(The following was written as an entry to a story writing competition. It doesn’t deal with education but is a satirical look at modernity and so is 50% on topic for this blog. I hope that it breaks through the grimness of our virus-related predicament and succeeds in making you smile)
Dr Ramdas Verma, a scientist with a Phd from MIT and 25 patents in high-tech electronics, has solved man’s age-old problem- how to get infinite energy off a finite planet. It is now amply clear, even to Nobel-prize-winning economists from the ‘developed’ nations, that the era of cheap fossil fuels is over. It is in this newly opened space for innovation that Dr Verma had his world-changing epiphany. Before we get to that, a paragraph about what a world famous scientist is doing rotting in Bangalore, when he could have been getting in and out of long black cars with beautiful women on his arm. (For example, Dr Verma is younger, better looking and has more hair than Salman Rushdie)
Alongside his awards-filled modern science education in some of the best schools in India, Dr Verma also found the time to get a classical Vedic education before leaving for America on an MIT scholarship. Over the next thirty years, Dr Verma worked very hard and managed to attract great wealth to himself. At the age of fifty, after many ex-wives and their various children had siphoned off all the money they deserved, Dr Verma found himself rich beyond his wildest imaginings. This was when the Vedic component of his education boomeranged on him and he decided to give all his wealth away, stay in a mud hut, wear a dhoti and live a truly Gandhian life. (This conversation when first initiated in San Fransisco quickly led to Dr Verma’s latest divorce). As a halfway measure, Dr Verma moved into a modest ten room mansion in its own four acre parkland on the outskirts of Bangalore and used only a fuel efficient SUV for driving twenty kilometers into town for buying hand-sanitizer and potatoes and other such necessities.
Back to Dr Verma’s epiphany. Dr Verma all alone in crowded India met a social activist who told him somewhat rudely that:
a. If he wanted to give all his money away, why didn’t he just start (ideally with me said the rude social activist) instead of talking about it.
b. About helping poor Indians- has Dr Verma seen or smelt his target audience and why doesn’t he, for example, travel in a Mumbai local train during peak hour to gain this valuable and unforgettable experience.
After spending three sleepless nights over it, Dr Verma flew down (economy class on a cheap airline) to Mumbai and decided to brave it. At the railway station, automatically pushed into an overcrowded local train by the press of the crowd behind him, Dr Verma stood squashed by his target audience on all sides. A distinctly spiritual experience then slowly overtook him. He saw some flashing bright lights and had an experience of Savikalpa Samadhi (he was able to immediately identify it because of his classical education). In this heightened state of consciousness, Dr Verma noted that a young man, seen through smelly armpits and gaps in dirty beards, was shaking his right leg rhythmically. The young man was sitting opposite another young man who too was involuntarily shaking his leg. And, in his moment of insight Dr Verma saw a cross section of the entire train with thousands of nervously but rhythmically shaking men and women legs. Eureka, Dr Verma shouted and thinking that this was the name of their station many people got off and Dr Verma was un-squashed.
Dr Verma was secretive about the details of his solution. He hinted that there is an international conspiracy to steal his invention. However, he explained that the broad details involve the quantum mechanical piezoelectric effect, pre-stressed mechanical springs, lithium-ion wearable batteries, wireless micro-electric magneto-hydraulic transmissions, prana that fills the known and unknown universes and most importantly, of course, distracted men and women (which Dr Verma, Buddha-like, claims is 100% of all men and women). In other non-technical words, Dr Verma has created a revolutionary new way of harnessing the nervous energy floating free in the universe, and yes, it can be stored and can do many times more work than what our current infrastructure for Industrial Civilization needs. Being fabulously rich, as we mentioned earlier, Dr Verma could have easily funded the research and development and taking-to-market of this revolutionary new technology, but big banks from America are lining up with blank cheques outside his door. Friends, when the world is gratefully flooded with this technology, remember that you heard about it here first. This is the future of energy! The future of technology! Dare we say, the future of mankind itself! And, you know, it may soon be sidling up quietly and nestling itself next to your skin.