Once Upon a Time in ‘Utopia’

In a distant universe, far, far away there was a land called Utopia. It was a land where ale poured freely, people’s spirits were jolly and their outlook toward life was merry – all owing to their hope coming from beyond themselves and their trust in each other.

On one such typical day in Utopia, 10-year-old Aarav was running around playing with his beloved toy; the shiny rocket his parents had bought for him on his birthday. He often dreamed of becoming an astronaut, of what space would be like. The stars caught his attention often, he wondered about the time paradox they lay in; the fact that what light he saw from them now was in fact light that was emitted hundreds to maybe thousands of light years ago. To wrap his head around it, he would ask his father questions.

“Papa,” he asked that day, “If the light we’re seeing from the stars now actually started many light years ago, what are the stars doing now?”

His father didn’t have all the answers, but he knew that they were not supernovae yet.

“They’re probably still shining out there,” he said.

“But Papa,” Aarav persisted, “Will we ever see what they’re actually doing right now?”

His father knew where this was going. They had had this conversation many times before. Aarav was always fixated – like everybody else in Utopia – on what was being done at a time.

He smiled, happy that his son was on the right track. He was more concerned about what was being done than said. He often wondered whether his son would grow up to be a good citizen of Utopia. Such small hints though gave him an assurance, that his wife and he were doing an okay job of raising Aarav.

While he was still lost in thought, Aarav nudged his hand. “Papa, you didn’t answer my question. How can we see what they’re doing now?”

“I guess we’d have to fly close by them so see that,” he answered.

“But Papa, then we would have to be in a rocket or spaceship,” exclaimed Aarav.

“That’s right, my son,” said his father.

“But what about the science or news channels,” he quipped, “Wouldn’t they be able to show us what’s going on with these stars now?”

“Even they would need to be flying by the star and relaying that information back home through the communication wormhole of LaGuardia for us to receive it faster than the light we can see,” said his father.

Aarav’s attention went back to his rocket and his thoughts of flying by the distant star. Vroooooooooommmm… he went, allowing his father to return to his thoughts too.

Aarav was so thankful for the communication wormhole. After all, it beamed home the latest happenings in the far reaches of the many galaxies; all created out of nothing.

“How amazing,” he thought, “that we have technology that tells us what is happening in distant places, what people and different things are doing.”

Also read: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

He wondered whether he could leverage the wormhole to ship things to different galaxies. “Oh, that would be a wonderful business,” he thought to himself.

“I wonder how……..,” before his thought could finish playing itself out, he felt the ground shudder under his feet. His could feel his shoulder being shaken rather violently. “What’s happe…….”

“Sir, sir…” the commanding voice said, “Sir! Wake up. The flight has landed and everybody else has gotten off.”

Shaken, but not stirred, he woke from his slumber.

“Would you like to know what politicians B, C and D said while we were flying?” In front of him, a screen flashed, “Breaking News, politician Z says he hasn’t been saying enough about the situations surrounding Dystopia…”

With a sad half-smile he remembered he was in dreamland… again; that he in fact lived in Dystopia, not Utopia. It was a land where news channels were more concerned about what people said and not what they did. A land where politicians got away with saying much, but doing nothing, people fed off the same media rut of saying but not doing.

A land where people couldn’t care less about what good people had done or are doing since what is being said and by whom is all that mattered.

After all, doing is much more difficult than saying…

News was what was said, not what was done!

“Oh Dystopia,” sighed he. “When will you ever be Utopia? When will you concern yourself with the being and doing, rather than the saying?”

“What was that sir?” asked the attendant.

“Nothing, nothing,” he said, reminding himself to be careful of thinking such thoughts aloud. It was an unspoken truth that if he was caught even thinking about changing the way the media reported things and the politicians who controlled them only kept saying things to fuel further sayings, they would have his throat.

Away he walked sadly… Utopia on his mind.

Sushanth Abhishek is an IT guy by profession, curious by nature, amateur photographer by inspiration, writer/poet by occasion, Christian by choice and a husband and a father.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty