That smile, those eyes unnatural they are always so the camera lenses never lies, for never the truth it knows, inspite of demonic thrusts of its claws, sunken in silk fabric of masks and social skin Dark circles, asymmetric peace by piece, those pieces no edit shall ever join, joining requires a touch like dipping a finger to ripple, to break that perfect still Of liquid reflection, reflection's all we are for inside us none photogenic resides those primal beasts fears, lust, greed and envy, primal intensity phalanxes of virtue falls yet that smile, still there it is those eyes stay on, the camera never lies, never knows that lies its truth.
Right now, he is sitting on the cold, gray, stone floor. His head is buried in his hands, all resting on his knees. He has been like this all day. Today has been colder than usual. The sky has been overcast and it has been drizzling all day. Sometimes a strong wind is rising, causing the sole hanging bulb in the cell to oscillate from a thin metal rod that was supposed to keep it fixed. The metal holder, now loose from the wall, rubs against the bolts, making a creaking noise; inducing a sort of hallucinatory ambience. The bulb is neither bright nor dim. Such lights are that way. He hasn't written on the walls for almost twenty-four hours now. But twenty-four hours ago he had been writing. Had been writing two lines by Marcus Aurelius, "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth".
" Am I conscious of an emotion, so is my consciousness about something, which is itself already about something? " - S. Blackmore.
" Before we proceed with the modus operandi, we make little digression, trying to provide an outline as to where our plan fits in the fabric of things, north-face please go on", with those words, south-face , Einführer for the day, concluded. North-face began, "The cloud hosting the entire grid does not hold the master storage. Just the local, virtual storage which is transient, and in all probability, in crudest of terms, a decoy. Though it is common knowledge to us that the main storage units lie in some facility off shore, we don't know the location of the place, no one does. These local storage units, strictly speaking, don't really store anything. They're just nodes, or temporary stops shall we say, in the relay networks. These networks, constant relay networks as they're called, keep the signals in constant transit, stopping only for predetermined times at the nodes. We are yet to discover what they stop for, but that is probably our most obvious opportunity. The personal downloading stations, all have grade - 5 encryptions. These encryptions are impossible to hack because they use dna sequences as unique identities. The data of these sequences is also stored offshore, if at all. If at all because storage may not be in Unicius's grid at all. It can be a separate grid without online accessibility from this grid. The access maybe of some offline nature. This constant transit also provides more security, for location can never be determined and thus can't be hacked. As we know all downloading stations have personal accounts of citizens for the purpose of their downloading activities. The encryptions on these range from grade 1-4, with 4 being available only to the elite. These aren't dna sequences and hacking is possible. Now for downloading purposes, we all have as you know, nine existons, which are our downloading plugs one might say. Nine existons, nine lives. Most people get by with only one, but have eight to spare. Existons are sensitive to em wave bursts and get destroyed by such bursts. Destruction means death and subsequent activation of a second one, thus back to life. The ninth destruction will be permanent death. Non - fatal damage to existons may create problems, but otherwise mental diseases are unheard of. The downloads are wireless, unique vacuum states being used. As to the networks themselves, not all pathways are simultaneously used. Some are reserved to meet failure protocols, substitutes in case an active pathway fails. The constant transit feature also holds another key aspect. It ensures learning and adaptations to changes in the world, of whatever nature those changes may be. The nodes ensure this, such are our speculations, evidence yet to be acquired. That's about it as far as the outline goes. Now we come to the plan", with this north-face stopped to take a moment. (TO BE CONTINUED)
'Viruses, while sustaining their kind through replication, follow either the lytic cycle or the lysogenic cycle. The lysogenic viruses lie dormant for long periods of time, their active state being triggered only by certain conditions. Once active, they too enter the lytic cycle. Such is the inevitability of a virus, to become a virus.'
" Does it? It is understandable that epiphenomenalism did light the first spark, but is it really the basis of Unicius? Was it not the inevitability of perception that led to such nature of questioning and thus, just as inevitable the creation of Unicius? ". — Unicius
" But if so, then you are implying that inevitability follows a chain reaction. Existentialism is then, merely a fascinating point. Dualism too, as it was first understood, has now evolved. But the same cannot be said of the Dualists. They find it hard to let go that the mind and the brain are two separate coins instead of two sides of the same one. The bundle theories get more preference over the ego theories not because they explain more, but that perhaps they raise less questions. " — Syneidos
East-face was tired and had been sleeping all this time. West - face pulled up the windows. It was raining. They had arrived.
'Aufsässig Bewusstsein'. These two words are never seen together anywhere. Not on the streets, in the shops, not projected on glass buildings, not even on people's t-shirts. Yes, t-shirts still exist. Cotton is extinct. Nano-linked polymers have come to save the day. Softer, stronger and more comfortable. But expensive, more so than one's usual clothing. But no, those two words are not seen together anywhere. Anywhere except pieces of paper laminated and stuck everywhere in the inner area of the Selbst Gründung. Die Selbst Gründung was the only pillar standing beyond the influence of the Unicius.
"I hope we're not intruding", west-face said, as he entered the conference room. Everyone else was already there. They ( including west-face and east-face) were the Selbst-Verwaltet. No single leader must have say over the precedings — was what the Selbst Gründung was founded upon. So top-dogs would be no different. A one-headed Hydra was not a Hydra. In Selbst Gründung every organism ( they hesitated to call themselves humans, souls and avoided most other terms that touched upon any aspect of consciousness) believed in emotions, the manifestation of harmony between the individual and the collective, in all spheres of life even including relations between the two sexes. Jung once wrote , " In both its positive and negative aspects, the anima/animus relationship is emotional and hence collective". For emotion can never reach absolute zero, just as man can never be purely apolitical, but we have reached a space-time where polity, though always so intertwined with existence, has now been accepted as is, and has no individual relevance and is thus, never referred to separately. (To be continued)
It so often happened — that he would stand for hours at an end. The bluish gray walls ensured that the light that came through the single iron-barred window in the room, never quite reached him in its real colour. As it caressed his skin, he felt the contamination of a blend of the disdainful, technocratic world. It gave him even more reason to remain inside that room—fuelling his mental derailment, almost pushed to borders of blurring Neo-Luddism. The room was dry, yet had a damp feeling that often kept him awake at night. He would just stand and write on the walls all night long. Would keep writing only one single line by Edgar Allan Poe. “Believe nothing that you hear and only one half that you see.” You could hardly see the real color of the walls anymore. Nor the color of his eyes. It was as if he no longer resided in his own body. Or as if each time he wrote one line, he had been actually putting a part of himself on those walls.
"Tell me. How would you define consciousness? Would you call it a general awareness of the fact that you know you exist? You being here and now is by all means tangible is it not? You knowing that, is that consciousness? If that is the case, any being that knows that it exists must be conscious and thus any being not aware of this perhaps due to a psychological condition, is not conscious? Take dissociative identity disorder for example. Two or more personality states exist in a person who is suffering from this disorder. The switching between personalities in the individual will cause a discontinuity in consciousness. Now the question is whether all the personality states share the same consciousness or are they different. If they are different, the individual (being) has more than one consciousness, for all his personality states believe they exist. If all the states share only one consciousness, then it may be concluded that as long as there is one brain, there is only one consciousness. This conclusion now brings the question as to how consciousness arises from a mass of tissue such as the brain, since physically speaking consciousness is quite intangible. Now, along these lines of thinking, man has tried to make things easier by putting forward the theory of epiphenomenalism. This theory states that consciousness by itself does not stand to be anything distinct from a conscious being’s activities requiring cognition, like learning, analysing, memory, observation and sensory perceptions mainly. In this sense, it is just a by product.
It is this view of consciousness that paved the way for the existence of Unicius." - Syneidos
“How long do you think we can keep this up?”. It wasn’t really a question. That, west-face knew very well. He often thought the same thing, most often, as a form of self warning; that they had set in motion, something that had very well gone beyond their control. Sometimes he thought their leap of faith had probably left out the ‘faith’ part entirely. At other times, he just smoked a cigarette. But nevertheless, he never quite managed to put himself at ease. Suddenly he remembered something by Jung,
“The conscious mind is always in danger of becoming one-sided, of keeping to well-worn paths and getting stuck in blind alleys.The complementary and compensating functions of the unconscious ensures that these dangers, which are especially great in neurosis, can in some measure be avoided”,
Both the cat and the mouse were growing weary now. Probably not long before their last waking went by. Hmmm, last waking eh? He could almost feel the bitter taste of the strong, stale coffee he had every night, bitter yet nostalgic. So much had happened. Maybe he took the word “unconscious” in the wrong sense. East-face would probably say it meant getting knocked out cold. Yeah, he was neurotic alright, he smiled to himself thinking. Had he done enough? Had he lived his life enough? Did he have regrets? Probably not. Atleast not yet. They had arrived. As soon as the car stopped, east-face said, “Don’t get down. I’ll finish up and come back” Probably better that way. No point in leaving the car unguarded. It had all their stuff. The important ones. Besides east-face had the gun. Weird that someone not otherwise into poetry at all (for that matter literature at all) should carry a gun named ‘Verse’, V being capital. Maybe he thought it sounded cool. That’d be just like him.
“Why don’t you tell us one of your favorites professor”, one of the students chirped enthusiastically. “These things came to pass, they say, that Jesus might be made the first sacrifice in the discrimination of composite natures”, the professor delivered, with something like a smile, yet not quite a smile.
Something parallel, infinitesimally close, yet not quite coinciding.
“It is by Hippolytus, a second century theologian.”
“Why this one?”, someone asked
“Don’t know. Just stayed with me I suppose”. The bell rang. Class was over. The professor no longer had that on his face, that curious expression. Hippolytus had been a curious man…..
It was not before a few minutes had passed waiting purposely in the hallway, that east-face knocked on the door. He wanted sometime to get ready. The last times always needed it. He heard a ‘come in’ and entered. “It has been a while professor” “So it has east-face. How’s west-face doing?” “Oh he’s alright. His usual pensive self. How are you professor?” “These things came to pass, they say, that Jesus might be made the first sacrifice in the discrimination of composite natures. Time to play the first sacrifice my friend. It has been a pleasure working with you two” “It has been an honor sir”, with this east-face took a deep breath, handed the gun to the professor, and left. This time there was no waking up again. He’d sleep for good. It is indeed sad that such a genius had to die so that humanity could survive. Ironically the only way they could survive, was if they could die. He did hear the shot even though he had walked quite far. The cameras would pick it up. There would be people rushing. He’d have to get out fast. (TO BE CONTINUED)
It has been raining for quite a while now. The rain drops are beating against the window panes. Their clattering on the rooftops can be heard too, now that the streets have gone silent. It is raining quite hard. A man is sitting in an arm-chair near the window. His eyes are fixed on the window; lost thought in perhaps, but his hands keep moving efficiently, almost as if it has life of its own. It keeps holding up the coffee cup to his lips at intervals of mathematical precision. His lips too, sip almost identical amounts each time. One would think some unearthly mechanics at play. Suddenly the click of keys followed by the unlocking of a door is heard. A few moments later, a man enters the room. He has already taken off his coat and hat before entering the room. Now he sets his attention to the fire, putting in a few small wood pieces to keep it going. He then looks at the arm-chair; looks carefully, even with some caution perhaps. Then he heaves a sigh, walks upto the arm-chair in a matter of fact manner and lifts the body out of the chair; carefully setting it on the ground beside the chair, before taking the seat himself. On the ground the puppet lay absolutely still, no signs of the life it had been portraying not minutes ago. The coffee cup was on the table, empty. The man now poured some cold coffee into it and started taking sips. Sips of mathematical precision.
It seems today the hunters were taking a break; or maybe they had lost interest. Either way, today felt peaceful. The puppet had been west-face's idea. Pretty neat he had made it too. They were alike, he and the puppet, except that its life did not come from a beating heart. The man let out a mild, almost inaudible laugh. Did his life come from a beating heart either? Maybe they were more alike than he thought. Taking a cigar out of the case lying on the table nearby, he lit it. After letting out a puff or two, he eased himself on the arm-chair, once again trying to look out through the window. The rooftop of the house on the opposite side of the street came into view. He kept staring at it, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere; thinking of a thousand outcomes of all they done so far and all they were about to do. Wondering about how it'll all end maybe? He took the cigar and shook the ash off in the ash-tray. As put it back in his mouth, his eyes went once again to the rooftop. His eyes immediately grew sharper and all his body went in a state of alert. Though it was hard to make out exactly in the haze created by the rain, a figure was visible on the rooftop. There was no way to figure out much more. All he could tell was that, whoever it was, it was waving and gesturing to someone in this building. Yes, clearly in this building. Maybe to him? It would be more risky if it wasn't him than if it was. He turned off the lights and moved away from the window. His gun was always belted to his waist. He sat down to smoke and wait; just in case.
It was almost dawn when he woke up. He opened his eyes and yawned, stretching out his hands. The cigar end lay stubbed in the ash-tray , though he had no idea when he had finished it, or when he had dozed off. A knock on the door brought back his alertness. He took out his gun from its holster and with creeping footsteps to the door,, he opened it with a slam, holding up his gun, ready to shoot. Standing nonchalantly on the other side of the door, now with a gun held to his head, was west-face. He looked up at the gun and as if it wasn't there, he resumed lighting a cigarette. "Morning", he said. " Yeah morning ", was the reply. West-face entered and helped himself to some coffee. While pouring out another cup, he looked at the other man, who was now making his way to the bathroom. " Hurry up east-face", he shouted. "Be right there", was the reply. ( TO BE CONTINUED)
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Two men are sitting at a table playing cards. The table is on the terrace of a building. Each man is drawing and putting cards on the table by turn. They are sitting in east-west orientation facing each other. It is just dawn. The light is still dim and fragmented, drilling holes through the dark setting to reach the earth. A light breeze has been blowing all this time. The cards have remained unhinged so far. Suddenly, it blows a little strongly. The east-face , it being his turn, throws a card on the table. But the breeze causes the card to spin on one of its corners for sometime. As the card spins, its two faces momentarily blur out. The leaves in the trees also dance to this breeze, twisting and turning in curious patterns. As the card finally falls, coming to a dead stop, the leaves follow suit. All goes still, a brief moment of vacuum; the two men are silent, looking at the card with concealed uneasiness. The card has fallen face up, a joker. East-face asks, "It's dawn, shall we have some tea then?", " Yes, let's have some", "We've been at it for too long anyway." "Yes, it has been a week now." "That long eh?", " Yes, that long." They sit and drink tea together, in absolute silence. After they finish, west-face clears out the cups and resumes his seat. He says, " Well, it has been tiring. I want some rest now. Go on ahead. " "Okay then.", east-face replies. He then takes out a gun and shoots west-face through the head. The shot is not heard. The leaves are still. The man's head just tilts back with a slight jolt and stays there. His eyes are wide open, looking up at the partly-woken sky. (TO BE CONTINUED)
ABSENCE The leaves flutter, submitting to the mood swings of the wind. An old man is sitting on a black wooden bench, just beneath the fluttering, brown leaves.He sits quietly, head drooping, chin on his chest and black wooden stick in hand, waiting.The earth around the bench is still visible, the rest having surrendered to the white cloak left by the morning blizzard. The old man looks at his watch, heaves a sigh and stands up to leave.As he slowly takes his steps forward, a gust of wind rises in protest, only to wane immediately. A brown leaf is blown off one of the branches and lands where the old man had been sitting. The old man, as if by hunch, looks back.He smiles.He turns and keeps walking. Yes, he must do it.He looks at his watch.He had always worn it on his left wrist.Thank God he did. He keeps walking, steps more sure-footed than ever before. He'll visit the hospital today.He'll get his prosthetic right arm today.He has no more hesitation.The absence of his right arm has haunted him all this time.Nothing worked.Until that leaf.That leaf which changed the meaning of absence in his life forever.
THE LONE PLANCHET Ruhi always found it hard to fit in.Her excessive liking of the supernatural gave her an almost inhuman aura, so humans generally avoided her.Hours would often go by, as she'd sit inside her room, lights off and candle on the table, trying her hand at planchet. She had tried calling a whole bunch of different people but noone ever came down.Heaven was a busy place.Busier than earth.For sometime she just let it all go and tried to live a normal life, normal as a seventeen year old schoolgoer would find it.But it wasn't meant to be.The strings of Fate pulled at her, like some conspiring puppeteer. An idea struck her one day, as she was on her way home, back from school. She decided to not be hasty and searched the internet to see, whether anyone had ever tried it.It seemed there weren't atleast any records of such a thing.She was hesitant, not knowing what would happen. What's the worst that could happen? She'd probably die.It's not like she enjoyed living so it wouldn't really matter. She had to do it.She wouldn't be able to hold back for very long anyway.She decided to go with it. She got all the required paraphernalia. Not much was needed.The usual table, marker, candle and the only new addition was a mirror.She laid everything out on the table, the mirror directly opposite to her.Then she began.It was half an hour perhaps, after which she decided to give up.She felt defeated and intensely frustrated.It didn't work.After all this preparation, it didn't bloody work!She needed some air.Downstairs was better.Her room had simply become intolerable now. But opening the door to go out, she was taken aback.The door just opened to reveal another identical door.She just stood there not knowing what to make of it.She tried opening again, but with the same result. She was bewildered beyond expression. The second shock came when she looked at the table, turning back in dejection.She was there. She was there in the reflection in the mirror, lying lifeless. She was struck by realisation. Realisation, that her soul had been trapped in the mirror's reflection. The realisation was too much for her.She fell to the floor. Her body now lay identical on both sides.Her idea had succeeded.Unfortunately it would never be known to the world.
Me:Hello there!How are you doing man? K:Great! Just took two down! Me:Two? K:Yeah, you know.Payback stuff. Me:Oh acha.So, how do you go about that? What is your work like? K:Well, I've got this live feed Me:Excuse me?Live feed? K:Yes idiot, live feed.Who do you think I am? Homer with a pen trying to write Odyssey? Me:I'm sorry. Please go on. K:Yeah, so I have a live feed on everyone's daily activities and I've got sensors that track whether these activities are going beyond a threshold level. Me:So basically you've got Google? Awkward silence K:Whatever! Same thing! Anyway, so you do bad shit beyond a limit, I take you down at a specific time. Me:But I see many people getting away with it.How does that happen? K:Sometimes I do it for fun.Other times it's malware. Me:You have malware in your live feed? K:Hell yes! I'm Karma idiot! Everyone hates me for god's sake! Me:I get it now.You seem to have a great job you know. Bust people. Free internet. K:Are you joking kid? Me:No! Why? What's wrong? K:No girlfriend.No fixed working hours.No overtime pay! Bloody hell! Me:How do you get paid by the way? K:Well there's food and.... Mostly food. Me:What about money? Or maybe some luxury? K:You really don't get it do you kid? I make a living sending people to misery.The only way I save my own ass, is by having this job. Me:So karma doesn't face karma, but in return he works for eternity without pay? K: Yes, that's exactly right. Me: I'm sorry man, but you really should google yourself sometime and see what karma really means. K:I tried kid I tried, but the damned malware always gets in the way! Me:That's karma.
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FEAR Do you know what you are?Do you? Do you know what you could be? Do you know what I could be? The brain.You haunt it do you not? You are beyond mortality are you not? But what if there wasn't a brain to begin with?What would you do then? Your clouds cover rationalism.But what if there was vacuum? Your clouds would be lonely wouldn't they? Do you see? Do you see where I'm getting at with this? You don't do you? Yes.Yes.Do you feel it? Ofcourse you don't.Fear cannot feel fear.What are you feeling then? Can you explain it? Can you express it? How is it to feel yourself yet not feel yourself? Come.Come play a game of chess with me.Come feel a game of chess with me.Black and white.Nothing else.A dark room.Lights on the board. I cannot see you.You cannot see me.All we see are the moves.Moves you make on the board. What will you do? Will you leave? But it's tempting isn't it? Tempting to stay and play.Play till the dawn of finality. I hold that explanation, that expression.Come and take it.It is yours if you win.If you lose, you're mine.I welcome you Fear to play by your own rules.But remember. You are the stake and you are the ransom.
It was Sunday morning. As he sweeped the remains of the broken bhaar on the storeroom floor, Bibhu smiled to himself. He had found peace anew. He had obtained what he had been seeking so desperately. Manoj had unknowingly given it to him. His explanation. He had gotten his explanation! He had stayed up all night, his eyes often lingering over the broken halves of the bhaar; constantly shuffling everything that had happened to him till Saturday evening. He had begun to doze off, when the revelation struck him like thunder. Today Bibhu was whole again. He felt refreshed. He had already cleaned the teapot, the milk can and everything else. He stepped out of the office and made his way to the roadside dumpster to throw the broken bhaar along with all the other garbage. He saw Manoj approaching him, calling out, "Pota Da! O Pota Da! Chawlo! Dokan khulbe toh! (Let's go! Won't you open the tea stall! ). Bibhu smiled and answered, " Nishchoi khulbo! (Ofcourse I will)." Pota Da had been a tour guide for a longtime. He and Manoj were colleagues and Manoj his only friend. They ran a tea stall together on weekends and barring office hours on weekdays. They often drank tea together. Manoj would often say, "Pota Da, it surprises me sometimes how much you know about me, even though we get to chat properly only about once a week." As Manoj returned towards the stall with all the ware, he lit a beedi. He had been taken by surprise a while ago. Pota Da had suddenly asked him if he knew anyone called Bibhu. Manoj had replied that he didn't. On hearing this Pota Da had said neither did he. What's that mean anyway? Oh well, Pota Da was growing old. Perhaps a wee bit crazy too! Manoj laughed to himself as he made his way towards the tea stall.
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He tried to lift his cup to his lips. His throat felt dry. He couldn't move his right hand. What the hell was happening?? His head felt dizzy. He tried to move, failed. He tried once more. Still nothing. He took a deep breath. Tried to calm himself as much as he could. Then, with one powerful jerk, lifted his right hand. The tea splashed over his face. It was still warm. He jumped out of the chair and all was still. As if Time had stopped. He slowly stood up straight, forcing response out of each muscle. He stood for a while. Time had started moving again. He felt a sudden urge to go look for Pota Da. The rush of the urge proved too much for him. He took the keys and ran out. He first went to the stall. It was still closed. He kept going. Took the first left at the crossing after the stall. He was now running. Running past a few streets, he stopped infront of a narrow lane. At the other end, he could see a tea-stall. He ran towards it. Nearly tripped and fell once, the fading light of the street lamps not helping, but he kept running. In an attempt to stop him, the lane seemed to be extending just enough to keep him right in the middle. When he finally reached the stall, he was out of breath. He had to spend sometime bent, his hands supported on his knees, before he could look up at the owner. Pota Da!! He couldn't believe his eyes! Pota Da! He thundered, " Kon chuloye chiley etodin?? (Where the hell were you all this time!), aar ekhane ki korcho? (what're you doing here?)." With the very familiar smile, Pota Da said, "O Bibhu, it is you. Come, have a seat. You'll have tea yes?", " Ofcourse I will! Bloody hell I've been dying to have it! Give me a bhaar full! " While Pota Da was making tea, Bibhu rested himself in the chair he had taken seat in. The hands of the chair felt oddly familiar. He looked closely. It was his chair! His storeroom chair! How did it.... What.... Pota Da? Pota Da! This chair! Where'd you....Pota da? Once again Pota Da was nowhere to be found. A bhaar full of tea steamed on the wooden board that served as a counter. Bibhu looked at the chair. No doubt about it. It was his chair. He looked at the steaming tea. He had started off because he wanted to have that tea. The things he had found instead left more than he asked for. But now he was tired. Too tired to seek explanation. He must have some tea. Wearily, he took the bhaar and dropped down on the chair. He took a sip. It didn't taste like Pota Da's tea. It tasted like the one he had made for himself earlier that evening. He didn't care. He drank anyway.
Fridays were somewhat busy for Bibhu. He was in charge of cleaning the entire ground floor of the office along with Manoj.Manoj was the office attendant. He was, in some sense a caretaker of the whole place.He was also Bibhu's friend, the only one.From the very beginning something had clicked between them.Maybe because they both were alone in the world.This would be the only time in the entire week, that they managed to have a nice long chat, a full four hours as they cleaned and closed the office for the week.They'd each share their experiences over the entire week.Manoj often confided in Bibhu. He had once said, "Bibhu Da, it surprises me sometimes how much you know about me even though we chat only once a week" to which Bibhu had sighed, "Aar ki korbo bhaya (what to do brother), I'm always running around thanks to my work", " Kolkata bhalo chenar jala! (the pain of knowing Kolkata well!) " Manoj would retort and they'd have a laugh together. This is how Bibhu's duties for the day would end. On fridays Bibhu would often spend his time contemplating and drinking tea late into the night. Saturdays, though working days for him, were much more relaxed. Just after closing down the office, he had once again gone out to get some tea. But the stall was still closed, Pota Da nowhere in sight. Where the bloody hell did the man go he wondered. It's bloody odd that he'd close down and run off during such peak business hours. Some emergency maybe? Well today he'd have to make his tea, thought Bibhu as he made his way back to the office. It was after having made himself tea and sitting with it on his wooden chair, that he noticed. A small scar on his left hand, just below the wrist. It did not look fresh. That's odd. He didn't remember getting injured recently. In fact when he washed his hands after cleaning today, he was fairly certain it wasn't there. He did not pay much heed. He took out a bandaid and covered it. Then stretched out on the chair and started thinking. It has been quite a while since he made his own tea. Pota Da makes such great tea, it has become a habit now. Aah, what flavor! How could he possibly live without this tea? It tastes so much like... So much like? Like Pota Da's! Wow! Looks like he's improved! There was a time when he did not even know how to make tea. Things really change don't they? Like when he was a kid. He'd.... he'd what? He can't remember. He can't remember his childhood at all! Who he was, who his family were, where he lived nothing! It's odd! Before this very moment, he never bothered trying to remember these things. But now that he did, he could remember nothing! His ears felt hot. He needed more tea. Pota Da's tea. Somehow his tea wasn't good enough. Something was missing.
Bibhu felt tired. His ears felt hot. He touched one of them. Indeed it was warm. About a quarter of an hour ago he was feeling something else. Confusion. Pure, intoxicating, infuriating confusion.His brain had been going back and forth, until it had worn out. He needed some tea. But, for the last three days Pota Da was nowhere to be found. As if he'd disappeared into thin air, or worse, as if he never was.The tea stall owner had disappeared right after Bibhu's first episode. Or was it later? Or before maybe? Bibhu couldn't tell. His mind was blurry. It had been, for the last three days. Suddenly Bibhu missed his life. His life from three days earlier, before it started.
Bibhu was never very ambitious. He expected little and usually got even less. But this disparity did little to bother him. He was just another nobody, who had, by the curious turn of Fate, failed to sustain his simplicity. Bibhu knew Kolkata rather well. This had gotten him a job as a city tour guide. His working season lasted only for about the three winter months of Kolkata, so the rest of the year, he earned his bread by doing odd jobs for his company. In this company of his, everything was for hire if you could shell out the cash. Some of the odd-jobs he did were indeed quite odd. One job had taken him to the hippy-para behind the New Market area to recover payment for a packet he was delivering, the contents of which he knew nothing about. Turned out his company had forgotten to mention they carried guns. But the fact that he had recovered the payment anyway, had earned him high praise. Before that he did not really have a proper shelter. Now he could sleep in the storeroom on the ground floor. It even had some furniture. Bibhu was satisfied with this life. He didn't care about things like rights and riots, equality and equity. Maybe because he didn't understand them. But even if he did, what difference would it make. He didn't freeload. He ate what he earned. Never pinched anyone. Why should he feel concerned or threatened by societal perturbations. But he often wondered what would happen if he did care. He'd probably end up like some of the people he knew, tirelessly in pursuit, but not having the least idea what it was they were pursuing. This is what he did every night. He sat on the only wooden chair in the storeroom and quietly thought away. Quietly thought away, until his heated brain lulled him to sleep. The next day would find him in his usual routine, starting with cleaning the office and then going off. But right now, he had all his time to himself. He could sit and contemplate all he liked. It was during one such contemplation, that the first wave hit him.
THE BOTTLE Akhil sat still in horror and amazement.Just a while ago, he didn't know what to feel.His brain had gone into a hibernation of sorts.His friends lay dead before him.Their bodies all white and shrivelled up, lying in a stillness that could only be conjured by Nature.It was as if dying hadn't been enough. Someone had wanted to drain their existence, until nothing was left, but shed skin.Akhil smiled, his eyes protruding out in psychopathic menace, very similar to that of the man, who had sold him the bottle of packaged drinking water.It had been Rajat, who had spotted the stall.He had been enjoying the view with his binoculars. The question of thirst had persisted for sometime.All of them were rather shocked to see a water stall in this middle of nowhere. The man had handed him the bottle with one hand and taken the thirty rupees with another. There had been no botherance from either party to make conversation.But his smile.Akhil could not forget his smile for quite sometime after that.Akhil had been the only one who hadn't drunk any.Once settled inside the cottage, he had gone outside looking for firewood. He had even found some. All that greeted him upon return were the shrivelled, dried up corpses of his three friends. He had been sitting in one corner of the floor ever since. It was almost dark now.He finally got up.There was no question of connectivity, so he didn't bother to call anyone. He dragged the bodies one by one out in the back of the cottage and left them there.Everything would have to wait until morning.Though staying awake most of the night, Akhil had fallen asleep in the last hours of darkness.His was woken by the light from the opposite window falling on his face.He'd have to try and contact the police now.Maybe even walk a few miles before finding anyone for that matter. Before leaving, he head out to the back.His first shock awaited him.The bodies were gone.Suddenly he was afraid.He froze for sometime before running out to the front of the cottage. Here the second shock awaited him.Once he saw it, he could not keep to his feet.He saw his three friends, all alive standing in a half-circle with sullen, teary-eyed faces.But that wasn't the element of shock.The thing infront of them was.It was Akhil's dead body, white, shrivelled up, shed skin as if someone had drained it's existence. Or washed it off.Washed it off? Why did he suddenly think of this? He didn't know what to think anymore. He couldn't even get up on his feet.He wanted to get up and walk up to his friends, who had, by now, lifted the body inside the car and were preparing to leave.He fell back to the ground as fast as he had gotten up from it.On the opposite side of the road, standing under a tree, someone was waving at him.It was that man from the stall.He still had that smile. That psychopathic, menacing smile.
neuralnomad@ridssvizzera very well said. But computers already existed? AI too? Science is part discovery and part invention. So is writing. Science is limited in some ways yes. Writing in those same ways is not, that is true. But writing has limitations too. The greatest one being language itself. And laws? Yes in writing we don't have to prove theories for them to become laws. But that's because writing as in the writing we're discussing about, and all art for that matter, doesn't have the responsibility to lay existential foundations. Writing is always approximate. More than we'd like in fact. No language on earth can exactly convey how exactly I felt about the sun, when I wrote a poem about the sun. And peace? Writing does not always let one find peace. It is for some a compulsion, and for some the reason for unpeace for that matter, the reason many a times being, dissatisfaction with their work and hunger to reach a higher quality
neuralnomad@ridssvizzera I'm not really saying that both are the same. But if you think about it, they're much less different than we usually take them to be. Writing too is not always very creative. Both of them have required bold imagination to move forward throughout history.
neuralnomad@ridssvizzera intellectual? Now you're just teasing me. I'm actually really happy that we talked about such things. Meaningful conversation is really hard to get these days. I'm just glad you initially disagreed with me. Would've been boring otherwise. And thanks again for your continued support too. Yes perspective does indeed hold great power as you stated.
neuralnomad@ridssvizzera I think it's good that you think for yourself and try some assessment instead of just blindly agreeing with everything. As René Descartes once stated 'Cogito ergo sum', 'I think therefore I am' And yes someday. In the meantime more interesting stuff coming up. :-)
September 4, 2018 It has been almost two years now, since the war ended. Well, sort of.As is inevitable, once a war, where everything is taken apart ends, another one begins. This one, to put things back together. But the way I see it, a decade or so may go by before a relatable picture is put back on stand.The war is no more, but the hatred still exists.Occasional persecution and executions remain.My current hideout is known only to me and my brother Angshu.They have not been able to find me.I believe Angshu is still alive, for I am the only one who knows where he is. Our family, our friends are all dead.As it stands, even if alive it is impossible to find them.I have given up all hope of ever seeing them again. All I can do now is survive somehow.
September 6, 2018 Yesterday I was missing a teacher of mine, who had taught me english back in secondary school.A kind, old man of about.....
September 7, 2018 Yesterday I brushed with death once again.It has been a long time since something like this happened. I was just about to write about my english teacher, when I heard a thud.Suddenly all my muscles tightened, ready to respond. As I opened the door, a man tried to enter the room.He was one of them! I banged the door on his hand.He let out a scream and withdrew.I shut and bolted the door.It was a close call.Though I had weapons ready, I didn't want to use them unless necessary.
September 9, 2018 The last two days have been a tormenting nightmare. They just keep coming. It seems they've found out the secret of this hideout after all.This translates to the fact that my brother is dead.So, I have no one left.The only thing I can do now is take the secret to my grave.Yes, that's the only way.No one must know.No one.I hope future generations get a world where they can find it easier to live in, than to die. This is my last entry in the diary. Ratul Sinha committed suicide in his room on September 9, 2018 at around 11 am in the morning. He was suffering from paranoic schizophrenia for the last two years, living constantly in an imaginary, post-apocalyptic world.He hadn't come out of his room for the last ten days, his condition deteriorating everyday.He trusted only his brother, who has been dead for five years now.A curious thing was the mirror in his room. It had been covered with photographs from a family album.It seems he did not wish to see himself any longer for reflective, shiny objects if any, had been removed. The only exception had been a small hand-made, metal figurine.It seemed like the figurine of a soldier.