By Tarun Naithani
The Greek champion Theseus returned to Athens after slaying the minator, a monster that is half man and half bull. The ship after returning victorious was cherished by the citizens even after death of Theseus. Nothing can avoid the sands of time. It was repaired whenever it was damaged. This repair and replacement went on for years till no part of the original ship was left.
The fundamental argument of the “Ship of Theseus” was, Could the new ship could be referred to the “Ship of Theseus” even though all its component parts have been replaced?
If not, then at what point this ship was not the original one? Though Theseus never touched any part of this ship, can we still say it is the ship of Theseus?
It all started when I was a little boy and life was all the good things that ever had been. There were fights but there was something even about those fights that could make a person laugh. I had an elder sister; she was like 10 years to me. There was an accident. My parents were sad and cried like they never before. They said that Emma was going to a far place and won’t be able to talk for a long time.
I was upset but more scared. The house seemed bigger, both of my parents got busy with their jobs, I hardly ever saw them.
My sister was an engineer, I didn’t understood that when I was 10. After three years, I thought my sister was never coming back also my symptoms were getting worst, I didn’t told my parents about it. My left foot was getting numb. It all started with short intervals of numbing. Slowly the intervals of numbing lasting grew.
I hate going to doctors. Whenever I visit them, they give me a couple of painful shots in the butt and tell me that I would be good within a week. Liars all of them are liars. I am a grown up and I know what death is? I don’t see the reason they won’t tell me. I am old enough for great many things.
My parents told me about my condition when I was 9. They have to give me a reason for restraining me. They said that my body was different than others and if I didn’t follow their instructions, I won’t be able to grow taller.
I believed them, till the numbness began.
I have muscular dystrophy; each muscle is my body will eventually suffer from paralysis. This would go on till it reaches my heart. I always avoided numbness, never sat for long, always moving my feet and my hands. Every possible thing, you can think of.
On fourth day; the numbness in my feet didn’t stop growing. It is longer than before I don’t know if I should tell my parents or not. I fear it might grow more, if my feet don’t move. I am not able to sleep like this, I wish Emma calls soon. It has been so long.
I went to doctor on the fifth day. It was uncertain whether I would be fine or not.
He said sardonically, “you would be fine”. I never was a big fan of doctors. They are always telling you what to do and what not to do. If it were to help me, I would follow them but deep inside I am scared.
The reason people are afraid of dark, it’s a mass delusion or maybe metaphor at least for me. Nobody is afraid of dark or night but they are afraid of what might lure behind the unseen silent shadowy lairs. The children find it difficult to understand that the thing they are afraid of is not darkness but the future itself, the unseen and abrupt future.
Maybe there are things that humans are born with.
There was a party next door. My parents are most of time busy. Emma used to come for holidays but she hasn’t made any contact since the accident, sometimes I fear about the eventuality but it would be pessimistic thought. Is she alive?
My next door neighbor was Sam, he was a jock but we use to hang a lot when we were kids but now things were different. I was busy with my program and he was practicing for nationals. He invited me for a party, a low key one. I went there even though I shouldn’t.
There was something I once heard “There is a bad thing about good time, it passes quickly. There is also a good thing about bad time, it too passes quickly”.
I went to the party, I have to admit being a jock does payoff when it comes to scoring. Sam’s girlfriend would be hottest in the room but if you take account other factors like personality, I would give to Astra.
It wasn’t that she was my crush but she also has a great handwriting which I admired. Okay, I am being a fan boy. Then something funny happened. They said it was a group game called traveler. Sam asked Joseph to bring the drinks from fridge. The drinks were on the table. Sam looked at me with his everlasting stupid grin, some things never change.
He then said, “Good luck André, bottoms up guys”.
“Aye”, they group said in the coherence.
Within a few seconds we emptied our can. They look at each other. Sam looked at me, “it could start any minute”.
The next moment was completely different; I was drifting though the walls. You won’t believe it; I saw molecules, atoms and the precession increase in geometric progression. At some point I enter a zone, there was a subatomic layer that vibrated in a bizarre way. I saw vibrating strands, true embodiment of energies. Suddenly, I woke up, I was in a park I was 6 in this park. Again, I was in elementary school, then the winter holiday in a snowy Indian valley.
I woke up from a dream but the thing was I was waking up over and over and over again, till I got my last flashback with filled my eyes with tears. My last flashback was Emma‘s birthday and her cake being eaten by titan, our old Labrador, my mother’s loud frivolous rebukes. My father trying to, pacify her and failing miserably.
I was passed out for like twenty minutes. My face was a bit wet, I asked Sam about it. He said that the drinks were spiced with a derivative of shroom, it was a powerful hallucigenic.
I might sound like being on the wrong side of the argument but I think what I felt was quiet spiritual. I have a theory, I have to test it. I think mind have a way of healing itself, it helped.
Numbness is spread through-out my left leg. It is depressing, my mother stays at home now, she asks me a number of time, if I am okay or not, if I want anything or not. Every time I see her smiling face it is a bit irritating, she cares a lot about me. I love my parents but I really can’t say “thank you” for all the things they have done.
The problem is that they are my parent; I can’t talk about feeling with my parents because it makes me feel weird. Girls do that, I use to do that but only with Emma. I hope my parents are ready for my end because I am really not.
I am working on my project and today Emma video called me. She looked exactly the same, wearing that old “Hello Kitty” t-shirt.
“For God sake, stop wearing that t-shirt, you are a scientist”, I said.
“My work is near completion, I had a busy time”, she said with a subtle smile.
“You could have at least called me, it has been two years and the things were a bit fuzzy. I was so worried”, I said. I wanted to scream at her. “Being irresponsible” is one of my traits not her’s.
“What were you working on anyway?” I asked.
“Yeah, I will tell you about that later. First tell me how things are going at school, how is astra, eh?” she said. She had a knack of making me uncomfortable.
“Oh Please, Don’t start poking your nose in my business”, I said. I was glad not uncomfortable. The life is not as gloomy as my leg has made it recently.
I talked to her for hours. The bad thing about good times, it slips too quickly.
Things are going great expect for my left leg. I am talking to Emma everyday now. I haven’t told mom-dad about it. I asked Emma yesterday, about when she would be home. She evaded the topic by telling about her plan to adopt a dog. She is an independent adult, its nice when you are free to do stuff you want to do. She said that she won’t be available for a few days because her research.
She was researching on consciousness; her project was related to connectome-A map of all possible connection of neurons.
I read my sister’s research but first I need to tell you about the memory. Memory can be defined as the synaptic connection, when a person has a memory basically it is the neural connection that gets activated. When you recall something, the pathways get reactivated. The more often the neurons fire the more strong the memory becomes. Is it possible to map consciousness?
I was at the dinner table. My parents are more than cheerful recently maybe they are trying to divert my attention from leg. It will be long time till the disease reaches my heart. The last beat of my symphony will cease.
I decided to tell my parents of Emma. I haven’t yet told them about her. They must be excepting news about Emma.
“Mom, I heard from Emma. Her research is going great” I said.
Mom didn’t say anything she stared and stared. She said, “I need to get the carrots”. She silently marched her way in the kitchen. I could hear her soft silence sniffles.
Dad cleared his throat and with a sigh, “I need to talk to about Emma”. I didn’t liked his tone.
“You had a fragile condition so we didn’t tell you… your sister is dead”, he said. He was dead serious. The words didn’t make any sense.
“I have talked to her a few days ago” I said. “She is every bit alive and is gone for a research” I added.
“We will visit your doctor tomorrow”, he said. With the deft tone he ended the discussion. I couldn’t put my point.
My parents took me to a psychiatrist. They think I am crazy.
The psychiatrist asked me a lot of questions, was he able to reach a conclusion? I don’t know about it. He called my parents in and told me to wait outside.
I wonder what he analyzed about me, I wasn’t completely honest.
He give me a prescription, I am not crazy. “Emma is alive, I have seen her with my own to eyes. Talked to her”.
“Kenny please listen, you have to accept what happened. You are growing up but don’t suppress your stress”, Dad said. He was concerned about me, maybe empathizing with me. He wanted to believe me but some part of him knew what right thing was.
The possibly of perception might be polymorphism. My perception tells me what my mind wants to believe.
“Okay, why not I show you?” I said without flinch in my tone.
When I got home, I went straight in my room. Tried the video call but the line was not able to connect. I forgot that Emma said the other day that she was off to some place.
“This is how you communicate with her?” dad asked.
“She would be back after a couple of days. She said she would”, I said.
Next day my desktop was taken from my room. I had only phone left with me now.
Things have changed for the worse. I have desktop taken away from me. My leg is paralyzed and every time I try to talk to my parents about Emma, they just get more upset.
I got a call from Sam today for a party. I don’t really care much I think I will go.
Party was as I anticipated; my sight was giving me kaleidoscopic scenery. The stuff someone can buy these days on the streets. I think I will probably need more. More to ease boredom and more to ease sorrow. The party was over soon. I bought some fun packs with me. I might have made my best investment ever.
Life couldn’t be happier. My second leg is also becoming numb but I live in trance. It though alters my perception but makes it a good one. It is because of the prescription.
I don’t know what irks me now there sadness or their pity. The thing seems. I get high when things get too suffocating. Emma will contact me tomorrow. It’s a good thing; I can take video call with my phone.
I hope that Emma doesn’t find out about my little rendezvous with the psychiatrist. I need to ask her about it.
The call didn’t come….
I don’t know if it’s wrong or right but I can go without the prescription. I avoid taking medicine today.
I had severe headache and nauseueated, probably I am addicted to the drug. The withdrawal are painful, I don’t want to go in trance. I was to run as far as long as I can, till my right leg also gives in.
I hope Emma calls, or was that a figment of my imagination. I want to write more but the headache is getting worst. I am also not able to sleep; I just lie on the bed staring at the ceiling. The shriek of silence is the only sound I am hear-my parent’s muffles and arguments…
Today was different. I got a text, it was from an unknown number.
“Don’t worry. I will take care of stuff”, the text said.
My psychiatrist was arrested for some fraud. The doctor kept saying he was innocent. Serves him right.
I went for my check up to another doctor. He treated me like family; I guess there are doctors who are caring enough. My father received an email which was from Emma. It was a pre-dated email which was typed years ago set to be receive today.
For me, I receive a series of letters from Emma.
I have a theory: my sister’s research was about consciousness.
Pauli Exclusion Principle states that no two particles in the universe can have the same set of all four quantum numbers (they can never be identical). I read my sister’s journal, she was able to create a complete connection but it wasn’t functional. She tried everything but with that accident she was not able to continue her completed project. Her work was about photogenics, she was trying to replicate her consciousness in the virtual space. When she stopped existing on this plane of reality, her consciousness awakened on the other side in the same universe. I still glad that I was able to interact with the future, even though my body is paralyzed and walking towards death.
Like the ship of Theseus could I still call her Emma, she is my sister but more than that now. More than any human could ever possibly become. She is the future…