Highly Commended Story - Is The Earth Flat?
“Is The Earth Flat?” by Ahana Chattopadhyay, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School, West Bengal, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Ahana Chattopadhyay is a student of class 7 at Gokhale memorial Girls' School, Kolkata from West Bengal, India. She is an ardent reader of English literature. She is also interested in Indian classical music. Ahana wants to take up a career which would enable her to make the world a more beautiful place to live in, through the most peaceful ways like her role model, Anne Frank.
Is The Earth Flat?
“You are sentenced to 10 years.”
After so much stressful work of the laboratory I finally returned home. Never had I felt frustrated at this length. My poor housemaid felt the highest impression of my exhaustion which was most undeserving for her. But never did she complain about it which makes me guiltier whenever the memory is triggered awake in my mind. I tore opened the thick white cover of the telegram which depicted its origin, the laboratory. It was a short one leaving the reader completely perplexed. I called in my housemaid thinking it was a fraud, a prank played by the youngsters of the colony.
“Where did you get this telegram from?”
“It came through the evening post, Sir.”
“Are you completely sure?”
“Okay. Tell the driver to get my car ready and pack some snacks for me.”
The housemaid was an efficient one and there was no difference in her efficiency on that day too. I put on my dusted hat and coat from the hall room and steadily walked through the gravel path. The deep orange sky and the lush green landscape had never mesmerized me but mostly the beauty had usually gone unnoticed by my scientific eyes. As I drove my car through the gate my encounter with Dr.Ghosh shocked my steel nerves. Dr.Ghosh was my partner, a friend moreover and we were working together in the current project.
“The satellite caught something. It’s sending its reports. Quick, come to the lab. It’s time for us to prove the fact ‘the Earth IS round’ is perfectly true.”
“But weren’t we researching ‘the Earth is FLAT’. But how come it became round now?”
“Ooops, Sorry. I had tried to mean that. Come let’s go.”
“But why can’t it wait? The reports are not going to vanish.”
“You know what; I was just informed that the Russian Govt. has also hit upon our evidences. If we don’t make it quick they will snatch all the limelight for which we have contributed such painful efforts. That’s why I am pressuring you to hurry up!”
“Okay, if you insist.”
We drove frantically through the peaceful countryside, away from the comforts my dear little home had always provided. We crossed the shallow stream, parked our cars in a clearing in the middle of the forest and moved on foot. On turning a corner we reached our destination where all our secrets were held together and was guarded very jealously by all our team members. I sat down in front of the huge monitor, the EYE of the satellite NAcup 3. The view it took from the side indeed proved that the Earth is flat.
Rohit and Lara, our two team members had taken down the previous views and calculated the angle and area very deftly. I noted down the bordering areas; the water, the continents that lay at the very edge. I don’t want to go through all the descriptions of our penniless efforts through which we went in the next three to four hours. At last all the pictures and essential notes were taken down roughly in the computer. The only work left was to gather all the information orderly and lay it out in a presentable fashion. For this work Dr.Ghosh and I put our heads together and tried our level best to make it as impressive as we could.
“Yes! We did it, Manoj, we are successful!” cried Dr.Ghosh.
“You may think so, but I think you are forgetting something, something very essential, which can bring disaster upon our work. And also if you are correct, the Russian Govt. may get ahead of us snatching away all the limelight as you say. We both do not want either of the two occurrences to be gifted to us, so I can trust you to also think of all minor details of our joint project just as I.”
“I can’t understand what you are trying to say. Please be clear, time is very expensive at the moment!” “I have reminded you; my duty ends here. Thus, your duty starts now. Use your brains Dr.Ghosh.”
I left Dr.Ghosh scratching his head and looking perplexed just as I was a few hours ago. I sat on a bench in the canteen nearer to the room heater to keep myself warm. I looked ahead of myself feeling lighter than I have felt for the past few months. The waiter brought me my snacks packed by my housemaid. I munched on them freeing the hunger which had been suppressed inside me for the past eight to nine hours. When all the food along with the masala tea made by the waiter was finished I decided it was better to resume my work which I had abandoned for a little time.
I walked up the stairs through the corridors and reached the main door. Turning the handle I entered the satellite room to look upon Dr.Ghosh doing the work which I had entrusted upon him. When he saw me he smiled and nodded his head but did not move from his position, though his genuine smile had told me that he was not angry upon me.
“Now you may all go and have a break. Meet us in the crossroads as decided,” said Dr.Ghosh ending the meeting which he was conducting.
“You saved my neck on time. This excitement had carried me away making me neglect my duty. Thanks to you we are saved from the tragedy.”
“Now let’s blast away our satellite NAcup 3.”
“Yes, let’s do it together.”
We went to the control room at the side of the satellite room from where Captain Hait was controlling the NAcup 3 according to our needs. We freed him also from his long post to relax with our other team members and moved forward.
“Being the heads of the project has brought us so many responsibilities, isn’t it?” said he.
“Yes. From preventing our greed to finish this project so as not over stress them to moving up ourselves towards the sky.”
“And now with a small finishing touch we can declare the project ‘The Earth is flat’ complete.”
“And we will do it together by not supervising but doing it in our own hands.”
We looked at each other with security that nothing was impossible if two friends are together. We moved up to the desk, put out our hands, gripped the blast handle tight and … 1...2...3... “BLAST”. I opened my eyes and immediately registered that something had gone wrong, not only wrong it had gone terribly wrong. I heard Dr.Ghosh screaming “The blast happened inside here and not inside the satellite”. I realized what had happened as I got engulfed in the dark smoke and fell down upon the polished floor losing my sense.
“Come on wake up or else you’ll miss the bus. What happened can’t you hear me?”
I sat up rubbing my blurred eyes on hearing the continuous screams of my mother over the sound of the kitchen. I looked here and there before my senses came back. I heaved a sigh of relief and smiled at myself for my foolishness. Thank God everything is all right in my mind! The Earth is still ellipse shaped and has no chances of becoming flat. Everything was just under a pressure of the Geography exam that we have today.