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GOD Of A Man

Eternity Versus Eternity

 

“Opportunity is not the key to success, but it certainly is an attempt to be availed.”

 

Chapter Twelve: Conniving desires

Dated: 20th December, 2459

 

Prose has often been guilty of overstatement, diluting the demarcation between facts and fiction. Given its’ penchant for the impact value, no surprise opportunity has been raised to a pedestal higher than the success itself. But an opportunity within itself is neither the key, nor the mantra to success. Opportunity is nothing more than an assisted shot at the bullseye, an easy attempt. What determines success in the immediate future is the inherent talent, and it’s consistent hard work in the stretch beyond. Without talent, the opportunity will go a begging, without hard work the success will not be sustainable. And even with these two, the success is still prone to deterioration. These two are not beyond the constraints of relevance. Success is long lasting and effervescent only when talent and hard work can be backed by a sound intellect and a core based on firm ethics and morality. Deterioration has a bad habit of spreading across abilities. Low morality and ethics will invariably lead to depths of disgrace, and lack of intellect is a bane to adaptability.

 

It is imperative to deduce that more than the opportunity itself, the opportunity creator is much more important. Legends are known not because they milked the opportunities to their optimum every time they came across one. Legends are known for having created opportunities out of catastrophes, where others would have quit for good. Legends are known not for following tried and tested science. Legends are known for creating their own rules and styles, and leaving behind a lasting legacy, a legacy to be followed by generations to come, and studied by many more to follow. Legends are immortal, for they live forever in time!

 

People like Steve, Demetria and Clara left behind not just their memories and stories. They created a wealth of learning, monuments of motivation, and codes of ethics. They recreated a lasting moral fabric for a new society, out of the ruins of a previous history, for a society in demise. New Saisho however once again needs a new breed of enterprising minds and souls, to create a blueprint for professional ethics and selfless service that will help humanity past a catastrophe beyond comprehension.

 

After having tried his phone umpteenth time, Jenny finally decided to call the official line on Aman’s ship. The terrible nightmare she had just woken up from had made her anxious, and the fact that Aman wasn’t answering his personal line made her even more desperate.

 

“Someone please pick this one up,” Jenny pleaded to self as the phone inside the control room rang.

 

“Hello, ‘NSS - The Mighty’, this is Lieutenant James Michigan,” a voice at the other end replied.

 

“Hello,” an eager Jenny fumbled with words, “This is Jenny, Captain Aman’s fiancée! Could you please get me your Captain? He’s not answering his personal line.”

 

“Hello Miss Jenny,” Lieutenant James replied, “But I am sorry Captain Aman is currently in the middle of a very important task, and he has expressly commanded us not to distract him, or forward him any calls for the next ten to twelve hours.”

 

“Ten to twelve hours?” Jenny was flabbergasted, “What is he up to? Is he alright? I am just worried!”

 

“Relax Miss Jenny,” James replied, “He is absolutely fit and fine! I will inform him that you called as soon as he gets back on the ship.”

 

“Get back on the ship!” Jenny’s surprise and anxiety heightened, “Where is he now?”

 

“He is just leading the ship from a boat,” James tried to answer her apprehensions, “Everything is fine here Miss Jenny, don’t you worry!”

 

“I hope so,” Jenny put the phone down and heaved a heavy sigh.

 

Home, a small word that can encompass the entire universe depending upon the meaning it is used to imply. Home at its’ most basic is a place, within the world yet cut off from it, where an individual feels safe. Home however, is not a structural entity defined by rigid boundaries. A home can be as small as a bird’s nest, yet as large as the whole world itself. Home is defined not by its’ functions or structural elements. It is rather defined by everyone whose collective interests it shelters from any external factor not belonging to the space and environs that constitute the physical entity. Ocean is one such big home where the most dangerous and vicious of all creations have lurked both above and under the water for over centuries now. Humans kill, not just for food and need, but for fun and experiment!

 

As ‘NSS - The Mighty’ waded across the Shooting Darts zone, Aman lead from front with eleven boats of varying sizes at his disposal. Nine boats maintained a spindle shaped buffer zone around the ship. The zone was open at rear end, while Aman’s boat made the front tip of it, four boats on his either side. Two boats sailed parallel to the forecastle, two parallel to the bridge, two parallel in line but slightly ahead of the quarterdeck, and two just behind the stern but still parallel to an imaginary line extending from the keel. These ships in unison, dragged a partly submerged fishing net under water, thus completing the buffer zone intended to entrap any submerged threats to the ship. Two boats, one on port and one on starboard side, sailed within the buffer zone, ready to provide assistance when and where it were to be needed, and to co-ordinate distribution of men and material between the boats and the ship. The progress painstakingly slow, concentration immaculate, all eyes were peeled at the water, to spot anything hazardous.

 

“Alpha one to alpha two, Sir, are you receiving,” Lieutenant Thomas Schneider sought Captain Aman’s attention.

 

“Alpha two receiving,” Aman replied on his wireless, his eyes still locked carefully on the water in front, “Tell me the sky is falling or you are leaving for New Saisho today.”

 

“Sir, it is Secretary to the President calling. She says the matter is urgent and the President himself wants to talk to you,” Thomas replied.

 

Aman thought for a few seconds before issuing the next command on his radio set, “Alpha two to all units; everybody seize at the count of ten and hold your positions!” Once every boat and the ship had come to a halt, Aman gave the control room the go ahead, “Put the secretary through now!”

 

Troubles have a culture of their own. They are not only blinding towards the future for those they afflict, they also make the troubled oblivious to the situations others themselves might be in. The troubled want everyone to help them first, without realizing, those they seek help from want the same. And the most potent feature of the troubles is, the troubled are too occupied by their own predicament, not only are they missing a solution for their own torments, they are also incapable of providing a solution to those whose help they seek.

 

“Hello Aman,” Anne was all hyped up although it was hard to say whether it was the effect of what Doctor Jonathan Yardley had just disclosed to everyone, or if it was something else, “This is Anne. How are you today?”

 

“I am fine Miss Anne,” Aman’s voice sounded firm and businesslike, “So how can I help the honourable President today?”

 

“Just hold on,” Anne replied as she put the receiver to her bosom and asked the President, “Sir, what do you want me to say to him?”

 

“Give me the phone,” the President gestured with his hand, “I’ll talk to him.”

 

“Oh,” Anne said as she pushed the receiver towards the President, and then inexplicably, as the President held out his hand to take the receiver, she withdrew it to her face and said, “Aman, the President himself would like to speak to you.”

 

“Sure Miss Anne,” Aman replied, as his concentration had finally broken off the water and he had turned his back to the defender of his turf that had slowly and slowly sneaked up to the front end of his small boat. With that many arms, how long it would have taken for the submerged giant to climb up the small vessel!

 

“Hello Captain Aman,” President Shoji Katsuo started to speak, “Some concerning facts about the upcoming events have just been brought to my notice, which have put a sever constraint on our time limits.” President Katsuo was trying to be as brief as was needed but his speech was interrupted by a surprised reaction, mixed with a few expletives, and a loud war cry from Aman’s end.

 

“Hello, Captain Aman,” President Katsuo asked surprised, “What happened? What is going on over there?” But there was no answer. “Hello, Captain Aman, what is that sound,” President asked again but got no response. A shocked Anne grabbed the handset from President’s hand and started calling excitedly, “Aman, are you there! What happened? What’s the noise?” But there was no one to answer her call on the boat anymore.

 

Aman was grappling with a giant octopus that had taken him to task for wandering dangerously close to his territory. As the creature wrapped him in one of his limbs and dragged him into the sea behind self, Aman pulled out his knife and started chopping off the creature’s limb. The creature immediately wrapped another of its’ limbs around Aman’s neck, almost trying to suffocate him, as the beast tried to gulp Aman’s head. Aman immediately switched his knife between hands and planted its’ sharp edge deep into the skin around the beast’s mouth, and used all his strength to push the beast’s mouth away. In the meantime, both of the assisting boats arrived at the scene and Aman’s men started to take careful shots at the beast, one at a time, mindful of the ricocheting abilities of water. The beast released a cloud of dark ink to assist its’ escape from the scene, but before escaping it gave a parting poison sting to the Captain.

 

Two of his men jumped into water and immediately retrieved their Captain’s motionless body and brought it back, first onto boat, then onto ship. He was still alive, but unconscious.

 

But what exactly is consciousness? Can merely a state of awareness about the surroundings and situations be classified as consciousness? Aren’t sixth sense, gut feeling, apprehensions and predictions borne both out of experience as well as wild guesses, a part of that consciousness? Even a person with intellectual handicap is aware of the surroundings and situations, but can such a person be classified as conscious?

 

Jenny had stopped at the local newsagency to collect some story books she had ordered for her students. She was going to teach morality and religion at the New Saisho Primary School in the afternoon. She still had an uneasy feeling from the morning, and something still didn’t feel right to her. Her unfounded fears finally got the dreaded confirmation when a News item flashed on one of the television screens at the newsagency.

 

“Our staff correspondent onboard NSS Southern Light doing a story on the lives of seamen overheard a distress call on the radio, purportedly coming from NSS ‘The Mighty’. The Captain of the ship, the highly decorated Aman Ahluwalia who was recently in the news for another of his feet, retrieving the space shuttle Clara from the seas, has been wounded by a poisonous Octopus when navigating his ship through the treacherous Suicide Belt. The incident is said to have happened when he was distracted by an urgent call from The President’s office. The sources at the Army headquarters and the President’s office are tight-lipped about the reasons behind, both the urgent call, as also the reason for sending NSS ‘The Mighty’ through Suicide belt. However they have confirmed that a senior officer has been injured at the sea, and also, the Secretary to the President Miss Anne De Villiers is flying in person, to make sure adequate medical care is provided to the officer.”

 

The floor beneath Jenny’s feet slipped as a sudden fear squeezed every breath out of her, drying her throat in an instant. Her heart started palpitating as she nearly tumbled to the floor, barely managing to stay on her feet by grabbing the counter. Her legs started to shake and she couldn’t utter a single word as she raised her trembling hands to her face. Tears rolled down her cheeks as the shopkeeper rushed to assist her. He pulled a chair for her to sit down and asked his assistant to bring a glass of water for her. She struggled to pull out her mobile from her handbag, and fumbled making a call to the ship. However, she couldn’t get through this time.

 

She finally called the President’s office, explaining who she was and that she needed to speak to the Secretary Miss Anne.

 

“Hello, this is Secretary to the President,” Anne was forwarded her call.

 

“Hello, I am Captain Aman’s fiancée,” Jenny replied and there was a pin drop silence at both ends for the ensuing few seconds.

 

“Yes Jenny, what can I do for you?” Anne finally asked.

 

“I need to see Aman,” Jenny pleaded as she broke down, “Can I please come along with you?”

 

Anne fell silent for another few seconds before she finally replied, “I am sorry Miss Jenny, but I am going on an official visit, and family members are not allowed onboard. However I assure you, no stone will be left unturned for Captain Aman’s quick recovery, and the best of care will be provided to him, and is being provided.”

 

“But I just want to see him once,” Jenny pleaded, “I promise I won’t be a hassle to anyone.”

 

“I am sorry Miss Jenny, but I cannot help you,” Anne gave a curt reply.

 

“But please,” Jenny continued to plead.

 

“I am sorry Miss Jenny, but I have to leave,” Anne firmly replied, disconnecting at, “You need not worry about Captain Aman anymore, I give you my word!”

 

And Jenny was left holding a disconnected phone to her beautiful face, tears rolling down her cheeks in continuous streams.

 

Business has ethics of its’ own, which are not always in resonance with the moral ethics of the society. However, it would be wrong to suggest that business ethics are contrary to the same either. Business ethics are similar to social ethics in a way that they reflect similar definitions of morality, but only within the confines of business community. An ethical businessman will follow a strict code which every other businessman in same or similar market will follow. This can be called business honesty. However, this business honesty does not extend to the general community, the populace. It is simply a way the market regulates itself. However, this relationship between social and business ethics does not always remain in harmony. Sometimes the business ethics grow strong but the social ethics of the business community degenerate. In such a scenario, the corrupt business community can often try to usurp the interests of the society at large, in order to promote its’ own. Individual businessmen or business groups are known to have disregarded the long term consequences for the entire society and promoted their own interests, long term or short-term, at society’s peril.

 

“The great Creator of this creation watches each one of us, and He knows everything we do,” Priest Granger was lecturing Mr Alan Dwight, Janice’s father, “We may forget what we have done, but He keeps a count of it. You may not know what you are being punished for, but He will remind you every time you will be punished.”

 

“Can you please save me; relieve me of my pain and suffering?” Mr Dwight pleaded.

 

“I cannot make any promises for I am not beyond His word or wishes. But I can pray,” Granger replied, “You too will have to pray!”

 

“I will do anything you say,” Alan replied, “How do you want me to pray?”

 

“Not like this,” Granger replied, “Come again next Friday when it is full moon, for moon is the messenger of GOD who watches the evil committing its’ sins on earth. Moon is the one which relays all of the world’s deeds as well as misdeeds committed at night. Come in fresh clothes and if possible, bring a fresh pair for this poor servant of the Creator, and we shall both cleanse our body of sins by washing ourselves in water from the House of Faith’s well, and then pray for mercy with clean minds, bodies and souls.”

 

“What are you doing?” Jenny’s voice roared in the prayer hall.

 

“What are you doing here?” Norman ran out form another room when he heard Jenny’s voice, “You are supposed to take a class at the New Saisho Primary School today, not here.”

 

“I know very well what I need to do, but looks like you two have forgotten what you two need to do,” Jenny roared back, “Oh boy, am I glad I came here today, at this hour!”

 

“What are you saying Jenny,” Mr Dwight was surprised at her reaction, “Honourable Granger and Norman are just helping me get rid of my sins and find peace. You know what I am going through right now.”

 

“I know very well your plight Mr Dwight, and that is what makes their crime all the more punishable,” Jenny was fuming with rage, “They are trying to manipulate a man at his weak moment, and for what?”

 

“Girl, now you are crossing the line,” Norman replied, “You should be ashamed of levelling false accusations against two of the most honest members of the House of Faith.”

 

“Let her speak Norman, for if the haters won’t speak, how will the good be identified,” Granger replied with a studied calmness, “Yes Jenny, you were saying something.”

 

“Saying something! You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading false propaganda from the House of Faith,” Jenny blew out, “How dare you try to spread misconceptions and superstitions from such a revered platform as the House of Faith?”

 

“How can talking about something as pious as GOD be propaganda my dear?” Granger asked.

 

“Propaganda is not talking about GOD,” Jenny replied, “Propaganda is when you cheat innocent people into believing they have done something wrong and they will be punished by someone who does not even have a physical existence, but is only a spiritual guide and a psychological support. Propaganda is when you fool people into believing a non-existent power so as to make them confirm to your desires, wishes and designs.”

 

“What a shame my dear Jenny, someone like you who has been associated with the House of Faith for so long, someone who is entrusted the honourable task of teaching morality and religion to our next generation, is not only unaware of the truth herself, but is also full of misinformation,” Granger calmly replied, “May GOD forgive you for your injudicious utterances.”

 

“Shut up! Just shut up!” Jenny was on fire, “You are pushing the religion back to the dark ages when people used to kill each other in the name of religion, without even caring to think for once, they are all the same, living in the same world.”

 

“Yes, a world created by GOD,” Granger replied as Mr Dwight witnessed the scene perplexed.

 

“And who created GOD?” Jenny burst out, “Who created the world and space where GOD lives? Where does GOD live anyway? Was space created first or was GOD created first? If space was created first, who created the space and where, and if GOD was created first, who created GOD and where, and where did GOD create this space?”

 

“You are so full of ignorance and sin,” Granger answered, “GOD created this space out of nothing, and GOD was forever there!”

 

“Really, where was GOD?” Jenny asked.

 

“I am not GOD who knows everything my dear,” Granger replied, “I cannot answer all your questions. Only GOD can answer them! Let us forget your indiscretion and pray to Him for mercy on both you and us.”

 

“I said stop this lying,” Jenny exclaimed as she put her hands to her waist, “Mr Dwight, please don’t listen to any of the lies these two men tell you. I assure you I will be reporting their actions to Father who will decide their adequate punishment, as soon as he returns from his trip to remote settlements.”

 

“But what about my wife and daughter,” Alan asked haplessly, “How will I know the truth about them?”

 

“Don’t worry Mr Dwight, I am sure the Police and our scientists will come up with the real truth soon,” Jenny replied as she walked up to him and grabbed his hand, “You however are coming with me right now, and I am going to drop you back at your home.”

 

Alan, speechless, looked at the faces of Norman and Granger, not sure of what was happening as Jenny lead him out of the House of Faith.

 

“We need to do something about her and the old man, and quick,” Norman whispered to Granger, “Otherwise not only will they spoil our plan to control the society, we will also lose our reputation.”

 

“Don’t you worry about these two,” Granger replied with a cold-blooded confidence, “I have a perfect plan for both of them.”

 

 

 

 

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