By Anupriya Kumar

As a consequence of a bureaucratic oversight at the pearly gates, philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand successfully gained entry to heaven after death. She returned to Earth for a brief visit and was sighted by the interviewer, a self-proclaimed fan of Rand’s works and her philosophy. The deceased author agreed to a chat after being assured the exercise was purely an act of rational self-interest, entirely devoid of any wicked altruistic agenda. Excerpts:

Ayn RandIt’s an honour to sit right across you and hear you speak in person. Your books and your philosophy establish you as one the foremost intellectuals of the 20th century…
I am glad you could see the glaringly evident – something that everybody else has decided not to see.

But I am hardly your only admirer – your followers are spread in every corner of the world
In the mortal world, yes. In the afterworld, not quite.

No takers for your Objectivist philosophy?
They are all unforgivably helpful to each other here, serving each other without any regard to self-interest.

Do you participate in these community activities?
As a measure of last resort. Upon my arrival I tried to convince the authorities to let me sit out these slavish responsibilities, even offering to pay my way through. Learned they aren’t wild about bribery here.

The ONE thing for which the government could be counted on
Vexes me no end.

So how do you contribute?
I teach Objectivism.

I imagine your classes must be popular
Had two students last year.

One of them pleaded for transfer to another class, any class.

You said there were two
Got hold of a knife and plunged it through where his heart must have been, twisting it, hoping to put an end to his life.

When he was already dead
Death is no cure to irrationality or lack of common sense.

But tell me, do you still hold the belief that it isn’t natural or right for a woman to want to be president? You had a dim view of that kind of desire in women.
Death, if anything, has redoubled my conviction that a woman’s natural behaviour and predisposition render her unsuitable for certain roles of leadership. It is a dreadful act of self-harm, particularly if the position she covets and lands is that of the commander-in-chief.

How so?
I was made president of heaven for a day.

They made it personal then. Awful. How did you cope?
I went about ordering men of matchless ability and character to do odd jobs such as fixing broken cords of harps and driving undeserving people such as Lincoln and Gandhi out of heaven.

Did that affect you psychologically, all that bossing around men?
I was reduced to an incoherent mess, mumbling statements that had no basis in logic and was full of ill-conceived theories, circular reasoning, non sequiturs and few real-life examples.

That’s not like you at all
I even…

Don’t leave me hanging
Considered helping an old hag, without expecting anything in return.

But suppressed the urge just in time.

A year of narrow shaves then. America had a female candidate running for president last year
We did indeed fall that low.

She didn’t win
Better sense prevailed.

Time’s running out. Thank you for talking to me.  I’m going to do all it takes to keep your philosophy relevant on Earth
Thank you. Are you married?

Not yet
Find your hero soon, get on with the worshipping, and become an instrument of your husband’s selfish enjoyment.

There’s little else I dream of
Capital, capital.


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