Nov 26, 2003

Bharateeya Blog Kela wakes up at last! -- the self-styled commander of a bunch of kelas has been tricked into putting up a link to this page. The result is that my hits counter has jumped by more than 100% in one day! (Yeah, most of the hits earlier were due to my friends and I, but whatever. (Oh, OK, I had only one friend reading this, will you quit picking on me ?))

Now I only wish I could make some money out of every su...[- oops ^H^H] reader who comes to visit...

Nov 20, 2003

The Man from Xrrx by Alok Naik

He approached me and immediately I sensed that he was nervous. He was young, just past his teens. He was dressed in black jeans, a light blue shirt and white sports shoes. He looked like any other young man you'd see in the streets.

"Excuse me," he said politely and I wondered about how I'd look like to him. Slightly older than him, perhaps, and slightly more well dressed. He had the advantage in height and there was a glow in his eyes that mine would never have.

"Yes ?" I answered, rather gruffly.

"Could I talk to you for a minute ?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know you."

He followed me as I walked down the street. His tone was pleading.

"Please, it's a very important matter."

"I don't have time."

"I beg of you, sir."

Something in the voice told me that he was close to a breakdown. I stopped and looked at him. He licked his lower lip and sighed. His tone didn't change.

"You are not going to find this easy to belive," he said, "and I really wish there were some other way, but I can't help it now. Please, you must believe me."

Here he stopped, as if he expected a comment. I stared back at him and he continued to talk.

"I know it's hard to believe... I am not of this world..."

I started to walk away, but he grabbed hold of my arm. His grip was such that any normal man would find it painful. His voice now became intense.

"You must listen to me ! I'm only asking you to listen, damn you !"

What did I have to lose ? I began to wonder; suppose... just suppose what he said was... I stood in the street and listened to him talk.

"I come from the planet Xrrx. It's about five million light years from your sun. Xrrx is much more advanced than your Earth is; we have known about you humans for a long time. By a strange coincidence, we on Xrrx are also human; not humanoid, but human - there is no difference genetically.

"I was sent to your planet on an important mission. We have been battling with silicon based life forms from the Andromeda galaxy for years now. And we are losing the war. Xrrx desperately needs Earth's support. We need resources and energy and no other civilization in the galaxy is advanced enough to help us. If Earth doesn't help us, then it is the end of life as we know it in this galaxy."

He stopped again and looked at me. I could only feel pity for him. I said nothing.

"But I've run into major problems," he continued. "I was taught English before I left Xrrx, so I can communicate with your people. But my ship was totally destroyed in the landing. There's nothing left of it - couldn't handle Earth's magnetosphere, I think. Fortunately the flight computer ejected me before it went out. I stole these clothes from a clothesline; and so I have nothing with me to prove my story... it's the worst possible thing that could happen to me... I should have died like the earlier mission... nobody believes me. If I was hideous and slimy, you'd believe that I'm an alien - but I'm human. I've been trying to convince people, but they think I'm mad."

He was almost sobbing now. Delusions, hallucinations, I suppose would be the doctor's verdict. I spoke to him gently. I'm no doctor.

"I believe you."

My words shocked him and he stood speechless with his mouth hanging open.

"I believe you, but nobody else will. Trust me, I know. I've been trying to convince them for the past two years."

His eyes seemed to be popping out of their sockets. I then addressed him in Xrrxian.

"My ship was also destroyed by the magnetosphere but I survived. I've faced the same problem, and there's no way out. I'll help you find a job and a place to stay. We're both going to be here for a long time..."

The Story of Celery -Alok Naik

This story takes us back; aeons ago, in the mystic folds of time; when there lived an insignificant little wizard. Uh, for that was his name, spent all his time dabbling in white magic. One day, while taking a walk on the ethereal plane, Uh stumbled upon the all-powerful weapon - the Hammer of Thor. Forged in the fires of everlasting light by the great god Thor himself, the Hammer transformed the little wizard into a mighty warrior. For the rest of his life, Uh fought evil and brought peace to all edges of the globe. He finally died of a heart attack when his wife stopped nagging him.

Uh's son, Oh, was a good for nothing oaf. He dreamt of becoming an engineer and four years in a hostel left him a physical and mental wreck. He dismantled his father's dictatorship and established a democracy; and this move set all good people of the land shivering in their shoes. Oh then went to Micronesia to help uplift the downtrodden. There he found an uninhabited island habited by cannibals who had him for dinner.

Thus was the once prosperous land shoved onto the path of destruction. One thing led to another, till civilization ground to a halt and industrialization took over. The next head of government was Celery; the same Celery who coined the term "Yabblins". He ruled more or less wisely for many years, doing the best he could. Then came news, one fine morning, that in far off India, a great war had begun. Celery immediately sent for the Hebrew translation of the Mahabharata (for Celery could understand only Hebrew); only to find that the Mahabharata had not been written till then. At this Celery grew exceedingly angry, for he wanted to know whether the opposition parties would ask him to interfere in the war (how reading the Mahabharata would have helped Celery is unclear to the present author). When a nuclear exchange seemed imminent, Celery took up the Hammer of Thor and rode out on his bicycle (for the horse was, by then, out of fashion) to set things right.

Celery reached the grim battlefield of Kurukshetra just in time to see the great and noble Bhishma pull out shafts from his body and remark, "These cannot be Shikhandi's arrows. Surely they are Arjun's, for they burn the flesh..." Celery watched in awe as Arjun steeled his heart and sent well aimed arrows from his famous bow, that pierced the grandsire's armour, cut down his flag and killed his charioteer. With so many arrows in his body that not an inch of intervening space could be found, the grand old warrior fell from his chariot.

The battle stopped as the fighters came running to pay their respects to the fallen commander. Celery stood at a respectful distance and was wondering what to do next, when a smart man in a pinstripe suit popped up before him. "I'm from Popsi and my company would like to sponsor this break in the war," he said brightly. This crude attempt at commercialization so angered Celery that he hit the Popsi man with the Hammer of Thor and sent him flying to America. Celery was moved by the great drama unfolding around him (for details, refer 'Mahabharata' by Ved Vyas), but there was work to be done.

He contacted the Supreme Commanders of both sides and asked them to give up their nukes. He was, however, bluntly told that India would not give up the nuclear option as long as Celery had the hammer. Celery returned home, a dejected and broken man. He lost the next general elections and the Communists came to power. Celery was duly executed along with family and friends. The Communists ruled for some time, and then gave up because no-one listened to them any more. The destruction of the once-beautiful land was thus complete, and as a final act, Celery's granddaughter threw the Hammer of Thor into the Pierian Spring's clear waters where it slowly sunk out of sight.

Yeah, so some phrases seem like you've heard them before. So what?

Nov 14, 2003

The Destruction of Earth by Alok Naik

Research on the time machine started in the year 2021. The Grand
Unified Theory of Time and Rotatory Piston Engines was completed
in 2078, by a person known to history only as "The Idiot". But it
took the year A.D. 2289 for researchers to finally build a time
machine that worked. For the first few weeks nobody knew what was
going on. People were stepping in and out of time as if there was
no tomorrow. There were stories of people visiting far off times,
as far off as the year 2005 and as far on as 2305. Many were
annihilated when they met two or three versions of themselves at
the same time and place. The Laws of Physics began to get so
complex that it was inevitable that someone would do something
about it.

The reaction came from the very place where it was expected. The
National University of Universal Physics. The students rebelled
at having to learn Laws of Physics that changed from place to
place and time to time and person to person. There were different
Laws for two different persons in the same time and two same
persons in different times and two same persons in same
times and different places... you get the idea. The thing got
even more weird when there were two different persons in the same
time and the same place. And the Mathematics involved was simply

The rebelling students turned violent when the Grand Vizier of
the Everlasting Sultanate of the Imperial Planet of Mars was
seen giving the same lecture on democracy in fifteen different
halls in the University at the same time. The paramilitary forces
had to be brought out when the students let loose a black hole
right in the middle of New York City and using the Theory of
Duplicity of Mass made it appear at the same time in the Grand
Vizier's kitchen.

Now, you can't let loose black holes inside a Vizier's kitchen
without the Galactic Council coming to know of it. In an emergency
session, the Council decided to send a fact finding team to
Earth and it's colonized planets to find out the facts. It did
not take long for the fact finding team to determine that the whole
problem was caused because humans had discovered how to rebel
in the year 65,000,000,000 B.C.

The only solution that the Council could think of was to
destroy humans and human populated planets. In any case the
Council had not destroyed any race in the Galaxy for more than
five hundred years and the Councillors wanted to have their
share of fame too.

Thus it came to pass that the planet Earth and all other meteoroids
and planetoids and planets inhabited by the human species were
destroyed on December the 15th, in the year A.D. 1947. This was
accomplished by transporting a large google into the Earth's
central plasmoid which created a whirling pool of jelly and
destroyed all life forms on this planet.

How are all of us still here, you ask ? Oh well, that's another

Nov 12, 2003

Cold Arms by Alok Naik

Oh yeah. Right. I know all about it. Tell me more.

Come to think about it, you ought not be surprised if you see a ghost in a haunted house in a remote village in India. If you don't find ghosts there, then where do you expect to? I've had my share of shrieking skeletons and creaking doors in my village. And I won't even talk about the witch-doctor who dances with his head clutched firmly under his armpit. Ghosts and ghouls are pretty commonplace entities out there and we simple people have learnt how not to antagonize them. Nobody from my village ever wasted time trying to figure out what these things were or where they came from. They were there, as solid a part of the environment as the man-eating leopards.

The reason I won't talk about the witch-doctor is that he's my uncle. And as his sole heir, I was expected to follow in his footsteps. When I was a child I was given lessons on how to talk to the spirit world and how to interpret the answers. I was taught how to fool the poor innocent villagers by telling them what they wanted to hear; regardless of what the spirits said. My uncle was sure I would become a great leader of the people. But then my father decided that I would go to school and get smart instead. Which I did, along with four other boys from the village. But I don't want to talk about those unhappy days either.

I was one of the "fortunate few" who managed to get a college education after school. For which I used to walk fourteen kilometers to the nearby town every day, but that's a different story. I got myself a degree. And then I came to the big city. Oh, it wasn't as big as some of the cities you'd have seen, but it was big enough for me. I was as miserable as it's possible for a person to be. Then I did something which changed my life forever. I took a correspondence course in basic computing. Oh, why didn't I stay back in the village and become a witch- doctor ?

The computer course was supposed to help me get a better job. I landed one as a "data entry operator" which meant that I would be spending my days banging away on a keyboard. Such is life.

The very first day I knew that something was wrong. As soon as I sat down in front of the terminal I was assigned to, I felt two cold arms encircling me. The manager must have seen my alarmed look, for he smiled sardonically and said that it would take me some time to "adjust". I knew that it was just a machine, but I couldn't believe that it wasn't sentient in some way. And the two cold arms refused to go away.

That night I made up my mind. I would never go back to sit in front of that machine again. I would go back to my village. I would become a witch-doctor and become a great leader. But the next morning found me staring at the monitor again. The two cold arms were waiting for me and I couldn't help myself being drawn into their embrace. I looked around to see whether I could summon help. All I saw was blank faces staring at flickering screens, their expressions so like the zombies that my uncle brought forth from the graveyards.

Every morning I would make an effort to escape. And every morning I would sit in front of the screen and start tapping away. The two cold arms would hold me tighter and tighter and suck me deeper into the trap, if it was a trap...

There was one thing I figured - this "thing", whatever it was, had never harmed me. It just held on to me; and made me come back in front of the screen every morning. Then why did I fear it? Couldn't I try to talk to it ? Like I did with the spirit world back home ? I talked; and so did it.

Its words were as cold as its arms. It was as if it knew no warm feelings. I felt that it had desires - to expand, to assimilate. And that did nothing to remove my fears. There was no way it could be manipulated, no way to use it for my benefit or for anyone else's - there was something very sinister about it.

I don't remember much about the next few months. Each day was like the one before it. Cold arms, flickering screens and tapping away. A few conversations with "it"; and it seemed to get more alive each time it talked.

Then one day, the cold arms around me were gone. Instead there was one large frosty hand which reached right inside me and squeezed my heart. Fear took on a new meaning as the cold swept around and in me.

The thing had enlarged beyond my imagination, it had spread its tentacles all around it; and flashes of electricity sped along innumerable wires to and from all the other terminals in the room. From somewhere far off, I heard the manager boasting about his new network.

I am now a witch-doctor back in my village. I have an unholy nexus with the spirits. I have sold my soul to them, I give them whatever they want. Anything to protect me from those cold arms...

Let's begin with a quote from Erewhon

He who sins aught
Sins more than he ought,
But he who sins nought
Has much to be taught.
Beat or be beaten,
Eat or be eaten,
Be killed or kill;
Choose which you will.

-Samuel Butler, Erewhon