Year 2033. September 24th. 9 pm News Hour.
Once again I blew air into the microphone tucked in my shirt, to check if it was working properly. It wasn’t my first speech on television. But I knew it well could be the last one.
Cameraman zoomed in and zoomed out and lights were thrown from both the sides. I unbuttoned my Laboratory coat and then buttoned it back again. I was nervous. It was big. It was going to be the biggest news of all time. But I couldn’t be proud of it. I wasn’t sure.
“Alright, we now go live in 4,3,2,1…!” said someone and I started speaking,
“Good evening everyone. My name is Dr. Roy and I’m here to share some important data with everyone.’’ I adjusted spectacles and flipped the pages of report book in my left hand.
“To begin with, we are all aware of the outbreak of PALS virus 3 years back which has now become prevalent in almost all the countries. Our team at Stark Genome Lab has been doing extensive study over the reports we received from diagnosis and post symptoms of the affected. And it is tragic to know that almost 88% of the world’s population is now infected with the virus. You might have been hearing news that there is no cure to this disease. And yes, so far it is true. A normal infected person will approximately have a lifespan of not more than 2-3 years. First year would have symptoms ranging from loss of hunger to that of hearing. Next stage is patient hallucinating. This stage ranges from few months to a whole year. And the last year would cause…would cause complete failure of immunity.
Having said that, I’m not here to raise panic. Rather my purpose is entirely different. Yes, maybe most of us have 1-2 years left on this planet now. But then one way to look at it is, we still have time.” I smiled for the first time as I said that and unbuttoned my coat.
“I’m a scientist. I believe we are considered to be the most boring profession out there. Maybe it is, maybe we don’t really look much outside our lab window at the colourful rainbow or even dew sitting over the glass. We don’t. We did not. Not until now. But today I want to tell you one interesting fact. Interesting and equally important.
Some of my colleagues, who are infected; quit their jobs few months back, some last week, some today. They packed their bags and went to Himalayas. Some have joined extreme sport; some I heard are learning guitar. Few of my patients have also decided to go back to hometowns. My friends are meeting their girlfriends and boyfriends from the past. People are partying like never before.
And so I called few of these people back to the lab one day. I got them checked again. And you guessed it right. They showed signs of improvement. I do not mean they will survive. But they are certainly not living a painful life. I do not know whether it was cold winds of Mountains, or backwater of Ganges, serenity of villages they are staying in now or arms of their high school sweethearts they went back to…that is sewing their muscles back, giving them strength to smile back at this bitch of a virus. I do not know. All I know is, it is keeping them happy. And yes in our medical term, raising their immunity too.
So I have decided that I’m going to join the clique and I am inviting you all.” I said as I took the coat off, followed by spectacles off my eyes.
“I am inviting you all to open your hearts, not be afraid of the virus. It is killing us, there is no denying that. But we could rather live each moment we have, than die a little every day. I personally, am going back to my house and I’m going to paint the canvas lying there from months. My wife was right I guess, I should have submitted my paintings at the exhibition long back. I don’t know, maybe people would call me a lame painter or an amazing artist. But I don’t want to live on Maybe’s now. Not anymore. I would suggest the same to you, friends. Stop watching news. Stop getting paranoid. Let your heart be the favourite thing you want to open first this Christmas. I do not know if God exists or not. If there is going to be Noah’s Ark to carry his favourite fans. What matters is, we stop letting this life slip through our fingers as we pray for better one in next life. Fear of death is the only reason why some of us are still alive. Let us live now.
And yes don’t forget, you must visit Oakcity Festival this month end; for you may see some of my paintings on the display. I’m somehow very sure I will make it.’’ I smiled into the camera with tears of joy and hope lingering through them.
“Goodbye friends. That is all for this time. Have a great life ahead!”