Vantage point

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Excerpt

...Mbumko and Ashwatthama at least. But that was not to be. Celia clutched the yellow emerald tightly and jumped. No feeling is as liberating as a free fall - this was the last discovery Celia had made prior to her death a month back. Free fall was the moment when you romanced the most ancient force in the universe - gravity. And the goose bumps arising out of gravity's ministrations could not be replicated by anyone else.

Mbumko's theory was horse faeces. It still did hurt like crazy when you hit the hard ground after falling a few hundred feet. Even if you were dead. You didn't break any bones, nor suffer any injuries. But it still hurt. And for the next few minutes Celia yelled and yelled, until the pain subsided. A creature which might have been an early evolutionary stage of a rabbit observed this from behind a plant that might have been an early evolutionary stage of a ficus. He did not find Celia's presence surprising. Nor did her yells disturb his ear drums the least bit. What intrigued him and made him scratch his whiskers in deliberation was the yellow emerald in her hand. It was not scheduled to arrive for a few more decades if he remembered his lessons at an institution which was definitely an early evolutionary stage of a school.

He hopped towards Celia after she was done yelling and said to her, "The forceps are not ready yet."

She looked at him quizzically.

"I said the forceps are not ready yet."

She continued staring in confusion.

"Do you understand me, corpse? Or do I have to stick the corpse of a babelfish into your ear?"

"What forceps?" Celia finally said.

"Do you think I am dumb because I resemble a dog?"

"You don't resemble a dog. You resemble a rabbit."

"What is a rabbit?" he asked.

"Something like you. But never mind that. What forceps?"

"No no, tell me more about this rabbit you speak of. Is it some sort of a creature? Is it like a dog?"

"Not really."

"Does it have whiskers?"

"Yes, it does"

"Then it is like a dog, corpse. Don't think for one moment that I don't understand what you are trying to do."

"Just having whiskers doesn't make rabbits similar to dogs."

"Does it have a tail? Ears? Fur?" he asked.

"Well, yes."

"Well then, corpse, remind me to explain to you at more leisure what the word 'similar' means."

"Let me narrate you some lines from a poem I learnt at school." Celia said, "My brain is scratched in certain parts so I don't remember the whole thing, but here goes -
disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
exceeding stiff and strong;
Though each was partly in the right,"

"they all were in the wrong" he completed Celia with a flourish "What do you take me for? A woodland creature?"

Then he paused for a moment and said, "Ah ha, so you admit that you are wrong."

"Listen, as fascinating as this sophistry is, I really would prefer we talk about these forceps you mentioned."

"Yes, the forceps aren't ready yet. Come back in 20 years."

"Dammit, what forceps?"

"Listen, it's been charming chatting with you. But my shift is about to end. Pavlov will be replacing me in a few minutes. Now he knows about dogs. Now excuse me while I de-manifest."

"What? Wait! Don't you dare de-manifest on me, you bundle of lint." But it was futile. He had already de-manifested.

"I swear, if one more creature de-manifests on me today, I will...." Celia trailed off, like she often did when she couldn't think of a fitting way to conclude a sentence. She decided to wait for Pavlov.

A few minutes later Pavlov did manifest but....