The machine made a whirring sound and then stopped. Rimjhim kicked the car out of frustration. Obviously, you can’t kick start a car! ‘Damn the car, damn, damn,’ she muttered under her breath, lest Revanth should hear her. Of course he did hear her and cursed her ‘damn’ car for giving trouble throughout their so-called honeymoon journey. Whose idea was it! He shrugged and looked at her. How serenely beautiful she was! The curls, the pink lips, wavy hair, ufff! Beauty on a platter! He smiled, forgetting the issue at hand. She pushed her long invading curls and lifted the bonnet to check what had stopped the car. Fumes enveloped her and the heat hit her face.
“Ouch! This is bad, BAD, do you hear me Revanth? We are stuck and on this hilly road, we can’t expect any help. It will be dark in a while and ….” She shuddered at the thought.
“Isn’t it exciting, my dear, alone, only two of us, on the hill road, amidst nature, cool breeze….. how romantic!” He teased her. She threw a pebble at him and laughed.
“Shall we leave the car and hitch-hike? That seems to be the only option.” Revanth suggested.
“Yeah! Let’s try.”
Several vehicles passed by, but none stopped. Just as they were giving up on hope, they saw a vehicle pull near them and stop. The person at the steering, popped his head out and said something in a language foreign to them. Revanth explained to him their plight and requested for a lift. That person gesticulated to confirm. On a second, closer look at him, Revanth stepped back suspiciously. He did not look like a man from this planet! He was tall, sturdy, with sinewy muscles, chiselled face, royal, Greek- Roman looks. A foreigner on a road trip?! Something strange about his appearance struck him. Should they get into this strange vehicle with six wheels, raised high from the ground, and ….. just then it occurred to him that the vehicle had made no sound, neither the motor nor the horn!
Just as he was deciding to wait for another vehicle, the strange person pulled both of them into the vehicle and next moment they were…… oh no, in the air! Revanth and Rimjhim went pale and couldn’t even scream. It was as though they had lost their voice. The stranger uttered unintelligibly and smiled at them, maybe he was reassuring them, or maybe he was having a laugh at their expense…. They did not know. Rimjhim quickly gulped down a liquid that she found in a bottle, before Revanth could stop her. The stranger gestured to Revanth to relax and have a sip of the liquid to calm his nerves. The mesmerising looks of the person made him do what he shouldn’t have done…. A sip then another sip….. he gulped it down. His throat was left with a burning sensation. He slipped off into deep slumber. Rimjhim was already in deep sleep. The vehicle was scaling the skies….. past the clouds …. into unknown, strange lands.
The sweet, soft music penetrated into his ears, and the cool breeze touched her cheeks. A gentle hand touched Revanth and he jerked himself into upright posture. Rimjhim, clad in a blueish green attire, flaunted so as to draw their attention. There was a strange look on her face which disturbed Revanth.
“Rimjhim…..Rimjhim…..” then he noticed that they were not in the vehicle anymore and were surrounded by people similar to the stranger. They were in a high-rise building and everything around them looked unfamiliar; the furniture, the inner structure, the gadgets and appliances were beyond them to understand, each had a new look and the strangest part was the building was sound- proof, their own voice was either very low or muffled. The walls were transparent, and there were no doors, one just walked through the glass walls, the walls neither collapsed nor broke, they were malleable glass walls! A kind of sound boxes were fixed to the ceiling through which sound waves could be seen and infiltrating into the rooms and the other box absorbed sounds from the room.
Fear gripped them. ‘Rip Van Winkle’? The awful reality struck them that they were in a strange land! Their communication was only gesticulations and non-verbal. Their body temperature was controlled by some gadget that was put around their waist as soon as they had entered the building. It constantly showed their fluctuating body temperature- sometimes high, at times low. The stranger gave them costumes which looked like astronaut’s gear. As soon as they wore it their bodies turned lighter and could feel the coolness of the suit. As they were admiring their ‘astronaut’ looks, another person walked in with a tray of some pills and popped those into their mouth. As the pill started going through their throat, they could see the ‘journey’ of the pill from the mouth and the process of food releasing energy……. The entire metabolic activity was visible on the mirrors set opposite to them. It was an amazing experience to see the digestive activity and that too of a pill… no cooked food, no vegetables, no wheat flour…oh what a transformation of life from cooked food to man-made pills to satisfy hunger! Nay, to release energy!
Rimjhim was awestruck and Revanth mesmerised. Their curiosity grew as they neared the central building with unusually huge dimensions and incongruous look. It seemed like a deliberate deviation from the accepted norms of construction; the asymmetrical architecture rendered a beauty of its own making it a technological wonder. A stunning combination of irregular lines and angles, the tilt was uniquely designed, balancing it off the ground with gravity defied and redesigned. The high-rise building seemed to be the central unit of the city. It reminded Revanth of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The technological advancement was unbelievably real and spectacular. On entering the unique building they found some sign boards in a script which was similar to Brahmi script which was prevalent during Mauryan and Gupta period. Was it a reversal of order and norms? Technology and ancient art and language were juxtaposed! What a marvel!
Rimjhim was dumbstruck and could hardly take her eyes off the peculiar beauty of it all. They both walked behind the strange person as though in a trance. The people in the building walked and gesticulated as though they have been programmed, some chip was at work inside their bodies and brains. Through some devices suspended in air, sound waves penetrated into their bodies and they received some instructions to start or complete some task. It was becoming more and more complicated as they went through the building. Their initial scorn for the surroundings, buildings gradually transformed into appreciation for the aesthetically experimental thought and execution. Aesthetics is not just following what is standardized or approved. Sense of proportion and order can be reflected through atypical imagination! The architectural splendour lay in front of them, sweeping them off their feet.
“Revanth, isn’t this a phenomenal breakthrough for mankind? I am spellbound at the aesthetic sense that defies all norms and systems. A challenge to the established order and how wonderful to be witnessing this spectacular creativity of ……Oh! BUT WHERE ARE WE? Revanth…….are you listening to me? Can you hear me?”
It dawned upon her that the sound couldn’t penetrate into his ear. Maybe some sound waves need to pass through them to make her audible to him! What strange land was this? She was petrified. The abnormality of the situation sent shock waves through her being and she shuddered. Revanth seemed to be blissfully unaware of her discomfiture and stood staring at the structures around him.
A few more strange looking people entered the building carrying some electronic devices and passed a light ray through their bodies the impact of which made them jerk a little. Revanth immediately held Rimjhim close to him that brought a smile on the strange looking people’s faces. Revanth remembered that this was their honeymoon trip and the ordeal they were going through.
Meanwhile a group of youngsters brought in an equipment that resembled a sound box with some plug points, a thin wire was inserted into Rimjhim’s ears and the same was made to pass through Revanth’s ears (looked like ear-piercing ceremony!), immediately they both were wired and connected to the sound system of the building. To her embarrassment the room resounded with Rimjhim’s conversation with Revanth.
“Oh no! It got recorded!” She said awkwardly. He laughed and it ricocheted and lingered on for a while. He gesticulated to her not to utter anything till they move out into the open.
What surprised them most was the juxtaposing of advanced technology and preservation of ancient culture and script. The physical appearance and the brain functioning stood in contrast to each other. Their sensory responses were astonishing, their intellectual abilities and skills were incomprehensible, their language was unfamiliar…. Intriguing….
The purpose of all this strange incident was far from fathomable. Revanth himself a technical person, tried to decipher the technology being used here, it definitely wasn’t from their era, then…then….
“Rimjhim, we are in the future era, we are going through an era that doesn’t belong to us! What our generation had initiated, we are experiencing the much-advanced version of it. But how, or why of it is beyond our imagination. Let us be together and be watchful. We may come across some clue, some person who may help us. The greatest barrier is the language. If only I could decode the script we would be in a better situation. But don’t worry, dear. We will find a way out.” He drew her close and patted her back gently. She rested her head against his chest and breathed heavily. His warm breath tickled her forehead, and she felt the warmth and assurance of his embrace.
“Revanth, will we ever go back to our house in Delhi? Will we ever feel the affection of our family?” Her sob suddenly became loud and audible in the open.
“Don’t lose heart, dear, we are safe and secure. It is the new technology that is reflecting in every aspect of human life. Remember the science fiction stories? We are in that land of science fiction. Isn’t it a marvel? Let us explore and experiment with the novel situation of our life. Be brave, c’mon, cheer up.”
As they continued their journey into the fascinating future, the physiological and intellectual superiority became prominent. Their sensory perception was manifold superior. Their cognitive skills were astonishing, the chip at work! The environment resonated with the super intelligence of the people of this other world. Whatever they have been witnessing implied Artificial Intelligence has grown leaps and bounds, bio- medical field at its peak; technology beyond comprehension….!
Transhuman! No, not really! Were they amidst the most amazing creatures of human mind?
A sharp gasp made Rimjhim look at him enquiringly.
He grasped her wrist and drew her to a side and whispered, “We are in Space and not on earth, do you remember our scientists, astronomers in quest of human settlement in outer space, on other planets? All the space research to comprehend the availability of life sustaining resources in outer space have borne fruit. Bio- medical advancement has given birth to humans with superior faculties, Artificial Intelligence has successfully given the future generations Robots that perform complex medical and engineering operations……
Oh! What an era of super intelligent humans!
What we had visualised, it has materialised, and to witness our success, some magical power has transported us here. How I wish there was someone with whom we could communicate and share our joy!” His feelings were eloquent.
“Mr. & Mrs Revanth, I feel honoured that the scientist, and the technology wizard, both have graced this era of Transhuman. Your efforts have been rewarded; we have conquered our world and the other world too.” A familiar voice echoed in the air.
“Mr. Kaushik! What a wonder! You are the mind behind this achievement. Your perseverance, knowledge and research has yielded magnificent results.
I am still puzzled as to how we reached here. We were in the year2020, amidst the challenging Pandemic that has been gnawing at our vital system of health and hygiene, a threat and challenge to mankind. Then suddenly we find ourselves in an alien land (land?!) amidst people who have striking features of ancient Greeks and Romans, and whose intellect and IQ is of another era. We see robots taking charge of the system, Transhumans supervising and monitoring.
Is this real or a virtual reality? Are we awake or in deep slumber, dreaming of our achievements. Which era is this? The script is similar to Brahmi script of our ancients, the spoken language is alien……”
Wasn’t it a relief to come across someone who understood you, recognised you, identified you? Yes, of course, he assured himself. Rimjhim was awestruck once again on seeing her colleague friend Rajesh Kaushik. His amazing research had paid off ….
“We are in 2320, we have travelled into future, 300 years away! Gone is the pandemic, gone are the woes of the social stigmas, political upheavals, corruption, ill- health, lack of education, environmental issues… we have moved into an era of technology and science; inventions and research and further progress where our dreams of equality have materialised.”
“Just wait for a while to know how and why of this spectacular visit to future…” He sounded intriguingly interesting
One of the strange looking men, bowed to them and escorted them to an illuminated building which was unique in itself. An oblong- shaped structure balancing on two gigantic wheels. Visibly there were no bulbs, but the glow and illumination seemed to be a pre-set technique.
The audio systems played the National Anthem, and everyone stood up in reverence to the guests of honour and the Anthem. The surprise and pride that they felt was indescribable! Gurudev’s Anthem remained untouched, unscathed by the winds of change! What an honour to be a part of that era!
“Dear honourable Mr. & Mrs. Revanth Sinha, Mr. Rajesh Kaushik, it is indeed a pleasure to see you amidst us….” The audio was coming from a robot which had received them. Another surprise- it spoke in a language known to them! Rajesh Kaushik looked at them and smiled. “I have been working with these Transhumans and the robots since my arrival a decade back! And now you know how and why you are here. I was literally kidnapped and brought here for further research in the field of robotics. I had to wait for the right time to transport you….” He winked impishly.
“The honour is ours,” continued the robot, “for we live in an era of technology, science and engineering, the dream world conceived and conceptualised by these great intellectuals and scholars. A world that is away from the earth, away from the petty and corrupt culture of politics, of discrimination; equality and brotherhood reign supreme in our culture- scientific temper is the culture and classless society is our religion. Space Colonisation, a vision, and a mission of three great personalities has materialised. It has ushered in an era of progress, of contentment and futuristic approach. It is with pride that we honour our architects. We are here because of your vision….”
“Agriculture is still one of our occupations, genetically modified crops have revolutionised agriculture, employability goes unsaid, technical know-how has reached a high point, but this has not robbed us of our values or ethics. We still represent the culture of India and take pride in being Indians…..”
Amidst thunderous applause the architects of future generations were honoured.
Rajesh Kaushik said, “Now you understand why there is Brahmi script? The logic and compatibility of the language and script with the present technology has given it its supreme place in this era.”
“We are truly blessed that technological advancement and scientific temper have not taken away the charm and beauty of our culture. The spirit pervades across the times. A smooth sailing, a gentle transition from the known to the unknown and, a familiarising with the unknown. Life is a circle of hope, despair and hope again. Life goes on……” Rajesh and Revanth felt emotions gushing forth. Life is never devoid of surprises and that too pleasant ones.
Hemant’s pen stopped as the emotional moment needed a pause. Life in 2320, did present a unique blend of technology and culture, science, and humanity- even if it is transhuman culture!
He knew his fictional characters must be breathing the pandemic air and learning to resist its invasion into future.
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