Thursday, March 08, 2007


See you at the love parade

-Mr. Junkie
(in an email to Mahseer, didn't get through the extra strong spam filters)

It was the day of the drill - or more commonly known as the love parade. People were very happy on the day of the drill. This was mostly because it was a part of the tradition to be very happy on the day of the drill. The drill was also a relic of a bygone era, similar to the happiness caused by it. In the morning there was the parade. All the arms and munitions from the various sectors of the planet would be put on different platforms and shown to the president of the planet. There it was, a simple enough title. Only it was too much trouble for the planetary republic to actually get everyone on the planet to vote for the elections. So the electoral board simply handed over the baton to the president with the largest ad firm. This was also a part of the tradition, but it happened for totally different reasons. To sustain a propaganda across the entire planet, it was necessary for the president to tie up with some ad firm. It was a scandalous affair when it came to light in 2056. They were already projecting holograms of different companies in the skies, and there were ads where clouds once used to be, but to make the few remaining virgin tribal cultures worship the face of a man who could be projected into the sky was something not everyone could digest.

But it became worse. The whole world was not populated with virgin tribal cultures right? The whole world was mostly populated by people who were for the most part not virgins, not tribal, and with very little culture. One clever ad firm just decided to pay half the money it used to spend on projecting holograms to the electoral board. Then the electoral board found out that they could make a lot of money, they simply had clandestine meetings with the leaders of ad firms and auctioned off the candidate that the leading ad firm wanted. Now loads of smaller ad firms came up with the idea of pooling their resources and money together, to pay up for one candidate they wanted to put into place. And since the whole planet was involved, there were loads of coalitions of ad firms cropping up everywhere. The president that eventually would get elected would put into motion policy decisions like implanting nanobots in seeds before they are planted, which allowed for microcircuits to grow along with show plants distributed to people's houses, which would, from time to time, throw up an audiovisual projection of different advertisements instead of flowers. This made more money for the ad firms, who could afford to pump in more money into the presidential elections. It was traditional that the elections be called so. So the presidential elections were a vicious cycle, which ended up with the same president being elected over and over again. So many times over, that after he died, Mr. Junkey's electronic interactions (e-mail, chats, blogs, scraps) with other people were all collected, catalogued, and extrapolated into an artificial intelligence that made a holographic projection of Mr. Junkey react in ways that even Mr. Junkeys own great grandchildren couldn't differentiate from the dead Mr. Junkey. So the whole planet thought that Mr. Junkey just survived a near fatal plane accident, and he continued to preside over the planet in his presidential capacity and by all accounts, it seemed that he would continue to do so for an incalculable amount of time. Of course, the Googlenron Coalition had to give a lot of money to the electoral board to pull this off, but since they had complete control over the advertising policies, they didn't care much, they made a hell lot of money anyway.

In fact, they made so much money that they took over all other ad firms. This allowed them to make so much money that they took over firms whose activities had nothing to do with advertising. Which means, they had everything in the spectrum in the bag. They made so much money, that they lead to the creation of takeover companies that specialised in formulating, planning and executing smooth takeovers - and then took them over. In fact, they took over some of their clients as well. They even, somewhere along the line, took over the electoral board. The houseplants were made obsolete and replaced by a lot of other things... ear buds that hummed subsonic covert messages in your ear every time you tried to clean earwax, for example. A lot of industries made a lot of money and grew wildly because of this. Boys and girls from small towns in India dreaming of being Bollywood superstars found that getting on the couch suddenly became far more rewarding... and because of the rather large population of India, Bollywood suddenly became the second largest company - next to Googlenron, and the Asian sector saw a sudden economic polarisation.

However, taking over everything took a lot of money, and they had to pay a lot of people just to let this happen. It started with the electoral board itself. Politicians had to rally and pay off voters, only then were they voted, and only then could they take meaningful decisions like unifying the planet under one elected president. It started there, but the corruption was rampant in the near past - union leaders in construction companies had to be bribed so that no one would have to go to counsellors for the rise in tensions caused by takeovers that had incalculably increased or decreased the amount of job security they had. They had to pay off clerks, officers, managers, general managers and the likes of banks who had payed loans to the people working in the taken-overs and who were the ones who had carefully calculated the risks of getting their returns on the loans based on the job security numbers. They even had to pay off the damned counsellors who were losing businesses that they never had. Obviously, all this was made easier by the takeovers of the construction companies, the banks and the counsellors. The idea was to keep everything under one roof. Everything in the control of the elected Mr. Junkie. In front of whose hologram the hologramic parade was going to pass.

Oh yes, Googlenron took over all the companies that had anything to do with defensive mechanisms. Sometimes, it fell to its own trap and took over entirely hologramic companies. From the companies that mined to the companies that trained people at polishing the bullets. Yes, people had to be trained to polish the bullets. You could not let any old kid do it, the kid could blow it. And it was illegal to have child workers. The rationale was, if you are polishing bullets, you might as well be qualified for it. Now there were no degrees in polishing bullets available, till some guy called [Dr]^42 Cowboy Vader Smith and Wesson (many reports claim he came from a virgin tribal culture, saw a vision in the sky and it changed his life, gave him purpose et cetera) decided to find out everything there was to polishing bullets. He wrote a thesis on polishing bullets. He got a doctorate. In fact, he collected a string of doctorates by repeatedly writing thesis upon thesis of polishing bullets. [Dr]^42 Cowboy Vader knew which extract from which Amazonian plant you should use to mix with water and other chemicals with, for the towel that polishes the bullets to soak in, which would reflect light more dramatically in that particular range of frequencies between electric blue and white that is particularly scary to an enemy. Obviously, bullets in real use could hardly ever be seen, but Googlenron didn't have a problem with that - many of their enemies were hologramic you see. The polishing of the bullets was an important discovery, and Googlenron put it to good use. The electric-bluish-white tinge was polished onto a lot of tiny capsules full of mysterious substances and covertly distributed amongst the susceptible youth.

Ironically enough, the said youth thought it was cool to trip on the 'magic bullets' as they called it. And these were the people that were gathered at the love parade. They were all the people left in the world actually - everyone else had died to a mysterious epidemic. One batch of ear buds distributed by Googlenron had pretty corrupted circuitry because of a power failure - which happened because an entire dam was hologramic (Googlenron decided not to ACTUALLY build the dam after it took over the Sad Dam Company), and no one, including Googlenron noticed this because the river was hologramic too. But the wires that ended in the hologram did notice - leading to the power failure that corrupted the batch of earbuds. Anyone who used these ear buds heard the subtle messages very clearly and promptly died of shock. Googlenron, on advice of some of its hologramic PR companies, acted very quickly and replaced all the missing people with holograms, and life continued as it normally would have. Or so the Googlenron people thought. No, they actually did. Infact, the later batches of earbuds were all corrupted, so a module was introduced that replaced anything that died in the vicinity with holograms. This increased the population of microorganisms and insects drastically, which in turn lead to a lot of hologramic diseases.

It had reached a point where no one knew who actually ran the world. In fact, no one even knew anyone else who was supposed to know. The very idea of control had become so fucking central to the tradition, and so taken for granted that it had evolved into a myth. And it was in such a world, that a bunch of mostly young people had gathered to witness a procession of all the great weapons in the world, in front of a hologram of Mr. Junkey.

Mahseer was a boy in that crowd. Just to clarify, he wasn't a hologram, not that it mattered too much. He was made from orthodox flesh and blood. He was pretty old fashioned that way. Mahseer was slightly embarrassed. And not because he was old fashioned. It was because of his name. He looked up Mahseer on a search engine, and found that it was a type of fish. A fish that the Tatas had taken a lot of trouble over over two centuries ago. The funny thing was people who caught and killed fish for sport complained that they had caught and killed too much, so they took a lot of efforts and successfully got the great Mahseer back in great numbers, after a lot of research on Fish breeding patterns, making Male Mahseer fish forcefully ejaculate all over trays of ovaries carefully extracted from female Mahseer fish, and even using aerial transport to transport the progeny to foreign lands - all the trouble so that the people who caught and killed the fish for sport could continue to do so. And all of this before the dawn of the twenty first century. Before Googlenron came into existence. Mahseer didn't like his name, and had no clue why he had been given such a ridiculous name.

Now Mahseer was slightly confused as to exactly what he was doing there. A tank went past him in the procession. He knew he had come there to do something, but it really did not occur to him right away. A bunch of helicopters flew by overhead, the mechanical roads rose to put him on eye level with them. He ignored the vertigo. In fact, it didn't look like it was going to occur to him anytime soon. He decided to pop a magic bullet. He did just that. Ah things were getting clearer now. He was in the trip. He cheered every time a weapon went by. It was a cheerful place this. It was a nice garden, with many beautiful flickering flowers, and small insects buzzing around, some of them non mechanical. There were a lot of people there, crowded and crammed and trying to be as close to the action as possible. It depended of course, on what you would refer to as action. He smiled in the general direction of the dancers, who were doing it in the minepit. It was an extreme sport that developed after Googlenron insured everyone's limbs for free. And it put to use all the useless mines discovered in various American stockpiles - a boon for the bored people in this war less society. Mine pits had mines all over the place, and you danced, occasionally blowing off a limb or two. Mahseer looked around to the other side and saw the two last real tigers in the world being kept in perfect physical condition by being made to exercises with little children. Holograms of kids weren't illegal, but of tigers - unthinkable - that would be just too blasphemous. He looked back at the procession of vehicles. There was a longing in him, something that made him want to curl up and sleep and not look at the weapons. It was as if a ghastly nightmare was playing out before his eyes and he could not even recognize it for what it was. For god's sake, a butterfly was parading by, he wondered why it was a weapon. He looked skywards, at the halo - it was the ring around the planet, formed by the effect of gravity on all the pieces of junk that mankind had put into space. Mahseer vomit ted. He was no longer interested. He had to find his purpose. He had to do something with his life. There was so much about himself that he didn't know. He felt he was living in a society of ghosts.

He turned around. Mr. Junkey was standing there. "Hello" Mr. Junkey smiled. He knew exactly what he needed to do. He was pretty realistic artificial intelligence really. His great grandchildren waved goodbye to him and ran towards the tigers. Mahseer stuttered. He didn't know what to say. There was a long title that Mr. Junkey had, with a couple of hundred 'Sri's and a 'Highness' or two, but that was just another thing lost by mankind. Mr. Junkey took pity on Mahseer. "hey, don't worry kid, just relax, tell me whats on your mind, I am really old, and I am wise, whatever I am, feel free to ask me anything." Mahseer stopped trembling. This looked like a nice way out. He was actually happy. Or it was just the trip kicking in, he didn't know, and he didn't care. "Anything?" He asked. "Yes, Anything" Said Mr. Junkey. "Anything?" he asked, once again, just to be sure. "Yes, Anything" Said Mr. Junkey. "Anything?" he asked, once again, just to be really really sure. "Are you testing my patience or asking me a question?" Said Mr. Junkey. He was sucha realistic hologram that he could also feel irritated. Both the tigers, were exceptionally calm at this point of time. They looked at each other. One said to the other "are only holograms programmed to get irritated?" The other growled meekly, making a lot of children squeal in pleasure. "My great grand children await me" said Mr. Junkey, and started to walk away. "Wait!" said Mahseer, "I... I need to know something... why am I named Mahseer?"

"Ah, good question. You are the reason why all of this happened. You come from a very rich lineage. Your Mother owned an ad firm called Goo and your Father owned a tech company called Glenron. Both companies went bankrupt because of a lot of illegal activities and unethical practices that they were indulging in. They realised they could no longer fool the public. And because a lot of those Bollywood movies that were widely successful had somehow managed to get a totally weird message into the consciousness of the people - drink when you are sad, they did just that. Only they happened to be at the same bar. The next morning, over coffee, they knew exactly what to do... they could salvage a hopeless situation to exploit the public by combining forces. They figured they'd name you Mahseer and that was that. Ok - I have a planet to rule over, see you sometime. Bye"

And just like that, God walked off from his Messiah.

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