Tuesday, May 23

The Perfect Day

John worked in the Pixar Labs, as a Professor of Animation & Modelling but another job, which he regularly attended to, was that of an interviewer. The company was expanding its market and as a result new men were being hired almost on a weekly basis and that required him to quickly interview and hire the deserving candidates. It was a great job, he thought. Sometimes he liked it more than teaching perhaps because of the authority he had, being the only ‘regular’ interviewer.
John was pretty much an average guy, who paid his bills and taxes regularly, had a happy family and a respectable position. He didn’t have much adventure in his life and neither did he want any. He had been in the job for quite some time and the days now used to pass without being too distinct from the others. Even then, he observed, he had never had a single day when nothing went wrong. There were days which were quite good, but he couldn’t think of a single day, which was in all ways perfect. Many times he would wait till something went wrong and grin when it did. He had once been scolded for that too, but he loved the predictability in his life, especially because he was a computer guy who never liked unexpected ‘errors’ to pop up.
One fine day, rather a very fine day for John, things were little different, not actually different, but in the sense that nothing seemed to be going wrong – the alarm went off at 6 am sharp, the toaster made the best toasts of its life and the black Cadillac never ran so smooth. John could even whistle his favourite tune without spitting and reach his office exactly 5 minutes before his shift, a standard time according to his boss. But John was truly bumped only when his Chinese boss’s wrinkled face seemed to pull together a smile and he realized it was for him. That was when he first thought the day was different from the other days, but he still thought that he just didn’t remember the earlier days too well to compare with.
He was asked to interview 35 candidates and select two as company representatives for a product being launched. He again embarked upon the uncanny perfection in that day when the two of his candidates scored exactly what he considered the maximum score he would’ve ever given and they, of course, got the job. This went on and he continued to believe that life was too random to go perfectly for twenty-four hours continuously. Though he had never believed in intuitions, they secretly guided him in many times. Today he could only feel a strange sensation of having a drama of perfection being played around him, an almost mechanical and artificial ‘experiment’ with him as a ‘lab rat’ being examined. He had had such thoughts before, of the whole world being a giant conspiracy around him, a giant experiment perhaps, and watching ‘The Matrix’ he felt like all his thoughts had come true. Suddenly, he was more perturbed about the day going so perfectly so far. It was then that he noted the date – 22nd June, Saturday.
John was now sweating even in his air-conditioned room but he wiped it off and convinced himself that there was nothing to worry about. Minutes later, his friend Mark, who had now become his boss because of being the boss’s favourite guy came in and left him a letter with a grin on his face which surprisingly, seemed genuine. John opened it swiftly, as he had now become an expert in that, and began reading it. Thoughts like “The font’s too large for a formal employees’ letter” and “Maybe the numbers should’ve been replaced by bullets” flashed through his mind as they usually did but rarely crossed the realms of his brain. He quickly omitted the repetitive parts and went on to read the main body, which in short said that he had just been promoted. But John could hardly feel proud. One because his new post demanded him to take up projects and finish them within a deadline, which was quite a daring task for him as he hated adventure. Secondly, he had been too overwhelmed by what was happening to him since he got up. He kept staring at the letter and then out of his office window, into oblivion for quite some time. He was asked to decide whether to accept or deny it within two days. He then got back to his work and finished it within time to go back home by 7 pm. He folded the letter neatly and kept it inside his briefcase and then left for home. As he opened the gate, his brown terrier jumped and licked him as usual and his wife gave him a warm hug, which she hadn’t done for months now, as John could remember. He could smell his favourite dishes being cooked for dinner and even a light melodious tune floated in the rooms of his small but beautiful house. He began to take out the letter but then kept it back, saving it for dinner time. He wanted to tell his wife how the day had been so unusual but he thought she would find it too crazy an idea to digest. He hated to hide things from his wife, but this was something he couldn’t put in words.
John was feeling sleepy by now and went to take a short nap. He slowly got into his bed and closed his eyes. He could feel the whole day flash through his mind and again it started to take control of him. He slowly began to lose track of time but couldn’t sleep how hard he tried. He knew something was bothering him, but wasn’t ready to accept that it was the mere perfection of the day. He thought his age was taking his toll and he needed a vacation. But those thoughts now began to give way and he started thinking why the day should’ve been so perfect. What was so special today, that even his boss had to smile ? Why couldn’t anything go wrong at all ? What made his wife hug him, when on the other days she barely took his briefcase ?
While these questions crossed his mind, he suddenly realized that the room was very dark and he couldn’t see much of the room. He could feel a slight breeze flow around him and he no longer felt the bed below him. What was happening to him ? Had he gone completely insane ? No, he told himself. But the very next moment, a bright greenish light began flickering through the room, with lots and lots of numbers and symbols beginning to form an image. The image slowly took the shape of a tall man dressed in black from top to bottom. John wasn’t thinking now, maybe he wasn’t able to. He only saw it happen, as if watching television. The man slowly moved his lips.

“Hello, John. Do you know me ?”

John could only nod in disapproval.

“I am your god, the one your world prays and even curses many times”

John could now think again, and he thought god looked so different than he’d imagined. He didn’t have a halo around him and neither did he dress in white or have a calm, peaceful face. He looked more like the guys in ‘The Matrix’.

“I’ll tell you what’s going on with you. The thing is that my employers had assigned me this ‘Project Universe’ and I designed it a million years ago and successfully ran it till yesterday, when I was asked to rev-up the system used to run this project because of being error prone. So I upgraded the operating system to Cosmos 2005, which claimed to remove 90% of errors automatically.”

‘God’ now stopped talking to let John gulp the facts down that what he’d been thinking for the past 46 years of his life was actually true – he was indeed a part of a huge experiment. So John slowly regained control over himself and slowly smiled at being so smart a lab rat to realize that he was indeed a lab rat. God now spoke again.

“Therefore, I chose you to test the new OS on and I thought it my duty to let you know that the world was going to be more different from now. I think I should leave now, my boss must be coming to check out the new system. Ok John, may you have a perfect life.”

And so John realized the greatest truth, which even Plato and Socrates couldn’t think of, neither could the Yogis who meditated the whole of their lives on high mountains. But this was too much to ask of an ‘experimental rat’ to accept in one go, and John fainted and was lost in the huge program of ‘God’ as the OS had a virus, which deleted John’s vital files and the system had to be forcefully shut down. The world slowly began to loose data and as a result protons and neutrons began to vanish and within minutes, the planets began to disappear, in a countdown, which ended finally with the earth. And so the universe ended and ‘God’ was fired from his job.

Shrey Banga

Monday, May 22

Based on a true story...

April 14, 1998

As every moment of my life flashes past my eyes, it becomes ever more clear – the inevitable, unshakable truth that it must all be over now. She looks at me with a devilish glint in her eyes that has replaced the innocence, which made me fall for her.

The New York Times, January 3, 2019

“…A diary with initials A.K., found off the eastern coast of Canada finally reveals the mystery associated with the 1990s shuttle disasters. The diary is in possession of a certain Arthur Collins, who has refused to comment…”

January 1, 2019

Arthur has just come back from a fishing trip and his son Frank has discovered a moldy brown diary in his fishing net, which he is trying to read. He opens a random page and begins reading…

Dear diary,

I’ve never felt worse – and it’s not that I flunked my maths exam. I just saw dad almost in tears. He told mom he was worried about my future…whether I would earn enough to support them. I wish I had thought of life this seriously…maybe there’s still time.

Frank flipped forward a chunk of pages that won’t come off and read on to March 1988…

Dear god, I’ll be having my final exam…please help me get through and see my dad feel proud. I hope I’ve studied enough…

The results will be out tomorrow…I can’t sleep or eat now…god help me please.

Oh dear god, thank you so much…I saw dad in tears – happy tears – for the first time in my life. He has already made plans for my future.

The entries were a lot smaller since then, and Frank turned to the one in 1990…

I had to fight with golu again – had to remind him of the tuts I had to do. Sometimes he’s too careless – doesn’t understand you’ve got to maintain some cg. Just parties and stuff…

Oh I’m sick of finding excuses…why don’t they just accept my absence at their hangouts! I wish they understood.

Frank had begun to get bored and threw it to his father, who had all the time in the world to know what ‘A.K.’ had to say. He soon realized what he had in his hand was a month-full of headlines. Arthur sells the book for $ 2.4 billion to a secret service agent.

Agent Steve feels his hands shiver as he turns the gooey cover of the diary. Now his next objective is to report his findings on this controversial diary asap. His findings…

The diary belongs to Mr.Alok Kapoor, born and brought up in Punjab, India. His father was an engineer and mother, a teacher. A small middle class family, which was forced to travel to backward areas on government jobs and as a result, Alok received poor education and performed below average. Alok underwent an emotional trauma, which led him to perform much better, and got admitted to IIT, Kanpur. Alok led a quiet life for four years, mostly concentrating on scoring the highest. He had an inclination for rocket science and won many awards for his talents at sketching.

Alok, with his exceptional scores earned a decent job but left it to follow his passion of rocket science and joined ISRO. He worked tirelessly and rose to great heights. He was chosen as the team leader to the first ever Indo-US space project.

Steve had dosed off on the diary by now, which read…

August 1996

We landed in Florida last night and today I addressed my team. There Sumitra caught my attention with that overwhelming beauty of hers and for a I moment I kept staring at her, to which she reacted with a gorgeous smile! Maybe she gets it from the Russians…she told me she was born in Russia.

We managed to slip out for a coffee and today she held my hand. Oh this is so beautiful. Probably this is what manu felt when he and priya hooked up at college.

August 1997

It was our anniversary yesterday and we were together all night. It was just wonderful. Sumi asked me to do something for her…so silly of her, as if I could ever refuse!

September 2 1997

Today she asked me to show her the D-files, the classified ones. She said the Russians needed the contracts and I couldn’t refuse her.

She says it’s time I broke some rules for my sake – I guess she’s right. Plus it gives me a thrill to swap those documents right under the Big Brother’s nose!

March 29 1998

It was horrible…the crash of the test shuttle. It was supposed to go right. God knows what happened. She says it was an accident but I don’t feel right.

March 30 1998

I heard her just now talking in Russian, and form what little of it she’s taught me, I am sure she was happy about the crash and expects more of them. I am going to clear this up. This was not what she told me was their plan.

The next page had a paper cutting of The New York Times…

March 31, 1998


The NYT has uncovered a shocking fact – NASA has

been infiltrated by the Russians. We shall reveal

more on this with complete evidence tomorrow.

Keep watching this space.

April 1, 1998


The NASA scientist who agreed to reveal evidence

regarding the presence of Russian agents is

missing from his apartments, where an empty

vial of strong sedatives has been found indicating

a deep rooted controversy. The scientist had hinted

a connection to the four recent shuttle disasters.

A few more pages fluttered in the wind and revealed the last days…

April 2 or 3 1998

I am unaware of the date as I’ve woken after what seems like a long, drugged sleep in this dark room. She left just now with this diary for me as a favour for my ‘services’ to her nation. I remember opening the door to her voice and a dozen huge men blindfold me, and a needle jab me in the stomach.

After a few more similar entries…

April 6 1998

For so many days, nothing has happened except that I wish they would kill me than keep me here – this lightless and soundless room. All I see is a bowl of greenish water pushed through the tiny hole in the wall twice a day.

I don’t know why she did this to me. Maybe I deserve it, for I failed my dad’s vision, how ashamed he would be if he were alive.

April 14 1998

Yesterday seems so long ago after what all has happened! Yesterday I woke up to blinding light as the door opened for the first time in so many days. From the shadows and the fragrance I could make out it was her. I turned slowly to her, expecting the same tiny watery eyes, only to find her evil stare, with those hands that always found mine holding a tiny packet of VX gas.

I have grasped my pen and write my last words as she takes her time to open the packet.

As every moment of my life flashes past my eyes, it becomes ever more clear – the inevitable, unshakable truth that it must all be over now. She looks at me with a devilish glint in her eyes that has replaced the innocence, which made me fall for her.

The story is loosely based on the life of Mordechai Vanunu. For more info click here

Of Cars and Men

What follows is a short story I wrote long back when I had this strong urge to write something. Kindly bear with the lack of storyline or dialogue. Here goes:

Allan was reading what could be called a suicide note by his grandfather. The evident reason made him laugh from inside. His family was rather male dominated not because the ‘anti male-chauvinist’ revolution hadn’t reached them, but a peculiar gene present in the family which was responsible for them to fantasize creatures that moved on petrol rather than bread. The few women, out of whom the oldest could survive only till 60, felt uneasy when the four-wheeled ones would get more attention than the two legged ones. This feature had, however, dilated in the grandson – a sigh of relief for the female spirits looking down.

Allan’s grandfather had owned few of the oldest cars. But gradually their poverty due to two consecutive wars took over them and after some desperate resistance he was forced to give away the cars for few thousand bucks to a museum, which he thought was a mausoleum of his pretty earnings.

The family used to be a royal one, when the ideas of nationalism hadn’t taken over and the people were highly loyal to the royal brood. Their transformation was like the reverse of a rags-to-riches story. The young grandsons had tried to raise the family, but the prevalent orthodoxies had often led to a clash between egos of aristocratic stature. As a result, two of the three revolted and both entered the army. Their hereditary warrior skills, however, were of little use. They are now with their grandfathers, maybe quarrelling.

It was a sad day for Allan, as the old man had (finally) left his rusting possessions, which had long succumbed to the tide of time. They were still the most beautiful immortals inside the old paternal house as the other objects had slowly been consumed during tough times of struggle between the ethics of the older royal generation who once enjoyed the service of the complete state and the practical yet rebellious ideas of the new generation.

The note was actually a letter posted a month and a half back, destined to reach a faraway place where Allan lived, passing the stringent tests of the postal service. It described more about the pain of deprivation from the vintage models and less about the pain in the vintage mortal’s parts. Ironically, they had no spare ones. But Allan realized the gravity of the situation. He had even called an expensive doctor, but an old car runs more on pushes than on petrol and eventually the crackling hum of the engine vanished into a silence of uncanny sadness.

Allan has left the past behind and earned himself a beautiful house, a car and a decent job. But his job has once again brought him to a crossroad, which reminds him of his unusual ancestors. He is a car dealer.

Shrey Banga
May 5th, 2002

Sunday, May 21

What is a Blog ?

After using some nifty code to imrove the look of my crappy blog, I can proudly declare that I have my very own absolutely personal and private..er..public diary. Or is a blog supposed to be something else ? That's what my friend asked me with the bewilderment that reminds me of my mom n dad when they sit before the comp.
So, on further analysing, I see that very few among us would ever reveal secrets on a blog and hence the purpose of having a blog as a personal diary is out of the question. For those who do, be warned that those of us who don't shall take every line you write as superficial, however close to your heart the matter may be.
Another use could be to show off your creativity, vocabulary and what not in order to gain recognition and popularity. Ah, popularity...the ultimate goal of all human kind - to be followed and obeyed by others ( "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery" ~ Socrates). The computer geek and the hearthrob are both reduced to names and ids on the web, making it paradise for people who would never get lucky if left on there own. You come across messages like "hi there...i m here at Gorilla college, kathmandu. wanna frendship?" or "be my fan", "write me testi" or "gimme a blo..." ok lets not get carried away. The point is, why do people use all their time and energy just to increase, say their fans (on orkut) when the same 2 people left together in a room wouldn't strike a conversation in a lifetime!
Well of course you are wondering why I am here if I can criticise at length people who go abt surfin the net day in and day out. The answer being that I use this diary as a record book of my own thoughts - something to store what I thought at some point in time and maybe laugh at or be amused with reading it at some other point, when I'll surely have a different take on it, having 'matured' as I would consider myself then though I think I've matured now, not necessarily according to my will.
This blog is also the manifestation of my belief that I am more than averagely endowed with cognitive and creative skills and whatever I write shall be of interest and use to the reader while he might really just be stuck at this page while his copy of windows inevitably hung up. So, if at any moment you feel the urge to differ with me, please resort to the comments feature and I'll resort to conveniently ignoring them, being the high-headed snob you've already pictured me as. If, under any circumstances you happen to know me personally, please get off the blog immediately and save me the embarassment. Good bye and good night!

PS: Just discovered Googlism.com. Try it!

Monday, May 15

Wordsmiths present...

Here are two words i and gautam invented during our usual bakar..
  • Feeticide: n Death due to smelly feet
  • Objectisexual: adj A person who gets sexually aroused by objects, more often someone who says 'sexy' or just 'sex' after getting three headshots with a nighthawk.