The Man with Heart
by Abha Iyengar
part 1 of 2
Tathaastu was born then. At a time when everyone despaired. When they pinged and pinged and messages flashed high and low on You Book, Twit Face and HotOrCute and yet people did not understand why they did not connect at all. Why they felt lonely and sad, and despair hung like a cloud around them despite all the means of connectivity. It was at a time like this that Tathaastu was born. He was, as some good things are in the beginning, a creature created by intent.
Sick of trying to find a meaning to his life and why he was here in the first place, if he could not fulfill his dream of bringing to life this perfect creature that lay before him, Arnab Get A Life had said to no one in particular, in complete disgust, “Tathaastu, so be it...” He said this from the bottom of his nether organs to the top of his head, invoking all his seven seats of what he deemed celestial chakras or centres of truth, sitting cross-legged in a lotus position and his eyes closed so that no one could look into his unaccomplished, tormented soul, “Tathaastu.”
And suddenly the creature had come awake, a moving, thinking, breathing creature similar to humans; but, of course, he was special.
He called the creature TT2. Arnab had immediately acronymed his name Tathaastu to a palatable size.
TT2 had a third eye. How this had happened, Arnab did not know; obviously he had failed in his calculations somewhere. This eye was closed, so maybe people would assume it to be a kind of a decoration piece, like tattoos and piercings. This creature had them too: black ink reptiles creeping up his body and other strange markings that Arnab was unable to identify. Even his much advanced IITK 101 Language and Hieroglyphics Translator had failed to convey to him the meaning.
There were other differences. TT2 was larger than most. He was blue in colour. Arnab had not been able to achieve much in skin colouring techniques. He had always proclaimed in his all-encompassing OTT (Over The Top) classes, “I am not a painter; why do I need to learn this?” Arnab quite liked this soft hue on skin; it looked better than his own burnt sienna.
He had given up, said, “So be it,” and TT2 was born. So much excitement was racing through Arnab that he wanted to run outside and shout, “Eureka,” just like Archimedes so very long ago. What stopped him from doing this, among other things, was the fact that his nakedness would burn in the strong rays of the direct sun; he would be ash.
TT2 was standing in front of him and had somehow reduced his size to fit the vertical dimensions of the sky pad. The sky pad did not have a very high ceiling, just about six feet. Arnab was four feet in height, and his face was half of that length. He was considered handsome by most, for he was long-legged as compared to others, who were often just a face and brain on dwindling appendages.
All the information-dump down the ages had made people so. They had just stored and stored information, and their brains just grew and grew. And then naturally their bodies adjusted accordingly.
There was very little space for things like the heart. The organ had contracted in size, and it was estimated that with the contraction of the organ, feelings were also reduced. People just ‘did not have the heart for it’; this age-old statement became more relevant for the times. Everything they did lacked heart.
To bring some feelings into people, experiments were in full swing. Arnab, known and respected scientist, had been working hard on this prototype of a man with heart. He had given up when TT2 actually came to life.
What a beautiful creature in blue, Arnab thought to himself. Arnab had studied the old classical Indian features, and tried to form them, making drawing after drawing on his Drawpaw till it had clicked and fallen into place, coinciding with the one in his mind’s eye.
Of course, some things had gone wrong, but he still liked what he saw, and it was this singular achievement that he could boast about in the Congress of New Dimensions to be held next month, once he had seen all that TT2 was able to achieve.
The Congress had put in an appeal for the development of something or someone who could bring the heart back into the things they did. People had got sick of ‘virtually everything’ they had said, nodding their sage grey heads as they perched on the floor, their little legs tucked under them. Age did not give anyone arthritis, they could all sit cross-legged.
Actually issues they were dealing with now were not so much of the body but of the mind. Age usually brought about a desire in people to lose somehow all that excessive information that made the brain heavy. Liposuction, Deep Digs, Internal Goo Go techniques had been only partially successful.
* * *
Arnab looked at TT2, admiration pouring out of his eyes over his handiwork. The Congress would definitely give him the Crown of Thorns for this achievement. He would become even more well-known than he already was. TT2 was both a work of art and of science, and of something else he could only call his inner yearning.
TT2 looked at him with his brown, deep seated eyes. “You are very happy,” he said, smiling, his voice coming from some deep abyss. It was a slow, evenly-paced voice, with a hypnotic touch to it. TT2 could read his mind!
“Um, ah, yes,” Arnab said, blushing a bit.
“I am happy too. Why don’t you hold my hand, and we can sing at the top of our voices, so that we may enjoy the happiness of creation?”
“Are you crazy?” Arnab whispered. “We cannot disturb the Supreme Quiet of the World Order.”
“Who says so? Why don’t we try this?”
Arnab, good at deflecting issues before they reached disturbing proportions, said, “Would you like to eat something? What do you eat?”
“Oh, I am fine. I eat nothing actually. I live on sunlight and air.”
Arnab looked at him again. “You will not last in our sun. You have to have protection.”
“Protection? Okay, maybe something like what you are wearing?”
Arnab looked at his breathing skin cover, just a transparent sheath that helped him keep his skin clean, moisturized and protected. These were available off the rack, and you wore them and shed them off after some days of use, like a snake shedding its skin. They crumpled up and dissolved into the atmosphere.
The far-reaching effect of such clothes would only be known in time, at the moment; no natural products were available for clothes or for anything else like furniture. He could provide one for TT2, but he had problems regarding the size. There were limits to which these covers could stretch.
“Yes, it will do, I will fit in,” said TT2. “Please arrange for it.”
Arnab pressed a button on the wall. The wall panel slid open. Both of them stepped inside. TT2 tried on a transparent sheath which was the largest Arnab possessed. It had been left behind by one of his cousins, now dead, exterminated in the Phenyl Wars.
Arnab felt tired. All the hard work of the last few months and the excitement of TT2’s birth began to drain him. TT2 said that he would rest, he needed to get used to this environment. Arnab switched off the lights, pulled out a space Futon for TT2, and both lay down to rest.
Sleep evaded Arnab. He knew that he had a heavy schedule tomorrow, and he also had to think of how to introduce TT2 to the Congress in the most striking manner. Suddenly, a voice entered his subconscious.
“You are drifting off into a Sacred Space, a place of nothingness and calm. It is a place where there is blue sky, the colour of which you can only imagine, green grass which is soft to sleep on, a fragrance that makes you feel wanted and loved. This is the Sacred Space of your ancestors, you are remembering them now. Slowly they come and caress you and you are so secure, so relaxed that you forget everything except the sensation of being loved and held. Your eyes are closed and you are no longer in the present moment. You are asleep, you are asleep...”
* * *
Arnab awoke from a sleep so refreshing that he smiled. He could not help smiling, though he was sure he would feel guilty about it afterwards. He was charged with the desire to work. He sat down at his DawnDusk, a desk that he could carry around with him from dawn to dusk, but he had hitched it to the main room wall for the moment. His ideas flowed and he recorded the ideas of future experiments he wanted to undertake.
A shadow loomed next to him: TT2. “You had a good sleep?” he asked.
“The best ever,” Arnab replied.
TT2 sat on the floor and closed his eyes. Arnab continued with his work, not wanting to stop his train of thought. It was late night; he wanted to go for his customary walk in the moonlight. The moonlight soothed him, it suited his generally agitated mental framework.
“Go ahead,” said TT2, “I know you don’t want to show me off yet.”
* * *
Copyright © 2014 by Abha Iyengar