Fly­ing with an alien

The war of the worlds would be fought for wa­ter.

Alive - - Contents - By Shiva Kr­ishna Moor­thi

To es­cape the men­tal agony I turned to the charm­ing young lady. I was ea­ger to en­gage her in some con­ver­sa­tion. But she had lost her­self in the deep of the sky. Eyes wide open and that smile frozen be­tween the pout­ing lips, she had slipped into a trance, it seemed. She was star­ing out at the noth­ing­ness of that blank end­less blue.

Icould feel a pall of gloom in the air. At times it’s like that. When you ar­rive you sense a mys­ti­cal kind of joy and while you leave you are a lit­tle sad, bur­dened with the il­lu­sion of some loss. Cer­tain places could do things to you. The gloom was not in the air but in my mind. The flight to Chen­nai was tak­ing off from Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram air­port.

In a few mo­ments, the lush green land­scapes, glis­ten­ing cool lakes and back­wa­ters, the rows and rows of stately co­conut palms - all the panoramic com­ple­ments of a fer­tile land-faded away.

Good­bye, God’s own coun­try!” whis­pered my mind. The sky looked like a blue la­goon, cool and calm de­void of waves. I have never seen a sky so des­o­late and washed out. There was not even the shadow of a cloud.

“Will you give me a slice of the sky? I mean can you give me the win­dow seat?”

I turned to the voice that had a res­o­nant tim­bre as if from some sound ma­chine. This young girl was sit­ting next to me. Stun­ningly beau­ti­ful and volup­tuous, she looked tai­lor made for fash­ion state­ments.

“Why just a slice? Take the whole sky!” “With holes, Black Holes!” “Black Holes? What?” “I mean the black holes Dr. Chan­drasekhar dis­cov­ered in space! What the stars leave when they die!”

That made me laugh and she moved to the win­dow seat with a chuckle. And I set­tled with the new Gr­isham...

But I could not con­cen­trate on the novel. My thoughts were wan­der­ing in to my pri­vate zones of pain and the printed pages didn’t care to move.

Zeema once my flame and then my ruth­less nag­ging wife, Nisha my lit­tle child.

The days and nights of de­spair and the last straw of a quar­rel that broke the back of the stum­bling re­la­tion­ship. Oh! No, I didn’t want an ac­tion re­play of those des­per­ate mo­ments.

To es­cape the men­tal agony I turned to the charm­ing young lady. I was ea­ger to en­gage her in some con­ver­sa­tion. But she had lost her­self in the deep of the sky. Eyes wide open and that smile frozen be­tween the pout­ing lips, she had slipped into a trance, it seemed. She was star­ing out at the noth­ing­ness of that blank end­less blue, as if she was see­ing things no one else could see.

Topened my iPad. Again I was look­ing at the Aids Cam­paign we had sub­mit­ted to the Ker­ala gov­ern­ment. It was good work. I be­gan to feel happy. We had man­aged the touchy spots with knack and fi­nesse. Per­haps the 30 sec­ond com­mer­cial would clinch an award or two. Abby, Cannes, Cleo…? My imag­i­na­tion took wings but it was cut short by the sharp voice with that dis­tinct metal­lic edge.

“It’s great. Re­ally the stuff awards are made of!”

The beau­ti­ful sky watch­ing young lady was speak­ing to me and I was amazed.

“Ex­cuse me, I hap­pened to glance them all!” She con­tin­ued.

“You liked it. And I thank you for that madam. Ev­ery cre­ation has only one ul­ti­mate aim. Ap­pre­ci­a­tion!” I told her.

Thus we be­came friend­lier. Giv­ing her my card, I in­tro­duced my­self. She looked quite fas­ci­nated by the de­sign. We had made it in the shape of an eye with em­bossed eye­ball pro­trud­ing.

“I have no card. I’m Vaanavi! Re­search As­sis­tant with WWR – World Wa­ter Re­sources.”

“Tamil, Sri Lanka?”

“Tamil, But not from Sri Lanka. I’m from Yaazh!”

“Let it be Yaazh or any­thing. One thing I would say. Vaanavi, the name suits you. You have got the out of the sky look! You re­mind me of some Ravi Varma’s paint­ing too!”

She laughed. Like dag­ger points her sharp eyes were pierc­ing me.

Those wide brown eyes held an awe­some lus­tre. Per­haps some glit­ter­ing par­ti­cles sur­gi­cally embed­ded? I felt a lit­tle un­easy. She looked around as if weigh­ing the pas­sen­gers and crew and smiled. But this smile was a bit whim­si­cal.

“Sir, you have come very close, within breath­ing dis­tance to the truth. The cos­mic an­gle!”

“What? You mean you have gone through some plas­tic or cos­mic surg­eries?”

“Not at all! Noth­ing of that kind. I am as I was born! The truth is of an­other kind…

Spiel­ber­gian you would think!” She laughed aloud.

“What do you mean Miss Vaanavi?”

“The truth is, I don’t be­long to this planet! I am an alien to this world and its peo­ple. I am from an­other Earth, a twin of this Bhoomi! Wait, I’ll tell you. The host­ess is com­ing. Let us wait till she is away!”

She was speak­ing in a hushed voice, and her eyes were wan­der­ing all over the place and I felt she was quite rest­less.

She was sip­ping the juice and look­ing at me, as if de­vour­ing me. And then the truth dawned in my mind. I re­mem­bered the day. It was the first day of April. Then it be­came very dif­fi­cult for me to sup­press my laugh. But I man­aged well and wore a se­ri­ous mat­ter of fact look.

I de­cided to fool her by play­ing my­self the April Fool to her game plan.

“Vaanavi! Now you can con­tinue. The host­ess has gone!” I dragged her to say more.

In short, her yarn went like this:

She was from Yaazh of Prithvi the iden­ti­cal twin of our planet Earth. Both the plan­ets are very sim­i­lar in al­most all as­pects. They have the same kind of past and present, lan­guages, cul­ture, wars and calami­ties, peo­ple good and bad, sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies… and at last pol­lu­tion and wa­ter scarcity… Iden­ti­cal plan­ets in ev­ery re­spect!

But; the hu­mans of Prithvi are a su­pe­rior race. They are a few hun­dred years ahead of us in tech­nol­ogy. Their sci­en­tists were prob­ing the space for a long time and they knew about us and gath­ered ev­ery­thing about us with their highly ad­vanced sci­en­tific sys­tems. Now their planet is fac­ing acute wa­ter scarcity and even their seas are go­ing dry.

Our Vaanavi and a big team of their World Wa­ter Re­sources were on an eval­u­a­tion mis­sion to our Earth.

They were as­sess­ing the wa­ter as­sets all over this world of ours.

The fi­nal shock? The end game would be very tragic for our hu­man­ity, she said.

In a month or two they would at­tack and conquer our planet. Our hu­man race would be wiped out. Their great sci­en­tist Dr. Guil­lette had in­vented a de­vice for mass killing. It’s

VDL - that means Vic­tims Die Laugh­ing. But I was wait­ing for my mo­ment to pay her in her own coin.

The flight landed in Chen­nai. We were walk­ing out to­gether. While pass­ing the ar­rival lounge I turned to Vaanavi.

“Vaanavi!”

“Yes Sir”

“Now, I’ll tell you my truth!” “Your truth?”

“Yes! Like you I too don’t be­long to this world. I am from Mars pos­ing like a man of this world. We Mar­tians will take over this planet this June!”

She stood like a frozen frame. Her smile had died on her lips.

And I walked briskly to the park­ing lot. The com­pany car was wait­ing there.

Time was fly­ing and I was busy in my own world. My Aids Com­mer­cial didn’t see the light of the day, but the print-ads rocked the na­tion in eigh­teen lan­guages. I had my heart surgery last month. Yes­ter­day, it was Di­wali!

Early in the morn­ing while I was check­ing my mail and there was this voice mail.

“Sir, this is Vaanavi. I owe this to you. Re­mem­ber the day we met, 1 April? Tri­van­drum - Chen­nai flight? While part­ing at Chen­nai Air­port, you were ac­tu­ally fool­ing your­self telling me that you were from Mars. And you walked away like a win­ner! The twist in the tale is that we had con­quered Mars in the 18th cen­tury it­self. It was for min­er­als. Of course, we wiped out the Stone Age sub­hu­man race that lived

there. Now com­ing to the present. Why we didn’t take over your Earth? Here’s the an­swer. When our space­ships were ready to take over your planet, the great news came. Our ex­plor­ers had dis­cov­ered an­other planet like ours. We have named it Su­vishwa. (a big laugh).

A world fresh and rich with re­sources and plenty of wa­ter to last twenty gen­er­a­tions. A far bet­ter choice than your dirty pol­luted Earth. Any­how, you can thank your gods, you es­caped ex­ter­mi­na­tion.

Sir, don’t you hear that ec­static mass laugh­ter be­hind my voice? Yes, I am speak­ing from VDL Cen­tre of Su­vishwa the third iden­ti­cal planet. Ex­ter­mi­na­tion of the weird one eyed hu­man race of this planet is in full swing.

Vic­tims Die Laugh­ing! Bye, Vaanavi.” Now, I am hav­ing doubts. Is this all a well thought out hoax?

Or the truth that holds fu­ture shocks?

While part­ing at Chen­nai Air­port, you were ac­tu­ally fool­ing your­self telling me that you were from Mars. And you walked away like a win­ner! The twist in the tale is that we had con­quered Mars in the 18th cen­tury it­self. It was for min­er­als. Of course,...

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