"If you are still confused, then you are still alive."
































Sometime in the futuristic years, a manned mission to Mars hit rough weather and the crew had to fly out hurriedly, leaving one of the men behind. They thought he had died in the storm, until ground station back found out he was alive. It was too late to go back to fetch him. Earth staff watched him through their satellite images, rearranging the solar panels, trying to scavenge whatever food supplies were left and trying to survive day after day in the harsh Martian weather. Mission commander Mr. K watched the giant computer screens, at the desperate man trying to survive even when he had no hope of being rescued, and thought, "Abandoned and isolated... what must be going through his mind right now?"
 
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Somewhere in muddled heart of a maximum city in south-east Asia, another Mr. K focused his telescope to voyeur upon the slum next to his building. He peered through a gap in the thatched roof of one of the huts. It opened into their bathroom where he would watch the house lady bathing on several evenings. She was in there today too, but not nude, rather with clothes torn and cowering in fear. A crowd had gathered outside her house and he saw people trying to restrain her husband who constantly cursed and wildly swayed a machete about. K looked at the frightened woman - his woman - and thought, "Scared and closeted... what must be going through her mind right now?"   
 
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Jostling amidst the crowds thronging the city-square somewhere in the middle-east of Asia, a certain young and bearded Mr. K watched as the terrorists kicked a hostage and butt his face with their rifles. He watched them shouting slogans and appreciating a merciful God for his benevolence, for having exposed the traitor in their midst. K knew that hostage. He wasn't the traitor they made him out to be but it was a society whose conscience was drowned in gunpowder. As they lifted the hostage up and pointed a gun at his head, K looked at the crestfallen hostage and pondered, "Battered and dying... what must be going through his  mind right now?"
 
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Somewhere out in the thorny outback of a continent down-under, an aboriginal Mr. K watched his companion in the fading bonfire. After a long day, they were lucky to chance upon a good hunt. They had munched on the fresh meat with glee, and then laughed aloud and danced around the fire. Finally, as their backs wore down, they lay down on a patch of soft grass. Any other night, they would be asleep by now, but today the sky was so starry that it bewitched their minds and bedazzled them into silence. K had a feeling of being in a large, dark cave whose roof was studded with diamonds. He looked askance at his partner and wondered, "Bewitched, bedazzled... what must be going through his mind right now?"
 
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Out in the glamorous city, paved with style and fashion, amidst an endless parade of traffic converging at a certain Champs-Elysees, a middle aged Mr. K and the infant in his arms watched a gigantic steel tower glittering with lights and piercing the night sky. K watched his son agape in amazement and  wondered, "Amazed, Excited... what must be going through his mind right now?"  
 
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In the suburbs of a certain metropolis, with the cool sea breeze howling outside the window, a middle-aged Mr. K watched his parents in the hospital room. His old father held the hand of his mother as she lay on the hospital bed. The time for her surgery had come. Though the surgery was a major one, they had signed up for it as it was the best possible solution for her medical condition. It promised to end her days of chronic pain and bedridden life. As the doctors carted her out of the ward, into the operation theatre, K watched the old couple hold hands. The father assured and the mother kept smiling back with affection. K watched this scared, but hopeful, couple and wondered, "Scared, hopeful... what must be going through their minds right now?"  
 
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Up, up, and away, in some seeming heavenly abode, a heavenly being beheld the world he had created. Today, he picked on some random creatures to look at - all certain K's in different parts of the world. He looked at their faces, transfixed and dazed, and prided upon the complex tapestry of interplay he had weaved into the web of his creation. It was, now, his time to savour it - to sit back and enjoy the show. He intently looked at each of the K's and wondered, "what must be going through their minds right now?"
It was his first day at the new job as a teacher. The entire morning, as he got up and got ready, he cherished every moment of that joyous feeling of having achieved his dream. The dream he had fought so hard, and made so many sacrifices for. If he had walked the beaten path of lucrative careers he would be earning well and living a posh life, but his heart had prodded him otherwise. He had taken to his passion for knowledge, to serve knowledge, and decided to become a teacher.
"Every man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." - John Donne
"Once human beings - we, the Homo sapiens - developed language and created a system of sharing and, hence, cultivating knowledge about 70 millennia ago, we became an invincible species," said Professor Nath as she looked around the class expecting some amused faces. "We are the dominant and ruling species of this world today solely because of the way we process and utilize knowledge."
 
By broaching the topic, Nath hoped to impress upon her students the importance of education system and the need for students to develop an interest in learning and knowing, because that is how, she believed, our species could hope to stay at the top of the pyramid of life - as the pinnacle of all creation.
 
Notwithstanding the sobriety of the class, Nath continued, "Every ecosystem of the ancient world was teeming with a diversity of species, especially the ultra-large fauna, for millions of years. There were the mammoths, diprotodons, giant rodents, and so many animals weighing hundreds of kilograms. These large terrifying creatures had lived all their lives without any fear of predators, until we stepped into their world." And a sense of pride came of Nath, akin to a conqueror.
 
Her chest swelled with pride as she fantasized the hairy Sapiens of 16,000 years ago, crossing the Arctic glaciers and setting foot into the American heartland, wielding their dexterous hunting skills and decimating one monstrous species after another.
 
"In barely two thousand years of us entering America, we had settled the entire continent from north to south, ridding it of all its gigantic beasts." she surveyed the looks on her students' faces, "But no! don't think of us as monsters. We were just a frail hairy species, destined to be giant killers. We were the Davids, slaying the Goliaths of the ancient world, and making the world a peaceful and safe place."
 
The bell rang but before she dismissed the class, Nath reminded her students, "Tomorrow as we discuss about the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, you will see how humans have taken control of this world and, like a true leader, cogently arranged it to serve everyone's benefit."
 
Class was dismissed. Nath packed her bag and took the flight of steps down to the parking lot. On the way she met Professor Khan who was her usual chat companion.
 
"So what's the plan for the evening?" inquired Khan.
 
"Oh don't remind me. Today is a messy day," said Nath, "the whole evening would be spent in laying those cockroach pills all around the house."
 
"But you did that a few months back, isn't it?" asked Khan, "the roaches didn't die kya?"
 
"Oh those bloody irritating creatures," replied Nath in frustration, "they spread so fast, and infest everything in the house. I wish they became extinct yaar. They have ruined my peace of mind."

She started her bike and sped away.
 
 
 
 
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"That's how it mostly is, Amit," said professor Vinod in a consolatory tone, "only a few very lucky ones get to research in the area of their interest. The rest of us just have to make do with wherever we get scholarship."
 
"But pure mechanics?" rued professor Amit, "who works in that field anymore? Just because nobody else took that up, they are assigning it to me. It's a dead field Vinod. I don't find any excitement in working in it. There are so many happening subjects out there, and I deserve to get one of those fields yaar."
 
"Arey understand na yaar. This year they have released funds only in that subject Amit. Our dean is a kind man. You should trust that he is not being prejudicial," said Vinod.
 
"Maybe I will just let it go and try next year. I can't digest that dry subject sir. It is just not palatable. There is a limit to how tasteless the department can be," quipped Amit.
 
"I hope you don't do that. Why don't you use your creativity and try to turn that dry subject into something interesting?" said Vinod with a wry smile, "Okay leave that. C'mon sit down. Let's enjoy our lunch now and worry about your doctoral research over tea in the evening. Okay?"
 
Amit agreed and they opened their lunch boxes and began to eat. Vinod let out a groan as soon as he saw the lemon rice that his wife had packed for him. "Ugh!" he reacted, "who eats this food? Tastes like junk from a restaurant's garbage bin."
 
"It's home cooked food Vinod," said Amit, "and bhabhi cooks so hygienically. Sometimes taste and hygiene don't go together."
 
"Sorry man," said Vinod, disgusted, "I cannot digest this. I have seen the food she cooks for my in-laws. It's like, me, the head of the family, gets the leftovers."
 
"Hey c'mon man," Amit tried to defend, "bhabhi will never do something like that." 
 
"No, I am not going to eat this man. There is a limit to how tasteless a food can be. I will throw it in the bin and will go eat in the canteen. Do you want to join me or not?" asked Vinod
 
Amit, melancholic over his own bad luck, was in no mood to join. He gestured Vinod to go ahead, while commenting, "why don't you just fast today? It will serve two goals - like a punishment for wasting good food as well as a health exercise for reducing that tummy of yours!" And Amit smiled wryly.
 
"No way I will fast. I have a right to tasty food man," replied an upset Vinod, "when there are alternatives and I can afford it, I deserve to enjoy my right yaar." And Vinod stormed towards the canteen.
 
 
 
 
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