The three gods had agreed to meet to make a common cause about the recent events. Their Managers on earth had been sending frantic messages for guidance to save their respective gods from those who were turning godless. How can humans live without gods? Do’s and don’ts are essential for the survival of human society and without gods everyone shall be free to make their own list. That is why gods appeared at various times and dictated their list to the First Manager appointed by them. Tasked with conveying the list to the forever fighting masses, the First Manager became the Messenger. You do trust the postman to deliver the letter exactly in the form it was posted, don’t you? There is no letter unless somebody writes it. That settles the question about the existence of gods. Since the messengers delivered the lists of gods, there must be gods.

Since there were different Managers carrying messages of their respective gods, the forever fighting masses forgot their other differences and focussed on the differences in the messages. Gods had handed over the messages to the First Managers and their raison d’être was over. They retired to their heavens and the managers saw to it that it is the messages that represent the gods on earth and become the reason for all fights. Then something strange happened; never in the history of mankind, people had questioned the authenticity of gods, their managers and their messages. Now they were doing it; Ukrainian Orthodox Christians said they do not recognise the Manager in Moscow, Iranians said they do not recognise the Managers in Teheran, the Taliban said they do not recognise the Mangers in Islamabad. All of them started compiling their own lists of do’s and don’ts and started appointing their managers without the consent of the Manager appointed by their earlier god.

The gods are all merciful and respond immediately when the managers report that people are fighting the Managers and refusing to fight other people over the differences in the lists. Since the lists from each god are different, there is no meeting point for the gods. The clever managers designed a triangular table with each side more than two metres long. If that distance can protect against Covid, it should also save the gods and their lists from being contaminated by each other. The chairs at the three corners looked unoccupied as the gods are invisible. The Managers, dutifully standing behind the chairs of their gods, were proof that gods were there. The Managers do not stand dutifully behind any chair other than that of their god. The words of the gods too are heard only by the Managers, the lesser mortals being made aware of those words by the benvolent Managers. Hence what we hear at such meetings of gods are actually their words appearing through the vocal chords of the Managers.

Yes, Khamenei, asked the god of the Iranians, from Khamenei, in the voice of Khamenei. “My Lord, we have been faithfully enforcing the lists that you gave to the First Manager and have been adding and subtracting as guided by you often.” When did I add or subtract, said the indignant god. “My lord, I heard your voice. I do not hear any other voice because I listen to no one else. You had commanded that they listen to me as they listened to the First Manager.” The god of the Iranians was mollified, “Since you say so, it must be true because I speak to the people through your voice.” Khamenei, thus reassured by his own voice, continued, ” My Lord, people are questioning these additions and subtractions calling them forgeries on the part of the Managers since the First Manager.” What are you doing about it, asked the god. “We hang the people who raise these questions and thus commit Moharabe, a war against you and become Baghi, waging war against me.” “I am compassionate,” said god. “I hope you use a slippery, well-oiled noose.” “Yes, my lord, we use olive oil, though it is becoming difficult to import it as we have your enemies to contend with, not only within Iran but across the seas too. Since the number of hangings is large, we cannot spare this oil for the kitchens and people are protesting against that minor inconvenience too.” Let them, said the god. The comfort of those to be executed is more important.

The invisible god of the Ukrainians must have addressed the Patriarch in his shimmering robes because the corpulent Manager made a bow and spoke his god’s words. “Yes, Kirill, what bothers you?” “My Lord, the Ukrainians have reacted unjustly to the just war blessed by me on your behalf. They say they do not recognise me as your Manager and my house as your house.” That is blasphemy, said the god. What are you doing about it? “We have bombed the houses that they have falsely declared as your houses in Ukraine. We have bombed their own houses also as punishment for the falsehood. I dutifully bless each plane and missile as it heads west.” The god was pleased but cautioned, “I am compassionate. Give them an opportunity to confess and repent. Drop sufficient leaflets with each bomb conveying my offer to forgive their sins if they repent and make compensatory contribution to my house in Moscow.” The last part of god’s message in Kirill’s voice was very pleasing to Kirill.

It was the turn of the god of the Taliban speaking through Hibatullah Akhundzada’s voice. The Talib made a bow and said, “My Lord, you had commanded that we, your ardent followers, break away from the ancient civilization of India and form Pakistan, where you rule through us. Yet, the Pakistani leaders no more recognise you. They arrest your people when we burn the houses of worship of those who are not your people. We bring their young daughters in submission to you and the rulers take them back to their parents who are not of your flock. Horror of horrors, they once made a woman their Prime MInister. One of our faithfuls separated her soul from the body thus cleansing her of the sin and they arrested him for committing this pious act. The story is the same in Afghanistan; we have Taliban on both sides trying to establish your lists but we are being bombed.” The god was bored listening to this long lament. “Sufferring in my cause is part of the list. Keep up the good work.”

Gods do get tired after hard work and that is why we do not work on Sundays. Each god blessed his Manager that he may win in his fights against the list-deniers and against Managers of other gods. Since these fights are eternal and never-ending, the gods promised to meet at least once every year at the triangular table.

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