Eau No!

The View from Ballast Key

Long ago in India a Mughal Emperor hankered to change the geographic location of the capital. Delhi was not good enough for him. He chose a destination south and near the famous tomb at Agra better known as the Taj Mahal.

He named his new capital city Fatehpur Sikri.

He thought of every microscopic detail and worked tirelessly with architects. He had visions he wanted executed so as to be remembered for his selflessness in this ode to art, to the Empire. There would be an individual palace for each of his favorite wives, one a Christian, one a Hindu and one a Sikh, though who knows in which order fell the favoritism. Included within the fortress walls was a gigantic dormitory of ornate stone for the multitude of concubines befitting his stature. This massive park of stone and desert plants was filled with opportunities for entertainment, for example, a chessboard in a courtyard large enough whereby human figures (read: servants) would stand in place of chess pieces. The Emperor and his buds calling out moves from silk cushion covered palanquins or the like.

Another novel concept was a pit in front of a giant carved throne and in this pit was expected the benevolence of the townsfolk when they paid tribute. The idea being the pit should overflow with the gratitude from the fortunate masses from any exposure to his roly-poly Magnificence with the urban-planning fixation.

There was a room of stone columns and here the Emperor looked forward to endless rounds of ‘hide and seek’. A favorite game.

He really had thought of everything.

Except for one intractable fact. The water supply at and around this land was not potable. Not by any means and not by any finagling. Unfortunately this was discovered long after the complex was lovingly constructed. A few stubborn years on and the Emperor reluctantly abandoned this exercise in hubris. Darwin’s calculations frozen in motion.