More stuff from Rach. He claims this to be a reproduction of the story he wrote at Access 2006. He Boy, I just can’t wait to see him going to Modern School this year and getting lynched for making fun of Bhaskar Kishore! But I’d say his story was really good, and I really liked the potshots he took at those MSBK guys giving multiple titles to Bhaskar Kishore. At the same time, this story is some serious stuff, and his style to writing captures the state of a fractured mind incredibly well. Kudos to Rach for a great story, which I think deserved to win. Unlike the 42-loaded h2g2-style story laden with 42 Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters that I wrote in the same competition…
Heavily influenced by Jonathan Nolan’s ‘Memento Mori‘.
He woke up with a start. Dreaming in color and Dolby surround sound was yet to become a habit.
Bhaskar had never expected much-from himself or his family or his friends. He knew he had the brains. He knew he didn’t have the memory.
Admiral Bhaskar Kishore knew he wouldn’t remain Admiral for long. He trusted no one at the Vridhachala Lal Research Centre (VLRC). Not even himself.
Brain mapping was a new development- to VLRC and to the world. Even to Colonel Bhaskar Kishore, its inventor. He had the brain to invent it, but not the memory to recall it.
It was supposed to be a cure for him-by storing his every thought and emotion on a computer, Wing Commander Kishore hoped to lead a life-crippled, but not hopeless.
This was his big chance. For Jai Arora, the Master’s call was the break he was looking for. He now had the means to breach VLRC’s impregnable encryption algorithms to access the huge vaults of human brains.
In just seven short years, the technology had garnered much acclaim for VLRC and its head, Ali Abbas. The database had grown manifold and every hacker worth his ‘honor’ was after it.
Jai was going to beat them all to the booty. He would be famous and rich. He would be everything everyone ever wanted to be.
He woke up with a start. Dreaming in color and Dolby surround sound was fast becoming a habit. Bhaskar looked at himself in the mirror, stroking a stubble that wasn’t there. He didn’t remember getting up half an hour earlier to shave. Again.
He found his way to his kitchen. He wasn’t sure how much coffee he usually put, so he put seven sachets, like always. He took a sip, and like always, poured the rest down the drain.
The gurgling noise, like always, stirred up a memory. Something to do with a brain. With some research gone wrong. With an innocent man getting fired. And that was it.
He found himself in his bedroom. He saw a damp patch on his bed. Perhaps he had wet it. Again. He lay down and cried himself to sleep.
Seven years is a long time, especially if you are Bhaskar Kishore. But, even time can’t erase memories. Especially, if there aren’t too many of them.
“…Indians and India can not be trusted. Their judiciary is broken and investigations take an eternity. We MUST act.”
Kevin Vaughan wheezed to a stop. For an asthmatic, he was very active.
His superior nodded. He too was beginning to see the folly in trusting India.
Somebody had wreaked havoc with the brain vault at VLRC. The Queen’s most intimate emotions and thoughts now lay bare before the world.
Messing with the Queen was akin to messing with all Britons. And, humility was one characteristic the Yard had never been known to display.
“We must take some action. The British will squeeze us to bankruptcy if we don’t.”
Ali Abbas looked around. A stony silence emanated from his Board of Directors.
“Bhaskar Kishore is turning into a liability by the day. We frankly don’t want a person who can just remember his name. Barely. I don’t care about his brains. We are in India, for Christ’s sake. A hundred minds are out there, clamoring to take his spot. So, from tomorrow on, he doesn’t get reminded what to do. Period.”
Ali Abbas was happy. Technically, Bhaskar wasn’t a scapegoat. He was behind the technology, and he would face the axe.
But, no one knew. To the world, Ali was behind the technology and Bhaskar was an errant scientist. Everyone would know this as the truth. Everyone except one person. A person who’d wake up the next day and put seven sachets of coffee into his mug. He would know, but he wouldn’t realize.
I remember everything. You will not be wronged. WE, we will not be wronged. Our plan is perfect. No one can stop us. Just keep your other presences inside you. A little longer. Just a bit longer. I can guide us there. Have patience. Have faith. Have courage. We shall not lose. We can not lose. We are nearly there. Just a bit longer…
Vidya Kishore couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her husband was behind the whole memory vault fiasco. She tried ringing him up, but his phone had been disconnected.
The family had been torn apart. She was here, with their children. And he was there. Only VLRC and he knew where. If this was a set up, VLRC wouldn’t tell her where he was. And, he wouldn’t remember-about his family or where he was.
She would be strong, for their children. Someday, Bhaskar would come back. She’d wait.
He woke up with a start. Dreaming in color and Dolby surround sound was already a habit.
He got up. He was wet through and through. The sound of water gurgling down the drain set off a series of memories.
He cried himself to sleep.
A bus pulled up, its wipers beating furiously. A tourist got down and snapped a pic. A beggar sleeping outside Harrod’s wasn’t a sight you saw everyday.
Unknown to him, the beggar didn’t even know he was outside Harrod’s. Or even outside India. His memory had started failing him often nowadays. Quite often.
“Mrs. Kishore, we found him. In London.”
Jai Arora looked on from a window as two foreigners took down his servant. He rushed out to confront them. He had hardly reached the drawing room of his Sainik Farms bungalow, when a pair of hands ignominiously assaulted him and another strapped on handcuffs.
The Yard had finally caught up with him. He’d tell them everything. Everything he ever knew about the Master. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life in a crummy jail cell, away from his new-found wealth. He would cooperate.
We are there. The final phase has been set into motion. We will get our revenge soon. Very soon. It’s just a matter of days now. After fourteen years, what are a few more days? Be patient. Do not spoil anything.
“No please stop. Enough. Please…”
I can’t stop. WE can’t stop. Not now. Not when we are so close.
“Please. Be quiet. I don’t want anymore of it.”
It’s not that easy. I can’t be quiet. If I’m quiet, you are quiet too. I, I am your mind, Bhaskar.
Their Melford Close house shook to the opening of ‘The Eye of the Tiger‘. Margaret Vaughan looked on, with a knowing smile, as her husband went about his birthday ritual. He celebrated his one free day of the year, dancing around the house in his pyjamas, ripping open his birthday gifts with childish zeal.
She heard the phone ringing. Letting her husband answer it wouldn’t have been such a good idea.
“Hello, Mrs Vaughan? Tell Kevin we found him.”
Work. He wouldn’t be pleased.
Bhaskar had never seen so many people before. Ever, in his life. Or, so he thought. What confused him most was the fact that most of them wore the same type of clothes, complete with the same funny hat.
He stared around in disbelief. He had never seen so many people before. Ever, in his life. Somebody called out a name. He instinctively turned around. He saw someone familiar. A women. She set off a series of memories.
His mind was in a tizzy. He wanted coffee. He looked around for his kitchen. He just saw people. He had never seen so many people before. Ever, in his life.
Just then, a grim faced man walked up to him. He flashed a card with Kevin Vaughan written on it and a head which looked decidedly familiar.
“The Yard will take him from here,” said Kevin, thanking the Metropolitan Police officer.
The officer nodded and helped load Bhaskar into the car.
“Good day,” he muttered to Vaughan.
Psychiatrist’s Report (Excerpt)
I am of the opinion that Mr Bhaskar Kishore be treated with leniency. His mental condition isn’t quite normal. His mind has taken control of his body. It’s compelling him to act in a way his soul wouldn’t let him. But, being a slave of his mind, he truly can’t help it. A case of the mind being stronger than the soul. His mind used him to give the Indian hacker the access codes to the VLRC vaults. It wasn’t him. He doesn’t even know about it.
What has brought about this condition is hard to say. A past trauma like unrequited love, or unaccredited success. Or, a genetic mutation, or something entirely different. A full diagnosis is beyond me and thus, I just advice caution while dealing with the subject. Maybe, institutionalization would help, or maybe, it won’t…