One fine day
Since morning I had this weird premonition today. At the breakfast table I burnt toast and made a tea that was too thin and sweet – just the opposite of how I like it. On the way to work, I encountered every red-light that there could possibly be and it was a jammed and packed road all the way. With a mood like that, the start to my day was not anything great and it seemed to drag on a sad note.
At the lunch time I got a call. It was from my friend Nitin.
“Hey Sahil! Did you see it?” He sounded totally panicked and out of breath.
“See what?” I had no clue what he was talking about!
“The.. that… are you serious? You have no freaking clue???”
“I don’t, really! What is it? What happened?” Now I was beginning to get worried.
“Dude! Switch on the TV!”
“But I am at office! Tell me what happened!!!”
“There are these monstrous 50 ft tall bald hum- things, I don’t know what to call them! They have bee spotted near the
ocean and there is a very short fleeting video footage playing on
all news shows now.”
I did not know what to say, how to react, whether to believe it and what to do. “What? Huh? What are they? I mean… Uh…. Wait I will try and check news on my phone.”
“Okay, I have no clue what to do man. This is crazy!”
“Yes, it is… uh… Okay I will call you back…” I hung up and checked BBC and CNN sites. The news seemed to be true. It was all over now. They had been spotted briefly by an American satellite camera and now it was all over the media. But the media had no idea what to make of it. The specialists of all countries were debating as to who / what these things were. Were they some hiding humans of an unknown tribe or aliens from another planet? They did not know whether to warn people or to reassure them. They did not whether to evacuate or wait for a miracle.
Firstly I called my parents to make sure they were fine. Then I went back to office and realized some people still had no idea as to what had happened outside this air-conditioned building where they spent most of their lives. I decided to not create a panic, and instead took a half day and went back home to be able to think clearly.
I was not surprised at all when I saw
waiting for me outside my apartment door. He was my analytical reasoning
professor back in college where I studied an advance course in applied Science
and Technology. I had passed out last year only and joined this present company
from campus. Being among the top 3 students through my education, a member of
MENSA, a champion at quizzes and having a die hard passion for puzzles, I was
the most favorite student of Prof. Shekhar , who was one of the
stalwarts of this country himself. He was a genius who was in the running for
Shekhar Nobel prize for his many cognitive, logical and
scientific theories; and innumerable patents.
“Hello prof” I extended my hand and he shook it.
“Hi Sahil. I am sure you know what I am here for so lets go inside quickly. I have called Nitin too and he must be on his way already.”
I unlocked the house and poured him a glass of water. I stayed by myself in a studio apartment close to office because I hated commuting too much. By the time we finished having water the bell rang and Nitin was there. Nitin and I were partners in crime. He was as passionate about puzzles, mysteries, riddles, quizzes, experiments and everything else that I felt made life exciting. He was my classmate and though had joined a research organization from campus, he also planned to pursue a PHD in the future like me. Most likely we planned to go to the same university and study together. I offered Nitin some water and he said he will make himself some coffee.
“Then make some for me and prof too.” I smiled and Nitin showed me a finger.
Five minutes later, the three of us sat around my tiny dining table with mugs of coffee in front of us. The prof got down to business immediately.
“So, my dear boys. I gather you have both watched the news?”
We both didn’t have TVs at home since we considered it a waste of time but nodded our heads since we had seen it on our phones in detail on the way home. Nitin said, “What are these things?”
Prof smiled, “Well, I have couple of theories at the moment so cannot comment for sure. But one thing for sure is that they are not so friendly.”
“How are you so sure?” I asked.
“Because I have been noting down several points about their behavioral based on the little footage and news on TV.”
Like, firstly, they walked in a herd making these deep sounds which are the inherent sounds of danger. Secondly, they have been crushing anything they encounter under their feet, which is only trees, shrubs etc so far because they are far away from any human or animal habitation. Lastly, and this is my theory, they look hungry and I suppose they will ingest anything they find.”
We both knew that prof’s theories are mostly right so we did not even bother to ask him any question on the last one. “Shall we see what is the latest update on this case in media?” Nitin looked at me fishing out his phone.
“We can do that parallely.” The prof took the phone.
“Parallely?” I wasn’t sure what he meant.
“Yes, let the news play in background as you both get ready.”
“Huh? Get ready for what?”
“What else, my dear boys. To save the planet.”
“Huh!!?? What are you saying, prof??!!” We both spoke almost together.
“I don’t want this situation to escalate and actions to happen after most of the damage has occurred. You know I don’t trust politicians so I know that the action has to be taken by us. Now pack a small bag with minimal clothes and food and let’s go.”
“Go where prof? Are you cra-?” Nitin stopped himself.
“Go to this island where the footage was caught by the satellite.”
“But why us, prof? the police and the army and everything else that is powerful and resourceful is what can do this job.” I tried to be as calm as I could be under the face of this bizarre situation.
“Why you? What a question!” The prof started laughing. “You because you are smart and intelligent. You because you care for this planet, you love Earth. My dear boys, listen to me.” He looked deep into both our eyes. “Your planet Earth has chosen you. It has chosen you to make this exploration into an unknown land. It wants you to represent it and save it with your bravery, logic, insight and skills.”
We both looked at each other. “Shouldn’t we be asking for help from some other people also, prof? Just the three of us may not be enough.” I ventured.
“Well, you both know all these questions are rhetoric because I must have thought of them.” (He was right -
is so intelligent that there is nothing he would not have thought of) “Right?
Anyway, these things are huge and many so I think the only way to stop them is
to be the opposite – small and few. And the biggest quality required would be
bravery and wit – which I think you two have plenty of. So, any other
questions?” Prof. Shekhar
Nitin went home, which was very close and was back in fifteen minutes. By then I had packed my bag and
had gone to the nearby grocery store to parcel some dry food. We sat in the
taxi that Nitin had hailed downstairs and headed to the airport. We both
messaged our managers that due to an emergency we will be unable to attend
office for a few days. Prof. Shekhar
“So, where are we going?” Nitin asked in the cab.
“According to the GPS co-ordinates in the footage, they are somewhere near an island called Forya right now and considering their speed and direction, they will be in the
by tomo morning. island
“But how do we reach Bumpa by tomorrow morning?” I said.
“We will fly to Lakshwadeep and from there we will take a boat. Bumpa is two hours from there and we will reach before them.”
“And what to be plan to do there? You may as well tell us that.” Nitin smiled.
“Well, my dear Nitin. The planet has chosen you both just how it has chosen me and I am sure when the right time arrives, all of us will know exactly what to do.”
I was beginning to understand that he was right. There was a deep reason as to it was the three of us heading there. And then the professor took out a pocket and I knew the answer.
“Here is the invention, the fruit of the labours of the two of you. Do you remember it?” he handed us a packet each. “You had asked me to keep it till you thought there was a use for this.”
In these packets was “Tinify”. In our first year of college, our daily routine in college was go to the laboratory after classes, mix things with various properties and then eagerly watch results. One day, like always, Nitin and I were holed up in the when we had mixed some chemicals randomly and laughed at ourselves throughout that time. Suddenly after a joke, Nitin flipped a bit of the powder and it splashed on the wall. There was pin drop silence and then we both screamed at the top of our voice.
who was also a late-nighter like us was in the next room and he came running
in. three of saw as the lizard on the wall shrank to 1/10th of its
size and went into a tiny crevice in the wall. Prog Shekhar
That day, the three of us sat down with three other mugs of coffee and discussed what our invention meant. The discussion lasted pretty much all night and fifty cups of coffee. We realized that it was such a breakthrough invention that if we revealed is there will be way too many people wanting to misuse it than to use it towards a good cause. At the end of it, we decided that we will not reveal it to anyone till the day we felt that the world truly needed this invention.
And today that day had arrived.
The flight was peaceful and quiet. We reached Bumpa by a speed boat that charged us a ridiculously high price. Then, armed with the professor’s special air-spray guns we sat on tallest possible trees that were located close to each other. We had tied ourselves securely to the trees, worn masks to avoid inhalation and thick vests which would save us from most injuries. We also loaded prof’s licensed guns and tied them to our waists. The strange loud voices coming soon enough and we knew the herd was near. We looked at each other and nodded.
The tall creatures (who we had nicknamed as “Gigants” in the flight) were bald, fairly well built, walked slowly, made deep sounds from their throats and gulped down whatever they found whether a tree or a bird. Other than that it was difficult to understand them. They seemed to be in a trance and not earthly. Just their size and power was enough to make one shiver. Thankfully there seemed to be only four of them and all fairly close to each other.
Suddenly the porf sent out the warning call whch was meant to put us on alert. We all aimed our spray guns. The “Gigants” were just walking ahead gulping down everything without looking left or right. We could not tell whether they would sense us. The prof gestured to us and we zstarted spraying the powder madly. At that point we could just hope and wish that it would lad on all of them before they gulp us down too.
The first “Gigant” had almost approached my tree when my spray landed on him and he started shrinking immediately. But the others did not realize what was happening and they kept walking. By this time they had come almost next to our trees and we were not sure if we will be dead soon. The next person to get a hit was prof. his spray landed almost on the head of one of the “Gigants”very close to him. the other two were now between the trees where I and Nitin were sitting. You can imagine their height from the fact that they we could only see just above their ankles even despite sitting almost at the top of the trees. I turned around to see that the first one had almost shrunk down to the size of a cat.
When I looked back, I saw two things, one that made me very happy and the other that made me very unhappy. Nitin had been successful in spraying all his powder on the “Gigant” close to him and it had started shinking. However, the last “Gigant” now somehow seemed to register our presence and was walking directly in the prof’s direction. I am not sure what it saw or felt, if it noticed its other 3 companions having almost disappeared but it just kept coming close and close. I started firing incessantly but nothing seemed to be falling on him, perhaps because my hands were shaking so much!
I knew that the time had come now to take a decision. I started getting down the tree and running towards prof’s tree. He shouted, “Sahil, don’t do that! I will handle it! Don’t put your life in danger!” But I gestured vigorously for Nitin to come down too.
Nitin and I went very close to the “Gigant” who was busy extending his hand to grab prof. when we were as close as our nerves would allow us, we both took a deep breath and unloaded the entire content of the gun on its feet. And immediately we started running away, around towards the back of the tree to rescue prof who had climbed to a corner to avoid being eaten. When we both got to a safe cornet, we saw all 4 shrunk “Gigants” now the size of grasshoppers still marching ahead. They clearly had some purpose in mind which we were not able to understand. We smiled and let it go as one more mystery on the planet that was beyond our understanding.
The whole operation ended within fifteen minutes. we still don’t know from where did “Gigants” come and what they wanted. All we knew is that they did not fit in with our planet in the current shape and form. So we feel happy to have tampered with their forms, and yet not have killed them. They seemed to not be in the mood to discuss or talk. And we did what our planet demanded of us – which is to free it of all dangers and lets it continue its life in the present way.