Once upon a time before your and my forefathers knew any more than to wakeup, eat, sleep, live and die… long before that… there was a golden time which was better than tonight and the dawn to arrive. Out of naivete you may ask why? Well, the answer is simple – the people of that golden age were born free. We are born slaves to many things, but at the nucleus level, it is the hunger of stomach that makes us get up and go every morning. And they did not have it punching them in their gut every few hours because they had a golden pond in the center of each city. Every morning they drank its water and they would be mighty as a dinosaur which, by the way, was their everyday ride. They just had to pour back ordinary water to keep the pond alive. The result – there was no rich, no poor, no king, no slaves, no Gods and no worshipers. They just were.
Every day, every where, there was festivity– they carved for the beauty, plucked flowers and fruits to decorate their homes, made beautiful silk clothes and exchanged, made merry till wee hours of the night, flew kites all day if they liked and if they felt a need for some amusement, they gathered some food and ate at circular dining tables to hold some interesting conversations.
But one thing, that even that golden water of that magical pond couldn’t cure, got better of them one fateful day. It was just another summer day when Rauneek, a young man, thought of his life. He thought about his beautiful paintings, beautiful sculptures of exotic women, and his beautiful house which he shared with his grand family of fifty five. He thought about how he was better than any of them. How he deserved to be – what he thought should be called – The Jing . He set out for some visionary symbolical monument to his greatness in a lonely room at the remote end of his mansion. He worked for weeks and moved a huge furniture to the main hall of the house on the eve of his birthday.
To celebrate, he invited his family for a dinner that night. They were surprised to see a new dining table with an odd shape – a rectangle – a shape they used to cast their bricks. They laughed at Rauneek’s creation and asked him what prompted him to make such an odd furniture instead of the regular circular one. He just smiled and invited everyone to dine at the new marvel anyhow.
“No. No. Don’t take the red chair. It is for the Jings,” he said and ran to the lone chair at the northern end with an arrogant smile. Whenever there was a dinner he ran to grab his red throne every single time. What started as good old humor about his love for eccentricities soon turned into something more. The family started arranging more dinners just to see who would land that red chair and be called the Jing. The feud grew to community level where Rauneek’s idiosyncrasy gained some fans and they too constructed replicas of the rectangular furniture and tested their claim to fame. The phenomena grew to city level and people started checking who is better at what – who has better shirt, who has better shoes, who has better house, who has better eyes. Communities argued on whom the golden pond belonged to and who was the Jing. They fought and claimed, argued and constructed fences, stole and accumulated in their cellar house, drank more than they needed and forgot what the pond needed in return.
This phenomenon took over the whole world. The ponds were now locked in sky high walls made of stones and had people queuing outside and waiting for their turn.
One day, a little boy tried to get a cup of golden water when he noticed the pond had gone dry. The other ponds exhibited the same trait. By the evening, the boy had gone pale and was down in his bed. People all around the world started falling down on their knees and couldn’t figure out the ailment that was spreading like an epidemic in the absence of their magical fluid which had seemed so elementary a morning before. The only symptom was the terrible ache in their abdomens and the diminishing level of willingness to go about. No matter how much water they poured in the golden pond now, it was a dry sight. The elixir was gone and the doctors had no clue. That boy’s mother thought her little one was soon to die like everyone else around and gave him a bright yellow fruit to cheer him up one last time. She hid her face and wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes. The boy gobbled up the fruit and ten more before the magic was realized. She couldn’t believe it when the boy sat up once more and felt alive.
The news of the exceptional cure spread like a breeze on a cool evening. The pond was gone, and now people had to eat two times to stay alive. The need for food turned into need for many other things as we know of today. And the new class of rich people could afford even three meals a day.
Who knew what a rectangular shaped dining table could do to that golden age and turn humans into people who all want to be the Jing in some way.