The Fragrance City by San Lin Tun

An experimental narrative from Myanmar


A city is emitting fragrance without a reason — such a sweet, soothing smell! People living in this city behave like bees. They go hurriedly, work fast, eat quickly, sleep less, do not gamble, quarrel less, and laugh a lot. The city is very beautiful and splendid. It has spacious parks, tall trees, perfect housing, clean air and is plastic free. The residents enjoy their lives to the fullest. Children can play happily at all times and everywhere lost in wonder — as if they were in a perpetual Disneyland. Peace and harmony reigns supreme. The city is charming and stately. Even big cities like Paris, New York, Venice, Sidney or Tokyo cannot compete in beauty and grandeur to the fragrant city.

The residents are very hardworking, energetic, and ambitious. Also, they do not much care about any politics, even, social, and economic matters. They are only focused on attaining satisfaction in life. They tend to do what they think is right — informally and independently. They have no worries over food, cloth, and shelter. They have plenty. The system is very good; there are no hurdles that need to be overcome in everyday life. The long term plans provided by the government are perfect. They welcome any immigrants who come to this city heartily. Food is abundant, people are sweet, and places are nice and fanciful.

They communicate with each other using their special olfactory lingua franca. Only the city dwellers can understand. They just only have to conjure ideas which travel like waves. These waves spread from their brains and touch another person’s skin or any part of the body, they can accept the waves and decipher the meaning. They do not have to exert to make a sentence. They do not have to speak like us or worry about knowing a language. They can communicate with each other easily.

The whole condition favours the system, well-planned and well-conditioned. They have every facility they need for living in this super utopian city. When they meet in the streets, they do not have to follow greeting protocols. There is nothing pretentious in the residents’ mannerisms.

Fragrance is the main source of survival. They just enjoy the beautiful smell which can transform into any utensils, food, clothing or tools in every form and shape the city dwellers imagine or think. Fragrance and brain waves interconnect to facilitate or implement people’s needs. If someone needs a gadget, the brainwave emits the image to the fragrance around him. The thought is given form by the fragrance suspended in the air and thus, the gadget is created. The whole process is phenomenal!

How nice is the city!

The government welcomes every visitor warmly and permits them to live forever in the city. The city has seen the influx of newcomers — new immigrants have been given citizenship without filling forms. And they never want to leave…

The catch is – you have to find it! Visas and passports cannot help entry into this idyllic land.

The only necessity is belief.

Without it, one can neither enter nor locate the city.


San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short story and novel in Myanmar and English. His novel “An English Writer” has come out recently. He lives in Yangon.



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