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Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Out

Vishnu M Menon

KeyValue Software Systems



“Hey, I don’t see you around these days!”


“Ohh hi! Well, I have been quite busy you know…now with the new job and all”


“Even on weekends? You know I got a place quite close to your work right? I handle all these spots so that you can hang out whenever you want.”


“Umm yea I guess. Maybe next week?”


“Next week is what you promised me three months ago.”


“Ugh…I will…try to come! My parents are coming every week anyway right?”


“Your parents are good people but I care about you as well. Don’t you get it? Is there something you wanna tell me? I have seen you sharing some pretty controversial stuff about me online.”


“Wait a minute. I do not think we follow each other on social media. How do you see my posts?”


“Come on, you know I work in mysterious ways!”


“I am not sure if I am entirely comfortable with that invasion of my privacy”


“For my sake do not fret about it! Here, I have a gift for you. Wear this when you come to my place next week.”


“What is this? A headscarf? Why? You know I don’t use those.”


“You are supposed to! Wear it for my sake! At least when you are there next week.”


“Actually I do not think I wanna come next week…or ever”


“You do not mean that!”


“What if I do?”


“What has come over you, my child? Your folks have always been happy to be at my company. We have been doing this for centuries. What has changed of late?”


“Well, I have been doing some reading and talking. Turns out that you have not been entirely honest with me after all. Most of my ancestors would have grown up believing your miraculous tales but you have also harmed others who questioned you, right? Branded them, criminals.”


“It’s not like that. I love you all. Including those, you told me about. Their minds were corrupted. Poisoned with lies. I tried to show them my benevolence but they would have none of it. I had to act before they spread their poison to others.”


“You punished some for saying that the Earth was revolving around the Sun, and not vice versa, as you used to claim.”


“Please do not bring that up again. I made a mistake that one time. A horrific mistake I deeply regret every single second.”


“You punished people for loving someone irrespective of their gender.”


“I did that to protect you! What if your father had loved another man? Or your mother had been with another woman? Would you have been born? That behavior would have led to your very extinction! Of course, I wouldn’t stand for it. I love you”


“So you would rather have people live their lives the way you want, even against their wishes, so that they can simply produce more people who grow up worshipping you. How narcissistic are you”


“I am getting worried about you, child. The words that come out of your mind - so much malice! I command you to visit my place next week along with your parents. We should have a good talk.”


“I am not afraid of your commandments. I am not coming.”


“You do not want to incur my wrath, kid. Come to my place next week, and I will absolve you of your sins.”


“Stop telling people that they are born as sinners. Our lives are hard enough as it is, and we could do away with the guilt-tripping. Anyway, I do not think that you would want me there next week.”


“Why do you say that?”


“According to my monthly cycles, I am supposed to have my periods around that time. Would you still let me in?”




“Thought so. I would rather be out anyway.”

Srishti-2022   >>  Short Story - English   >>  Planet Perillamus

Vishnu M Menon

KeyValue Software Systems

Planet Perillamus

An excited Ethoruthan broadcasted his findings to the Inter Universe Lifeform Detection Council.

‘I have discovered life on another planet.’

‘Oh not again, Mx Ethoruthan!’, the Chairman of the council, Dan Maraman, shot back.‘ This is the eleventh time you are making such a claim over the last six months. How many missions have we launched to verify your claim - and have even one bore any result? These voyages are damn expensive, you know.’

‘Please hear me out, Mx Maraman! This is not like the previous cases. I have proof.’

‘What proof?’ Senior agent Thengaenthu was intrigued.

‘Do I have permission to present my thoughts to the council?’ Ethoruthan asked Maraman, Dan.

‘Yeah! You may.’ the Chairman relented warily.

‘Okay here is the interesting part. The life forms on this planet have devised something called movies - where some of them write unreal descriptions about unreal persons, and someone else would behave like those unreal persons. These behaviors would be recorded and later viewed by the life forms.’

‘What? Why would they waste time writing about unreal people and why would someone behave like someone else?’ Thengaenthu asked in genuine surprise.

‘I think they consider it entertainment. Here, I got hold of one of their recordings. It has a name too! Padmav…I am sorry the last letters are a bit smudged. Shall I play the recording?’

‘Spare us the troubles!’ Dan said dismissively.

‘Could you surmise it for the council? The proof would be vital if the council agrees for this mission, right?’ It was the secretary, Ihtalavala, who spoke up.

‘Well, it is about a princess who is very pretty and smart…well I don’t remember if smartness was explicitly mentioned…but I guess so. Anyway, the princess was so pretty that a king from a neighboring kingdom fell in love with her and married her. Soon, word began to spread about her beauty and another king from another kingdom also fell in love with her. The second king challenged the first king to a battle and the winner could make her his queen. She loved the first king but I guess nobody cared much about that. The second king was more powerful, and he defeated the first. The beautiful queen then decided to set herself and her companions on fire to escape from the second king. When the second king and his army reached the palace, all that remained was the palace and their charred corpses. Beautiful movie, I must say.’ Ethoruthan welled up as they elaborated the story to the council.

‘Ugh! Even if all this is true and such a life form exist on such a planet, they seem to be a pretty dumb civilization for wasting effort on non productive endavors. Why should we bother making contact with such lowlifes?’ Maraman, Dan looked every bit uninterested.

‘Hold on! I haven’t told you the best part yet. What made me interested in this planet is not these made up recordings. My studies have detected the presence of substantial amounts of Carbon Dioxide in their atmosphere. Enough to solve our energy crisis for at least the next three decades.’ Ethoruthan shared his findings with the council.

‘Woah! Why did you not start with this, Ethoruthan? Eight hundred parts per million? That’s huge.’ Dan Maraman’s interest in the planet spiked all of a sudden.

‘Would they be willing to give up, or even share this treasure with us?’ Ihtalavala asked Dan.

‘From Ethoruthan’s description of their lifestyle, it is pretty evident that they are a far inferior species to us. If they resist, it would not be too difficult to overpower them.’ Maraman, Dan had a plan. ‘How far is this planet? And does it have a name?’

‘They call it Planet Earth. And I believe they are six billion thought years from here.’ explained Ethoruthan.

‘That’s quite a long journey. We would need a few months to prepare ourselves.’ Ihtalavala explained. ‘ Meanwhile, Mx Ethoruthan can come up with the most feasible spatial route for the journey.’

The council had arrived at an agreement. 

Planet Earth:

The Earth Times, Page 1

The President and the Leader of Opposition shared a rare moment of solidarity

At the recently concluded World Climate Summit, the President and the Leader of Opposition, who are usually seen at loggerheads, shared a rare instance of solidarity while interacting with the journalists on the concerns of Global Warming. The President dismissed it as a conspiracy theory devised by jobless climate activists who tried hard to pass off as cool. She shared a photograph of her snow covered lake house in Canada to prove her point. The Leader of Opposition also echoed similar sentiments, terming climate change an illusion and insisting that it was us who had undergone the change. He said that as people grow older, their tolerance to heat and cold weaken and they perceive this as a change in the environment and climate.

The Earth Times, Page 3

Increase in deaths of Polar Bears worries scientists

An increase in the mysterious deaths of Polar Bears are now worrying scientists and climate activists alike. Sightings of Polar Bear carcasses are becoming increasingly frequent along the shores of Scandinavian nations, and the reason for this phenomenon remains unknown, according to a scientist who claimed anonymity owing security reasons.

Planet Perillamus (after ten months)

Kari Aham, President of the Planet Perillamus had come down to the office of the Inter Universe Lifeform Detection Council. It was a red letter day for the Perillamusians. Their long drawn quest for a sustainable energy source was finally seeing some light. It was ten months ago when their scientists had discovered Planet Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy which had Carbon Dioxide in abundance in its atmosphere.

‘Go get them, Dan. My political future depends heavily on the success of your mission. How much CO2  are you planning to extract from their atmosphere?’

‘Enough to secure another ten years for you at the helm of the government, Kari. Don’t you worry. My agents Ethoruthan and Thengaenthu have undergone training in activating highly potent sub-nuclear missiles if we are to face any unexpected attack. The Earthlings would not stand a chance against us. We would wipe their air dry off carbon dioxide.’

‘Glory to Perillamus. Let our name earn even more glory.’

Amidst wide media coverage, President Aham flagged the mission off. Dan Maraman, Thengaenthu and Ethoruthan waved from their ship to the cheering crowd.

After about six billion thought years of space travel, their spaceship Cinatit entered the Milky Way Galaxy and reached the exosphere of Planet Earth.

‘Are you seeing this, Chairman? The carbometer shows the presence of Carbon Dioxide as two thousand parts per million. The presence has grown considerably since we first discovered them.’ Ethoruthan showed his findings to Dan.

‘Goog. Very good. Let us begin the descent. You can initiate the extraction process as soon as we do the landing.’ Mx Maraman was jubilous.

Thengaenthu, who was tasked with monitoring the planet for any attack on their ship, had a surprised look on their face. ‘We have crossed their Stratosphere and would soon be reaching the ground. Yet, they haven’t fired even a single shot at us.’ 

‘Maybe they are not a hostile civilization as we thought.’ Suggested Ethoruthan.

‘Or maybe they are busy writing and recording unreal nonsense about themselves that they have not noticed our arrival.’ Dan Maraman expressed his disdain.

In a few moments, Cinatit landed safely on Earth’s surface. They waited for a while to see if Earthlings would be launching a terrestrial attack. A couple of hours passed.

‘I expected them to be dumb but not to this levels! Their radar systems not only missed our trespassing but they haven’t even bothered to engage us in any manner yet. Disgusting! Let’s step out and get rolling, team. There is no point in wasting any more time.’’

‘Mx Marman, I think you should have a look at this.’ A worried looking Thengaenthu pointed at a screen. ‘From our understanding, Earthlings are carbon based lifeforms. Ever since reaching here, our systems have not detected a single living being on this planet.’

‘What! What does that mean? We had definitive proof of life here, right? Where did it vanish?’ Ethoruthan asked.

‘I am unsure at this moment. But the scans have not detected any trace of life.’ Thengaenthu confirmed.

‘Alright, let us get out of this vessel and have a walk around.’ Maraman proposed. ‘Perhaps we shall find some answers. Thengaenthu can stay back and initiate the extraction process.

Dan Maraman and Ethoruthan stepped out of their ship and started exploring Earth on foot.

‘It’s incredibly hot here, isn’t it? And what’s that stench?’

‘Yes. I had expected Earth to be cooler. Hey Mx Maraman, look over there! Those are obvious signs of a lifeform, aren't they?’ asked Ethoruthan as they passed concrete structures, tar paved paths, and motorized metal boxes on rubber tyres.

‘I suppose so. But where are they? Did they actually get wind of our arrival and burn themselves to death to escape - as they had shown in one of their unreal recordings? What was it called? Padma something right?’ Maraman let out a sarcastic laugh.

‘Now that you mention it, the stench does feel like that of decaying carbon. And the lifeform on Earth was Carbon based. Did they actually kill themselves off? That seems like a stretch to me!’

‘I don’t know much about them other than what your findings have told us, Mx Ethoruthan. But my instincts tell me that they brought this terrible fate upon themselves.’

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