Vikas’ head was pounding when he regained consciousness.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up groggily. An old lady, probably in her 70s. He squinted his eyes. The light was blinding and he had trouble opening them fully.
“Are you feeling ok, son?” Her voice seemed to come from somewhere far away.
He nodded and tried to sit. She helped him.
“Where am I?”
“This is the orientation facility, son. You’re now at the prestigious HRP,” She said, smiling.
Yeah, like it made total sense.
“Human Re-allocation Program?” She said…actually asked, more like if it made any sense to him.
“I’m sorry, none of this…is making any sense.”
She nodded wisely. “Ok. We’ll take you through this. Don’t worry, son.”
They rose together. He looked around. The drab, metallic four-walled room had gone. In place was a very swanky office, modern furniture all around, wasn’t like anything he’d seen before. There were weird looking gadgets sitting on the various shelves and mantles.
She led him through the door to another room where a group of people sat. They rose collectively upon seeing the two.
The old lady led Vikas to the last chair and sat him down, patting his head – like a loving mother. He felt strangely attached to her. Have I seen her before?
She then went to the head of the table and sat.
“Good maloning, ladies and gentlemen,” She said.
Maloning? What on earth was that? Vikas just kept looking at her. What was maloning, some sort of new time zone these guys had invented? Where were the aliens?
“As you’re aware, it’s been exactly one era since we started the…”
For what seemed like an hour, the people in the room interacted, discussed on various things – some of them made presentations…in the air! - and generally arrived at some decisions.
None of which made sense to Vikas. He felt like a mongrel waiting for his bite at the family dinner table.
The meeting done, the people dispersed. Into thin air. Vikas’ heart was now beating at the speed of a racing car. What on earth had he gotten himself into? Didn’t people believe in stepping out of rooms anymore? He and the lady had walked in, not appeared here. He wondered if this was earth in the first place.
“You’re still on earth, don’t worry young man,” the old lady said, arranging something on the table.
She just read his mind.
“That’s right. I can read your mind. And this is indeed earth…” She looked at his puzzled expression and continued – “Except…this isn’t the earth you lived on. I mean, that earth, is still existent. Only you’ve left it. And you’re here. How and why – we need to find that out.”
We not here. You here.
“And those bozos…errr, things…I met back there?” He naturally assumed she’d be aware of that incident. She was.
“They’re our guardians. We call them ‘the protectors’.”
Protectors. He let that sink. The metallic bozos... our protectors.
“I’d like you to meet someone.”
She looked at the wall to her left and focused. A projector-like light emanated from her eyes and fell on the wall, casting an image.
He saw in wonder. It was him. He was in his house, but it was filled with different things. He did different things. There were weird looking gadgets, and a ‘protector’ stood by the side watching him do those things. They both communicated with the same sounds A and B were making back there, in his office.
“That’s me,” he said.
“Yes. You. But not you. He’s from this earth.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You won’t,” She said, turning off the projection.
“What I’m about to tell you now – you might or might not understand. Your brain is still not so evolved. But you have to understand, that you’re not supposed to be here. At least not now. Maybe in a couple of eras.”
“That’s another thing…era..”
She nodded. “An era..in your terms, if you may – is close to 25 years.”
His brain wasn’t evolved. He could slowly see where she was going with this.
“You mean…in a couple of eras..and now I’m…”
“No, you’re not dead.”
Damn. Was there anything she couldn’t read in his mind?
“Vikas. Your time hasn’t come yet. And there’s no heaven or hell, as the ‘humans’ of your earth think. You just move here. To this earth. And we put you through the HRP.”
Rebirth. Reincarnation. Life cycle. Redemption. Hocus..pocus. And all that.
His mind reeled as she continued.
“You may or may not know this – the earth was formed when the big bang happened. Right?”
He nodded. He knew about the big bang theory.
“But what you don’t know, is the fact – that not one, but two earths were formed as a result of the big bang.
“That’s right. Two. Yours. And ours.”
Vikas suddenly felt weak in his knees. He didn’t know whether to cry out loud in anger, or laugh at what this old lady was spinning.
“You evolved. We evolved. Almost simultaneously. In human terms, you could say, we’re both from twin planets. Almost identical.”
“A parallel universe?”
So, it was true, all that bull-crap about a parallel world. All those books, movies, and TV shows he’d seen since his childhood. It wasn’t bull-crap. Except, it was more than that.
“Like I said, your brain hasn’t evolved enough to be able to grasp all this. Whereas ours…has. We know there are two earths. We've been keeping in touch with you ever since we evolved into this ...human, form. Only you don't know about it. At least not all of you.
Vikas thought UFOs and other weird sightings.
She continued. "For several hundreds and thousands of years, we've been keeping track of your planet. We are also interacting with several other planets. It's all very complicated. Your earth...it is trying to fit in, explore like us. But it'll take you much more time to actually make contact. On the other hand, we could make immediate contact with you, but then again, your primitive mental framework could not handle this sort of communication made at a larger scale...”
“So you’re saying, you’re like super-human...or something?”
“Didn’t you just see?” She meant that ‘movie’ show she put up for him minutes ago. He nodded. He wondered what other things they could pull off.
“That's right. Our brains have evolved to a point where we don’t bother with trivial things like moving our limbs to do small work like lifting or moving things, or communication. Like talking, for instance. Our mind does a whole lot of work for us.”
“Oh, come on. I just saw people outside, they were talking just like me…and..”
“They were not real. They were pieces of your imagination. Your mind is like a monkey – goes in a thousand directions. And here, on this planet, we call such people as the ‘untrained. You tend to create your own world, in your head.”
“You could say that. Only difference is…well, like I said – it’s too much information for you to digest. So let me just keep it straight and simple. Please don’t ask yourself a whole lot of questions. You won’t get any immediate answers.”
She continued. “Not everybody does the cross-over to this earth. Like I said, it happens only after you ‘die’, and we take the cosmic energy and fill it into somebody here.”
“And after you guys die, you fill it into ‘our’ folks? Re-birth…kinds?”
“Not bad, you’re catching on.”
Vikas laughed. He was beginning to enjoy this hog-wash, utterly nonsensical, but entertaining ride.
“Go on,” he said, smiling at her.
“So..like I was saying, we evolved together, only difference being, our brains evolved at a faster rate. I don’t exactly know the reason for it, but it did – and we do things a whole lot differently than on your planet. You see, basically it’s all about this,” she said pointing to the head. “A far more advanced ‘source’.
“Ah, the source,” he said, remembering what the aliens said.
“And the…protectors? How’d they come about?”
“They’re from a nearby planet called “yozoxht”
“yozo…” Vikas said, leaving it mid-way. The nonsense plot just thickened.
“What about the sun. Is that also the same, or…?”
“That’s the same. Only we’re in a different orbit.”
Vikas laughed again.
“You know, ma’am…I’m sorry I’m laughing..but this is the most absurd piece of story I’ve ever heard after of course, the yarn my granny used to spin when I was a kid.
“That would be me….in your planet,” the old lady said matter-of-fact.
Vikas was stunned.
She nodded. No wonder she looked familiar.
“But…how come you’ve not yet…”
“Our sources are different. It’ll be probably a few more eras before my source starts diminishing.”
“What’s the normal life-time of folks on this planet?”
“On an average…about 10 eras.”
“250 years?” Vikas said, almost shouting.
What the fuck…
“Please refrain from swearing, young man.”
She then went over to a metallic pot-type container and looked at it. A nozzle from inside the pot just sort of popped up on its own and entered her open mouth. She could move things with her mind. After she was done 'drinking', the nozzle went back and cap replaced itself. Was that water she was drinking?
“No, it’s not water,” She said.
He threw up his hands. Of course.
“Do we need to talk at all..you seem to be reading my mind like…”
“We have to. Because you can’t read mine..”
He felt dumb saying that. “Yeah..ok.”
“We have a different substance here, equivalent of your water. Only it’s more gaseous than liquid. So we need to consume it in this manner.”
“You know, I find this planet cool. May I stay on for a few more …micro-eras, or something?”
He smiled at her naughtily. She looked at him sternly.
“Vikas, please don’t ridicule this planet. Look, there are two ways we could do this. I could just let you loose, allow you to go out, free. What would you do? You don’t have an identity here. Where would you live? What would you do to live? Let me tell you, as we’re a highly evolved species, the so-called ‘crimes’ also are more than what you can take. You cannot handle it here. They’ll probably destroy you in no time and do the unthinkable with you. Remember, the ‘anti-social’ elements of this planet, or what you call ‘criminals’ back on your planet, have their own way of dealing with the dead here. You don’t want to know what happens.”
We’re sent back to our earth as devils or worse…evil spirits.
“That’s probably the closest explanation to it. Not bad.”
“Then how on earth did I come here? I want to know…I..,” he was confused, lost.
“It is a one-in-a-million case, such as yours. Your mind, though primitive, has tremendous potential. It thinks of great things. Great ideas. But sadly, only a miniscule part of it actually gets done. But per chance, just like how a particular radio frequency gets caught at that one fraction of a moment, our receiving stations catch on to some frequency in a human mind. That’s when the cross-over happens. Without our knowledge. Without your knowledge.”
“You mean, in my sub-conscious, I was thinking of something, and just got pulled into a vortex or something…?”
“Yes. That’s how it could’ve happened. But we need to know other things…that's why you need to be in our HRP facility. For at least a quarter era.”
A quarter era! That's like 6 odd years. Vikas held his head.