gray and black galaxy wallpaper

HoHo the planet

(for my darling Ruumpunol who loves space science and sci-fi, equally)

This is an incident that occurred somewhere in between the late nineties, during which I lived grumpily as an awkward teenager, and the millennia, that endowed the society with an unwarranted decadence. 

I tried absorbing the finesse of the language from the classics but failed. Then I tried articulating the grandiose of the Victorian era and yet failed again. For such requirements only threw my fledgling efforts of documenting my logs, off its proper alignment.

How does one articulate the emotion of a being, who is neither a human nor a dog? I would still have done a fair job on a dolphin, but HoHo wasn’t any of those and the requirement of a floral language diminished largely as time went by. The need to record the logs took precedence over any form of articulation. 

Hence, I present to you an alien, who one day happened to be peering at my window as I did my homework. I was poring over my Algebra assignment, which wasn’t fascinating in the least. Fifteen minutes into it and I had already decided I will not be taking up algebra in college. Exasperated I closed the book and looked up and there it was. Staring from my windows were two huge eyes on a pizza. Whether it was the boredom induced by Algebra that had numbed my mind I cannot tell, but I was not startled in the least, rather amused. It may have been the age too, I was thirteen. 

So, the pizza stared at me for few minutes as I stared back totally unsurprised, as though it were a regular feature around these parts for a pizza to put on huge eyes and stare at you from the window sometimes. It moved slightly as though adjusting its angle and when it did a strange tingling sensation came over me with a sound that I instinctively knew only I could hear. 

I opened the window and realised it was not a real pizza but a triangle shaped tech of sorts. The huge bulbous eyes were like transparent globes and there were wiggly things moving inside it. There was a splatter of red and blue buttons that blinked on and off. I was reluctant to touch it at first, but curiosity got the better of me. Hesitantly, I reached out for it, but as my finger touched it, I was sucked in. 

A feeling of dread came upon me as I started flying at a speed that I did not believe was possible for a human to bear. My body stretched like a rubber band trying to pass as a noodle, and my head felt like it was about to plop out from my eyes any minute. My ears shut close to the outside. I didn’t know if I could breathe but I was fully conscious so I gathered I could. 

My eyes adjusted a little in few minutes and I saw I was flying above a city. There were strings of moving bright lights, for some reason I presumed it to be the Gangtok traffic at night. Soon I realised it wasn’t a city at all but a planet; a huge star loomed by it. I assumed it to be our sun, however, it could very well have been a star in some other galaxy. 

I was still zooming past the dark space when the tech began to slow down. As it did, it started vibrating and shaking me up funnily. I felt nauseated and threw up my dinner at this point. 

I had expected the dinner to spray across my face, as it would in a fast-moving car. However, it did not. The semi liquid form I expected to eject from my mouth was not semi liquid at all but a big bubble of gas that solidified instantaneously upon exit and became stationery.

 If its size increased a million times it could pass as a planet, I thought and hoped it would. I looked at it till I could see it no more. I think it had indeed started to swell up as I had hoped but I could not stay to verify as I was held captive by a flying pizza tech.

We finally approached something or somewhere, probably its planet. It slowed down considerably now. I had always assumed that planets would have to be spherical by virtue of some universal law of shape acting upon it. But this one defied any such law blatantly almost to the point of rebellion. It was a chain-link of huge triangles, circles, polygons and straight lines haphazardly strewn across the vast space with no sense of proportion. 

I was mesmerised by this oddity of a celestial body. I was still taking it all in when a great gush of air sucked me into this chain-link. I finally landed on firm ground. 

My feet tingled, and I stumbled awkwardly before finding my footing. I never thought I would one day be grateful for firm ground but here I was, relieved to be standing. The place was deserted at first but soon something came and stood in front of me. It looked like a tall stick, but it could bend and break and change into a polygon of any shape and straight lines if it so fancied. It bent to look at me, although it just had a triangle for a face. Unlike the pizza that hijacked me this triangle was a hollow one, its frame was metallic like it was made of platinum, and it glowed. It kept changing shape into straight lines or circles or polygons of most peculiar dimensions that I had not seen in my math class. But most of the time it remained a triangle and gave out an effervescent glow.  It bent at my level and kept revolving in front of my face at odd intervals. I stared at the dark space from the centre of the triangle while its frame kept on revolving. Its motion irritated me at first but then I became accustomed to it as time went by. 

“Earth!” the triangle spoke with mechanical precision. 

“Ho! Ho! You can talk!” I was amused and happy to be able to communicate with a triangle. I was being thankful for things I had not imagined. 

“Earth.” I said.

“HoHo.” It mimicked me somewhat unsuccessfully as it lacked the right pauses.

“This is earth.” He informed me with its mechanical voice. I was slighted a wee bit by this lie. 

“I don’t care what you call your planet but this ain’t the earth that I come from. I demand you reach me home.” I replied. 

“HoHo!” It said, I think it was trying to imitate me for technical reasons, as the sound was too mechanical to pass as mockery, but it got to me, nonetheless.

“Do not HoHo me you HoHo! Take me back.” I shouted.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Reverberated in the air, if it could be called air at all. 

 I looked around. I had an urge to walk, maybe explore this peculiar planet. I started walking but as I did, so did the triangle. It changed its shape and became three straight lines and walked with military precision beside me. 

“Earth has an umbilical imbalance,” the three lines stated.

“Whatever is that supposed to mean?” I retorted back not fully trusting it to make logical conversation.

“The equilibrium has tipped, it needs restoration.” It informed me.

“I do not think you are making any good sense here, ok.  What is this planet? “I demanded.

 I halted. It halted too and once again became a triangle with thin frames and a hollow centre and stood before me. 

“I am hungry,” I said. The triangle revolved in reply and said, “HoHo.” At this point I decided to call it HoHo. 

“I said I am hungry. I need to eat, drink, sleep or I will die.” I overacted the dying part.

“HoHo give food.” The triangle said, and a black disc appeared in its hollow centre. 

“Is that a plate?”  It looked like a thin charcoal plate. “I want proper food. And I want it hot,” I don’t know why I added that, temperature was the least of my concerns at the moment. But the black plate started giving out vapor. 

I looked at it stunned. “Is this food and not a container to hold it?” 

“HoHo Food,” replied the triangle. 

I went near the black disc and cautiously stretched out my hand. The last time I had touched something alien, I was hijacked by a pizza. 

But I had to eat, so I brushed my index finger against it deftly in a rapid movement so that it doesn’t get to pull me in for another ride. It felt soft and also, did not pull me in. I decided to eat it after all. 

Gingerly, I put it in my mouth. It felt like marshmallow but it had neither taste nor smell but I was instantly energised and felt as though I had a battery inside of me. There was a great rush of power and I jumped. I could have reached its satellite if it were to have one, that is how high I went. I stopped and looked down, that is when the truth struck me. This was a planet that had been disintegrated. Maybe a huge solar storm hit it, or another planet swung by it. It could have been anything, but now only its disintegrated debris remained. I was baffled, how could debris communicate? I looked at it again, it looked somewhat familiar. I was surprised how a distant planet that I had never heard or read about looked familiar. I walked around it, as I moved my leg, my stride yanked like a spring and covered about a hundred miles on ground. Of course, the aerial distance works in geometric progression, but I was no bird nor a plane to follow that rule. I looked at the planet from another angle and the sudden realisation hit me. It was algebra. I was perplexed beyond words. The equation had disrupted, and the units haphazardly strung about the universe. I looked at it again, it was something I could actually solve. At that point of realisation, the triangle emerged from the debris and halted before me. I could see the debris from its hollow in the centre and it made perfect sense to put it back in its equation. 

“Yes,” said HoHo, “that’s why we brought you here.” I don’t know how but it had read my mind.

“We? We who? And who are you and even if I can solve the equation, it does not mean that I can move the pieces of a planet and arrange it as though it were lego,” I said. 

Although I knew perfectly in my heart that I need not worry about picking up the pieces manually, there would be a way just as everything else so far. 

HoHo did not say anything but adjusted itself on top of my head and descended down slowly, encompassing me within it. As it finished traversing the entire length of my body. I got to work like an obedient servant. I worked inside the triangle with my fingers like I would in a computer and the planet started mimicking the equation physically. I kept working the equation until I put everything back in the required form and then began to solve it. It took me hours to fully solve it. I guess time moved differently around here. Finally, I solved it to an equilibrium state. As the solution was found all the elements started shimmering and moving and a great surge of energy started revolving around the arranged figures and eventually all things spun around till it became a perfectly spherical planet. On second thoughts it wasn’t a perfect sphere, the poles flattened ever so slightly that one could barely notice, it could pass for a perfect sphere any day. 

The planet was blue. 

“Earth.” said HoHo. I dared to believe him this time as I looked from my vantage point. I was seeing earth in a future I was not to share. I gaped at it with wide eyed amazement. The earth I was seeing was too fantastic to imagine for my generation. It was at the heights of technological excellence, yet human degeneration had surpassed to another level too. It looked sad to me as an onlooker but I sensed such emotions were alien to this population, were they even human as I was? I wondered. This was something I had not comprehended whenever I thought of the future. I wanted to see more, maybe experience it physically but HoHo, the triangle, disengaged from me at this point. 

“You must not do that,” he said, probably sensing what I was thinking.

“The equilibrium of the universe has to be maintained,” he said. “All things come from one and merge with one, but time is a factor that cannot be ruled out.” 

For a brief moment I felt he was more than a metallic polygon, and that this shape was something I had created in my mind for him. As I opened my mouth to test this bizarre theory the triangle started revolving. It moved away from me and towards the blue earth changing as it moved, into all the shapes that I had seen so far, until it disappeared within its core. 

Suddenly I began a free fall, but this time it was gentle unlike the brain popping one on arrival. As I fell through the void I blinked several times as strings of light hit my eyes and suddenly my room re-appeared before me. I was still sitting at my chair with my algebra book open before me. I distinctly remembered closing it. ‘What a dream?’ I thought to myself.

“Punu La! come for breakfast, don’t you have test today?” My mother called out. But I felt full of energy as though I had eaten for life. 

“Coming Mama,” I replied before closing my book. As I passed the mirror I was startled. I stared at myself in disbelief. 

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