Sunday, July 5, 2015

The darkest of aftermaths

JUL 05 - Dear Dr Ghorle,
Anxiety is all around us. I am gradually realising that I cannot blindly trust the security, the integrity, and the confidentiality of our communications. I am sorry for being so ignorant and not responding to your encoded messages promptly. Because of war, and self-doubt, it was difficult for me to decode your brain-computer encoded messages. I am proud that you are writing a piece on Nepal’s Third Great Earthquake in one of the top magazines in Nepal to inform the readers about its consequences and what can be done to overcome the effects of the disaster. I must say, it is an interesting read. I was very young when I first visited Nepal with my father and my memory of the place is a blur. So I might not be of help in improving your piece. Perhaps you could ask my grandmother, who still lives in Chitwan. My grandmother resides in Ratnanager, 2nd Street, Chitwan. That is my home address, too. She will be glad to offer you 
her help. She also remembers the First Great Earthquake of 1934 and the Second Great Quake of 2015. I would have joined you, but I am deprived of the luxury of air travel, after the war.
Regarding  my sister Maya, unfortunately, I am unaware of her whereabouts. She has been out of contact ever since she disappeared right after our father’s death anniversary a year ago; nobody has heard from her since. The worst I fear is that she may be dead by now. Some of her friends reported that they were planning to go on a picnic to Pokhara.
Father, as you have ascertained, spent most of his life working on the antinuclear programmes for some secret research company that we were unaware of. When home, he would spend his time reading piles and piles of research journals, but to tell you the truth, I can’t remember what they were about. When the Third World War started, he was busy working for this private contractor, and he always used to say that his invention would change the course of the entire world. He later built a small laboratory next to our barn. Ms Molly, the only love of my life, used to live there then—I love her so much. Most of the time, Father would lock himself up in his lab, doing his experiments and what not. Smoke fumes would rise from the vent. Sometimes strange sounds—like a sonic boom—would shake our house and the neighbouring buildings. I do not intend to be insensitive, but I have some idea of how it feels to be inside a shaking building. 
Out of my father’s thousands of great experiments, one small one was on how to stop earthquakes from occurring. He never published his findings in any reputed scientific journals of his time, perhaps because he knew that companies or secret government organisations would patent his inventions, and they would make a business out them. I have some of his manuscripts—the ones that I was able to save—that I want to send to you. But before that, I would like to give you an account of what has happened in our lives since.
The day before he died, Father seemed very happy. He said that his research team had been successful in developing antinuclear machinery that could block nuclear missiles, irrespective of where they had been launched from. I remember him telling me that he was very proud, and that he had become ‘life’, a saviour of the world. He left for work early the next day, but he didn’t come back. That was on the eve of Dashain.
From what Maya told me later, I learned that I was playing with Ms Molly that day; the TV was on. Masha and the Baby Bear was interrupted to telecast an emergency news report. Soon, bomb explosions consumed the TV screen and within minutes the power was cut. The phone rang. Mum, a few minutes into the phone conversation, collapsed on the carpet. Then, we didn’t know what had happened, but later we were told that father and his entire team were murdered. 
Maya later explained to me that his team had been asked to join a meeting with the top delegates of all nations. These people, who were admired and respected throughout the world, saw Father’s invention as a threat to their political agendas. They gassed him in his own 
Back to the manuscripts: they were always lying around in Father’s laboratory. Some of his greatest secrets were just there, lying untouched. Later, Maya turned it into her personal property. She never gave it to me or to Mum. She said that his works were nothing but bits and pieces of rotten and boring prose, scrapped drawings, and mathematical jargons. According to her, there was nothing in the papers for us to gain and learn from. I remember, once, she tried to burn them up. But somehow, she has managed to keep them a secret from everybody. Even the people from the National Security agencies could not find the papers.
Some years later, it was in the news that a blue-turban-wearing young man had started some anti-nuclear-missile experiment and that it had saved our part of the planet from the political elites. I think I don’t have to tell you all this as it was reported in both parts of the planet by the leading news media houses. You must have heard that in my part of the world, the citizens had stoned these political elites to death for starting the war. The war led to the plummeting of the population from billions to a few millions. We were lucky to have survived this great catastrophe in our region.
I do understand how you feel right now; in the aftermath of the quake, you want to motivate and inspire some of your people to return home. But that’s not easy to do when the world is so divided. We are so divided that I don’t even know what your part of the earth is called now. 
The place you live, do you still call 
it Nepal as it was called before 
the war?

I want to inform you that I feel a bit hesitant to respond to your proposal to come back to Nepal and start a new life there. I would have tried to find my way to you if it were not for Ms Molly. I love you, but you know how I love her more. I don’t know whether this comes as a surprise to you or not, but I am already married to Ms Molly now. We have been together for the last 27 years.
I still remember the day when Father brought Ms Molly home. I was one. She didn’t have a lot to say as she used combinations of the utterance ‘Meow’; but that was more than enough for us to communicate. You may wonder if she is able to fulfill my desires, but I want to tell you that she has grown big. She is five-feet-six-inches-tall now. She is less a cat and more a human now. She protects me. She is there when I need her the most.
You also write that you want to raise a family with me. It would be one of the nicest things to give birth to your babies. But yesterday, I stayed up all night and thought about it. What is their use? What use are they when people in power will continually start a new world war every few year or so? What use are they when every day a new calamity strikes the earth, killing millions? What have we done to this world?
Enclosed with this letter are 450 manuscript pages written by my father. It is a walkthrough on the process of subduing the effects of an earthquake when it strikes. In our part of the earth, we have implemented this scientific process, and I hope you can use these pages to stop earthquakes from happening in your part of the earth too. 
I cannot wait to read your reply.
PS: Please do send me your brain-computer transmission of words more securely.
Sent from: sessiK dna sguH
Posted on: 2015-07-05 08:42
Published: The Kathmandu Post (under different name in print)

To Err is Human?

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