Friday, 29 June 2018

Enhancement

Enhancement.


The skin sparkled, eyes light blue, fair, hair perfect blonde and thin blue lines running along the torso were the visible enhanced features as he held his mother’s arm with similar blue stripes and walked out.
Many similar designer babies walked out from their birth sites, some with a long neck, some fluorescent bodies, some with enhanced limbs, some muscular and many designed to the specifications. The settlement of the century-long ethical debate regarding designer babies had bloomed the Genetically enhanced human (GEH) industry.
Companies prodded over the designs and patterns, over functions and emotions, over data and skills, over every cell type as new skin tones, new mental functions were being fabricated and modified every day. The humans had finally taken evolution into their hands.
People could tune their systems to their particular demands. A Parent who wants an athlete could design more athletic muscle fibers, a greater oxygen binding capacity, bigger lungs. And intellectual could be created by code, rather than reading and experience.
Anyone could create a nice for himself right from his birth.

The designer babies were produced by a fluid chamber engraved with Nano printers. 
A dark-skinned woman stood awaiting her turn, unlike others she was pregnant carrying her child.
The only one still following the primitive principles of birth.
 She was escorted by a beautiful nurse to the LT. 
 Puzzled looks stared at her as she walked into the delivery room. 
A doctor, stern face, eyes round followed the preparation.
It was a rare normal delivery being witnessed. Documentation being done. The last approved normal homo sapiens ever to come into this world.
She was the woman who opted for no enhancement, in a world of enhanced beings.
She opted for the natural biological way. When asked if the child could survive the future enhanced world, she stated that the primitive human emotions would be enough to compensate for the lack of the enhanced skills in the outside world. The grant was approved.
 Whether it would survive the enhanced world, only time would tell.
 But in a world were niche was everyone identity, rolling back in history and understanding basic principles of mankind would itself create a purpose for the girl to strive for. She had history to showcase. 
She represented a very genuine species, a time when emotions and human interactions were the epitomai of existence.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Painless destruction.

Painless destruction.


 The bionic limbs transitioned to his comfort cross-legged position with tiny blue jets from the underside propelling him gracefully over the water.
A beautiful landscape to witness. A deserted island, the last surfaceble land mass unequivocally harnessing the last rays of the direct sunlight
Ram, alongside quickly settled into his hovering/transport board, cross-legged. 
An aura of calmness wrapped him, as he and his elder companion reconciled with the infibulation of the planets topography. A paradigm shift in the outlook and life in the universe. 
A bird drone, whizzed past him towards to the lifeless surface of land and beyond.
Ram, eager to begin their discussion posed his question “So, do you think this is this the end of the human time. Is this the end of life in this planet?”
“We make our own realities. This is the reality we have chosen. Maybe it is the end of our time but nothing alters in this cycle of universe. Our extinction just like our existence always has been immaterial. This planet will continue to exist much longer than the life it harbors” companion hovered a little forward with the strong wind, eyes unaltered from the land.
The land had over the years withered by the chemicals, pollution, cracked by the radical commercial abuse on ground, vibrating the tectonic plates to separate into tiny islands. No continent retained the geography. 
Human were unable to adapt quickly to the pace of their reckless manipulation over the planet.
Few men survived.
The gentle waves filled in for the silence. The sound of the waves splashing against solid land, a melody to have graced the entire course of humanity. The continuous echo of the dying planet. 
The man continued “We have overestimated our part in this universe throughout our existence. We were never going to change anything in the universe. Exploring, understanding and respecting the conceivable space the sensors dutifully hovered over the diversely changing wave heights.
“The human mind was gifted to create reality, to lead a life of harmony and consciousness instead we have been slayed by our own creation. Destruction as we know it is just one of the flaws in reality. For me, it is a consequence of prevalence of superficiality and commercialization which we imbibed to attain a level of comfort and it has dramatically guided our conscious to a deep ignorance of the basic principles governing life and the  
Merely striving for comfort had not given us purpose, neither has it helped us survive.”
The men drenched in the philosophical discussion. A colorful projection transpired through the water surface, getting more distinct as a bioengineered fish rose high above the water and floated midair at their level.
Strips of radiant illumination bleeped across, originating at the eyes towards the edge of fin tail showcasing the brightly lit mechanical organs through the malleable and transparent skin, the tail rapidly flapping sideways. The gills luminescent blue.
A holographical interface overlapped the fish, pointing out whatever the human mind asked for.
The intellect admired at this technologically marvelous future. 
The display showing its credentials.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Peace treaty

Peace treaty.

Faint pink light traversed through the clear sky, forming thin rectangular strips across her brown eyes, transfixed at the corner pointing to a distant object, with a denser shadow imposed over her throat.
Her shoulders inclined across the steel railings, the flabby flesh of her arm seemed to be completely inundated by the uneven geography of the railings but least bothering her.

Renuka spent most of her day like this, she woke up late in the afternoon, ate once a day in the afternoon and immersed herself in solitude till sunrise, never having acknowledged my constant presence.
I sat across the open verandah, trying to understand and imbibe her emotions.
Silent and stationary.
I couldn’t trace what she was so captivated by with Miles of barren land ahead of us.
The infinite stretch of solitude protecting her from the bigoted worldly reality, the thin violet dispersion where the sky and land met offering a quick window to her thought before deceiving to the clear white sky.
The fading flower patterned dress, was a constant cover over her body throughout her stay in the farmhouse, light enough not to hinder her thoughts.

She was beyond help, none of materialistic possessions could retort her mind back to the social duties of human.
Her husband could not tolerate the detachment anymore after all these years, it was proving fatal for their daughter.
He summoned me for counselling, which I had gladly agreed unaware of the depth that the constraints that had taken over her. The confidence was as a result of clinically witnessing every case mentioned in medical literature.
As I dug deep into her case, I couldn’t find anything etiological in her story leading to this radical form of isolation. No known incident had caused this, no trauma had disturbed her. It was a gradual and cataclysmically change affecting since her childhood, the effects clearly showing since recent years.
She grew up in a secure, middle class family in a small town throughout her life, completed her basic schooling, after which stayed at home, to help out her ailing mother in housework. Her family quickly used their societal influence to get her married to a city man, an engineer in an upcoming city. Not finding trace, I brought her to my farmhouse.
Renuka transferred her weight to her right as well, balancing herself, steering herself to a comfortable space, one without the constraints of her body movements. The place too fervent and vast to search for her soul, drifting into the farthest spaces seeking for absolute serenity.

I had to find the answers she was seeking out. Something isolated from the physical realm yet connected by the infinite boundaries of space, where every particle seems to be the center, continuously separating from each other, stretching until a random disruption in the cycle reflects upon the surroundings to harness energy. 

I had led a solitary life throughout my life and didn’t blame her for taking this path. Solitude provided me with peace, thoughtfulness and understanding. Being alone, was when I understood myself, when I understood the environment better. In this time, I was able to contemplate the most basic, genetic flaw in us humans, our ignorance, to the fact that we are just another form of energy released by this cycle of events, soon to be transformed to another.
But I still quite didn’t understand Renuka to answer to questions. 

Witnessing the half crescent moon rise up to the sky, I dosed off at the chair.

The next morning, I expectedly looked out to the barren lands, through which she had followed the path of solitude.
I wasn’t ready to follow her. I wasn’t ready to take her path, I could not treat her back to the seasoned civilities of our world.
She had to find her own peace.

Monday, 12 March 2018

The crossover

The crossover.

Kneeling on a small stool, hunched back, she rested her chin on the metallic frame of the window gazing at the mile-long straight stretch of concrete road running across her.

On either side, two protesting groups were separated unsymmetrically by the deserted strip of road.  The right side, were the people from the Vrikanth state, demanding for water and the left were the Krikanth state who firmly refused to share their water resources.
The excruciatingly long period of drought had vaporized their economy and traumatized the health of the Vrikanth people, leaving them no choice but showcase their desperation for survival.  A mass demonstration of this caliber would surely pinch the thick-skinned rulers into taking some action.

“Gampu, Gampu, Gampu” her mother called out to her frantically.
She immediately jumped out of her chair and ran to the kitchen.
“Stay with your brother now, how many times do I have to call you. Your brother is not feeling well. Stay there, I will get him some water. Go” as she squeezed and twisted the wet cloth, draining all the excess salt water into a small bowel.
Raku was lying on a mattress set up tightly against the corner of the room. The thin, long cracks appeared dark against the pale wall adjoining it. Aging rotating blades
Weak and barely conscious, a blanket was pulled up till his chest and his left leg crossed over his right like a withered leaf.
Gampu looking at her brother felt a chill down her spine, his condition had worsened considerably from just minutes before she drifted to the window. She couldn’t imagine her brother so weak. She couldn’t contemplate what was happening to her brother, but an overwhelming sense of sadness and fear had engulfed her.
The dim light from the overused coiled tube bounced of his shiny tachypnic chest as his prominent neck muscles contracted to maintain his breathing.
She watched her brother from a distance.
The mother rushed to her son and neatly spread the moist warm cloth on his forehead, trying to get the temperature down.
She placed her palm over his chest “Raku, Raku…….” She called softly, her words helping him open his eyes.
 “Raku, drink a little bit more son………” she poured the salt water to his mouth gently through a metal spoon.
His eyes twitched and lips stretched back as he took a strainful gulp.
Gampu listened to the loud marching noises in the background as the angry public gathered themselves.

The mother rubbed her son’s chest, eyes barely moist as she examined the smooth contours of his face. His smooth, big forehead demarcated below by thin eyebrows, through the narrow midline forming a small depression, obtusely rising up to the rounded tip of his nose merging, gently sliding down to his widely parted lips down to his chin and running along the ill-defined jaw lines on either side to complete his well-padded face.

Only, if I had left this diseased town, my children would have lived a better life.

Images of Raku playing and reconstructing his favorite toy red car flashed in front of her eyes. He sometimes fixed a better motor, painted new colors, replaced thicker wheels and added miniature fan motors on the sides, so as to give it some extra speed.
And Gampu she could go to school, read her books and become whatever she wanted to.
If only I had left this town.  
She felt a sharp stinging pain, behind the right ear as thoughts of regret and failure inundated her brain.


The city on the whole was on the brink of a major existential crisis.
 Krikanth land had the major chunk of the river flowing through them, the dying tributaries branching out to Gampu’s state, so during the split of the states they had agreed for the states to use the water in their own territory except in conditions of drought or war.
 if case such a circumstance should arise then the water would be fairly divided among the two states till the situation resolves.
The law was not yet implemented fully yet.

Only in times of such grave crisis, does human nature show true vulnerability and desperation, when he is stripped away from the basic elements of life, when he fights for survival, when he realizes he is just like any other life form on the planet who could be wiped away any moment by the forces of nature.
The Krikanths, saw this as an opportunity. They could achieve their futile goal from being the resourceful to the powerful.
They demanded a part of land in return for water.

The Krikanth territory armored their border with water tanks to prevent the demanding neighbors from entering their state.

A Vrikanth woman standing at the center of the frontline led the march slowly and steadily. They didn’t want any bloodshed. They were only asking for their survival.


The water pipes spraying high velocity, water jets would flush out anyone trying to cross the Krikanth territory.
The vrikanths were closing in steadily.
A loud squeal of the speaker, halted everyone. 
A warning followed “Please do not attempt to cross our land in such huge numbers, demanding any resource of any matter.” A Krikanth man said. He wasn’t very threatening.
The Vrikanth frontline, progressed again. They weren’t going to stop unless they got an answer from the administrators.
“Let us not intrude each other’s space” came another vain warning.
The frontline was now within striking distance of the water pipes.
The Krikanths were given the go signal by the announcer.
A sharp gush of water with tremendous force left the pipes, in unison. The water lines piercing the air like arrows struck their targets with great effectiveness and precision.
The frontline was pushed back causing a chain reaction behind them.
It immediately disrupted the peaceful march causing panic and havoc.
Now the Krikanthis were pushing ahead with their tanks, ruthlessly spraying water from one end to the other, clearing the field line by line.
The vrikanths tried to stand their ground, but the frontlines were pushing back leading to heavy congestion, shoving and inevitably, causing a stampede.
Their limbs tangled, shoved, their chest compressed, ribs crushed, heads stomped over and over by their own people and bodies piled up in a small plateau.
The stampede would have catastrophic consequences for both of their economies.
Loud helpless screams spread terror though the city and to Gampu’s ear as she retracted from her mother to see the terror happening outside.
“Gampu, go see what is going on outside and be careful”
Raku’s abdomen spasmosed as a wheeze was let through from his mouth. He was very dizzy now, losing his consciousness.
“Raku, Raku……here take some water” she gently shook him twice.
His lips quivered, uttering inaudible words.
She placed the spoon, close to his mouth which he wasn’t able to open. The mother pursed his lips and poured the drops over.
“Raku……. Raku” she again shoved him little harder than before.
She wiped herself, maintaining her composure.
“Ma” Gampu called her at the same time.
“What is happening Gampu”. She shifted her attention to the outside.
 “What”
“Ma, they are fighting with each other and spraying water from big vehicles.” She said bluntly, not able to express the seriousness of it.
Her life was a nothing but a consequence of a series of riots between intellectually differing groups
All she could do was hope.

From the opposite lane across the street, a middle-aged man seemed to be rushing to his destination. The riots seemed to have caught up with him as he was swallowed by the crowd.
Hurtful pushes
The damages and consequences of this was never going to be salvaged by the government.
The crowd was being pushed back and the center of the riots was only a few meters away. He couldn’t wait any longer. He couldn’t take the long route as it would prolong his travel not guaranteeing safety as riots erupted at every corner.
He was trapped between riots from both ends closing in.
 So, he dashed to the other side with his bag hanging from the side but unfortunately the water canon was beaming towards him now. A sudden forceful gush threw him to the floor, immediately followed by an elbow, a knee to his head and then there was darkness.
The riots were happening right in front of Gampu’s eyes.
Saddened by the sight, she herself returned back to her brother.
Gampu’s weakened gait gave her mother all the answers.
Raku was barely moving now.
The mother placed her palm on his forehead and applied gentle pressure, still warm enough to keep her unsettled.
She hopelessly planted a kiss on her son’s forehead.
It was a tough journey for her, being a single mother. Gampu was 9, Raku 7. Both born during the separation of the two states. Their father, a political worker working who had worked for the separation of the states succumbed due to a chronic lung disease. He believed that the separation was necessary to lead a functional government, the two sides radically differing culturally and intellectually.
After her husband passed away, she worked as a caterer in the area, bringing in just sufficient income to raise the kids at home. The constant personal sorrow and the fact that she wasn’t going to contribute to a progressive society filled the void of her shattered dreams.
Her children were the only way she could build a legacy of her own.
It looked as if her journey was of a lone lioness, wandering on vast dry plains of the excrutiatingly, long summer. Starving to their deaths.



A loud banging on the door shook both of them. She carefully unlocked the door to see her bruised doctor who had wrestled his way out through the tumbling pile of human bodies to bring about a speck of hope in her life.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The village.

The village.


Salim, checked on his blinker which was still flashing red, and gently slid it back into his pocket.
 Taking the last drag of his cigarette, he flicked it away to the piled trash which lay just outside the medical examination building. Courtesy of a recent virus breakout causing a decline in almost half of the population, one of the village huts was converted to a makeshift examination center.
Salim was tasked with controlling the epidemic as the chief public health examiner, specifically sent by the WHO considering his vast field experience in controlling many previous epidemics all over the world.
This unknown virus, was first reported in this village a couple months back, immediately alarming the medical authorities and notifying the WHO about the virus.
The only documented and proven pathology of the virus was that it spread through air, and resulted in respiratory manifestations finally leading to demise in an average time frame of 10 days.
The cases had significantly decreased the past weeks due to the strict quarantine measures taken. The whole village was under quarantine.
As Salim entered the building, a middle aged woman, extended her hand for a quick handshake “Welcome, doctor” she gave a brief smile and immediately pulled up her face mask.
The examination room was a huge, plain hall without any pillars to support the semi pukka hut.
 The uneven floor was only slightly more domestic than the streets to walk on. Most villagers walked barefoot. The rough terrain hardly bothered their thick keratinized sole.
Two rows of examination stations were setup either side of the hall along the length. Two doors at the back, from where the people were called in to the stations.
The people who passed the quarantine would be shifted to the other side of the village, and kept there until the WHO were happy with the virus control.
“So, did you find anything today” He went straight to the task at hand.
“Nothing actually, fifty-six residents have been sent to the other side of the village, we haven’t found anything yet. Gripalan was the last detected case two weeks back and he passed away a couple day back. Nothing significant found yet.”
“OK, but that is good news that no new cases detected, how long before we finish the whole  village. Then maybe we can break it down and compile the data”
“Maybe a week more, then we are done. Yes, we can then finally compile the date and send it over. A week, and we are done” there was a slight relief on her face as she said those words.
She escorted Salim to his station, and quickly continued to her.
Before Salim could settle down, the first person was called.
An old cachexic man, barely managed to walk across to the station.
Salim, pulled out the syringe ad first attempted the brachial artery, but couldn’t draw any blood. He was severely anemic and veins were barely visible in his arms.
He tried the radial but then he went for the carotid, along his neck. The last resort
Salim pushed his thumb against the carotid and felt a feeble pulse.
Piercing the vein almost parallel to his neck, he went a little deeper till finally the brick red fluid started filling the tube.
He took a drop of the blood and scanned it in the detector, still red. He was negative.
The person was free to go but Salim decided to add a few words of advice
“The test is complete and you are free of the virus, but I suggest you do a complete body check, in a hospital somewhere. You don’t look too well.”
“Yes, I seem to have a lot of weakness these days and..” a gut wrenching cough with a blood filled sputum splattered to the floor.
“And I have some cough also” he wiped the blood with his faded yellow shirt.
“OK…….” Salim took a back seat and let the old man finish off with his coughing.
After he was done with spreading blood tinged mucous all over, Salim continued “Please get yourself checked in a nearby hospital immediately” He handed over a receipt for checkup and sent him.
Salim already had a handful in controlling the virus. It wasn’t his job to take care of this guy.
So he moved on.
Luckily for him or his colleagues, their blinkers didn’t switch to green the whole day. Smooth day for the disease controllers.
The blinker was a special detector in invented by Salim himself, which was coded to detect any of the known microbial infection to ever infest a living being. On setting the blinker to any virus, a positive result would give the green signal.
In this case, all the known viruses and no virus was set red and anything outside code would turn green. A previous sample of the new virus from one of the first victims was coded to the blinker.


 The Sun had slowly started setting, few rays of light passing through the center revealing the infinite dust particles in the hall, when a young woman with a child clinging to her arm walked nervously to his station.
She wore a loose white top with sleeves dangling down her arms and wrapped around by the child, coupled with white linen jumbo pants.
The child wore the miniature version of the same.
The young woman sat ahead and tried to make herself comfortable.
“Good afternoon” she gave a warm smile to Salim.
Noticing the mainland Asian features Salim was curious to know her more “What is your name”
“Apalna”
Salim nodded.
“OK, where are you from”
“I am from Manipur” she answered quickly, as if she was expecting it.
Salim gazed at the little kid.
“And she is my…………I look after her………I am her companion you can say. Her name is adana” She gently patted adana’s back pushing her in front but Adana shied away deeper into her arms.
‘OK, is it possible to ask her to extend her arms like this. We need to draw some blood from the both of you”
Apalna, gently took the kid’s arm and extended it.
Only a slight wince on Adana’s small round face as Salim took out her precious blood.
He poured it to his blinker and it was still red. Salim was happy.
“Is she related to you” Salim questioned Apalna as he drew blood.
“Oh….no……but I take care of her and look after her. She has nobody else.”
Salim was taken back a little. He didn’t expect the kid to have tough past.
“One of my colleagues who worked with me in the cloth factory always bought Adana with her. So we developed a bond. One day she told me that she was running away with a landlord from a neighboring village and asked me to take care of Adana till she returned. So I took her. It’s been a year now. I am the only one she has.” Apalna gripped Adana’s hand tighter and reassured her with a smile. More than love and affection, there was a sense of determination and responsibility which Apalna upheld towards the child.
Salim didn’t respond, he had an agitated look on his face and kept fiddling with his test tube. He poured the last few drops of blood again to the blinker. He was checking the previous result again hoping his blinker was wrong.
As Salim lifted the blinker over his head, against the ray of sunlight seeping through one of the ventilation vents. The red light in the blinker slowly diffused to orange and finally blended to dark green. She was positive. She had the virus.
Salim had it confirmed.
He called his colleague and gave her the report.
A tinge of fear creeped into Apalna as she saw the nervousness on Salim’s face “What is it”
Salim looked over at the kid, innocent and totally unaware of painful and recurring abandonment she would face during the course of her ill fate childhood.
“I’m sorry Apalna, but we have detected the virus in your body” Salim gently placed the green blinker on the table confirming again, letting everyone look at it.
Apalna immediately held Adana tighter, knowing she only had a few more moments with her.
“We have to take you to our quarantine center, Apalna. We will have to run you tests and keep you away from human contact. I know it will be hard but that is what is best for everyone.” the middle aged woman took over.
“Don’t worry we will try our best” Salim added.
A couple of personnel’s in their white masks with plastic see through, and a huge white jumper suit were ready to escort her.
Adana was immediately pulled over by the middle aged woman to our side, with minimal force. There was no much resistance from Apalna, considering the only fact that only her being away was good for the child.
Adana was lucky to not have contacted the virus from her companion.
“Please can she come with me, to where we are going. I will stay away from her. But please let her come. She has no one else here” Apalna asked just like any other responsible caretaker would do.
“It is not possible, Apalna, the kid has to stay here. The village is quarantined, no one leaves the village without permit and detected cases are taken to our center. She has to stay here. We will make the appropriate arrangements for her. But more importantly we have to take care of you. The virus, inside your body has claimed a lot of lives and we need your cooperation in helping us prevent more casualties. Apalna you have to understand this. This is the only way and you have to help us.”
The middle aged woman had Adana gripped in her wrists.
Apalna knew there was no other way. So she mustered up all her courage and nodded in approval to be taken away.
She glanced over at Salim and he gave a slight nod. It was telepathically conceived by both that Adana had to protected and kept safe till she could get on her own feet.
Apalna was escorted out through the front door.
She could potentially be the person who would end the catastrophic course of this virus or she could be one of the many victims, leaving a small girl alone to fight this virus infected world.


Enhancement

Enhancement. The skin sparkled, eyes light blue, fair, hair perfect blonde and thin blue lines running along the torso were the visi...