The Agony of The Gone:
When has the world lost its meaning and when has the last poet lived? These are clueless questions which didn’t even babble over the minds of mindless post-humans who led their lives in the aimless refute of LIFE. The past order and harmony has gone. The nature and its love has vexed. The sun has gone merciless and the gases that infuriate him were hovering around the once precious, life-filled planet of this solar system. Man has not become what science has promised he would be. Man has not become what they said when religion was forfeited. The religion, they said, would drive Man crazy and destructive; with useless and fruitless scientific endeavors, they said, they even proved the point scientifically. They said there never lied a world beyond this, they said heaven is but an illusion, they said visions of hell are hallucinations, they said spirituality is a all but a trance people feel when gone CHEMICALLY wrong in the skull. They claimed, wearing white blazers, sitting in comfortable spaces; in heaven-white spaces, artificially cooled, that they could know the secret of the creation and existence. They said the questions of religion are stupidly poetic, but contained no truth in them. They said, the time has come Man to cross the limitations of religion, god and all the STUPID imaginations we’ve lived till then.
They said THE SCIENCE IS THE NEW SAVIOR! And, it failed us!
~~~~ PART 1: The Diamond Hall ~~~~
Under the scorching sun, the legs of the little girl scrambled towards the red brick that was scattered on the either-wise-clean surface. She held the brick with utmost amusement and watched it with intent interest. She pulled her tongue out to the taste the brick, and the moment the brick has touched the tongue, she understood it is not something that can be eaten. She didn’t understand what is that brick about. She looked at the previous place where the brick lay scattered. She saw the clean floor smeared with a red grease. She, slowly, with utmost care, slayed the edge of the brick on the floor and, stroked it. There was a red line. The girls eyes wide opened. She drew another line. And another. In a fits of joy, she threw the brick aside and fell on the three lines, an in an obscure hug, rolled over those meaningless red-lines.
Balzac was his name, the name of an ancient poet of an obscure language. They said a poet was someone who plays with words with a mathematical precision. The definition didn’t seem right, but that’s what they said. Poetry is mathematics of words. Balzac couldn’t agree. Once, he wrote four lines, which sounded like a melody when read out. The ending words were rhyming, the sounding was like the beat he could do with his feet. That sounded something like beautiful to him. He perfected the sounding of the four lines, and he was frightened later and hid it somewhere, where, he too forgot after years. May be that is poetry. And then, that’s certainly forbidden.
Balzac was not from that place. No, not surely from there. He can’t place where he was from, but he and his sister, who finds a brick that can draw, were from a place where there were brown sticks with green bushy things, like, they don’t know what they were, but he knew one thing for sure: those sticks with green hair kind of a bushy thing used to float with air. It used to look very beautiful. But he can’t say if he really saw that or was that his distant dream. Chandana said that was not real. She said such things doesn’t exist. She inquired about the dream. She said she did all the psychological tests on Balzac’s mind, and, he’s suffering with a strange “phenomenon” that gives him those images.
The building is a diamond. The shape is of a diamond. The color is pure white. Dust proof. Sand proof. It shines at night. The future of humanity was discussed there. The chances of survival is debated there. All the greatest brains of science on this planet were huddled there together to create some humanity for the next generations, if there remains something, that is. “Diamond is the strongest of all, Chandana,” says Dr. Jekyll, leaning over his automated wheel machine, with an all-knowing-smile on his face. He is one of those people who run the place with their brains. Dr. Jekyll is an important man. He is around his 70’s; shivering to speak. He likes Chandana. Chandana is 19 years old. She’s dark, sharp and slender in her frame. She’s a future prospect Dr. Jekyll sees. “Ancients, they say, had so many great people from your land, Chandana,” he says, having the evening diet pill. He closes his dying, diluted eyes for a moment, and opens his eyes solemnly, trying to smile. “I am not talking of lands, religion or legacy, don’t get me wrong,” he says, moving along his wheel chair like a smooth snake. “I am talking genetics.”
~~~~ PART 2: The Oracle ~~~~
Balzac stood at the wide glass that stood at as one wall of his room, which exposed him to the wide, wide desert that stretched like an ocean which he saw in pictures that hung in one of the sections of the diamond building, in which he has been living as long as he knew. He walked towards the glass and touched the glass. How does it feel to be outside the glass in the sand. He thought that would be cool and freezing out there, and he is afraid of cold air. Sometimes, his room becomes so cool he would slid under the blankets for hours together. He took the hand off and he wandered over the room. Chandana should be there by then,but she wasn’t. She would take him to the dungeons where huge systems were set up; as huge as his own room. Dozens of people work at each system. He was told that the plastic and metal people used to work with those systems once, but those plastic and metal people don’t know the urgency of humanity and only humans can work with all the instincts trained to get the “mission” done. Dr. Jekyll, who talked with him once, said, he too has an important part in the “mission” humanity has planned for years. But Balzac doesn’t know anything about the systems.
It’s been 17 years since Balzac was made. “He is the perfect human,” Dr. Jekyll said Chandana in one his passionate talks. “We need to get him towards science. He would make the contribution that would change the course of humanity,” he splashed a glass on the floor. “Fronsky, Aditej, Pushkin, no one, no one seems to sense it. That man is important!”
The same scene runs in Chandana’s head since the past three years when she walks along the heaven like corridors towards Balzac’s room. What is this man going to do to humanity? she often wonders. But that day, she was more stiff, held her plank tight in her hand, and took utmost care of her white blazer and wore the finest of the spectacles she’s got. That day was special. It would change the course of humanity.
She entered the room of Balzac, and wished him. When he looked at her, he felt a reliving sensation in him. She’s the only person to whom he could tell everything, and she listens to him patiently and tries to answer everything. Who was he? That was the question that throbbed his head again and again. There was no answer. In the fifteen years Balzac was with her, he asked the question so many times, she was compelled to tell him the truth.
The first artificial human being ever made. Not made by Nature, but by Man.
That shook Balzac till his core. Means, he wasn’t a human? That’s what rolled in his head for years and the rumble of those echos was still audible. But then, the brown stick with green bushy things on top, the mud walls with grills as openings, streams of water and endless green mat-kind-of-thing, what were all those? Chandana said they were the dysfunctions of a new invention. He needs to be perfected, on his own. Then what about his sister? Ursla. Who was she? She’s the first man made girl. That settled the issue. They were, hence, brother and sister. Balzac believed in the awe-inspiring lie of Chandana.
He has been believing since years.
“This is your eighteenth year since you were made,” Chandana said as she sat on Balzac’s bed. “And also 11th birthday of your sister.” Balzac particularly didn’t know what to say for that. Chandana continued. “Till now, you were given all the training you require to get into the elite team that has been waiting for you, and now, we all hope you are ready.”
“Ready for?” Balzac asked, genuinely not able to make out what’s happening.
Chandana shrugged along with her amiable smile. “Who knows? Let us see.”
Balzac was all ready for the diurnal expedition, with his daily dressing. They both walked towards the door and Chandana with his eyes asked if he’s ready, and he nodded he was. She pressed a button, and at the push, with pressure gushing out as gas, the metal doors opened wide, filling the room with the unintelligible murmur of the inner corridors. Scores of people, standing on the elegant elevators were moving in columns, carrying the things. The elevators would stop at sections they need to get in and then move on. The elevator on which Chandana and Balzac stood smoothly, but quickly towards an elevator, into which they stepped in easily. The elevator moved downwards, for 27 sections. Then, they walked out. They walked straight into the conference room of the chief scientists.
By the time Chandana and Balzac reached the conference room, the scientists inside were analyzing the statistics of the germination of human seed on different planets. The moment they stepped in, Dr. Jekyll whopped with excitement. Someone wished Chandana and she smiled back. Immediately the room fell silent and they went back into the discussion.
Balzac was all intent and Dr. Jekyll was all smiles whenever Balzac intruded in the middle with his own and innovative ideas which drew the discussion in a much progressive way. Sometimes Balzac’s speculation went totally astray, and then he learnt wisdom from the experienced. “Part of the process,” Dr. Fronsky would smile at a distressed Balzac.
After the meeting, Balzac would be escorted by one of the chief scientists through the hall in which a young team f around twenty people were working, on a new algorithm. Balzac sometimes would hear a male or a female voice whispering to the next ear: “the chosen one” and that would send shivers down his spines. He didn’t ask anyone what they mean by the phrase, for he didn’t want his worst nightmares to hasten up in coming true.
But he can’t hide for long.
That day, Balzac walked into the huge hall, along with Dr. Jekyll and his assistant Chandana, and that was the first time Balzac was there. He was in all awe looking at the interior. He never saw something like that. He asked what it was. Dr. Jekyll, with a solemn smile said, that was The Oracle.
“The Oracle?” he asked. He had never heard such a thing before. “Yes, The Oracle,” Dr. Jekyll would say and asks Chandana to explain the issue to Balzac. She would, with a grateful gesture.
Chandana, with her slender frame, moving effortlessly along the room, with dark lips not jeering and eye brows not wincing, tries to explain the idea. “The Oracle is the last great invention of the humans,” she says, snapping her fingers, and a rumble begins in the background, like a beast growling. Balzac is taken aback, while Chandana continues.. “This is the intelligence program created by us a century ago, and this,” she said stepping back, letting a man appear out of the thin air, looking straight at Balzac. “Can predict the future.”
The man, with a glitch just in the beginning, walked towards Balzac, and Balzac, totally baffled, stood up, pushing the chair back, stumbled. “Why so nervous, young man?” he asked, tucking his blue suit tight, taking care the wrinkles wouldn’t be on the surface. He gave his hand forward, in the gesture of a handshake. But, could Balzac touch him? With no definitive idea, intimidated, Balzac, still not able to believe in his eyes, raised his hand, and the man, offered a firm handshake. “Need to drink a lot of milk,” the man said. “Calcium is important, young man.”
“I,” Balzac started stammering, “I, yes, I, I take milk, eh, sir?”
“Yes, of course, you can call me whatever you want to. Sir, or ma’am,” and while speaking the last words, the man, right in front of Balzac’s eyes, turned into a beautiful woman, “Or,” the woman said in a silky feminine tone and turned into something Balzac could easily recognize from his distant past: A large brown pillar with wavy green bushes all over.
Chandana was taken aback, so was Dr. Jekyll. Balzac was in a bafflement beyond explanation.
“This is?” Balzac mustered up his courage to ask.
Just from his behind, again out of thin air, the man emerged, while the brown pillar of green bushes was hovering in the air, “That is an image from your dream!” he said all of a sudden startling Balzac.
“You know what I dream of?” Balzac asked.
Everyone laughed. Chandana with a slight relief.
~~~~ PART 3: The Wanderers of The New World ~~~~
In the next one hour, being served with needed food, Balzac got all the time to befriend the strange man. He asked everything he ever wanted to and the man answered them all without a wince over his face. Dr. Jekyll and Chandana didn’t want to disturb, and they were an entertained audience.
The planet of Earth has come to the point of exhaustion. The claims of earth being destroyed by the limitless and uncontrolled human exploitation has resulted in something that cannot be undone. The planet has lost all its resources, and the wide forests filled with trees – the things Balzac keeps on seeing in his dreams, the endless flow of water, the inexhaustible glaciers, mountains bustling with livestock, everything, in a chain of reactions were lost in the past thousand years and, all that has remained was science man’s developing and, endless leagues of deserts around the world.
Endless passion for the self-centered ideals of nation, state, caste, creed, race and most importantly religion has consumed world like a fire. The War, a five hundred years ago, has quickened the decay into a fifty times. There was no stopping the chain after that. Circumstances went out of control. Known science couldn’t help. Arts were useless. Prayers were unheard, as always and gods; no hod ever dropped to this planet to save us.
“This thing – the one you call as a tree – how come I see it in my dream?”
No one spoke. Balzac looked around, at everyone there.
No one spoke.
After a moment, the man spoke himself.
“Once, human society was built on lies,” the man said, and Dr. Jekyll lowered his head. “Now, we have the opportunity to rebuild it from the beginning, from this seed,” he said, staring at Balzac. “What shall we build this on?” he asked, changing his glance from Balzac to Dr. Jekyll.
The first time after years, someone opened the grand gates of the diamond architecture. Someone is about to step outside the gates and enter into the desert from the only sophisticated place on the planet. From one of those endless spiral floors, Chandana, placing her hand on the mirror, was waiting intently to see them stepping out of the Diamond, breaking the heart of Dr. Jekyll, and may be, even hers.
He has been living with them, and particularly with him all her life. When she was ten, a six-year Balzac and a three-year Ursla were introduced to her. She was told everything to her. She was told, that boy is one of the hopes Humanity has to achieve glory again. She was told, she should take care that he wouldn’t stray into paths that would mislead his intellect into a waste. His creative faculties should be used for the greater good for this planet, not for his recreational purposes.
Chandana was a prodigy. She heeded to everything that was told. She presently slid her hand into her coat pocket and felt a paper piece. She took it out and unfolded it. That was a poem written by Balzac years ago. Probably the first poem he ever wrote and, the last one too – that’s what they thought till then. She read the lines carefully, and how many times he read it, she can’t say. It always gave her a tingling feeling of freedom when she read it.
“Wings would wield to the wrecks world,
The sun would shower some snow,
Things would grow some colors and show,
Such beauty that this earth can bore.”
She understood, just like she did once long ago, Balzac belongs to nature. Nature would claim him anyhow. But what she couldn’t believe is the way Balzac could make a poem impromptu. Effortless. Hundreds of lines, like he has been practicing since years.
Mountains are to be climbed,
Deserts are the be thrived,
Oceans are to be traveled;
Make them into homes,
Thread the paths that’re unraveled,
Revel the golds and ghosts.
And the poem ran like a stream for leagues with an awe-inspiring pace for what it seemed like hours. All the time the man who made him say the poem was smiling, like he knew this too. Chandana didn’t know how to react. Taking the paper and pen off him, or stealing his poetic pieces felt so stupid. To him – Balzac – trying to show the artificial wonders seemed petty, for, in him, there seemed, like a complete new world was residing. He looked at a moment, in his rage of rhythm, like the creator. He seemed somehow to know the philosophy of ages all by himself. She didn’t understand how the definition of poetry as “mathematics of words” fit that was happening before her bare eyes. She hung her head down, slowly, regretting the loss she had to bear that day for lying to an innocent friend. But then she knew, anyhow she wouldn’t contain him. He is not just any boy she has met.
He was the first artist reborn.
In the time that seemed like hardly a while, the brother and sister were swarming in the harsh sands of the endless desert. It was hot like a furnace. It was not cold as he thought. But he knew one thing, it would be cold at nights. But he’s ready to do what he set out to do with his sister. When he said they need to abandon the place in the search of their real home in some remote East which was like thousands of miles away, she didn’t think anything, she simply held her brick in her hand and went in to pack her bags, and she was out in hardly five to ten minutes. No one tried to stop them. When he said he wanted to go out, all the gates were open for him leave.
The Oracle, with its extraordinary algorithm, made out the list of humans who had changed the phase of this planet and it has also predicted the people who would be born with ability to change the world and uplift it again. Balzac was one among it. Being born in somewhere very remote in the east that wasn’t touched by the phenomenons of this dystopia, they were snatched and were brought to the diamond arch.
After walking for a considerable distance, the brother and the sister were hunched, having hooded heads, piercing through the raging sands. For once, Balzac stopped and turned back towards the building that jailed him till then. He found Chandana standing at his room, peering though the glass at them. He didn’t know how to react. He looked at Ursla, who was nearing him and asked, “Which direction?”
She opened the compass, checked it for a while. “This side, it is all bordered by terrorists and all,” she waited for a moment. “We should go around, and how much distance we need to walk,” she shook her head. “We don’t know.”
“We don’t know, cause we were not let to know.”