Unpublished novel by Rakesh Biswas for all interested in the science and fantasy of medicine. Not about religion, but a postmodern multi genre combining elements of Science, Fantasy and Romance
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Buying and selling Gods in a global market.

 

Jhinuk kurote kato chall

Jhinuke ekhono neel jal

keo ki kakhano mone bhabe

jhinuk kuriye deen jaabe.

 

The professor was spouting Shakti, his favorite poet, all the while bending down on the sea beach marveling at the innumerable seashells reflecting the rays of an evening sun that was

also shining on his bald vertex, which only his students could appreciate.

"God has a peculiar hobby. He just freaks out on machines; one's with CPUs that move around, talk and laugh, appear domesticated or just growl or mutter-live in the wild. He also likes the ones which are stationary, like trees, gathering all the energy from the sun so that all other machines can function."

He paused to buy green coconuts from a passing vendor who happily started gouging holes in each of them followed by introduction of plastic straws and a lot of coconuts and money changed hands between the professor, his students and a visibly thrilled green coconut vendor whose day was made.

"Trouble is, Gods can't be bought as easily. You have to observe, get to know them better. Most of them won't even let you touch their lap top exteriors so that you could immediately get into the innards of their hard discs, read their "my documents". No way, for that you have to spend a lot of time, observing, listening, and questioning (most importantly asking the correct questions...hitting the correct thought keys). Eventually, when you get to read their files its fascinating...To tell you the truth my life's calling is to simply go on reading their files, marveling at them but that's not half the joy of it really! It’s the bonding, which you develop, with them, the trust they place on you, the memories you share on your files, cry silently together. For all that one has to possess a body, a laptop of one's own. However, the day Gods started possessing one; consumerism was born fuelled by desire and mass production. There was this added fear of death...the fear of losing their machines and all their personal memories on their hard discs. If only they could change their machines without losing their memories or better still carry their hard discs with them all the while on re-writable CDs so that every time they could pop it in any machine within their reach and work within their personal digital environment. They have a peculiar fixation on their personal memories, which have actually evolved from interacting with memories of countless other hard discs connected to their network. Most of them would like to treasure their memories in their own machines or password protected personal web spaces. This attachment is what kills them, even before their machines have a chance to die. Why couldn't they just be…without having to possess the body of their machines? Couldn't they just control them with a remote going about their daily routine, all from a distance (chilling out somewhere in the Himalayas)?

They wouldn't feel much then…even if they have a violent sparking in their innards or some joker smashes them on the ground. At least they wouldn't fear dying as much as they do now. Dying would be another show ending on their monitors."

"Wouldn't it make them couch potatoes?" one of the students ventured. "It could also make them trees. I always felt trees were people who had reached that state, watching us on their remotes. For each one of us machines, there has to be a tree…our very own dear lil tree. There we go again back to personal possessions. It’s difficult to have a permanent solution to this due to the fluidity of our existence. We are dependant on our machines for survival as much as they are dependant on us. We have a long way to go before we become trees or mountains or rivers. That too, if only we let them survive along with us."                                                               

They had arrived at a point in their coastal trek where the beach ended and a rocky cliff stood blocking the road with the sea dashing against it. The professor started roping up his students for another traverse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A story about the birth of one

 

 

 

A lecture on metabolic encephalopathy

 

 

 

A visual of 3 people being executed by being walled off into a brick house. After the last brick has been installed the 3 people trapped inside experience pitch darkness and their LCD screens begin to zing bing with hypoxia...that’s when our story begins. It’s a story about the birth of a story. We begin our day with the romance of the story, falling in love with whatever work we begin and by midday we get married as work progresses at a feverish pitch and we feel hungry for lunch. Finally by night, death and sleep ends it all preceded by an evening walk and a visit to the library just before dinner.

God wants to have a body and starts at a point of time claiming one such when it’s in the process of being unclaimed. The LCD screen blinks and sputters. Strictly speaking, he doesn't need his entire body, only the part that would allow him to synthesize his perceptions into a film in Technicolor…the narrative visual imagery that requires so much disc space.  Somehow his entire body seems necessary to run the accessories, which as a whole support his preoccupations. Like having perceptions meant sensory inputs which if desired in a better quality would require him to move around a bit (he wouldn't give up on his evening walk for anything in this world). So he accepted the fact that an input device with 5 sensory ports be fitted in as well as 2 pairs of limbs to cater to his motor movement urges. It would have been alright if the motor movements were confined to his limbs but no, there were bowels to consider that had a tendency to move at the most inappropriate moments or sometimes not move at all when he wanted them to, especially in the mornings. He chose a human model not because he thought the exterior looked fetching or useful but all the other 33 crores of other species were already taken up by other Gods (according to dated Eastern mythology). It would be his very own laptop, a toy for a good number of 7 decades (unless it had a manufacturing defect or was destroyed by a traumatic blow if not a bad virus or bacteria on a rampage). Now what is it that makes silicon mother Earth reorganize into a laptop, a seed grow into a tree, an embryo into a hen or human or Orangutan for that matter? What is it that converts a string of words into a story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words and Ideas       

 

 

 

It was a class trek again this time in the jungles of Buxa and Jainti in the Duars region of Bengal. There were 33 tigers counted in these forests in the last census under the tiger project. It was not however the tigers that intimidated them. It was the leeches in the rain. The professor started off, “Words are leeches quivering on leaf tops in a rain forest dying to attach on to any passing idea however unsuspecting. Ideas sucked dry to the bone make words fall off burping to their hearts content. Ideas are but poor innocent souls, roaming in the forest looking for a cozy shelter before night falls suddenly in a dense jungle

Eventually they do find one, after losing the way umpteen times, inside a forsaken forest bungalow. They share words in the light of a candle, words like fishes, succulent and juicy leaving an after effect long after sleep engulfs our ideas.

Ideas sleep…. only to wake up at dawn, greet another sunrise of words and sentences amidst raging mountain torrents. Ideas are washed away into far off river valleys and flood plains where they slow a little. Children bathe in them with gaiety, sprinkling soft sands. Words are children looking for their long lost parents, homeless and yet full of vigor, determined to find their genetic donors, who exist in ivory towers, reach up to them for comfort, joy, satisfaction, security… what not. From time to time they run after these conventionally important things, which peculiarly hide in ideas, so vast and spread out that words are just a speck. A tiny grain of sand in comparison and yet these grains are like huge atoms, with their own solar systems and electron clouds. Space cities built into their infinite elementary particles are but one gigantic idea that sprang from an astonished contemplation, accidental and yet profound. It dwells in our minds, which long for a theory, a solution to everything, in its every day nothingness. Words like genomic imprints, building blocks of complex molecules, keep changing rearranging themselves, generating more and more ideas, different cells performing different functions, diverse set of ideas, which like disease, manifest themselves on integrated complex molecules of life that we fancy ourselves, more often than not leading to death, obliteration of one complex molecule, any one amongst us perhaps, in the vast shores of time, another re arrangement of on-off signals. The network continues to function as if it knew no time.” That night they had roasted pork with beer lying, in a forsaken forest bungalow, singing songs and sharing poems under the light of a full moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smashed to smithereens...picking up memory fragments

 

 

 

 

This is Sutra again...had to butt in as this part is a bit tricky. All you can see in front of you is a deserted beach, which meets the Sunderban forests somewhere off beat in Bakkhali. As you start getting the creeps seeing all the Hental brambles and other trees proclaiming tiger country, you suddenly chance across a lot of silver shining sea shells strewn across the beach and a lady in her gown with her hair let down crouched over collecting sea shells. You chat her up and get to know that these shells are nothing but what is left of the life of June. She was naturally smashed to smithereens after her fall and her personal narrative that is so much of an essentiality in this wider narrative of system trouble shooting, was now a smashed and fragmented hard drive like a shattered dream her life was. This lady was an avid reader who was collecting these fragments for us (making our job easier). If it were not for these people the world would be so much more fragmented, in fact it would be nothing but stellar dust. You might call them weak forces but in the grand unified scheme of things they do have a major role to play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49

Like fruit bats in the moonlight gleaming

 

The modern day laptop is an individual with 5 sensory input ports and analog devices for outputs both somatic (like the limbs) and autonomic (like the bladder and bowel he needs to move everyday). Strangely this individual, this laptop, although it has a marvelous brain of its own...it can only function at the hands of a hypothetical character of uncertain origin, collectively labeled God. God in turn thrives on it. It’s unimaginable how much Godly communication would have suffered if not for their laptops. Just imagine a few gods sitting in a train compartment, dreading the thought of starting a conversation for fear of having to look each other in the eyes. Its odd how they can't reply reflexly, they need more time to think on each of their outputs that they conjure on daily emails. The train compartment situation is still salvageable if passengers’ hitherto silent flick open their laptops and immerse themselves on their LCD monitors. If they are lucky they might find a way to track down the email addresses of their co-passengers, through a brilliant google that would oblige key words like, so and so train with so and so time and so and so seats, passengers’ names and addresses. After a time as the train picks speed co passengers would have started sharing files, well carved narratives of their past, (which would have been otherwise garbled at a painstaking attempted free speech). It would have been delightful to learn that the uninterestingly serious faced gentleman with a white beard was under the impression that their train compartment was the interior of a spaceship and his destination (where he fancied he'd reach next day) was somewhere near Rigel in Orion. He in turn would have been equally surprised sharing files with the young man sitting near the window with that faraway look in his eyes. He thought the umbrella like cemented pillars for the upcoming city flyover, their train was passing were giant mushrooms. "Funny, the old man thought, he could have sworn they were foundation stones for a new hyperspace bypass." The young man was already looking forward to the time he'd shelter under them in the rain and with each pelt down the mushroom would bloom bigger and bigger until it covered the whole sky and sheltered a whole new generation of aggressively pacifist poets with their side bags containing battered diaries that they would pull out from time to time spouting poetry like humming kettles (unlike having to share them on emails like the present). However barring a few exceptions like this young poet, most Gods wouldn't cater to sharing thoughts on speech through an air media via laryngeal sound generation and cochlear reception, the cochlear fimbriae rustling and swaying gently like paddy in a breeze. They generally would prefer the email mode of communication. The chief reason being the volumes of data that could be transmitted on emails if tried on speech would make the larynx give in after a time. That is why the ape man (again under God control) graduated slowly from the primitive 486 into the modern day Pentium/AMD and learnt to read and write. Before that Gods could only think of the abacus, none of the modern day human wonders they clutch at most of the time hanging onto their shoulders like fruit bats atop acacia trees gleaming in the moonlight.

However to come straight to the point (which nearly always has the danger of being lost in between the lines), I would like to point out the plight of our index God who wants to know more about his machine but to his dismay finds that no one really knows the whole story as it's lost (very much like the point in a line and a line in a plane, a plane in fractals and so on) in a multitude of broken narratives. It was as if someone had carelessly tossed away the fragile story line making it fly for some distance before it hit the ground and was smashed to smithereens. The story of the modern day lap top with its arms and legs and mouths and anal orifices (correction-there's only one mouth and one anal orifice-Sutra), is that of a unit like a cell forming the body of the Earth with its intricate branching and circuitries of trees and rivers that are visualized once the lid of the sky is lifted off (Aren't we repeating this too often?-Sutra). Our index God needed to know the story of how the universe was created with Earth like a cell among countless other landmasses in its bludgeoning galaxies.

Imagine! Just because he needed to know how his laptop worked in the first place!

A fragmented God in small things

 

God was trying to see beyond what had been allotted to the machine, which he had bequeathed. Unable to see anything there, he looked back fondly to the days when he could see all, that is, before the lights went out. When they reappeared he was staring through the optic disc of a moving laptop with hands and feet that could feel its nose and ears, which in turn could smell and hear. Interesting input devices but wholly inadequate for taking in the enormity of what he wanted to behold. The trouble is Gods themselves had fragmented over the years and taken ownership of specialized systems to cater to their own needs of the moment. The result was a lot of God in small things giving a multidimensional perspective so much so that the need for dimensions went on increasing. Gone were the days when there was a single limitless dimension stretching into the infinite. Everything in the microcosm and macrocosm would be visible, tangible at once, like you could see all the electrons and protons in an individual whom you were chatting with and could very well say Hi to the person sitting behind her. Also you could see through walls...those were the days, except that there wasn't anybody in particular to see all that because God was un-fragmented and living machines were yet to evolve. They were yet to develop their eyes, ears and even limbs that could touch and feel. Things were simple and God was happy but then when material things began to evolve from simple cells joining hands (oops! cytoplasmic projections) matters became uncomfortable so much so that in the present age God has been left in the dark. He can't see without using a machine. He has a wide range to chose from, plants, animals, humans, not to leave out stones and minerals (so called inanimate machines that really have a lot of animation at the microcosmic subatomic level).  Off course, none of them could see all like God could, when there was no one to see in particular. So our index God gets stuck with a human laptop, the walking and talking kind and generally has a whale of a time sending and receiving emails, his window to the world. He had great fun waiting for those emails. They contained loads of useful stuff that one could browse and ruminate and reply to after a lot of contemplation. He would copy paste them again to a number of friends taking care to make them feel, as if it's been addressed solely to them. God thought all those chatting soft wares were rather primitive where one had to reply instantly and reflexly without much contemplation. It was all right for Gods who were running the rat race but not our index God about whom the story is all about. Each and everyday they kept him busy because he was supposedly the most knowledgeable fellow around who could fix things, not just plumb their xylem and phloem blockages but also coax photons from the sun to release electrons from their cytochromes, particularly when the sky was overcast. He fancied himself as a mediator in the overall scheme of things, the spontaneous creation and evolution of which was mystery to him that seemed to deepen with each passing day as he saw, knew, realized more, he sensed the enormity of what was still un-chartered.

 

 

 

Identifying and plucking leaves in the Evidence jungle

 

 

He had been living with these complex machines for long now, from the very day he had answered the medicine professor's request in the affirmative and had acquired a brand new laptop all for himself, straight out of the assembly line, a huge factory with cells forming regularly one out of the other, subsequently being sent to separate compartments to perform specialized functions. He had tried observing the process of creation in the hope of learning the whole of it. Yet the process remained mysterious as the Earth where all machines were trees, rivers, mountains, animals and humans interacting, evolving and changing the body of the Earth so rapidly, that God felt its shelf life couldn't be a few more million years...sometimes he wondered if trees, rivers and mountains could be mechanical systems at all...only when he peeped deeper into them at a microcosmic level was he convinced of the enormity of subsystems and the complex interactions each of these systems held. None of them were simple but looked beautiful from a distance, like the Annapurnas.

Durga Devi was a middle aged lady, who'd come into his OPD, a place where machines with mild to moderate dysfunction were wheeled in for repair. God was in his mechanic's overall and as both doctor and patient interfaced each other, Durga Devi saw Juneli (the machine which God had been using all these years of his mortal existence to interface with), a girl with plaited braids and a pleasant smile through those thick glasses. Durga used to play the harmonium while her husband sang, both having been trained in Indian classical, a learning, which had been used all these years to enthrall a small assortment of friends, neighbors and well wishers whenever they'd manage time from their not so busy nine to five jobs in the secretariat as clerks.

Lately she was finding it difficult to follow her husband with her fingers while his voice moved nimbly on its vocal chords (even at a ripe age of 69). Irritation had given way to alarm and she'd sought June's help. That was 3 years back. Her right hand since then had become stiffer along with her right leg and there was this inability to hold her trunk, stand straight. Things weren’t this bad till 2 months back. June remembered how God had plucked leaves of Levo dopa from the jungle (Levo meaning one which rotates to the left when the wind blows from the right--that's how one identifies leaves in a jungle-Sutra). They had been lost in the jungle once picking leaves and were nearly swept off their feet trying to cross a mountain torrent following which they had gotten drunk on country liquor while the sun set in that 33 tiger infested jungle.

All that effort came to naught after all these years. Her stiffness seemed to be worsening with each passing day even on levo dopa.

The more June learnt about diseases the more puzzling they seemed. Why did the Levo dopa in Durga Devi's brain dry up in the first place? Why did the effect of Levo dopa (collected so very painstakingly from the jungle) and administered externally into the blood stream wear out after a few years?

52

 

 

Principles of post modern medicine

 

 

 

There was a particularly interesting shell sparkling on the beach. As June stared at it she could visualize the bearded face of the professor standing on the pulpit addressing the students. His narratives were always so very..."Today I am going to take you all to my retired professor, Dr Joatmon who lives in the outskirts of the city. He's from a time when troubleshooting humans was not as compartmentalized into specialties as it is today. Even now, he tackles a few of our patients when we are stumped."

The car stopped on the road that had crossed a dense jungle. June couldn't believe it was just a 2 hr drive from their college. She treaded sheepishly on the foliage half expecting to be bitten by something but was partly reassured by the professor's confidant strides.

They crossed a few rivers and the last one left her drenched from head to toe. The current nearly swept one of the students off and another lost one of his shoes. They had to climb down to their last river, pretty technical at places. Thank God! for those fixed ropes...wires actually, some pilgrims may have left. Then there were those slippery steps cut out from the rocky ridge and as the professor clambered up them, June sat on them to dry herself. After sometime she found a gentleman with a white flowing beard grinning at her. She'd have taken him to be another version of the professor if she didn't find the professor accompanying him with an expression suggesting a 6year old school boy who's just found his pencil box hidden someplace completely forgotten earlier. All the students stared awestruck at Prof Joatmon, founder editor of Joatmon's "Principles of Post modern medicine".

"Hi! I am Joatmon call me Jo for short. Come on up for a cup of tea." It turned out to be a 1000 more steps, not that June cared to count. They were sipping tea in a makeshift home under a huge stone slab labeled, 'Jo's Cave'. In front of them was another dark hole. “That's the Mahakaal cave, "Jo said in a matter of fact manner as if June had asked the question in an equal vein. It was discovered by one of those old traveler type missionaries. Its all limestone inside with a lot of stalactites and stalagmites inside, which the local people here venerate as Shiva...you know, the penile figurehead". June wasn't sure she'd need all this info but professor Joatmon was a strange man... a jack of all trades, master of none was what he said his name meant, unabbreviated. Holistic medicine is all about being just that he said; after all it is God only who can master the human body (and there's no point mastering just a part).

God pricked up his ears at the last statement. "Well here's one fellow who's finally talking sense.

 

 

 

 

Add-ons to consciousness

 

Prof Joatmon began, "To understand system malfunction it is necessary that you understand system function for which you have those pre-clinical years where the intricacies of system components and their functioning are detailed. However there's more to it than just knowing what's inside the body. Equally important is what's outside and how the machine interacts with its surroundings. Like, why do we need our machines at all...it's to have fun, it's to revel in those five senses, process them creatively and express oneself in motor activities that trigger passions generated in neighboring machines. In short, we have fun unwittingly, only to run a bigger machine, which is the universe that also does the same with other neighboring universes playing inside that infinite one. A holistic approach tries to look at the infinite like looking at the whole forest and not just concentrating on its trees."

Joatmon's eyes had that dreamy look. "Trees...trees everywhere you look into the anatomy of the Earth. You actually need a microscope (or telescope...call it whatever you want), to peer deeper into its tissues...the so-called microcosm. Trees are receptors getting up or down regulated from time to time, homing variety of molecules, birds returning to their nests at dusk. This is just a small peep on lifting the lid off the laptop and you sure will need to know more as time goes by and you keep peering into these systems in the hope of trouble shooting them. After you've lifted the lid off the Earth and studied the microcosm you'll need to study its behavior in the macrocosm. Like for example what is its idea of having fun...the very purpose of its existence. There are God's with machines (people) who simply exist for a daily struggle against death and deprivation, their fun lies in getting to fill their stomachs each day after obtaining the means to fill it. There are Gods who continue to use their machines (bodies) inspite of their limited functionality (due to disease or overuse trauma). These are our day today patients, machines whom we try to repair, restore to normal function or simply add supportive devices so that they just continue to live. A 20-year-old girl had come to meet me today. She works as a receptionist in a 5 star hotel and both her kidneys have been destroyed in a forest fire. She's learnt to use her peritoneum (the bag all of us carry inside our abdomen covering our viscera-Sutra) to clean her blood, not as good as her kidneys but at least she will live with it. Every day she needs to introduce 4 bags of hyperosmolar fluid into her peritoneal bag and hopefully most of the harmful molecules normally filtered by the kidney would filter into her peritoneal bag. We still don't know what all these molecules exactly are but we have devised a system to take care of them...can you beat that! –Sutra. In this manner she'd throw away the wastes in her blood along with the hyperosmolar fluid that she'd need to hold in her peritoneal bag for a few hours everyday.  Hopefully after a few months of training her daily manual filtering would become second nature, like brushing teeth. Most Gods would do anything to just continue living; continue to function if even with artificial support. All of them are very attached to their machines. They hardly ever realize the machines are simply add-ons to their consciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A postmodern mediaeval specialty clinic

 

 

 

"Jo how do you manage to run so many specialty clinics single handedly?"

"It’s possible if your specialty is life."

"How do you investigate them?"

"It’s simple really! I just start from the basics. For instance nephrologists would garner a lot of information by taking a good look at the urinary sediment. All that debris the riverbed gathers on reaching the plains. Right from its trickling down from the glacial filters of the glomeruli to the tubules, collecting ducts, ureter, bladder, urethra and the sample mug, it’s a journey of filtration, re-absorption and secretion of the body's metabolites, molecules in motion, like hordes of people rushing out of the North Sealdah station to catch the south bound trains. Microcosmic interpretations at an ideal plane would consider knowing all about these people but then it's difficult for a single person unless you have a good information network storing data from the hard discs of each of them. For the time being we have to make do with what we see from a distance, from the tip of the flyover opposite Sealdah; Hordes of people, walking, jostling, chatting, quarrelling...quite normal you would say but in times of renal injury to the glomeruli or tubules you find the market places deserted, a few shops or trees burning, scampering feet followed by police batons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Unpublished novel for all interested in the science and fantasy of medicine. Not about religion, but a postmodern multi genre combining elements of Science, Fantasy and Romance