Wherever Putin goes, the 30-ft long table goes with him. He was sitting at one end of the table with Xi Jinping at the far end. To their left and right was an assortment of colours and glittering accoutrements. Velvet robes flowed from stooping shoulders to the long trains behind them. Some wore jewel-studded crowns, others wore hats, caps and turbans of various description. One group had on the head what has been described as “a towel held in place by a seatbelt”. As with the attire, so with the skin colours, from the Nordic white to the continental pink, Mediterranean dusky, Asian brown and the African black. Some of them held a stick or staff made of either silver or gold, with some geometric design, animal or bird adorning its apex. Behind this Halloween-costumed crowd stood, heads bowed and hands clasped in front, another group of humble mortals dressed in spartan but graceful attire. Though their eyes seemed to be rivetted on the floor, each one of them was actually focussed on one particular colourful character and rushed to him if the latter as much as twitched a little finger or looked sideways. Having fulfilled the desire of the personage of his attention, the ordinary mortal walked backwards to his original position.

Putin, who prefers to be called “Putin, the Elder” because of the incidence of his being born nine months earlier than Xi Jinping, called the Assembly’s attention by hitting the gavel twice on the circular sound board. What is nine months, Xi had objected to Putin taking precedence and boasted, “My kingdom has 1300 million more people than you”. But he was effectively countered by Putin, “I have eight million square kilometers more than you, with oil, gas, diamonds and polar bears.” “I have giant pandas,” said Xi with great emphasis but everybody ignored him and the pandas as oil, gas and diamonds flare and polar bears too sometimes flare up; pandas only glare on the few occasions when they are awake.

The initiative had been taken by the Saudi Monarch. He wrote to the 26 kings extolling the virtues of hereditary monarchy. Elections are expensive, divisive and disruptive. Anyone other than a hereditary monarch has to be elected or approved; even Xi is waiting for approval at the National Congress. The emerging republicanism is a threat to the noble concept of monarchy and to the nobles. Only immoral people will oppose the ideas of being “noble”. He mentioned the Monarchist Party of Russia that is struggling for the restoration of monarchy in that country. The King wrote, “There is a resurgence of support for the idea of monarchy in the so-called democracies and all it needs is a signal from us monarchs that ‘We are amused’ and willing to give the go ahead. In 2017, 37% of Russians supported the idea but could not find a candidate for Kingship. When the Afghans could not find one in the 16th century, they imported Babur from Uzbekistan. But these days, nationalism bars that; ask Sonia the Italy-born, how she faced opposition even though she duly got married in India’s only royal family left after her mother in law had wiped out all others. Coming back to Russia, recent events have thrown up ‘Putin, the King, except in name.’ What is in a name, as the Bard had mused. Once this restoration of monarchy takes place in Russia, there will be a groundswell in the demand for monarchy in all democracies.” He suggested a summit of all the monarchs. Since it was summer in the Northern Hemisphere, his Kingdom was not very conducive to holding this path-breaking event as the proceedings may get too hot for comfort. He had spoken to the King of Norway and the latter had agreed to Oslo as the venue. Norway is cash rich at present, having filled the gap in oil and gas supplies to Europe left by the decadent West’s sanctions against glorious Russia. The King of Norway had assured that the event will be arranged in a manner befitting the glitter of our great Kingdoms.

All the monarchs jumped at the idea but when they saw the invitee list, they were shocked. The list included Macron; his country’s guillotine had sliced through the neck of His Majesty Louis, the 16th and Her Majesty Marie-Antoinette. The Saudi King’s phone was flooded with angry calls. He had to finally put up a recorded response, “His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, the co-prince of Andorra, is an exalted invitee strictly as per protocol. The fact that he is President of the Republic of France also is an unavoidable and unpleasant coincidence and deserves to be ignored by all the Majesties with the contempt it deserves.” That mollified everyone but the newly minted King Charles, the monarch of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and 14 other nations around the globe, always prim and proper about protocol in all matters from mundane issues of State to the grave issues of divorce and remarriage, reminded Prince Macron that he should not appear in any attire that has the slightest trace of being a republican. Royal purple, velvet and gold make for a monarch. Macron agreed but there were no royal drapers left in France after the exile of Napoleon. Charles reminded him that there were many in the former colonies who proudly display on their signboards the incontrovertible fact that they (meaning their glorious ancestors) were drapers to the monarchs of the colonial power. Macron thanked him and his Ministry of the Colonies soon located such a seamster in a shack in Tunis. The spectacled old fellow with a tailor’s thimble permanently stuck on his finger as the finger had grown too thick, solemnly declared to the agents of DGSE (Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure) that his ancestors had crafted the accoutrement, not only for Napoleon but also for Hannibal and even his elephants when he embarked on his famous invasion of Rome from Carthage, which is what Tunis was called in that golden age of monarchies. Macron was not happy about being outfitted by a Phoenician or a Carthagian, nobody knows the difference between the two, as they were all despised traders and pirates of the Mediterranean. Yet, the fact that Hannibal had broken the pride of the Romans during that campaign made him reconcile.

Haakon VII, the King of Norway, who was personally present in full regalia to receive the royal guests at his palace, had got his full name displayed on the welcoming banner – Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel. The logistics were difficult, the biggest being the order in which the monarchs were to be heralded. All of them had long names and hence they could not be called in alphabetic order. Age was out as some of the powerful ones were younger, like the Saudi de facto King Salman and the Japanese Emperor Naruhito. Finally, all had to be persuaded to a draw of lots. None of their citizens could be trusted to conduct a fair draw as any loyal subject was duty-bound to favour his sovereign. That is where Putin and Xi came in when Salman said that they could be special invitees for supervising the draw. After all, if any non-monarchs came close to being monarchs, these two were there at the top. This also took care of the question about the occupants of the two ends of the long table; since none of the monarchs could be given an honour denying it to another, Putin and Xi adorned those exalted places. Putin does not agree to anyone else sitting on the long sides of the table and hence the arrangement described by us earlier.

To compensate Xi for not being at the head of the table, Putin let him open the discussions. Xi enlightened everyone about his royal pedigree. All the Han Chinese are descendants of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, he said. As for the non-Han Chinese, we are on the job and they are now almost Han and hence, almost descendants of Huangdi. He said that he had visited Shaanxi in 2015 to sweep the grave of Huangdi and had declared the common ancestor as the “spiritual icon of the Chinese people.” While sweeping the grave, he had the revelation that the ancestor emperor had chosen him as the worthy successor. Though every crown is studded with thorns, he had accepted it “with humility and in the spirit of sacrifice.” Putin interjected with his whole-hearted support and appreciation of Xi’s humility. The wise Haakon had provided for such a contingency when planning logistics for the event and his minions promptly brought a jewel-studded (synthetic stones, made in China) crown on a golden tray draped in purple velvet. Putin walked that extra mile, actually thrity feet forward and an equally long distance back, to the other end of the table and placed the crown on Xi’s head. Meanwhile, a minion had produced a long sword and Xi tried to run away but several minions held him in a kneeling position while Putin touched him on the shoulders with the sword and said, “Rise, King Xi”. A trembling Xi staggered back to his feet while there was thunderous applause. Another crown was produced and Xi, by now fully recovered from the shock of a naked sword pointed at him, repeated the ceremony with a kneeling Putin. Xi wiped his sweating forehead with a sigh of relief. He would have been in trouble at home about kneeling before Putin but now he had squared the account.

Salman said that with the inclusion of these two powerful majesties, the Movement For Resstoration of Monarchies, as the Saudi King had wished in his letter, is now on a roll and he hoped that by the time of the next Summit, there will be many more monarchies in the world glittering on the ashes of democracies. He informed that the proceedings had been telecast live except the initial exchange between the two, who are now kings. In that slot, to increase the TRP, the organisers had inserted videos of some of the utterrances of the scion of India’s only royal family, of which the torch-bearer Sonia was mentioned by his King in his letter. His utterrances are very popular in India and they keep Indians, who should have been his subjects, in good health by making them laugh. The scion has sent a request to be invited to the next Summit of Monarchs as have many others including Kim of North Korea, Khamenie of Iran, Erdogan of Turkey and Hun Sen of Cambodia. They say that they have been motivated by the crowning ceremony that gave them hopes and dreams. Finally, everyone asked Putin and Xi to hold hands and move to the dance floor as everyone wanted to see the two most powerful monarchs in the world dance the tango.

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