Nina: Nana, do you think we are related to Genghis Khan?
Nana: Oh no! Now what have you been reading? Do I look anything like Genghis Khan to you?
Nina: I don’t know Nana. Nobody knows what he looked like. He never allowed statues of himself to be erected during his lifetime. I only asked, because scientists have tracked markers in the Y chromosome and discovered that he has over 16 million descendants and most of them are in various Asian populations. That’s a lot Nana. There is an 8% chance you are a descendent you know.
Nana: Wait. Back up. Why didnt’ he want statues of himself? Was he short and ugly? Not that that has stopped any later politicians or conquerers from having their statues made and ugly mugs displayed everywhere. Why couldn’t they learn from him?
Nina: I don’t know Nana. They should, after all he started from scratch and went on to build what eventually became the world’s largest contiguous empire.
Nana: The Mongol empire can’t be the world’s largest empire. Everyone knows that the sun never set on the British empire. That must be the largest one.
Nina: You are quite right Nana, but I said largest contiguous empire. The various parts of the British empire was separated by oceans. The Mongol empire was the second largest empire.
Nana: Hmm. It must have been difficult to manage. It’s not like they had radio or anything for communication.
Nina: No Nana, but they did have G-mail!
Nana: What are you high on Airag? Haha. You’re not the only one who knows stuff about the Big G and his band of Mongols! How would Genghis Khan possibly have internet access? Even you can’t be that stupid.
Nina: I wasn’t talking about Google mail Nana or the internet. Genghis Khan set up the world first empire-wide postal network. It’s called Yam, but I thought it would be appropriate to name it G-mail after the great Khan. Haha!
Nana: Ho ho ho. Great Khan indeed. Did you know that he was responsible for the slaughter of 40 million people?
Nina: Yes Nana. He was ruthless. But he also favoured meritocracy and was relatively tolerant of different religions. As far as conquerors of those times go, he wasn’t too bad. But wait what’s that word you said when you asked me if I was high? I have never heard of it before.
Nana: What? Airag?
Nina: Yes. What’s that?
Nana: Amazing! You’ve been researching Genghis Khan and you don’t know what Airag is? It’s fermented mare’s milk.
Nina: Oh, of course! I read all about it in The Gory Story Of Genhis Khan. It’s what got me interested in Genghis Khan by the way. It’s such a cool book Nana. You should read it.
Nana: Hmmph. I don’t need to read your silly cartoony book to learn about Genghis Khan. I’ve read several serious books on the subject like The Secret History Of The Mongols. Now shoo.
Nina: Okay Nana. But I have just one last question. If you haven’t read the book, then how do you know it’s cartoony?
Nana: Out I say. Out. Now. GO.
Nina: Psst.. Hey reader did you know that Nayanika Mahtani, the author of The Gory Story Of Genghis Khan, contributed to the script of the upcoming movie about Shakuntala Devi, the human computer? I can't wait to see it.
Nana: Psst.. Hey reader. Yeah I read the book by Nayanika Mahtani. Yuherdit Hearfurst, but you’d better not repeat it. Now you too shoo.
This post is a part of the #NinaAndNana series I co-host with Lavanya Srinivasan. Her posts can be found here.