Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I cursed myself for listening to my grandfather. How will he know the trouble involved in finding an antique store from among a thousand odd shops? Added to that this tower did not have a 'sutradhar' - a robot guide that takes you around a place answering your queries. That made finding this shop in this 5 km tall carbon structure almost impossible. May be this building was not so developed when he was alive.His memory in this video log can only recall things that happened when he was alive. I cursed the old man again and kept searching.
At last I found it tucked in between a painting store and a scrap nanotube outlet. It was a plain looking parlor - a place where you expect to find nothing. Why he chose a place like this to hide a 'valuable treasure' to quote him; was a question that I kept asking myself. I decided to finish off this chore as soon as possible.
I entered the store. It was a small square room filled with articles that I had never seen before in my life. There were statues of tigers that I had heard so much about, some paper books and metal vases. The rest of the space was filled with currencies of countries with strange writings on them. They were all abolished the day the common universal government was adopted about a century back.
"Looking for something?' a voice enquired from a corner.
I turned to see an old man almost in his nineties glancing at me. He was a short man with a flowing white beard with a welcoming sparkle in his eyes. "He can sell himself as an antique" I told myself.
"I am Dev from Kashi sector-46. My grandfather Arjun Varma asked me to come here and give you this"
I handed him a thin glass sheet almost the size of my palm. I knew that it was called 'dhruv' used to identify people used in those days. Advantages of attending history lessons. I congratulated myself.
He took the crystal sheet and placed his thumb on it. Some images flashed from the apparatus. That was odd I told myself. It was usually a persons face and his voice describing his credentials that comes out. At least that's what I have learned.
I noticed the old man's face had turned grim. He left the room in hurry and appeared after a few minutes but this time with a plastic box in his hand. "Here take it and use it wisely " he uttered in a solemn voice. "Now please leave". He had barely given me the box and was trying to send me out rather rudely. What is in it? I wondered. But I chose not to ask. He was not willing to entertain me for even a second. I left.
I found the nearest teleporter and typed in my residential address. A capsule appeared, verified my credentials and opened itself. Just enough space for me, I should start exercising I told myself inspecting my 104 kg body.
As soon as I reached my home I broke open the box. Curiosity had almost turned me mad. There it lay inside the box the strangest object I had ever seen in my life. A rectangular plastic tablet almost 15 inches long and about 8 inches wide. It had the queerest thing stuck on it. It appeared like the keys I had seen in my history lessons. The keys had strange symbols arranged neatly on top of it : 'Esc' 'F1' 'F2' it went on. I searched the box for some manual. I was not disappointed. I found a 'gyaan' - a digital manual inside. I rubbed my thumb on it. The device started a general introduction of the bizarre item I was holding. This was called a keyboard used to enter data in ancient times in a language called English. It became obsolete after after the entire world adopted a common language called 'bhaasha' in 3013 A.D.
But why take all the trouble to give me this. And why do I have a strange feeling that this is not just a data-entry device? i scrolled down the e-tablet . I was filled with control keys and commands and description. What does my grandfather want me to do with this ? I wondered.
I decided to test this machine and if I find no use to it I decided to sell it back to the same antique-dealer.
I pressed a key that had a symbol resembling the up arrow. Nothing happened. Wait , I cannot feel the chair under me. Oh my god! I was resting in thin air some two feet above the ground as if I was tie to the ceiling by some invisible thread.There was nothing visible that ws supporting me. The only logical explanation would be that the arrow I pressed actually took me up. That's it!. This must be some magical charm. I could not believe my luck. My luck of being my grandfather's grandson and more importantly obeying my grandfather.
I was sweating with excitement thinking about the infinite options I had in my hands. I could fly above my office and impress my colleagues.May be I can become a vigilante and help the police. May be there is button that can me invisible. With that i can...
My brain was flooded with emotions. Focus I told myself 'you need to focus prepare a strategy. You have the power to be the most important man in the universe.The last thing you want would be some wild wild ideas in your brain. I brought myself back together. Or at least I tried to.My fingers were trembling. My head was spinning. I pressed the down key. I slowly descended back to the chair. I was escatic.
Now to find something really cool to do. I reached for the manual and browsed through it. Infinite varieties of symbols filled my eyes. I decided to test some key at random. There was an odd combination that struck me. It was glowing in red and for some reason appealed to me. I was too excited to read the manual. after all Fortune favors the valiant is what I was taught. With some difficulty I found the keys and pressed it.
I first thought that my eyes were playing tricks with me. It was pitch black . I could not see anything. I shouted at the top of my voice. No response. I pressed the keyboard frantically. No response. I tried to recollect the keys I had pressed.Alt and F4. Yes that's what I had pressed together. I tried to guess what it did but in vain.
I cried.