Monday, November 22, 2004

Untitled

August 22nd 2320
He stood there before her doorstep uneasily shifting his weight wondering whether he should just turn around and run away. He closed his eyes and instinctively reached for the spot behind his neck just below his hair and massaged it slowly. A soothing sensation swept him as he opened his eyes and checked himself in the vague reflection on the recently varnished wooden door.
It's been a year and a half now - and he's come a long way from the brink of death to a "safe, content and transformed" existence - his past relationship had left him as a drunk, brooding, suicidal loser and there was nothing in life that he looked forward to, until a "helper-agent" had come to meet him with the solution "to love the way you are, and change the rest".
The door finally opened and she stepped out looking more beautiful than anyone he's ever seen. She was just like what he had expected her to look like, probably better. He continued staring at her unashamed as she descended the steps and whispered something and looked at him expecting an answer. Realizing he didn't have a clue of what she was saying, she blushed and asked him again if he knew where the restaurant was - it was just a couple of blocks away and they slowly started walking towards it, their fumbling fingers finally finding eachother's hands in the light of the distant lamp post.
It took the world by storm - there finally was a chip which simulated the way the brain thinks and could replace it with a more customizable solution. Clearly divided into compartments based on functionality, each faculty could then be customized to one's preferences. Of course, a spate of government regulations followed which banned enhancing the "intelligence" faculty as this, they believed, worked against the natural law of survival of the fittest. But what you could do was to control your preferences, your tastes, your risk profile - just about every choice you have to make and every feeling you can experience. All you had to do was to connect to your console and set your preferences and these were then replicated onto the central repository. There the preferences were checked for semantic and moral correctness - in other words, any setting that was malicious and would potentially harm fellow citizens was detected and punished.
They seated themselves in a dimlit corner of the restaurant, while others were glued to the TV broadcasting the president's message - "We are well on our way to Utopia - to a land of pristine intentions and unabated satisfaction", he announced amidst cheers from everyone. Both of them knowingly smiled at each other for they knew how much the chip had changed their lives.
They had met like a miilion others in the now famous dating services - one of the small applications that were mushrooming around the central repository. The principle aim of the service was to "avoid disappointment at all costs". Half of the universe was logged in there trying to find a perfect mate. If after a couple of interactions, a pair was interested in taking a relationship further, they were given access to the entire history of the chosen one till that very moment including past relationships, preferences, quirky habits to testimonials from trusted sources just to make sure there aren't any nasty surprises later in the relationship. The concerned parties can then choose to part amicably or customize their preferences to suit the other person. And if they do a perfect and optimal configuration is then delivered to both of them. The dating service also arranges for a "dream date" with everything - ambience, food, music and even the weather outside - suiting the couple's preferences.
They sat there staring at the plate and at eachother uncomfortably aware that there wasn't anything left for small talk - no little secrets, nothing about hobbies, work or nasty neighbours. It's was as though they had known each other for eternity. They just sat there waiting to come up with the perfect topic for the perfect occasion.
As he walked her to her door step, he knew for sure, this relationship was going to work - they had agreed upon everything right from politics to the name of their kids. She opened the door and turned around to give her million dollar smile - "I had an amazing evening", he said; she smiled. He slowly pushed a lonely strand of hair behind her ears and gently pressed his lips against hers. He knew deep down that it should feel magical - but it felt like snowflakes on burnt wood on a cold day in the middle of the arctic. He slowly opened his eyes and caught her staring back at him. They pulled away immediately and looked embarrassingly at eachother. He finally broke the painful silence, promised to call her and started walking towards his car.
Just as he reached the car, deep down behind memories of a lost past was a single moment just as fresh as it happened yesterday. One long prolonged kiss that he never wanted to end as he had held onto her wondering if he even knew the girl he was so madly in love with. He didn't even know if he could see her again after that, didn't know where life would take them or what they would name their kids - and all amidst all that pain and uncertainity was an inexplicable passion that was still so alive that he could just pluck her out of the wind and kiss her again. He flipped his wallet open and stared at her photograph framed by the leather walls of the purse. Tears welled in his eyes and he instinctively reached for the spot behind his neck, stopped himself and let the cold wind take those tears away before they glistened his cheek.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way too confusing. Get out of "Eternal sunshine" syndrome

6:52 AM  
Blogger Dileepan said...

Hey!

Nice blog! Chanced to come here during a round of blog-hopping. Found that you're a BITSian. Am a BITSian too (2000 batch). Good luck!

The Jack ;)

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wasnt very clear wat u were trying to tell...the whole stuff is abt a man drowned in his memories of his late wife...rite??....a good narrative, though...too much of "AI" jargon in para4 !!
and..kissing her on th ears feeling "like snowflakes on burnt wood on a cold day in the middle of the arctic"...brilliant!!

11:20 PM  
Blogger Rathish said...

@Anonymous - Pretty much :) It's about a guy who's loved and lost and is scared to be hurt again. But technology provides him a solution that "avoids disappointment at all costs". The system is perfect - but at the end of it, he knows what he's missing.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Aarti said...

Is love ever lost?? Depends on what form you are looking for it in....
Brilliant piece of writing!You ought to take up writing more seriously, than just blogging :-)

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Aarti :-) Love being lost is a tough claim really. you can lose the feel of being loved, the dream of a future together or the right to dream so. So, in some ways yes! love can be lost. But as a feeling, it's one's own and no one can really lose it. So, there you go!

12:02 AM  
Blogger vikky said...

Good narration skills!!.........try and extend the brain chip theory to other walk of life....it would be
exicting!!

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Blogger vikky said...

Good narration skills!!.........try and extend the brain chip theory to other walk of life....it would be
exiting!!

3:16 PM  
Blogger vikky said...

Good narration skills!!.........try and extend the brain chip theory to other walk of life also....it would be exiting!!

3:16 PM  
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