Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fine

Rubble lay outside the shop - a mixture of cement, dirt, wood pieces and rubble. It was waste from today’s work of renovating the shop. The rubble was not supposed to lie outside the shop on the footpath. It was illegal. This man had a vague plan of temporarily pushing out the rubble so there was space inside the shop for him to work and besides, within a half an hour a tempo would arrive and pick it up. Two men were patrolling the streets. One dressed in a white and black pant which could be his uniform and the other was dressed in a coloured checkered shirt and blue jeans, maybe because he was off duty, he did not wear a uniform. They were employed by the Municipal Corporation to find violations. 

And lo, they stumbled upon such a one. They caught hold of the man who put the rubble out. The man himself had no money with him, for he was poor man, earning daily wages from the contractor who employed him. The two Municipal men crowded around the man and told him he had to cough up 10,000 bucks or he would be in trouble. Be in trouble thought the man, but he was already in trouble. His fingers fumbled out his phone and called up his contractor. 

Over the phone, the contractor abused his employee, cursed him for getting caught and told him to borrow money from the shop owner. 

The owner of the shop was a widow. Through a phone call from one of the workers at the shop she heard about the incident, dropped her household work, grabbed hold of her 23 year old son and rushed to the shop in a state of panic, wondering what was happening. To their dismay as they reached the shop, they found that they the Municipal men and the worker had gone to their house. 

So swiftly, they marched off back to their dwelling. A red post office stood on the street where their abode was and that is where they found the three men. Though one of the municipal men was on the phone, the mother did not wait, her lips gave a burst of opposition against them, questioning their actions. A moment later, the municipal man on the mobile phone had put it down and was explaining the situation to the two of them. The municipal men claimed that the worker was in the wrong and he would have to pay the fine, however the fine was lowered from 10,000 to 5000 bucks. The mother and son knew that they could not reason against this violation, they gently, without abuses cursed the worker and then agreed to pay the fine. The mother marched to her house with the worker hesitatingly following behind.

One of the municipal men put an arm around the son, and told him a strategy on how to get his money back from the contractor – for it is a contractor who really must bear the brunt of the fine, not them – the owners. The son nodded, guessing that perhaps the municipal men were feeling slightly guilty for charging the fine. 

The worker came back down with the money. The municipal men promised that they would write a bill for the fine. Without letting the worker out of their sight, they walked out of the lane to probably meddle in the affairs of others. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Architect III

I am the architect and I’ve lived here in this room for so many years. It’s been so long, I can’t even remember when I was not an old man. An inkling, an urge entered me, I wanted to grabbed hold of the mechanical device’s head and shake it. Anger! Immediately I pushed the emotion aside. The solution was there in front of me, I was just not seeing it. The black rectangular core was a mistake, it was death. There was chance that the yellow triangle and brown square cores would have worked, but they didn’t. The circular one had to work, it was a circle, it had the colours of blue and white, water and soul and it should have worked. 

Instead, only its head swivelled on the neck.

I had to get this working. This device was my child, I never had my own. I knew all the secrets of the universe, yet here was a problem I could not solve. I pressed my face onto the chest and positioned my right eye to peep inside the cavity, but all was darkness. I sighed and was about to pull my face back when I saw the darkness glimmer. I looked again, there engraved in the cavity, through the darkness a line shone out, ‘Life is not made, it is given’. I don’t remember putting that there.

 Given I brooded to myself what did mean. I had given this mechanical device everything I had. The material I made and pulled out of the books. The designs I drew with my hand and my delicate fingers moulded the parts and placed them together. This mechanical device was the sweat of my brow and the work of my magnificent mind.

What more was there to give I asked myself, as I attempted to ignore, to silence a growing voice in my heart. To give a life... I have to give my own.

This mechanical device, no this mechanical being was to be my son. If there was no other way... I wouldn’t want centuries of work to go to waste... this child was going to be my imprint on the world, my mark of immortality. 

My fingers rolled into a fist and tapped against the right side of my chest. Flesh and bone parted to the side, revealing a cavity. This would have to be fast, before the last breath departed from me.

I dipped my hand inside my own chest cavity and pulled out a circular core. As the yellow light reflected across it, I paused to admire it. The circular core was much smaller, with smoother curves and the blue and white swam around each other. I could feel my chest becoming tighter and without wasting another second, for the last time, my hand thrust the core into the mechanical being, my child. 

Immediately, it began to whir to life, but my body was already falling of the chair I sat on. Everything was becoming dark, but through sheer will I forced my draining life to stay a bit longer. I could glimpse the eyes revolving to life, the hands moving and new legs growing and a device evolved into life. The dull gleam of the being erupted into a powerful glow, like the one you would see in a new born babe. 

Things were getting darker, no! I could not leave, just a few seconds more; I have to see this, my creation. Its hand was raised in front of its eyes, the fingers... they were flexing themselves. The nerves were being tested, electronic signals were being transferred from the wires to the mechanical brain. 

Instinct took over, the hands clutched the chair and taking support of it, the being attempted to stand on its two feet. The knees were straight, the back was bent, but by God, my creation was going to stand on his own two feet. 

Collapse. He collapsed back into the chair. 

My eyes lips there were almost shut, the darkness was not calling me anymore, it was dragging me off and my mind fought tooth and nail to hold on to my life force, I had to see this, my creation. 

His hands were once again straining against the chair, the knees were slowly rising up and the back was ascending. He was up! His foot took a step forward; he lost his balance, his body lurched forward to my chair, quick reflexes, his hands held my own lifeless hand taking support. 

His eyes, blue glass eyes, there were alive and stared into mine for a moment.  Darkness was dragging me. “Father”, the word was whispered out of his mouth. My son, I tried to speak the words. Darkness was tugging me with great force and whatever chain that held me here, snapped and sent me down. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Architect II

If you've not read The Architect I- better it read before starting. 

The architect stretch out his hand and rolled it into a fist, knocking twice against the right side of the mechanical device's chest. He waited a moment and then the mechanical device reacted. Slowly, the outlay of a rectangle appeared on the chest and pulled back. A cavity appeared in the middle. The cavity had enough width and height to allow a being’s complete hand to fit through comfortably. The mechanical device would not work until he filled that cavity. 

He scratched his brows for a moment and thought. Like a bolt of lightning, an idea struck him and swiftly he stood up. His hand stretched up, his feet went up on his tiptoes and his fingers touched the yellow bulb. His face grimaced with pain and as his fingers struggled to clutch the bulb, but his toes gave away. At his full height of four feet and one inch he failed to grabbed hold of the bulb hanging above. He took in a few deep breaths and pushed the chair in front. His right knee pressed against the chair and clamoured over the top of it with his two feet. This time as he stood on the chair, his hands easily grabbed the bulb. With a flick of his wrist, the bulb was twisted about and shed light to one side of the room. Swiftly, he rotated his wrist and for some time, each of the four walls was lit with dim yellow light. His eyes squinted and observed his surroundings.  

His hands let go of the bulb and he climbed down. Hobbling over to one corner of the room, his feet kicked down piles of books to reach the table. He knocked aside a building of books and plunged his hand behind it. A rectangular device, no bigger than his palm was clutched in his fingers. It was completely black. His feet hobbled back to the mechanical device and his hand thrust it inside. He took a step back and waited hopefully. A whirring sound of mechanical tools could be heard from the device. And then, the hand shot out and clutched his throat, he felt cold finger squeezing his wind pipe, driving the breath out of him and making him light headed. Struggling, his arm stretched out and pulled out the rectangular core. The cold fingers let him ago and the hand dropped back down. 

His own warm fingers massaged his throat and took in a breath before he hobbled to another side of the room. This time his hand cleared piles of books under the table and was shoved inside. A yellow triangle device was wrapped around his fingers. When he thrust the triangle device in the cavity, the eyes whirled about in their socket. He waited for something more to happen, but nothing did. The eyes just revolved. His hand dipped inside the cavity and tugged out the triangle core.

Disappointed, he went to another wall of the room. With a sweeping swing, his hand toppled over all the books on the table and swiped it off clean. He hopped on the table and his outstretched hands removed a brown square device. His hand once again thrust inside the cavity and placed the device. The jaw dropped down... he expected it to say something, and then the jaw jerked back up. And again the jaw dropped down and a moment later it jerked up. He pulled out the square core. 

Finally, he hobbled to the last side of room. This time he did not have to topple any pile of books. On top of the first pile a circular device with a mix of blue and white lay. His hand took it and thrust it into the cavity. 

This was it he thought to himself as he took a step back. The whirring of the mechanical tools from the torso once again sounded through the air. And then, the head just started violently swirling around the neck. If he had not removed the circular core, he was sure that the head would have spun off. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Architect I

The architect sat alone in a small dark square room. A single bulb hung down from his ceiling by a long wire, stopping a few inches just above his head. He sat on a wooden chair and his hands rested on a table in front of him. On the walls around him stood four tables and four shelves which hung from the stone walls. Books were unevenly placed inside the shelves, some stood, some slept and most books popped out unevenly. The books overflowed the shelves and piled onto the tables. They slept on top of each other and formed towering buildings which seemed unstable and would collapse if the table was shaken even in the slightest manner. This was because the books had failed to be neatly arranged, their edges haphazardly popped out and if one had to look straight from above (at 90 degrees) the book pile would like an asterisk of some sort, with no organised edges.  

The architect was a thin frail man and his eye stared ahead. Set on the table, in front of him was a being... no a mechanical device. You could make out the mechanics – the tiny nuts, the tiny chains, the tiny wheels. And they were all golden, or perhaps it was bronze, but all could agree that it was some shade of yellow. Across its face, you could see the curves and groves of the metal. All of it was in the same colour, except for the eyes which gleamed of black glass with an outlay of white; perhaps it was not a glass, but a gem. 

You may ask why such confusion of the materials? This writer will tell you. The architect is an architect, he is not a miner, he is moulder, but here he lay with one of the rarest material in this universe, and he has made them into something. These materials are rare because they have never existed before, but like a magician, the architect pulled out the materials he needed and built this metallic being. Never before these materials existed and now in this small, square room was the only place that they did existed. 

The mechanical device had a pleasant circular face. It has a square solid shoulder with an arm and fingers extending out for the right shoulder, while the left shoulder stretched into a two inch stump. The mechanical device had a full torso with a smooth chest which lacked nipples and tapered down past an empty crotch which was smooth with a gilded bronze-like-metal and the device finished off with two inches of stumps for legs. Any being would be mesmerised with the blue glass eyes of the mechanical being, but the architect was not. 

He was has almost finished constructing this being... no, this mechanical device, but a problem had presented itself.