Tut tut cackle cackle....jibber jabber. I woke up to a cacophony of noises. Something didn't seem right. I turned to my side...but hey, this didn't feel like my bed. It was a cold, hard surface. Alarmed, I quickly popped myself into a sitting position. And then, my hands and feet turned cold. I found myself looking around at a sea of weird faces...hell...not just faces, but weird, stick-like figures. The cacophony had died down, replaced by an eerie silence, and a hundred eyes staring at me through pointed, bony faces.
One of them stepped forward and addressed me. "Cackle cackle stat jabber." I shuddered, and edged backwards. Reality now dawned on me. I was in the midst of about fifty creatures with two stick-like legs and two creeper-like arms, pointed faces, and bodies that seemed to be made of a green jelly-like substance. They were, no doubt, aliens!
"Do you speak English?"...the creature who had just addressed me a minute back said. I felt almost relieved. And impressed. After all, he...or she...I settled on "it"...after all, "It" must be civilized, if It speaks English, I decided.
"Ye..es", I said, some of my courage returning. Suddenly, there was clapping all around. "Good, now we can communicate, " said It. I saw, what seemed like a smile, on their faces. Must have been a smile...cos their oval shaped mouths seemed slightly open, and they seemed to be nodding their heads in an approving manner.
I ventured to edge forward a little, to get a better look. Hell... there were no teeth! None of them had any teeth!
Now, curiosity took over and replaced fear. "How do you eat?" I asked them.
Silence. Gosh...had I gone too far?
"We don't eat...we Absorb." "We absorb energy from our surroundings."
Oh, like in Koi Mil Gaya...I thought, and nodded to indicate that I understand.
In my fear, I had not yet taken a look at my surroundings. Curiosity further building up, I started looking around. Ok, I seemed to be in some sort of a super-large room. There was a strange green light all around, and huge metallic structures! Several of them were saucer-shaped, with lights all over them. There were also robot-like things stationed all around.
I must admit I was impressed. These aliens seemed an advanced sort, absorbing energy to live , and making such huge metallic structures. And then, they did speak English.
Suddenly, a tiny little creature showed up from behind It. "Oooh...an aliennnn...", the creature squealed.
"What???" I said, taken aback at being addressed thus. "YOU are an alien...not ME!"
Giggles all around. It took charge. "Listen, for us, you are an alien...you are not like any of us, and you come from another planet." It turned towards the creature who had called me alien, and said, "That's an Earthling." The creature started clapping and prancing around.
Now I was getting irritated. Alien. Earthling. What the hell...I always thought I was a human being! Anger gave me further courage. "Ok, where am I? And why did you bring me here? And, for God's sake, how did you bring me here? I don't remember the journey from my cosy little house to this Goddamn place!!"
"Don't use abusive words." Now, this was a creature sitting next to It.
I looked straight into this one's eyes, not betraying any signs of fear. "Ok, sorry. But could you please answer my questions? You've brought me here without my consent. So you owe me an answer," I said, quite amazed at my own guts.
"Well, that's not entirely true. We didn't exactly bring you here without your wish."
Now I was zapped. "What do you mean?"
"Well, a couple of days ago, you were talking to a friend of yours, a male earthling. You did say to him that you want to meet an extra-terrestrial."
I was shocked. Yes, I had indeed said so to a friend. I cursed that moment. How I wished I had wished for something else. If only I knew how quickly my wish of that moment was going to come true.
"Well, that was a joke. Please answer my questions." I could be quite stubborn. And I was going to show it to these aliens.
Now, a slightly scholarly looking creature stood up. "We've brought you here as part of our ongoing research on Earthlings, and how they are different from us. We can't tell you where you are or who we are; we don't want Earthlings to discover us...atleast not now."
"But I know about you now." And then, fear started returning. Obviously they knew I could narrate this episode. And obviously, they would do what they could to prevent me from doing that. Oh hell, what were they going to do to me? And they had said "ongoing" research...so there must be others like me who had been brought here...what had their fate been?
And then, this scholarly looking creature produced two long knife-like things. "We brought you here to understand the Earthling's digestive system. We want to be prepared, just in case...". It didn't complete the sentence, but I understood everything I needed to. We Earthlings...uhh...shucks...human beings...were under constant surveillance. These creatures knew all about us, our lives, our technology, and perhaps...I shuddered to think...our weaknesses too.
If this was not scary enough, the creature now brought the knife-like things closer. I started screaming. "No...please...don't...don't cut me up. I am a bad case for a study on the digestive system...mine is rather weak, you see. I am constantly on antacids and anti spasmodics."
"We don't need to cut you up. These antennae have captured all the images we needed", the creature said, waving the knife-like things.
I can't tell you how relieved I was. And much as I hate to admit, once again, impressed. Obviously, these knife-like things were some advanced technology too.
I don't know how much time had passed...and there seemed to be nothing resembling a clock around. I asked the one most important question on my mind. "Will you send me back to Earth?"
There was a cacophony of noises again. The same cackle...not English.
One of them turned to me. "Why do you want to go back?"
"What the hell," I shouted. "I don't belong here! I have a family, I have friends...I HAVE to go back."
"They'll miss you for a few days, and then they'll forget. They'll get on with their lives. Isn't that how you Earthlings deal with death too? Here, we don't let our folks die. We have conquered death. Here, we don't kill each other, which by the way, still remains a mystery to us...why do you Earthlings kill your own kind? We know a lot about you, but this remains a mystery."
I was amazed at the profundity and the truth of what the creature had just said. These were an intelligent...and at that moment I felt...a sensitive race. But then, what did I care? My arguments seemed weak...but I had to continue to fight because inspite of the horrid picture they had just painted about my planet, Earth was where I belonged. And I had to get back.
Suddenly, involuntarily, I started crying. Big tears rolled down my cheeks. "Please...send me back."
The cackle again.
Then, It stepped forward again. "Ok. We will. We never hurt any Earthling. Several of your folks are now part of our race, by their own choice. They chose not to go back. They liked it here...our peaceful way of living. But you can go back. We respect your wishes."
Oh...they were just so nice! I was touched. Not only did they not hurt people...they actually were moved by tears! "Thank you" I said, with a lot of feeling.
"But first, we will need to perform an Obliterati on you."
"An Obliterati. Partial memory wiping. So that you don't remember this encounter. We do it when we bring people here, and then, when we send them back."
"Oh...thats why I don't remember how I got here," I said.
Suddenly, all was darkness.
"Trinnn, trinnn". Uhh...isn't that my alarm going? I fumbled around for my mobile, found it under my pillow, and switched off the alarm. I sat up. I was extremely confused. There were no strange faces around...my family was sleeping peacefully nearby. There were no metallic structures...all I could see was my almirah, and the other items in my room.
Yipeee...I was safely back home! But hey, how did I remember all that had transpired? Had the...now what was it...the ...ahh...Obliterati... failed? Considering the aliens' advanced capabilities, that seemed too remote a possibility. Well, then there was only one explanation. I must have been...dreaming. I found it hard to believe, considering everything had seemed so frightfully real. But maybe it was my imagination running wild...I had, after all, been reading up a lot about extra-terrestrial life. And then, I had indeed, a few days back, said to a friend that I wanted to meet an alien. Don't they say that dreams often reflect something thats been a lot on our minds?
Well, whatever... I was glad to be safe in my house. Why should I complain?
But yes, dream or reality, I must say I do believe there are other intelligent beings out there. Harmful or harmless...I don't know. But I find it highly unlikely that amongst millions of planets in millions of universes, only one planet in one universe has life.
So here's to life...and to peace, and co-existence.