fiction

AWAKENED: EPILOGUE

This is your 364th time since you first realized of your ability to come here.

364, huh?!

The same number that I used to identify myself in my alma mater. Brings back a lot of memories. Have I told you about the time when I got the last position in Cross Country or the time when I nearly drowned in the swimming pool or when…

Ah, come on. Not again.

Sorry, let’s forget about my alma mater coz I tend to go on talking about my experiences.

Yeah, that’s typical you. Hahaha.

So, how are you doing lately? Got something to hold onto.

Nah. Not since you left me. Although I won’t deny there will be something in the next few weeks.

Ah, so you have set your eyes on something precious.  

Yeah, it kinda surprised me when I found out. Forget about that, will ya? Tell me, honestly, have you been able to track her down?

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Who are these mysterious characters having an unusual conversation? Stay tuned. Don’t miss this new series.

Oh, her. I forgot about that. My bad. What if I said “yes”?

Maji de?! When was it?

Sunday, I think? Nah, Monday… Oh, wait. One week right after you left. Hmm. Just kidding.

(a long pause)

Hahaha. Do you know that you are the only one whom I can laugh with for a long time?

 Always the same reply. Isn’t it time for you to answer seriously? Why do you want to keep her away from me?

Keep her away from you? Stop fooling around. She’s not important. That’s all.  

Not important, you say? Then, why did you deliberately come here?

Look, who’s talking here. Trust me. Trust your friend.

Friend. Yeah. Once. A long time ago. Now, you are just a fleeting presence in the minds of everyone you had a connection with.

Such harsh words. I can bear it anyway.

Next time, you are gonna tell everything about her. I will make sure about that. (about to exit) See you, my …

(exits)

As for me, the journey to search her continues in this lonely place.

 

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LAST MAN STANDING

Year: 3114 AD.

Location: Somewhere in Greater Himalayas

I write to you all as a time traveller of the 21st century. Not so in the distant future (21st century), I am able to build a time travelling machine. I then travelled to 31st century. Exactly to the year I am well connected to, 3064. Now, most of you are anticipating about the discoveries that mankind made in this century. If I were you, it would be tempting to read about them.

Now, 31st century is way, way, way, way, primitive. No typos there. Primitive. I guess it has to do with the catastrophic turn of events in the early 29th century that led the earth to completely change its landscapes. I have already been here for 50 years. However, it just feels like I landed here yesterday. In this entire time, I have not been able to meet a single human. I have travelled to far places that you guys now know as Antarctica, Arctic, Sahara Desert and even tried contacting the humans living in Mars but all in vain. You see, there’s no question that I am the last man standing here.

The reason I am writing to the 21st century folks is that I want to convince myself that there were people whom I had spent a significant chunk of my life with. Also, I want to avoid the possibility that I am alone in this world. That there existed an interesting species called humans. Sure, 31st century has given me no hope. Maybe dwelling in the past will ease my pain. I will continue to explore, though.

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“What else can I do than smile at the trees and ask if they can communicate with other tress in the world and tell if any humans exist?”

Haha, funnny thing is that the advances we so strived for in the 21st century took a U-turn in the 27th century when an ingenious scientist by the name of Langtang Caesar developed an immortal body made possible with the advances in picotechnology. After integrating nuclear and solar energies into it, his madness pushed the world at the brink of extinction. He demolished all the things that symbolized human. There are hardly any manmade sculptures of your day that you will see in this century. The era of artificial intelligence and centuries of war pushed some space organizations to send humans to space. God knows if they are still alive.

Every day, I wake up expecting someone to be here. Someone whom I can talk to. Someone whose existence will help me in deducing that mankind has not perished. I live in a small hut near Mt. Manaslu. Living near the hills was a bad idea. I could become a prey for the animals. Living near a mountain is not good either. The cold bursts of wind make me difficult to find foods. There are a few animals whom I can hunt confidently. I have to say, the knowledge of edible plants that I gained in the 21st century is the only thing that is still keeping me alive.

Normally, I have two meals a day. I have already lost a major portion of my weight. Life is hard here. Once every few months, I cross the Himalayas and go to China. From there, I make my journey into Europe. The deserted looks of many popular cities such as London, Munich, Paris, Vienna horrify me. Sometimes, I reflect back as a species of human and think about where we had gone wrong. Sometimes, I try to understand the raison d’etre of my life. I question about my journey. I reason with animals whom I cannot communicate with. No point in that. I get it. How do you expect me to deal with this situation then?

Oh, why am I crying at a time like this? Why does it feel so sad to write a simple letter? Wait, why am I even writing this? These are some questions that often come up. I try to suppress my emotions. Of course, I fail everytime. I just hope that one of these letters will find you. One of these will definitely be the turning point for mankind. One of these will convince me that I am not alone. That I am someone who is stranded in the distant future with the title “Last Man Standing”.

 

WHY YOU MUST WATCH/READ ONE PIECE !

I am a cartoon/manga addict. It’s a truth that I have embraced and practiced throughout my life. The context of imagining life without dwelling on creative plots and a flurry of imaginative scenarios remains out of question for me. That is why I hate people who detest these series just because they are ‘cartoons’ and ‘shouldn’t be watched by grown ups’. I had compiled my top ten cartoons list in the initial stages of my blogging venture but had quite surprisingly failed to note the impact that One Piece has brought to my life. I affirm that the series comes close to other manga series such as Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail when it comes to popularity but, in my opinion, One Piece beats them.

One piece is about a devil fruit user named Monkey D. Luffy who with his rubber powers aims to be the Pirate King and be the rightful owner of ‘One Piece’, a collection of all the treasures that Pirate King Gold Roger had in his life and which was left at the end of the island called Raftel in the Grand Line. A pirate age enveloped the world when Gold Roger spoke of the treasure as his dying wish in Loguetown. Now, Luffy and his eight crew members, sail through the seas and into the mercurial Grand Line where they meet strange devil fruit users and challenge to battles and make their way forward.

The Straw Hats crew

                      The Straw Hats crew

Most of us categorize pirates as dangerous hooligans but Straw Hats are the antithesis of this. Adamant in his aim to pursuit One Piece, Luffy makes sure that every challenges are overcome by the crew no matter what. And that is the most captivating quality that the crew possesses. They are resilient and beat the hell out of monstrous pirates or the Navy whose sole aim is to capture all the pirates that are causing ruckus in the world. Be it the pirate who caused anarchy in Alabasta or the Shichibukai (warlord pirate) who has a penchant to steal shadows, Luffy and his crew make sure that the victims do not have to suffer like they have suffered before. In other words, they have a soft spot for people who have been terrorized by the evil doings of pirates or to some extent, even the Navy.

One Piece encapsulates the necessity to make amends to the society through the actions that Straw Hat pirates take on their course to achieve their separate aims. Zoro dreams to be the best swordsman, Nami ventures to map the whole world, Usopp aspires to be the sharpest shooter, Sanji is lured by the All Blue legend, Chopper decides to be the best doctor, Robin swears to study the world’s history and examine the 100 year void, Brook lives to fulfill the promise he made when he entered Grand Line, and Franky heats up to make his self-built ship reach the end of Grand Line. They all have different ambitions, but such is the stubbornness towards fulfilling their dreams that they don’t care if they have to cross any lines or fear that their wanted posters surge in their price. As an audience, it is very inspiring to push you towards your limits as the manga teaches you that nothing can stop you from fulfilling your dreams.

Most of the mangas (comics that are released in Japan) bear a common quality that echo the mentalities of their main characters and it is friendship. A quality that has been portrayed in such a compelling emotional gesture that it is hard to put down reading one if you start on a manga reading/watching spree. One Piece depicts friendship in a truly spectacular ways with scenes of betrayal, rescue missions from hell (Enies Lobby), and faith and trust towards the captain that it is impossible to go along with the emotional weight and shed tears in your face. In some of the scenes, you just can’t put an end to tears and have difficulty in muttering a single word. The emotions such as ecstasy, joy, faith, rage, outburst, and determination steal the show and the show just maintains this emotional level throughout the series without interrupting the anticipation that you have built since the last episode.

Characters that have appeared in One Piece. (Image credit: fanpop.com)

Characters that have appeared in One Piece.        (Image credit: fanpop.com)

When you are a big fan of anything, you want it to last forever. And One Piece does just that. The characters that Eiichiro Oda has created bring out more action scenes and the fight seems to never end. Straw Hats have built such a large circle of friends and enemies that you never get tired of guessing what would happen next. It is this very quality of One Piece that I believe edges out other manga series or even American cartoons. Right now, One Piece has crossed just over 50% of its story in its eighteenth year in print. An amazing feat considering the fact that many of the other manga barely cross fifteen years in print. For an avid fan like me, it makes a perfect sense as I can still relish the adventures of Straw Hat Pirates for the next ten years or even more than that.

For those of you who quite don’t know that such a manga/series existed, go google it or watch it or read it. And I bet it may turn out to be the best series (animated or non-animated) that you have ever experienced till date. When I told my friend Nimesh who was a die-hard Naruto fan that Naruto is nothing compared to One Piece, he had laughed at me. Now, he thanks me often for the entertainment that gets packed in reading/watching One Piece. So just grab a copy of One Piece and who knows that you will have a similar experience to share with me?

HAPPY ONE PIECE ADVENTURES WITH STRAW HATS!