Dave and the aliens

Dave never knew when he was offered an internship in the radio-communications Division at NASA that he was going to see extra-terrestrial activity on his first day. But there it was, the tiny silver ship hanging in air somewhere over the eastern coast of India. What were the aliens up to? What did they want from, he zoomed in on the location, Mumbai?

The aliens had processed every book in the world ever written by what they considered successful human beings, and their algorithms still failed to predict human nature consistently. Why did one of their super-geniuses shoot a car into space? Why did Bret Stephens from The New York Times go apeshit about some rando calling him a bedbug on twitter? And who thought it would be funny to #Bretbug? Why was the guy who was introduced as India’s ablest Defense analyst meeting every argument with “you donkey face”? And why did they call him back a second time?

So the aliens had given up on philosophers and rolled up their sleeves to do some hard-nosed science, which meant collecting tonnes of human shit and garbage and putting their alien computers to the task of understanding why we did things a particular way. If you don’t know what that means, that’s because you are not a biologist who after hours of intense staring at the ridges of a massive turd and sighing’ “so that’s why the mother pretends to believe in family,” looks up to find a disapproving-looking mother rhinoceros.

When the residents of Block 95 B awoke the next morning inhaling, for the first time in decades, the air cleared of its usual stink, it caused more than a little consternation. For some, a massive oaken door of their psyche creaked open, and fond childhood memories rushed to their eyes. A sniff of the air ignited mass orgies that traveled like an infection up and down the phallic buildings. Stores ran out of cheap duplicates of Guy Fawkes masks when close to a hundred people decided to stand outside MP’s house wearing them in some incomprehensible act of rebellion. Adding in no small measure to the charlatanry was the MP himself, standing in the crowd, his tearful face, hidden behind Guy Fawkes’s, turned towards the gate of his own house. By the time sense returned to the people, some attributed the disappearance of years of Block 95’s urban waste to the Gods while some thought it was part of Swachch Bharath Abhiyaan.

A day after the aliens had beamed up our trash, everyone in the Municipal Committee cast a secret midnight vote in their cafeteria on whether or not to hire thugs. The employees of the Municipal Committee had been on the cusp of receiving a million rupee contract to clean up the streets of Block 95 B, after two years of hard bargaining with the Maharashtra Govt. But now Block 95B was so clean that even rats were doing ablutions before passing through its streets and, unfortunately for the Municipal Committee, Maharashtra govt had no reason to give them that contract. So they hired thugs to decorate Block 95B with the waste ferried in from Block 95A.

Again unfortunately for the Municipal Committee, one of the Municipal Committee’s men began unloading the trash from his truck behind the local MLA, who was trying to take credit for the event by explaining to the cameras how he had personally supervised the cleaning operations of Block 95B.

The MLA ran towards the truck, but Municipal Committee’s thugs overpowered him and took flight, all of which was caught on camera and started trending on twitter. The MLA rose and collecting his men, took his rage to the house of every enemy gang. That altercation was followed by another altercation which was followed by another one, and at times the battles turned amorphous and took the shape of old wounds until someone on the 9 0' clock news called it a “Hindu-Muslim riot.” There was no turning back after that, and the riot spread like wildfire, city after city lighting up the whole country. Pakistan raised concern for the Muslim inhabitants of India by pointing its nuclear weapons in their direction, a gesture that was returned by India.

Dave had spent twenty-four hours poring over all the data that he could get his hands on. He wanted to leave no room for doubt that aliens had indeed visited earth the night before. And now he held it, all of it, in a few sheets of paper. Then he saw the news. Seven thousand people had died in riots in India and the experts weren’t denying the chances of a nuclear war. At this moment, there were two voices in Dave’s head. One kept screaming, “You fucking curry munchers.” And the other voice asked what if the aliens wanted this. What if this clusterfuck was their plan from the beginning? In a few minutes, he would make up his mind and walk into the office of the Project Director.

“Sir, I think there is going to be war.”

The Project Director turned to him and said, “No shit, Sherlock. And who the fuck are you?”

“No. I mean we are at war now,” Dave said, spreading the papers on the table, and adding, “My name is Dave and you need to call the President.”

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Ranju Mamachan

Where a billionaire burns bundles of dollar bills to keep himself warm.