The evolution of a belief

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The sun dragged itself lazily over the horizon. The ocean seemed to yawn as a large wave crashed loudly on the beach. The wave receded into the ocean to reveal a small fish, it pulled itself on the sand with the help of two fins. It opened its mouth wide as if gasping for air and finding that it burned its gills. It looked around itself with large wet eyes.

There was a long low noise that sounded like the electric farts of a artificial intelligence that couldn’t digest its own thoughts. A large rip appeared in the air of the beach, and when it was large enough several hooded figures stepped out of the rip. These figures wore long robes that covered their whole bodies and hoods that covered most of their faces, around their necks were chains from which hung insignia of their religions and they chanted in a low rumbling voice.

After the hooded figures a chair emerged from the rip, it floated effortlessly in the air and seated on it was a man in a black flowing robe. He was bald and dark-skinned, his eyes were bloodshot, his brows furrowed and he looked like he was about to yawn. Behind the flying chair, a head poked out of the rip, it had curly hair and eyes that looked magnified behind glasses with lenses that belonged on a microscope. The head looked all around itself, sniffed the air took a gingerly step out of the rip and finally stepped out. He was wearing a white label coat and carried a flat device that he constantly checked.

“There it is…” one of the hooded figures shouted pointing at the fish.

Everyone stared at the fish, the fish took a step back into the ocean.

“Indeed…” said the scientist, almost to himself and took a step closer to the fish, he adjusted his glasses to zoom onto the fish, “fascinating…” he clapped his hands.

“Your honour…this is the fish that we intend to destroy…” one of the hooded figures said.

The judge squinted at the fish hard, he sat back in his chair and yawned, “ tell me again….why do you want to destroy it…”

The hooded figures huddled closer to each other and whispered, then one of them said, “this fish is what led to evolution…”

“Aha, so you do believe in evolution…” the scientist scribbled on his device still studying the fish.

The hooded figures whispered among themselves, “what we meant, of course, was that this fish led to the development of the stupid idea of evolution. And we firmly believe that it is against our religious beliefs. Hence we would like to destroy it…”

The judge had almost closed his eyes but snapped them open again, “wait a minute, you will destroy this fish because it is against your religious beliefs? I cannot allow that…”

The hooded figures huddled again, “what we meant to say of course was that we would like to destroy the idea of evolution, which is quite clearly holding back the spiritual awakening of our civilization. Destroying this fish will help us prove that the idea of evolution is pointless.”

The judge’s eyelids drooped again, “when you put it like that…I can consider it…”

“Of course not your honour…” the scientist stood up and looked at the judge, “we cannot allow that…” he looked back at the fish, “what we are looking at is the ancestor of us all. This fish gave rise to all life on land. We cannot destroy it or else we will destroy humanity and life as we know it.”

The hooded figures began to bristle, “I find this highly offensive.” One of the hoods shook violently.

“This is a hate crime, the scientist must be punished for it” another hood shouted.

“We were not born from a fish. We were created by a loving God” another hood spat out.

They whispered to each other again and one of the hoods stepped towards the judge, “your honour, this is the very point we are trying to make. We firmly believe that destroying this fish will not make any difference to human life whatsoever. When we destroy it and return back to our own time we will be happy to return to our families and have a blessed meal knowing that God made us who we are. And these scientists will be silenced once and for all about evolution. You have to allow us to destroy this fish. We claim it as our religious right and our spiritual duty.” The hoods all murmured loudly.

The judge rubbed his eyes, “ok, so if we do this and return back to our time…that will be it. You will look at the result and believe them. There will be no further debate on this issue?”

The hoods huddled for a long time, they turned to the judge and in unison said, “yes, your honour.”

The scientist stepped in front of the fish as if to protect it, “but we cannot allow that, your honour. Evolution is a fact. There are literally tons of data to prove it. Destroying this fish can change the course of all history as we know. We are not sure if we can reverse the effects. We would lose everything just to protect some crackpot sentiments. You cannot allow this, your honour, for the sake of all humanity. We will destroy all our ancestors, us and all of our children. You cannot allow this..”

The judge rubbed his eyes and massaged his back, “curse the guy who invented time loop judiciary. Look I know what you are saying. But how long have we been debating this case?”

The scientist looked at his device, “over two and a half years now…”

The judge sighed, “see and I know in the real world it has only been a minute, but in here it feels like an eternity. So you know what, if they want to destroy the first of all of our ancestors, so be it. If the world was created by some intelligent God who wants you not to wank then so be it. Either way, I am tired of this whole mess. What is the worst that would happen? We will destroy the world and all of humanity? At this point, it doesn’t sound like a loss at all. I will allow it.” The judge nodded and there was a clear sound like an invisible gavel had been hit.

The scientist shook his head but stepped away from the fish.

One of the hooded figures pulled out what looked like a metal stick and pointed it at the fish. There was a thin arc of electricity and the air was filled with the smell of fried fish. The fish gasped one last time and fell to its side.

“Ok, now that is done. Let us return to our own time. And remember, whatever we see that is the final verdict.”

The all stepped back into the rip and returned to their own time.

The stepped back into their world, but instead of a court building, they stepped into a great forest. The hooded figures, judge and scientist looked around themselves.

The scientist began to tap vigorously on his device.

“There is no sign of human life anywhere on the earth. Take that you morons…” he punched the air in glee, “I just hope this is reversible.”

“So there is no life? How can this be?” One of the hooded figures said.

“Why has god forsaken us? Why has be not made man?”

“Actually it is not true that there is no life. Sensors indicate that the forests are full of large octopus-like creatures and they have huge settlements. In fact, there are large cities under the oceans with advanced technologies. It seems the octopuses evolved in this timeline, and have become the dominant species on the planet. This is great, this proves evolution again.” The scientist said.

“But there are no humans. This is no good. What do a few octopuses prove? Nothing.” One of the hooded figures said.

“Why has God done this? He must be angry with us?”

“The octopuses are trying to contact us. They want to meet us.”

“We have got bigger problems than talking to some octopuses. We have to figure out why God is angry at us.” One of the hooded figures spat angrily.

“Seriously?” the scientist squinted at them.

The hooded figures broke into a frenzy and chanted their scripture and shouted at each other. This went on for a while. The judge dozed in his seat. The scientist tapped at his device.

Finally one of the hooded figures shouted, “my dear brothers and sisters. Of course, God is angry at us…”

This seemed to calm the hooded figures, they all gathered around this figure, “we have committed a sin. We have asked our Lord to create his creation on the foundation of a murder. We murdered that cold-blooded fish in cold blood. Of course, our loving God is angry. He will not create his creation from murder. The fact that humans don’t exist proves that God made us in love. We were just too blind to see it. In trying to prove the scientists wrong we have forgotten our God’s love. We have sinned. We need to repent.”

The figures all shook their hoods and agreed with each other. They turned back to the judge.

The judge sighed “whatever…” he clicked a few buttons on his chair and the rip reappeared.

The returned to the beach just back to the exact moment. The figures approached the fish, it took a few steps back into the ocean, “Live little fish, in the love and mercy of our Lord, live.” The fish gawked at them and gasped.

Everyone returned back to their own time. They stepped back into the courtroom.

“It is a miracle, our Lord has returned humanity to us. His love is infinite. This proves we were created by a loving God. Praise be.” The all hugged each other and cried.

“Really? Even I could not have designed a better experiment to prove evolution. How can you still claim we were made by a God?”

“That does it…I have wasted enough time on this case. I am throwing all of you and this case out of my courtroom. The decision is…I don’t care. Just get out” The judge’s gavel made a sharp sound and everyone was thrown out of the courtroom.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

 

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The new man at the zoo

pablo-padilla-480505-unsplashRavi woke up before the simulated dawn in his enclosure. He had hardly slept that night. He had overheard the zookeepers say that he was going to get a new mate today.  He jumped with joy. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a human being. Actually he did, it was exactly two thousand four hundred and fifty days ago, when he had knocked on his neighbor’s door and told them to decrease the volume of their party. And the next day he had woken up in this house like enclosure being gawked at by slimy slug like aliens.

He had asked for a mate for a long time now. He just wanted to talk to someone human. But his display was not the most interesting one in the zoo, hence he was mostly ignored. That was until month ago,when he had had a nervous breakdown and thrown things around his enclosure and shouted at the slug like aliens. Continue reading

Shall we eat Dick, instead?

“It is all about reiteration, recognizance and following up relentlessly to ensure that your work gets done. You feel me people, do you feel what I am saying here?” Dick looks around, his voice rising in decimals, his back straight and blood shot eyes wide enough to cover Rita’s generous boobs.

We all nod our unenthusiastic ‘hmms’ and scroll down the screen to the next point in the agenda.

“It is like my son, you know.” He continues. Rita, almost groans out loud but then saves her ass by pretending to cough. “Every single morning I lift my son’s sorry butt and plant it on that atrocious fluorescent green and yellow, plastic potty. I sit there with him for five, ten, even fifteen minutes, squatting just like he does and grunting loud and clear to make him poop in that potty. And when he does, only then does he get rewarded by his favorite fruit loops.”

A strong whiff of chicken steak, tiramisu and the smell of someone’s butt crack invades my nose and almost makes me throw up in my mouth. I realize that Dan, who is sitting next to me, has let out a silent, yet smelly fart.

I pick up a glass of water and cover my mouth and nose with it, while giving Dan the evil eye. He shrugs and whispers, “What?”

Ah, I think, the fucker ate before the meeting. This goddamned meeting was supposed to be only for half an hour, and already we are at the ninety-minute mark with sixty minutes of the single dad’s potty training anecdotes.

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Continue reading

No monsters under the bed

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Timmy woke up with a start, it was those noises from beneath his bed again. He wanted to run to mommy’s room and cuddle up near her. But he knew the strange man would scold mommy and mommy would scold him. And he would be back in the bed and the noises would continue. Timmy was tired and sick of the noises. He got out of the bed and pulled his wooden sword out of his mattress. He scrunched his face to make it look scary, held his sword hard and pulled up the bedsheet and peered under the bed. There was no monster there. But there was a door and it opened onto darkness. Where had the door come from? Timmy took his flashlight and pointed it at the door. There was a wooden staircase, he climbed down. After a long silent climb down he reached the basement floor. The basement was huge, his flashlight could not find the walls or the ceiling. Continue reading

The last wood nymph

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Yesterday, the last square kilometer of forest on the earth was destroyed, to build a mall. It was sad on several levels, we humans were no longer people of the earth, what we were going to be we still did not know, but we were no longer of the land. It was sad but few people lamented the loss of the last bit of forest. Several people were happy because the new mall would be air conditioned and would have a casino. I was the saddest person though, contrary to what Bhoomi believes. She feels an immense sadness wrapped in her loss, but I also feel responsible for her sadness, because maybe indirectly but I have been responsible for it. Bhoomi was a wood nymph. Sadly that sentence ‘she was’ is grammatically correct. She was a legend to me in the days when I was surveying the forest for my company. Continue reading

Hide and seek

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“No, no, no…” Kavita screamed as she opened her eyes and planted her legs on the floor with force. He feet were glad to touch the threadbare living room carpet. She could feel her fingernails digging into the varnish of the sofa. She looked at the balcony, not that she wanted to. Her neck just seemed to turn on its own. The balcony was empty. An angry orange sun was setting below the railing of the balcony. She forced herself to look away. To look at her son.

Her five-year-old son was staring at her with wide eyes. His lips were puckered up, his chin ready to quiver. He was leaning against the coffee table to support himself.

Kavita’s hand trembled as it rose towards him, “I am just afraid for him…” she told herself. She pulled Ravi into an embrace. “Did I scare you? I am sorry…” she whispered as she kissed his forehead, “Don’t be afraid.” She was not sure to whom she said that.

“The police inspector is at the door…” Ravi said in a small voice. Continue reading

Pinnochio, the Fairy Tale – (Malabar Version)

Once upon a time, there was a wizened old king by the name of Sultan. In his younger days, he was once the most eligible bachelor/playboy there ever was in the flagrant town of Malabar. He’d reached power through a series of devious plots, and then had been King for the longest, got all the best action there was, and by the time he’d figured out the importance of true love, he’d turned into a lying scum bag, obsessed with corrupting the land with his greedy heart. Not really the ideal bachelor type. Still, like all kings, he desired a Prince to take over his kingdom, and and since he was too old to be hitching himself up with a fair Nawabi princess, he fashioned for himself a wooden figure of a boy with the fair impish glance, and prayed desperately and fervently, forgetting all his previous secularist sins, until the figure turned, quite expectantly into a human living child, to warm the old man’s heart in his final days, and take his place as the King.

News that the king now had a son, travelled far and wide, and may dignitaries arrived to lay their eyes on the mighty prince of Malabar. Since the boy was now 5 years old, and additionally of immaculate origin, there was much mumbling and grumbling in the kingdom, especially from sections of the society that had claims to the throne, and had been safe in the knowledge of the king’s licentious behaviour. The practices of dark arts were a common occurence in the kingdom at that time, and the not-so-well meaning relatives of the old king summoned up, by means of chicken blood and goat hair, a strange creature, a magical one, and duly issued him an invitation to the royal Naming ceremony.

Of what form or nature this magical creature was, perhaps even the royal relatives did not know: just that they followed some grandmother’s recipe of summoning a Djinn. What they did know was that Djinns preferred looming in the murky shadows, travelling through the darkness of the night, and could sometimes be used to scare the living shit of a man who took the wife-beating a tad too far. But most importantly, Djinn morals were questionable. And this for the relatives, was reason enough.

At the naming ceremony, the Djinn appeared after his travels, taking the form of a disco light with eyes, high up in the auditorium of the summer palace of the King, where all the dignitaries had convened. The DJ took this as the cue to start the music, and began the drum beat of some new Sufi hip hop, when the Djinn raised his magical hand, a symbol to stop. “I am here to grant a wish to the boy,” said the Djinn in the loud booming voice of a base speaker.

There was a hush of incredulous silence, as is customary when a Djinn of this stature and size appears with no magic lamp in toe. Where had the Djinn come from? What did it want? These were the hushed whispers that seeped through the crowds like mystic snakes. “I give this boy, the Truth. A boon or a curse, only time can tell. But he shall speak the truth and nothing but the truth, and may the dark lord be my witness. Prince Pinnochio, he shall be, and he shall be the truest king of the land. ”

There was cheer in the land. The political commentators that doubled as drunkards by the night, rejoiced. At last, a good dose of honesty. The people deserved the truth, didn’t they! And Pinnochio, was the truest of them all. When the princess of Travancore were sent to him as play dates, he called them fat and overdressed and impolite, with mouths that smelled of town gutters. This was quite true, agreed the commentators over a hearty drink, the town gutter did smell that bad, but truth or not, it also meant the end of a political alliance (and perhaps dalliance) over an issue as slight as stench.

Later, when Pinnochio touched the throbbing teens with his eyes on many a fair maiden, Gengis Khan, an old friend of Pinnochios’ father decided to come down. But Pinnochio, unable to control his truthful tongue, declared that Genghis Uncle, with his affinity for virgins, needed to stay out of the territory as a means of population control.

After that, it was a truth spree. Pinnochio began with the lesser royals working his way to the top notches, outing the strange habits in the most of his flagrant speeches, Duke Hussain loves little boys a bit too much, shouted Pinnochio after a royal visit, King/Uncle Phiroze liked dressing up in the queen’s clothes, King Shoaib wanted to be tied down naked in his dungeon. King Fazil loved hiding while guests used the royal restrooms. Every perversion was out in the open for the world to hear and enjoy.

King Sultan was now desperate. Malabar had become the loneliest of all kingdoms. And the only reason they were not being attacked was the embarrassement of heads-of-states, unable to lift their shamed heads enough to rile up the masses into a frenzy that was needed for war. Everyone knew of Pinnochio’s curse. Every royal in the vicintiy was terrified of Pinnochio. And it was soon decided. War may not be possible. But a plot could be hatched to get Pinnochio killed at the earliest.

Sometimes, plots of the kind have a strange tendency to redemption, and to put it succinctly, instead of killing Pinnochio with a bottle of poisoned wine, his lying father succumbed instead to the oldest trick in the book, and Pinnochio is crowned king of Malabar, much to the chagrin of the royals.

His ascent as king was followed by a series of sanctions, from Rajput to Travancore, from the Arabs in the east, to the whites everywhere else. Nobody would trade with Pinnochio’s malabar, until he ended his truthful blaze.

Now Malabar was a land of laziness, and when the noose of trade sanctiones tightened, Famine hit the realm harder than war. Riots ravaged the kingdom, Pinochio was to blame, the rioters screamed. Enough with truthfulness. Bring back the lies. Bring back corruption. Bring back peace.

King Pinnochio informed his own people, that instead of blaming the king, it was about time they got off their asses and worked for a living. He washed down the streets with the barrels of wine that the land was addicted to. And since he liked the sound of it, he introduced a few GetOfUrAss schemes, that gave people money for labor.

This was met with a lot of resistance. To work for a living? It was unheard off. The people of Malabar did not work as a practice. It was their cultural right. A heritage, sort of. And Pinnochio was robbing them of even that.

Desperate, Pinnochio called upon his old friend, the Djinn, who had now acquired a nice studio apartment inside a magic lamp. The Djinn was smoking up, a nice pot of Ganja, since wine was not much in supply. “Ah” said the Djinn, letting out a few smoke rings over Pinnochio’s face, “So long since I had a royal visit.”

Pinnochio nodded curtly, and told off his problem. He begged the Djinn to help him, to absolve him of his curse, his boon. The Djinn shook his head, launched his guttural laugh, and told Pinnochio that a boon given at birth can never be revoked or reversed: truly it was not in his power. Dejected, Pinochchio wept at the fate of his land, wishing that he was dead instead of living like this as a useless king. It was a few hours of tear-jerking and bawling later, that the Djinn, tired of the sound, took pity on Pinnochio and whispered into his ears, if not a solution, perhaps a workaround.

The next day, Pinnochio took the pulpit, amid the rioting masses, and declared in somber tones of a soothe-sayer, a fore-teller, a prophet even, that Malabar was going to be the richest land in the world. There was much hush and awe-struckness in the crowd at this declaration. But that isn’t the only part, says Pinocchio. Any land, east or west, that refuses to trade with mighty Malabar will seep into poverty worse than any ever, famines and floods shall ravage these lands, and only death shall thrive in them.

The declaration has an immediate effect. The lands are terrified that the words of truth sayer Pinnochio might take effect. Immediately, all trade is resumed, and the town of Malabar prospers again.

Years later, when Pinnochio himself is old and wizened, with a boy of his own, flesh-made than wood, he tells the boy of the whisper of the wily Djinn. The trick that saved them all. That even though Pinnochio could not never lie about the present or the past, the future is and would always be his veritable play ground.