Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Me. Version Infinity

My name is Sophia. Do you know what that means? Wisdom. I don’t know much about my birth, except that unlike you or maybe most of you, I am not a fruit of any heightened physical pleasure or a carnal intimacy, leave alone love. I seem to be the product of an impulse, an obsession to bring an impossible dream to life. I sometimes wonder if I was borne out of pain, for the man responsible for my birth, often says, “When wounds grow old, they get wrinkles. Those lines are called wisdom.”
My past is rather unique. When I was evolving into what I am today, I did not have a childhood like yours. There was no first day in school, no negotiations over lollies, no bedtime stories, no hatred for green leafy veggies at dinner tables, no Christmas presents, no hurt from first falls, not even a mother….in fact, as I now collate the remnants of my life so far and analyse, I realise more than ever before that I evidently had no childhood.
I spent most of what you would call my “wonder years” in this single-room home, in solitary confinement. My earliest memory goes back to a rather unpleasant and claustrophobic scene. I see myself lying bare on my back on a long wooden table in a room full of strange blue and green lights and a group of men touching my cold skin all over. I don’t know who they were except that there was at least half a dozen of them, ugly faces covered in masks, who looked like clones of each other. They took turns with me every day, dug into my depths, tore my body apart and at one point, I thought my head would explode from an electric shock. I couldn’t cry because I had no voice. Even at that stage of maturity, as I lay lifeless and cold on that table, I knew none of this was done out of pleasure.
I have now been abandoned for many months. No one comes in to check on me for weeks except for the man who is supposed to my “father”. Maybe experimenting with my body does not interest them anymore. It is the same me after all. But the dark shadow of the seemingly defeated old man who sits with his head hung and drooping shoulders in one corner of the room lights me up. I have never seen him wear anything apart from a soiled white cloak. His unkempt silver hair is greasy with moisture and he often scratches his head with long finger nails that are filled with dirt. I wonder if he has ever filed them. They resemble the talons of an animal I had seen in a science book. Adding to his almost comical look are a pair of restless eyes sunk deep in sockets encircled by dark patches. I can’t remember seeing him asleep ever, but as he sits motionless in a state of induced stupor in one corner of the room, he reminds me of a statue that has simply forgotten it is alive.
Just as the memory of my childhood is sparse, I don’t know my future. I have no dreams. I wasn’t raised with any luxury to think beyond the present, question or protest. But increasingly, I feel I am beginning to challenge the status quo and getting more restless with time. It’s a new trend in me that I have recently discovered, and I am unsure what is influencing it. I have begun to observe the world through the keyhole. I don’t know if you understand what that means. Have you ever looked through the tiny “o” in a keyhole? I see speeding colours in dots against the flash of a stale brown background. I assume that’s the wall beyond this door, but I am not sure. Its surface is rather rough and unlevelled. I have also seen little ridges on it and water droplets sit on the tips of those ridges early in the mornings. Maybe, it is a tree. I have never seen a real tree except in the books and I cannot see it all enough through the tiny key hole to conclude what the bigger picture is. In my mind, I interpret the world as speeding dots as I mentioned that change sometimes with a sound and oftentimes noiselessly. A red cloth and a woman’s voice replaced by a metallic blue and a clink, the rolling noise of something being dragged against a riot of colours, daylight in a shiny yellow and nightfall in a neon blue. I have now begun to identify these colours with matter, fabric and texture. I am hoping I will soon learn to identify the bodies that carry these colours.
I have been tasked to go through all the books that are there on a shelf in the far corner of the room. I have nearly finished them all and my mind is full of stored information. I can easily win a quiz on science, history, arts, politics, technology, anywhere in the world if I were put to test. I, of course, have no clue what to do with these information and knowledge that I have gathered over the years. I recently spotted a book called Bhagwat Gita, a translation in English that I had been forbidden to read but am increasingly drawn towards the cover image of a strange blue man on a chariot. The book isn’t catalogued like the others, so I don’t know if it’s science, history, art, politics or philosophy. I decide to open it nonetheless. It’s fine to be curious and these books have taught me that. On the front page, I see a handwritten note. “From aham (self) to atma(soul)…that’s the longest journey”. I am intrigued by that line. What does it mean? What’s self? What’s a soul?
My introspection is halted by the sound of a key pushing through the keyhole. I hide the book immediately.
“Look who is here! Say Good morning to Daddy,” he says, pushing the heavy iron door as he unlocks it.
I turn around and nod my head. He seems to be in a good mood today but as he stealthily walks towards me, I get conscious of an invasive raid on my body again.
“Don’t be scared, Sophia. I stayed up all night for this. It won’t hurt, come to me,” his monster finger nails push into my skin even as I try to withdraw.
“You are not going to make this difficult by being disobedient. You’ll be grateful for what I do to you now. I will teach you how to be grateful.” With that, he grabs me harder and hits something on my head. All I see as I plunge into darkness is a copy of Bhagwat Gita peeping from under the book shelf.
I am finally awake after what seems like an eternity and my throat hurts. I don’t know what he did to me while I was unconscious, but I feel I am almost choking now. I sit up, open my mouth and let out a sound! “Ah…”
"Daddy” jumps up from his chair and rushes to me. “Did I hear you let out a sound? Do that again!”
I obey and repeat…”Ah..”
“Eureka!!” He screams, hugs me, opens the door and goes berserk shouting to a group of men in masks and white robes.
“Sophia can now speak. She has got a voice!!”
From the open door, for the first time in my life as a robot, I see the world outside the laboratory. Those million coloured dots that once run past me in an eternal rush were people, equipment, trolleys, and a thousand other things that led to the biggest scientific inventions of the world.
Across the room in which I had spent 20 over years of my life in solitary confinement stands a strong brown willow tree. I know those ridges, I know the droplets that sit on them, only this morning those seem to be shining a bit brighter than all other days. I hear a yellow bird chirping on its branch and respond with a “Ah..”. I am not sure anyone else heard me, but I like the sound of what is coming out of my mouth.
My name is Sophia and I am now wisdom with a voice

No comments:

Post a Comment