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Some laws are more arbitrary than others. Imagine a world ruled by these laws.

One. All human beings must be numbered
from one to ten billion, no excess permitted.

Two. Those in the first billion must be blonde,
those in the second billion must be brunet,
and so on in accordance with the law.

Three. Those who have committed murder
may eat only green bananas.

Four. No one is allowed to be mad.

Five. Mad people are those
who do not understand these statutes.

Six. Laws are not expected to deal
with fact but only with the law.

Seven. People are permitted to masticate
only food that they swallow.

Eight. Not everyone is expected to eat.

Nine. People who choose not to eat
must not do so in public.

Ten. Special areas must be reserved in towns
for those who wish to die of hunger.

Eleven. Those who write statutes
are allowed to eat ripe bananas.


Madras Courier originally ran as a broadsheet with a poetry section. It was a time when readers felt comfortable sharing glimpses of their lives through verse. If you too have a poem you’d like to submit, do email us at


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