose of happiness.

Hail the Emperor,
Happily yours,
Happy Joe Smith
Happy Homes
Happy Street No. 2
The City of Happiness

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The Emperor Teaches Swimming

Posted by chimeki on November 29, 2016

‘You can do it. You can. Move your hands fast. Faster.’

‘Bubble bubble bubble bubble’.

‘Now flap your feet. Flap fast. Faster.’

‘Gulp gulp gulp gulp.’

‘Now breathe. Breathe. More breathe.’

‘Bubble bubble bubble bubble.’

‘No no. Not like that. Breath from your mouth. See. Like this. Yes. Innnnhale, Exhaaaale. Innnnnhale Exhaaale.’

‘Gurgle gurgle gurgle, burble burble burble’.

‘No no. Don’t drink the water. You may drown. Just breathe from your mouth. Like this. See. Yes yes.’


‘Ok, now turn on your back and do backstrokes.’


‘See, he is floating. He has learnt to float in water’, the emperor said.

‘I think he too is dead, His Majesty,’ said the almost bald minister feeling the pulse of the old man.

‘Ok now you can imagine. He was 70 but didn’t know swimming,’ the emperor said.

‘I am appalled, His Majesty’, the other minister replied.

‘Shameful’, the almost bald minister added.


‘But I am not’, said the emperor, ‘I knew it he would drown. The rulers of yesteryears never cared for our people. They never understood what people wanted. They only wanted to rule them. But I am not yesterday, I am today. I am not a ruler but a servant.

‘Yes yes, the ministers said in chorus.

‘I want to learn from people. I want to know what they feel. And I want to teach them how to swim.’

‘Mashallah mashallah’, the ministers cried looking at sky where chandelier swung left and right.

‘Can anyone tell what people think about me? What is the result of our recent survey,’ the emperor asked.

‘The result is 100 per cent,’ the almost bald minister said, ‘the survey conducted with TheEmperorApp tells that people are happy about what you are doing’.

‘Good good.’

‘All three who participated in the survey including His Majesty, His Majesty and His Majesty say that your style of teaching is perfect’, the other minister added.

‘Of course of course.’

‘And they say swimming is good for health and everyone must know how to swim so that we can make our nation great again like it was in Lord Rama’s time.’

‘You all must have learnt by now that I don’t want to be remembered as a ruler but as a great teacher.’

‘Ameen Ameen’, the ministers said in chorus.

‘I will teach everyone swimming. There is no art or exercise or recreation greater than swimming. And no man worth his salt can disagree with what I say standing on this podium.’ The podium creaked from the emperor’s weight but he didn’t care. ‘Only those who know swimming have right to call themselves people of this land.’

‘Long live His Majesty, Long Live the great emperor,’ resounded the voice of the ministers. People showered flowers and sprinkled scented water.

‘Next,’ the emperor ordered. The minister threw one more into in the pool.

‘Take a deep breath and flap your feet and move your hands. Fast fast’, said the emperor and turning to the almost bald minister asked, ‘I am sure your wife knows how to swim’.

‘Yes, His Majesty.’

‘Good. Bring her here tomorrow I will teach her to fly.’



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The Emperor’s Experiment

Posted by chimeki on November 24, 2016

The emperor checked the temperature with a long thermometer and poured the transparent liquid in the heated beaker. An acidic smell filled the hall. Entering the nostrils of the courtiers it quickly froze into crystals. All gasped for breath.

‘I think something good will come out of it’, he said more to himself than to his ministers.

‘Yes Yes’, they nodded in agreement.

He turned to them and smiled. He had a divine smile, a sign which said that everything was good in the empire as long as he was at the helm. Like wit his smile too was rare. Until he became the emperor, people made stories about his always serious face.

‘He doesn’t smile because his front teeth are missing’, one would say.

‘No no his mouth stinks’, the other argued.

‘Nonsense, he is a strong man’, the third corrected.

‘Oh yes, oh yes’, all agreed.

modi-pmThat day emperor was in good mood and, for a change, he sought counsel of his ministers. ‘Now tell me what if one day I make a mistake and my experiment fails?’, he asked them.

‘You can never make a mistake’, said his ministers.

‘How kind of you, my comrades. But anyway tell me without fear or hesitation of any kind what if one day I really make a mistake’, he asked smiling. Nothing is a greater threat than an emperor in a happy mood.

‘You can never make a mistake’, all said louder.

‘You people are very very generous to me but I really want you all to tell me frankly what if one day I, myself, tell you that I have made a mistake’, he said.

‘You can never make a mistake’, all said in the loudest of their voice. The beaker and the chandelier over it shook as if an earthquake had struck. The emperor smiled and removed the safety goggles he was wearing over his glasses and unbuttoned the apron. Once a white apron had changed into yellow a long back and now it was fading back to his original color. ‘Will it again become as white as it was when I bought it a year ago?’ the emperor often thought. Once he even made a note in his Diary of Experiments: WHAT COLOR DOES WHITE COLOR FADE INTO?

‘Ok now tell me what do you think of my new experiment?’ he asked turning to his almost bald minister.

‘Something good will come out of it’, the minister replied scratching his nose of crystals.

‘What do you say?’ he asked the other minister.

The minister gulped the spit and said, ‘something good will come out of it.’

‘Ok then,I must go and announce the success of my new experiment to the people of our land’, the emperor said and left for his personal studio from where he delivered his regular radio talks on his vision for the nation. Lately, he had made hearing of these talks mandatory for all the government employees and his ministers and during meetings asked questions based on them.

‘In my last talk I said something about hygiene.’

‘Yes my lord, you said we should work hard to make our nation clean’.


‘And you said cleanliness is godliness’.


‘And… and… and…’

‘30 lashes’, the emperor announced.

As soon as the emperor announced his experiment the people knew that something good would come out of it. The government and private news channels showed that people were themselves doing the emperor’s experiment in their leisure time, which they now had plenty, in their houses and offices. Wherever the government radio and private news channels went they found people telling them, ‘something good will come out of it’.

A week after, the ministers told the emperor that people were very grateful to him for experimenting and wished him more such ideas. They said the emperor should experiment on daily basis. ‘They are ready for small inconveniences’, told the almost bald minister scratching his nose.

The emperor smiled.

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