Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Mission to Maya

Could an individualistic pursuit like writing of a story be made a group activity?We have done it on with great fun and frolicking,the partcipant starrings being Air Vice Marshal [retd] Viswa Mohan Tiwari ji,a geochronologist Dr.C.M.Nautiyal,an English litterateur and reserach fellow Ms.Reema Sarwal,Mr.Zeashan Haider Zaidy and Mr.Manish Mohan Gore being young and talented science communiators and of course me as a moderator and participant .Initially I was hesitant to put the story on this blog simply beause these are long pieces of writings and we people on net do not have that leisure and liberty to enjoy such long creativities.Now the story is here for your reading/perusal and comments.

A Mission to Maya

Kim was dazed. He tried to look hard- deep into the space. Nothing was visible. He turned his eyes to look at his control watch on his left hand. Everything looked normal, the BP, heart beat, temperature. . Then why was he feeling uneasy? May be it was not functioning properly. Rita was sitting in the chair in front with her eyes closed.

'Why don't you drop more hints, kindly?', Rita said somewhat sarcastically. There was no answer from Kim. This seemed to irritate Rita even more, 'I am addressing you, Kim. When you say something is amiss, why do you say so? We can not abort the whole mission just because of your god damn gut feeling. Do you know how much has been invested in this mission?'

Kim raised his face to look into her eyes straight, 'Rita, I told you. It's my gut feeling. I can' explain it. If I could explain it, I wouldn't have termed it so.'

'Stop being vague. It's a serious issue. You seem to be imagining too much. May be you should take a break. That will do you good.'

Hot discussions were nothing new between the two. But they made a perfect team, these frequent exchanges notwithstanding. The two were as much apart in temperament as one can imagine. But they complimented each other. Kim with his astonishing intuitive capability which he referred to his gut feeling and Rita with her extraordinary logical power, photographic memory, and capability of thinking on toes.

'I tell you, this mission is no good. We can't make it', Kim said with an air of finality.

'But why', Rita wouldn't leave.

"You know the distance? You know they are advanced. You know they hate us and then deuterium is not the only way to fusion'.

'Fusion is not the real thing, you know it.'

"Then what is it?"

Rita remained silent. They had been asked to approach a far- away planet. The mission had a noble sounding mission to make friends with the inhabitants of the planets. Somehow convince them to agree to share natural resources with them. The motive being extracting deuterium to fuel the fusion reactors. But now there was no need to use deuterium for fusion. Much heavier elements had been found which would suit better. There must be some other motive, the hidden agenda. Why travel all the way to Earth for this? (CMN)

Why do they treat us like those damn robots ? In any case robots are doing everything, then why have they chosen us for this mission? Obviously they estimate that risks are far greater than we would take. This chicanery is what is bothering me. I love taking risks, but I want to know is it worth it". Kim suddenly burst.

"I am sure they know what they are doing, and I have faith in their judgment", suggested Rita.

"Is it logical to have blind faith"? Questioned Kim.

Suddenly, the Intergalactic phone rang, the screen became alive and both looked at it keenly, Rita was relieved for she didn't have to answer the awkward question. (VMT)

The monitor illuminated and the message, which followed, was very conspicuous and both were instantly glued to the screen. ''We can understand the apprehensions of Kim. It's true that aliens have sometimes behaved like barbarians but such behavior is not expected from earthlings. You have to change your negative attitude towards earth dwellers and behave like a sensible creature. Humans are no more like barbarians who once definitely exhibited strange and disgusting customs with ridiculous beliefs and yes their manners were also very appalling. But this is a description of forgone days. Now there is a breed of friendly people inhabiting the earth and rest assure this time our voyage awaits a grand reception on earth....''

Kim took a sigh of relief and glanced over to Rita who had some queer expression on her face. (Arvind Mishra)

Kim always thought whether there was any solution of the existing problems on the planet Earth. Rita also being like minded always echoed the feelings of Kim. They always conjectured that space on the Earth was limited but the human need was growing in leaps and bounds. Population growth, extinction of valuable plant species, ozone layer depletion, global warming etc.., were like great challenges before the planet Earth, birth place of all human civilizations in their galaxy.

Rita was serious on the issue and sincere enough to search out the solutions through the referendum among the scientists of the planet earth. (MANISH MOHAN GORE)

Rita asked in a raised voice, "Are you satisfied, Kim?"

Kim asked back, "Are you?"

I am glad”, said Rita. And she wrote a few lines on a peace of paper, and passed it to Kim.

Kim read it "The message confirms your doubts. They are hiding the reality from us."

Kim wrote back, "We have to form a new language between us, and always appear to obey the Bosses."

Rita looked worried, she had to, for she had a daughter back home though twenty years now, independent of her, but her own biological daughter, in these days of custom made test tube babies, her daughter, her flesh and blood.

Kim said, "We have nothing to worry now. Our mission is straight, to meet the friendly people on earth, get the material and return fast. OK Rita." (VMT)

Rita took a deep breath and decided to go over the official instructions once again as stored in her mind. They had been told that the earthlings had divided their living space into what they termed "nations" but were referred to as Slots for convenience. The mission was to go to Slot No. 91 at a place called "larkspur" in a high altitude area known as the " Himalayas " (she often wondered how the earthlings pronounced these difficult words). Contact had already been established with a group of friendly earthlings at this place whom they would meet. According to general policy, they were not to do anything as foolhardy as to step out of their vessel on an alien planet. Two earthlings had been selected to come aboard their vessel. Rita and Kim were to provide them with the suitable containers and machinery for collecting samples of the materials that they needed from Earth to study it in full detail. Instruction manuals to operate these had already been prepared in the earthling form of communication. And this is where the cause for worry came in. How far could these two Earthlings be trusted? Kim was right about having his reservations after all. (Reema)

As specially designed fully automated space shuttle hurtled towards earth the frightening possibility of some foul game by earthlings still stirred the minds of Rita and Kim. What if they don't behave in the manner they are supposed to do? In that case what and how they could do to protect themselves? As the mission control has categorically denied any such eventuality there is no foolproof defense system inbuilt in the spaceship or a defined strategy to cope up with any such event. Both were silent as such thoughts kept on piercing their minds.

Kim looked pale and glanced shyly at Rita and lowered his eyes. The spaceship was gathering speed as it moved away further from their home land in the galaxy Nalco. Kimb and Rita both stared at the planet beneath and were stupefied to behold the beauty of the planet earth. The lush green plains, snow White Mountains and turbulent seas all kept them mesmerized for the moment.

The time of landing was approaching fast. They positioned their ship towards the site of landing, the non nondescript larkspur area of the valleys of Himalaya . (ARVIND)

After the few tense moments during touchdown, Kim and Rita were too relieved to notice the alarming message on their screen for a minute. Then they both saw it together and stared at each other, motionless.

"ATTENTION: No earthlings detected at their designated centre. No earthlings around the shuttle within a diameter of 10 kilometers." Before they could react, the phone monitor lit up brightly and they listened carefully, "Do not panic. We know that this is unexpected. However, we have already established the cause -- the earthlings were prevented from arriving due to a landslide which blocked their land route. We are sure they will arrive shortly. Please be patient."

Kim and Rita had no choice but to resign themselves to this suspense of indefinite waiting. The enormity of the dangers involved made them both silent and thoughtful. Kim's original suspicion of a hidden agenda behind this trip to Earth resurfaced with double the conviction. Would they even know if some robot from the shuttle

detached itself and began whatever secret mission it was supposed to carry out?

Meanwhile, Rita's thoughts were back on her daughter. Would they ever meet again? Obtaining deuterium from this planet seemed more and more impossibility with each passing moment.

Time passed rather slowly... (reema)

"What are you doing here?" a sound echoed suddenly in the environment, and they were astonished. They both turned up to the source of voice. There was a very old man who stood up in front of the spacecraft. But the miraculous thing was that he was wearing only a piece of cloth. Kim and Rita wondered that being a very cold area, how the old man was alive without warm clothes?

"I am going to meet him." Kim said. He stood up, but suddenly the old man disappeared.

(Zeashan Zaidi)

An SOS traveling through the huge vastness of the Nalco Galaxy flashed on the monitor of 'voyage earth' control unit on the planet Maya and read as follows- Hello! this is an update from earth...base/ slot no.91... Our first attempt to lure your astronauts to step out is aborted. They seem genuinely suspicious and you know we were skeptical about this to happen and already warned you about this.. .we even beamed the false message to mislead them about our presence through our synergy communication system and then we even used human bait, an aboriginal to lure them come out of the ship. You know we are helpless to do anything so far they are inside the secured environs of the spaceship. Our success depends only on their exit from the closet and for that we are working out at some other strategies.

Let's see if that works!


Rita though got scared a little, said," Look here Kim, I am totally confused, Nothing is making sense. It is all illogical. Why are the earthlings warning us if they want to harm us? Are we suffering from hallucination or something?

Kim said," I have no logical explanation, but I think it is our own control at Galaxy Nalco which is trying to traumatize us, at least confuse us."

" Or warn us?", said Rita. "May be our bosses have now realized that Earthlings may harm us, and may be earthlings are monitoring our communication, so .....

Suddenly the phone console lit up, and both immediately looked at it. (VMT)

Message was loud and clear and in both audible and visual forms. While liquid crystal display put the words shining on the Visio phone screen, its speaker played the same message aloud.

''You shall be approached shortly by a group of human delegation who shall take you both to their local base camp to hand over the required bonanza i.e. the first consignment of deuterium as friendly gesture...PLEASE accept it... come back and your job is finished. And for galactic sake don't be argumentative with the delegation. They may not like to answer your all impatient queries. And it may be just that you may put some silly questions which may affect our newly hatched diplomatic relations... be cautious and careful... all and over. THE MISSION CONTROL..." Message ended abruptly...

"We are cautious and careful you goons, now I can sense something odd is definitely going on and we must resist you follow me Rita?"

Kim uttered in a whispering sound which could barely be heard by Rita. "Cool down Kim, don't be panic and exaggerate the things...let' s solve it carefully ...'Rita also whispered...

Soon they were engrossed in making some secret plan and of course a little bit of love which they were deprived of since they left Maya... [arvind]

Only minutes later they indulged in hot verbal exchanges again….

."Of course I will be calm if you would remain calm when I tell you what is going to happen. Rita they have found out our secret Societies. One that I have formed viz, The Society of Intuitive Humans' and the one that you have formed The Society of Naturo- Humans'. And they are going to punish us. 'How to punish' is the question."

" Kim you are illogical. They have just informed us that a delegation is expected any time, and we return after taking the deuterium. And of course I am calm," said Rita as calmly as a radio announcer.

Kim argued," This calm of yours is deceptive, don't you see! Where was the need to tell us that we have to wait? I have not seen any human habitation in a radius of 30 - 40 kilometers. We are at an altitude of 18000 feet. Is such an area suitable for reception of a galactic delegation from a powerful galaxy? Are Earthlings so uncivilized? "

Rita was now upset not with Kim but with herself. She is proud of her logical prowess, and she has missed the point totally. She said," But Kim then let me repeat your question to you. 'Where was the need to

tell us to wait? Couldn't they have just announced the punishment?"

Kim, "That is what I want you to logically deduce, as Robots have the

most logical mind."

Rita, "But why is my logic failing to deduce the conclusion."

" Because your own natural daughter is there in the hands of our enemies" Kim burst out impatiently. (-VMT)

A secret meeting was underway at a location inaccessible to humans of Maya planet in the Nalco galaxy;

''Just see how shamelessly these creatures are indulged in the kind of activity they call love....oh shit...a totally foolish and an unproductive activity ...this should be brought to the notice of our Boss supreme...we must take some concrete step to throw away them out of the ship immediately lest they may produce their own kind on earth too....''

''The incidence has already been brought to the notice of Boss supreme... and we are expecting his commands any time now.. ''

The communication system operated by AI's[artificial intelligence] of Maya was silenced for a moment.....


Kim was thoughtful. He turned to Rita," Any idea what it'd be like on Earth?'

Rita looked up,' Why, I believe you are supposed to have done the home work. Am I right?"

Kim paused to think before replying. The orders to rush to Earth came so fast and he had been so unwilling that he took it all too casually. Space travel was very common- a very routine drill. But to travel Earth was a different thing. They had never been to a planet like that before. Would there be atmosphere? It would mean their ship would have to considerably slow down before landing. All other places they had visited had no atmosphere or very thin atmosphere. Would there also be ammonia there- as on some other body he had read about. Like on Titan. They had never been to Titan, a satellite of Saturn another planet of the Solar system in another Galaxy. He was not sure if

others also called them by the same name.

'Is Earth bigger than Saturn and Titan?' he suddenly asked Rita. 'It's bigger than Titan but much smaller than Saturn'; she seemed sure.'Those on Saturn must be lucky guys, we are so cramped on our planet, and it's so small.'

'Come on, it's not so small either', Rita said as if to pep up his mood.

'Why I am thinking about ammonia is, after all why should there be water so essential to life? May be on Earth life is not carbon based at all. Ammonia can dissolve chemicals for reactions like water. So I am worried how we shall survive on Earth?'

Rita gazed at Kim," You can't be serious. Don't tell me you have really not looked at the planet data', even as she played with the touch board feeding some key words for details on Earth.

Kim just kept mum. He couldn't explain but he had not been normal. Never before he felt so withdrawn before any mission. It was routine to check up galactic, stellar or planetary data before the mission. Of course it only took a few seconds and everything was literally at finger tips. It could be done before the boarding or during the journey. But why did he not do it this time? May he have missed on some of the doses in the previous week leading to behavioral change, he was not sure. But he always had his medic- belt strapped which continuously monitored all parameters and injected appropriate biochemicals. It is so crude, he muttered to himself. Robots don't need it. Of course, occasionally, while going to unfamiliar places, he would usually switch off the auto mode. He was proud of his instincts and would depend on them to face the sudden developments. This had saved him several times.

'Rita, can you check the Earth- data for me?', he requested.

Rita found this unusual politeness surprising. But she quietly thumped on the touch board and directed her mind. Normally she didn't have to touch the board physically but this time she did it as if to will it to function better. She didn't want to take any chances. What would be Earth like? Kim could well be right. May be there would be air on

Earth so the ship would slow down on sensing the friction- caused heating. May be there would be lot of dust or minor bodies around earth though the info bank indicated otherwise. What if Earth had no hydrogen needed to run their energy units? This last thought was frightening. Robots used much more advanced energy systems for themselves but to others they only gave primitive units. Without hydrogen, they would have to use their chemical reserves which couldn't last them enough. She faintly remembered that the carbon on earth was also very small in concentration in the atmosphere. They couldn't use it to produce energy. 'Why not check it', she thought.

Within a second the screen flashed "2 percent'! Kim had been intently looking at the screen. he looked questioningly at Rita, 'Check again.

It was supposed to be a few hundred micro mole per mole, a few hundred parts per million. Isn't that so?'. Rita nodded still gaping at the screen.

But if it was right, they wouldn't have fuel problem.


"Kim sounded as if he had not heard what Rita had said. You know Rita," Kim began softly, " I had taken for granted that the Earth would have atmosphere, would have people like us, along with robots but not being ruled by robots. That is why the Boss took a long time to decide on this mission."

Rita looked perplexed. She didn't understand the logic of Kim's statement. And she always became more attentive when Kim would talk softly. She didn't want to disturb him.

Kim continued," They call us earthlings, for we are the descendants of great earthlings who were brought here as pathfinders, the glamorous name given to 'adventure laborures', for earth at that time was teeming with billions of humans. So the Earth was glad to send an adventure team to discover places that no humans had seen till then. They

were, however mistaken. Our forefathers were actually used as cheap labour in a 'foreign' land, foreign in every respect. They had no 'human rights. We survived and progressed and made this land of robots a prosperous and advanced country. But we do not yet have 'human rights' on planet Maya And you know that I have started a 'Society for intuitives'. I only hope in our absence these robots or even before our departure, have not 'unearthed' it. And so is the case for your 'Society of Biohumans'. They abhor both these terms. Reetaa was amazed at this knowledge, for the history that she was thought was entirely different. She, like every other earthling, was taught that our forefathers were saved by the Robots from a catastrophe like a 'Pralaya' or Deluge on earth. And therefore we ought to be grateful to the Robotzens. She suddenly realized that the mission is more complex than she had been imagining, no not imagining, but logically thinking it to be. Suddenly she realized how logic though wonderful as a tool, is so miserably dependent upon the 'data in' .

There on the planet Maya another secret meeting of the commanders had been called. The Boss had admonished the Commanders," You fellows have not yet learned to understand the priorities. To you the stupid act of these slaves is more important rather than what they are planning right now on the mission. I am afraid you all have to undergo a 'Cleansing Operation'.

Obviously a human bug has entered in your system." There was pin drop silence in the hall and a haze of gloom had suddenly spread. No robot liked the act of 'Cleansing' (-VMT)

Robots indeed hated cleansing; it would remove their pet memories saved with caution. New instructions would be planted in. They would have learned again many a thing. But the boss had ordered and had to be obeyed. Yet they clarified to Him that they had not been negligent in dealing with earthlings. They have detailed a woman who believes in logical thinking and the man believes in intuitive thinking, and the two would not agree on another matter except the JOB given to them. Therefore there was nothing to fear, no chance of rebellion.

Kim continued with his soft voice on the subject that was bothering him. His aim in the mission is to find a way to get Human Rights in the planet Maya. Rita immediately added and instead of having custom made babies, natural biological babies.

Kim said," Of course it is one important right under Human rights.’ But the problem is what helps can the earth men give to us."

Suddenly they realized that the anti boosters had fired and the spacecraft was entering the earth's atmosphere. There was very little time to think.


"You seem now too much obsessed with Maya only and not thinking what shall be our fate on earth in a case the earthlings get hostile against us... and if your apprehensions are right we can't take things for granted and we don't know what has transpired in between AIs'[artificial intelligent people]of our planet and earthlings and the possibility of any hidden agenda of this mission could also not be completely ruled out..." Rita uttered in a whispering tone though the outgoing message delivery system was inactivated by Kim long ago.

"Now you seem to be on right track and we should immediately work on the strategy to deal with earthlings if in any case we are forced to step out of the ship" Kim looked nervous. Even before Rita could say anything the special astronaut's cabin got ejected with a bang and landed on planet earth safely though with a jerk which suddenly caused both the astronauts to loose their balance and stunned for a while. As if this was not enough the doors of the cabin also opened consequently leaving the poor duo further dismayed and stupefied. And before the duo could recover from the sudden trauma two earthlings entered their cabin.


The unexpected development was too much for Rita and Kim. Suddenly they felt very vulnerable. They were now completely at the mercy of Earthlings! It was quite a scene where gentry of four persons from different cultures and star systems gazed at each other, speechless and stunned.

Kim broke the ice. He brought a smile on his face with an effort with a view that it might carry the same meaning of welcome in both cultures which they represented. Rita was intelligent enough to copy the gesture and smiled in pursuance and wished that this could ease the tension which prevailed in the atmosphere. Representatives of both the cultures instantly realized that they were just humanoid having the similar anatomical features - two arms, two legs, two eyes, one nose, and just one head…… so on and so forth.

But still there prevailed a long and an eerie silence. Kim sniffed the air and found it very refreshing which in turn boasted his morale immensely but before he could muster the courage to speak something he heard something in a very pleasing tone.

"Welcome! Welcome to earth, trust you understand our language….thanks to our computer generated language programmer…." One of the earth man, the tall one uttered with a professional tone in his voice and without a pause he introduced him and his companion, "I am Guru and he is Rudra." walked a few steps, "I Kim and she is Rita" words flew spontaneously from Kim.

"Please follow us and hurry up… your ship is poised to take off now at any moment" there was an urgency in the voice of Guru. Rita and Kim followed them like obedient servants without uttering a word of protest and showing of any resistance. They felt as if they were hijacked and there was hardly any alternative left but to follow those earth men without protest. No sooner did they all step out of the ship it just took off with a thunderous bang and was engulfed by the vastness of the sky overhead.


Rudra began in a very serious tone, "We are not surprised as to why your space ship has taken off. As per your computer, which we have studied in depth, you were not planned to get out of the ship. We thought it to be weird, indeed highly or shall I say embarrassingly weird, for a visitor to come to us and not even come out and feel the 'Earth', I had a suspicion on the purpose of your mission." Guru then asked me to study more of the contents of your computer, and then he decided to give you a bad landing, bad enough to break open the door, so that you could come out, but safely." The computers were translating their languages almost instantaneously.

"But how shall we return ", asked Rita, still worried.

Guru said in a friendly tone, "You decide and we provide you a space ship."

Rita looked at Kim more puzzled.

Kim looking at Guru, said in a pleasant voice, "Thank you Sirs, Guru and Rudra, for bailing us out. Our decision to return will now depend upon your hospitality. "

"We understand your dilemma, dear Kim and Rita", said Guru.

"May I ask as to how do you understand our plight?, asked Rita who was getting more and more puzzled, as her logic was failing her.

"Oh, everything is there in your data, though not explicitly or clearly, but we can add two and two as four, even when hidden ai a haystack. However this is not to say that the problems you are facing have a simple solution, indeed it is very difficult."


At the planet 'Maya' a very important meeting was convened and words were coming directly from the horse mouth -the supreme of artificial intelligence network of the planet.

"So far our mission earth is progressing the way we desired and now our astronauts are in custody of the earthlings and let's see what comes next."

"We have not understood instead of anyone of us why those humanoids were selected to visit earth. The opportunity should have given to anyone of us or a group of ai's. A voice came in protest. "I can very well understand your concern X 326, but I could not risks ending anyone of you to the earth and endangering your life. Is that clear or you gonna ask more questions ... “The voice of Supremo was crisp and loud. There was a pin drop silence..... ......... ...


"OK...Let us begin from beginning! Only decade ago we got first definite signal that life existed elsewhere also in our galaxy and the message was from the Earth, a planet in the sun-star system as you all know very well now….the message of life was beamed by them only …they showed their location in the galaxy and our curiosity about this `out of our star' planet grew immensely" Maya supremo took a brief pause and began again…"Our initial surveys reveal that both the civilizations were almost identical! Might be just a coincidence only!

Evolution at earth and at our planet progressed in almost the identical manner. We had our first aquatic creatures exactly as on the earth, then amphibians, reptiles and mammals and an off shoot of avian fauna off course all in the same manner as on earth. And the biological evolution culminated ultimately into the emergence of humanoid first on earth and then at our planet though much later. Humanoids being very intelligent and imaginative flourished at earth and later at Maya too. But they had as you know very well their own weaknesses and were supplanted by a breed of more intelligent and superior people at both the planets and we are the descendants of the same great people though much evolved and progressed now ….though ours is a civilization much younger than earthling androids but we are no less in any achievements than theirs..

Yet we can't take any chances…We can't trust them blindly…" "It’s all very interesting like some fairy tale ...please go ahead' a voice echoed suddenly from no where and silence mounted again.

"To cut a long story short we both I mean the earth men and we androids of MAYA decided to establish some sort of diplomatic relations between us and we took the initiative …We invited a delegation from Earth though hastily accepted but not finalized as yet and meanwhile we took the lead …as you know we have sent our two humanoids –RITA and KIM on earth and thus a new era of diplomatic relations in between both the civilizations have now begun…'the statement was followed by a commotion and a voice emerged again from the audience- "Why not any one from amongst us why those humanoids?"

"Have patience! I am going to tell you every details point by point don't panic and no nuisance please we are civilized people! Yes we were initially skeptical! Suppose they do some harm to our astronauts then. And we can't risk even a single android of our planet and why should we for seemingly no big return…so we finally decided to send our two humanoids first just to see how the earthlings really behave with our people …"

"Great decision!" a thunderous applause greeted the narration.

"Let us see how they treat with our representatives and that will decide the fate of our further relations…and if they are treated in bad way it would be the end of our relations ..." " But is it proper to risk the lives of our humanoids like that?

After all they belong to our earlier civilization of humans and possess an antique value…"the pun in the statement was more than obvious…"We could withstand the loss of humanoids and their lot but not a single android of our clan….You know it very well…"Supremo' s voice was suddenly very emphatic.

"You are great Supremo!! We are well protected in your mighty hands.

There was a thunderous applause again and the meeting came to an end.


They were walking through a very narrow corridor. There were escalator but they were still. Rita couldn't miss the smile on Kim's face. Kim looked questioningly.

Rita whispered, 'What's the matter? I am, anyway, happy to find you smiling in these circumstances. '

"Oh nothing. But did you notice that these people don't part their hair in the middle? Isn't it strange? Then look at the hair length, there seems to be more or less two well defined groups. The male have very short hair like us while female have only shoulder- length hair.Look at those lower rung females, most of them have much longer hair. Do they wear some kind of wing?"

Rita also couldn't help smiling at the observation. Symmetry should be the choice by default. So unless there is some special reason, why should anybody part hair on the side? In fact at Maya, they kept little no hair at all. They had to wear head gear outside, and there was radiation protection indoor so there was no need for any protective wig or anything. In any case , the growth rate was so small. Kim's amusement seemed justified.

Kim asked, "Rita, don't you find it funny?"

Before Rita could answer, one of the accompanists beckoned them to the left. Rita, turning sharply to the left and pulling Kim by hand along, said ,'Something to do with evolution? May be they require hair, as you hinted, for protection from UV? May be this parting of hair has something to do with hierarchy. See, one of them has parted on the other side of head?" She was happy that she had found a flaw in Kim's observation.

Kim's forehead furrowed. Rita wasn't sure if it had something to do with her statement but she caught Kim's line of sight. He was looking at the hall in front.

It was a huge conference hall, oval in shape. The back panels were actually continuously running screen. They projected the whole hall in every alternate segment so that anybody could see everybody. There were already some people sitting। All looked grave.


The whole event was being telecast all over the Earth…..

The whole day was just terrific for the aliens and even descending night could not favour them to have even a moment of rest. Now a big party was in full swings and choicest intergalactic dishes were served

to alien guests.

Rita couldn't control her ecstasy when she enjoyed the food. There was a large gathering at the party hosted in their honour. Rudra introduced Kim and Rita to two bright maidens Kalpanaa Kiran and Usha Williams.

:"Kalpanaa Kiran is a very imaginative name", exclaimed Rita. "Perhaps it has something to do with imagination and rays" she politely extended the conversation, for she very much wanted to talk to them. Kalpanaa almost blushed as she wanted to be known in this sense of the word, and which her real personality was, and not what others implied, and to her dismay Rudra explained the popularly understood meaning.

Rudra trying to help making a bridge, said, " This name has a history and biology behind it .Long ago There was Kalpanaa Chaawalaa, the first Indian born astronaut, and Kiran Bedi, the first Indian woman police officer. KK with chosen characteristics of these two great women is one of the few successful custom produced human beings. And Usha Williams is another. She has the best traits of P. T. Usha, the first Indian woman to win gold in world Olympics, and Suneetaa Williams, the Indian born cosmonaut who held three world record for woman astronauts, viz. longest space flight, and maximum number and hours of 'space walks'. Usha Williams also blushed although both were thirty plus, but somehow had this trait of childlike simplicity in them.

"Oh how lucky I am", said Rita enthusiastically. "How fortunate are you both to have inherited the wonderful characteristics of the Two great women, but both of you are biological humans, and you are respected for what you are here. I believe you have what is known as Human Rights. How envious I am of you both. Great moment in my life."

Kalpana said sharing the enthusiasm, "How lucky are we to be the first woman on earth to meet astronauts from a far off star. Please tell me about your planet."

'Then she noticed Kim who was watching and listening quietly, a trait she appreciated and which she herself had inherited from Kiran Bedi.'

Kim asked both of them their specialties in their work. It was Rudra who answered, "They are the best program creators on Earth. They can enter in to the machine language and the digital language of the machine and create programs or modify them as deemed fit." Before Kim could ask another question, Rudra continued," They are also the best security builder, what we call 'zafing' the entire software, and so the best hackers".

"How wonderful, our Rita does the same on planet Maya", enthused Kim.Guru also came searching for them. Guru, looking at Rudra, said let us all meet the next morning, no I do not mean to spoil the party. Enjoy yourselves. But I have to leave."

Guru announced that Rita, KK and Usha should learn from each other. And he took Kim away into his office. Kim explained to him how they were being ill treated by the Robots as they controlled all the resources through the programming. On Maya they , the humans, had committed the blunder of developing robots so much that the robots had started programming themselves. And humans had started enjoying life, as per the adage,’ eat, drink and be merry', leaving all the work to robots Then suddenly one day when humans awoke late morning, they found that the

control of Maya was taken over by the robots. And since then humans were treated as slaves, and Robots as masters.

Guru offered "Here is the most fundamental code of conduct for robots. Go through it in your sweet time."

Kim was mighty impressed by the fast speed with which Guru would respond to situations.

Guru said seriously, "We on earth here were to fall in the same pit, when an Indian Guru, my direct ancestor, warned us. He explained the purpose of life, and he first gave us a code of conduct which we are following religiously. "

Guru smiled as he pronounced the word ‘religiously’. Guru continued, "Our religion is very secular. He, the original Guru, predicted that' eat, drink and be merry' cannot give us lasting happiness. The font of happiness is inside us and that is what we have to discover or rather realize. Then the old history suffered 'death', and a new history of earth has dawned, environment, both human and natural, has improved. You can see for yourself where do we stand today.

Kim was puzzled," This is the code of conduct, given by the original Guru, our robots are following, and they let us 'eat, drink and be merry'.

Guru said softly, "So you are slaves, not because of the programming but because of your philosophy. So you observe us and see our lives, as to how happy we are living with our motto of life -- 'Enjoy, remaining detached'. Decide to continue with your way of life or follow ours."

"No, no, I have no doubt in my mind, I wish to follow what you call 'detached', though I have not understood what it means. I want humans not to be any type of slaves. But the question is not 'Why' but 'how'."

Guru continued, "Once you are free from your chosen slavery of your way of life, you will be able to control the Robots as you would be able to control your own senses."

"But how about the programs already in our computers and in Robots themselves?" , Kim sounded desperate.

"Leave those minor details to KK, Usha and Rita. By the way do you know what does 'Rita' mean?"

Kim said, "Well it is a sweet sounding name."

'Well, sweet is what sweet does. 'Rit' in Sanskrit, the oldest living language, rit means 'eternal laws of cosmos. 'Rita is actually short form of 'Ritambharaa' , meaning follower of those cosmic laws. But you all have forgotten all that. Now live here as long as you feel necessary, and then we will organize a spaceship for you."

Kim thought that the solution is easy and heartily agreed to follow Guru's advice.

The global space travels headquarters in New Delhi was teeming with activities of its base staff who were concerned with voyage, "Mission Earth" of planet Maya. Minute to minute details of the mission were being transmitted to impatient public who were watching the high pitched drama. Public Relation Officer Ms. Mina was on the screen presenting the live coverage entitled, "Encounter with the aliens".

She was in midst of her maiden speech,” Thank God… Planets Maya's representatives appear to be harmless and our team members Rudra, Guru, Kalpana and Williams look very pleased with them. Alien representatives are named Rita and Kim and are humanoids like us…. Just see Maya's people do not trust on us and that is why they have restrained sending their any one of androids on the Earth... they perhaps don't want to take any risk. They perhaps don't understand that Humanity at Earth is still not overtaken and overridden by the overtures of our androids and great human values still abound on the Earth. Maya's people perhaps don't understand this and that is why they have sent two poor souls in their Mission Earth…. Aliens seem to be husband and wife who have been mercilessly thrust upon us but by all means they are our guests ….Atithi devo bhav thus goes an oft repeated saying of Sanskrit language …. …"

There was sudden pause and appearance of some advertisements on the screen. Live coverage was being watched by millions across the globe. Seconds later Ms. Mina appeared again on the screen and camera focused the place where aliens were receiving the grand hospitality. Mina continued speaking in full enthusiasm, "See, the Mayans did not trust us and tried to trick us in having not sent their so called best brains…. I mean androids but see our greatness…. the way we are treating our alien friends...its courtesy of our people and the protocol department! Let Maya people appreciate this and learn a lesson from this great humanitarian gesture..... We are summing up right now... But please stand by for our next bulletin." The screen went off again with showing of certain advertisements.

The "Mission Earth" Control at Maya was perhaps unaware of the happenings which were currently in vogue at Earth and was quite oblivious of the fact that something very hectic was going on earth.

.And it was now the turn of earth men to visit the planet Maya. A mission to Maya was in offing...