[The advent my Avatar has been known of and predicted for thousands of years in various holy books and obscure texts, people were talking about my prophecies as the Kalki Avatar before Pralaya and now, after Pralaya I’m here among you as the old sages have predicted before ages.]
I almost jog and catch up to the strange man.
“Your test room is at the end of this hallway,” he says, “follow me.” His voice is strange, perhaps due to his age. He is looking old, some wrinkles over his face are revealing his age otherwise the veins webbing on skin don’t let me assume his age.
He stops after a couple of minutes and looks back. I stop.
As he again starts to walk he says, “Listen, this is the stage one of the taste. It’s about strength and body structure.”
I nod, wondering why he is telling me that.
“One can be ready and prepared for this,” he looks into my face, we are still walking, “at least you are.”
I don’t speak anything, we continue walking. The hallway seems to go on forever.
“The healer can’t know how much strength is in your body until you let him know,” he says, “his knowledge depends on the machine and you have to remember one thing.”
“What?” Now I dare to ask.
“Don’t show your strength,” he whispers, “don’t use all of your strength when the healer says to do so. He can’t know if you have used all your strength or not.”
“Why?’ I whisper back, curiously.
“He isn’t a human,” he says, “He is a robot.”
“What’s a robot?”
“I’ve no time to explain all this,” he sounds in hurry, “remember he is a machine but just looks like a human. He can’t do anything beyond his limits.”
“Okay,” I mumble, watching the irritation on his face.
“Why are you helping me?”
“I’ve got orders.”
“From whom?” My throat begins to tighten and release, tighten and release.
He says sadly. “I’m not authorized to reveal the name.”
“Okay,” I say, trying another one. “Who are you?”
“Don’t you have a name?”
“I’ve but I’m not supposed to tell you.”
“Why are you telling this to only me, not anyone else?”
“You are in danger. Not others.”
“Because they are searching for you,”
“What about other conversants?”
“They are not searching for a conversant.”
“Something else but what I don’t know.” He says, “I’ve never administered tests.”
I say nothing. My throat is spasming; fear makes it hard to breathe as I think about what they are searching for.
He touches my shoulder, “stage one isn’t hard, but the second stage is,” he says, at normal volume, which makes me a bit calm.
“What should I do in stage two?” I pass my right hand through my hair – I do it when I’m confused.
“I don’t know,” he says, “but you will get help there too.”
My stomach tightens if help won’t come. I try to imagine I’ll get help but my thoughts are going haywire. Who is he? Why is he helping me? If they are not searching for conversant than for what they are searching? What will be in the second stage?
I feel fear, my palms sweaty, my mouth dry, and a lump in my throat.
I look at him as we reached a door, his eyes are incomprehensible. I can’t understand why he is helping me. I wonder if anyone knows me beyond the wall.
“Remember, they want to know if there is an avatar inside you, but the healer is a robot and his evaluation depends on your answers, so the better chance you have not to be caught if you lie about everything he asks, he can’t look into your brain like the Devatas can.”
“Got it,” I say, looking at the door in front of us.
“If they ask you what the Creator is, tell them he is God. Heaven forbid, don’t speak anything stupid like the incarnation of Kaliyuga or they would kill you, instant.”
“Uh,” I mumble, something in my stomach clenching like first.
“Now, be brave, Samrat,” he says, opening the door and I am surprised how he knows my name, “you are not like others.”
The room beyond the door is almost double the size of the room in which I have spent the night with a bed, some stools, two chairs, and some odd machine like that motorcycle. I've never seen a room with so many strange things and the room is uncomfortably large. It reminds me of the hall in which I was before a while, but here I’m alone not with my people.
Near a machine made of metal and white in colour, is standing a man. I know he is the healer and waiting for me.
The strange man signals me to go inside and when I am inside the room he closes the door behind me. He doesn’t come along with me.
I look at the Healer, he is taller than me, not severe looking as Nirbhaya nor ugly looking like Devatas. He is dark, his eyes are odd, blinking unnaturally, his shoulders not moving as if he isn’t breathing at all, he wears a white coat- like a suit of traders- and the same colour’s pant. I see X-145 written on his neck.
I try to be brave but a dull feeling settles at the bottom of my stomach. There is no chance at all I'm taking another step further if it’s on my own but I do.
A huge mirror covers a whole wall of the room, I see myself walking towards the healer in the mirror. I am terrified and looking pale, not like I was looking in my room mirror. I am seeing myself in the mirror but not like I’ve seen myself in my room, comparing my wheat skin with Padma's colour and feeling I’m a perfect match for her. Here I’m afraid and look pale.
In my room mirror, I felt myself resemble the Nirbhaya, my face was firm though now covered in fear, my body is still looking as strong as a Nirbhaya but my face is white not wheat color. My face is as white as the face of a Devata, perhaps in fear.
I feel a fast fantasy to run away from the room, run away in the hallways, run away from the test building. Then, immediately, I feel this is the worst of all possible options.
“Your name?” the healer asks, his voice mild, slow but I feel something strange like hail hitting the ground as if it isn't a human.
“Samrat is my name,” I say, wondering why he doesn’t know my name.
“Okay Samrat,” he says, his eyes blink. “Sit on the bed.” he smiles tightly. Everything about him is tight: his skin is tight and looks inhuman someway, his eyes are human but they don’t blink as rapidly as human eyes should, his lab coat is white but inside it, there isn’t any movement, even his chest isn’t heaving as if he isn’t breathing. He is looking straight at me, and I have the impression that he isn't a human. He is a Robot as the helper has said to me in the hallway but what’s a Robot is I don’t know.
I take a deep breath and I do as he says. I find myself chanting Om. My teacher says it gives you mental strength. I don’t believe in such superstitions but I’m chanting the mantra.
The healer starts from my head and proceeds all the way to the toes, examining my head, eyes, chest, abdomen, musculoskeletal system, such as my hands and wrists, nervous system functions, such as speech and walking.
He touches my body here and there, checking skin, hair, and nails.
“It’s the first round,” he says, still scrutinizing my body, “no defiance.” He mumbles and writes something in a paper with a stick type object which was pointed at the end.
“Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?” he smiles, “it makes you feel at ease.”
“I’m a Sunya and a Sunya has nothing to tell about him except his name and I think you know my name.” I lie, thinking about how long he has to hear if I lunch myself into the speech about what I’m and what I feel.
He slams a blue button on the metal table, “what do you think about the Creator?”
“He is God and we aren’t holy enough to speak that name,” I say, and I’m thinking of my mother. My mother has told me that and today I use the same word, and perhaps that’s why knowledge is important.
“Expected answer,” he nods, “now the second round,” he put the paper and the flat piece of wooden board to support while writing, “are you ready?”
He observes my face for a while and says, “Stand near that wall.”
I stand near the wall exactly where he has pointed.
He comes to me and looks over my head on the wall where there are different words written in black colour.
I know them – they were numbers.
He takes the paper with supporters and writes, “five feet nine inches.”
When he puts down the paper I look at my back so as not to make him doubt I am observing what he is writing.
“Stand on this,” he drags out a round object under the bed, it’s almost five inches in diameter and three inches thick, all white and made of metal.
I put my first leg on it, a needle in a small transparent glass area in the machine moves and I put the second leg, I am on the machine now.
He observes the needle it stops on 65.
He takes paper and supporters again and notes 65 K.G.
“Please sit on the bed.” He says.
I sit on the bed. He puts that machine back under the bed and then attaches a wire to something made of a black material which isn’t metal.
Then he attaches another end of the wire to my chest.
I don’t know what he is doing.
He writes –heartbeat- normal- check.
He attaches another wire to my wrist and observes for a while.
He writes –pulse-normal – check.
I do as he says.
He attaches the wire to my back.
“Okay, come to a normal position.”
He writes - breathing rate – normal – check.
He puts a small object made of glass in my mouth, something like a silver coin, shining but not solid but liquid moves inside the object.
He takes the object out of my mouth.
He writes - body temperature- normal- check.
He took out a cloth-like a sack and rounded it around my arm, the cloth has a wire attached to it and the end of the wire is a balloon, he presses and releases the balloon a few times, pumping the sir in the cloth.
He removes the cloth from my arm.
He writes - blood pressure—normal – check.
“The second round is finished.” He smiles at me.
I can’t decide what I should do – smile back at him or not. I choose the latter.
“Tell me about things you like?” he asks, “your hobbies, your wishes, your interests etc.”
“I like to work beyond the wall,” I say.
“Because we should like it. It’s the wish of the god.”
“Nothing,” I say, “I’m Sunya and a Sunya should have no hobby or interest.”
“To get food every day.” I say, “we shouldn't wish more than that.”
“Who told you that?”
“Do you believe that?”
“Why shouldn’t I?” I say, “If we get food why should we wish for anything else.”
“What if you don’t get food?”
“Then I wish I could get food,” I say.
“Good,” he says, “now is the third and rapid round.” He murmurs to him or to me is uncertain.
He touches my cheeks and my neck and many body parts.
The exposed areas of the skin are observed – normal –check.
The size and shape of any lesions are noted- normal- check.
He unknots my hair from the knot and checks them.
Head - examined
The hair- examined
Face - examined
Now he checks my eyes, he throws light in them with a small torch and writes:
The external structures are observed.
He claps and the bulb in the room goes off.
Now it is darkness.
He is doing something with an object and again he claps.
Now the room is illuminated with fluorescent light.
The internal structures observed using an ophthalmoscope in a darkened room.
Now he checks my ears and writes.
The external structures are inspected.
The internal structures are observed with an otoscope.
Nose and sinuses.
The external nose is examined.
The nasal mucosa and internal structures are observed with the use of a penlight and a nasal speculum.
Mouth and pharynx.
The lips, gums, teeth, the roof of the mouth, tongue, and pharynx are inspected.
The lymph nodes on both sides of the neck and the thyroid gland are examined by feeling with the fingers.
The spine and muscles of the back are palpated and checked for tenderness.
The upper back, where the lungs are located, is palpated on the right and left sides and a stethoscope is used to listen for breath sounds.
Breasts and armpits.
Lymph nodes in the armpits are felt with the hands.
Movement of the joints in the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and jaw are checked while the patient is in a sitting position.
A stethoscope is used to listen to the heart's rate and rhythm. The blood vessels in the neck are observed and palpated.
I can see what he is writing; he isn’t hiding it from me as he is thinking I can’t read. No Sunya can read – universal truth.
“You should lie flat”
He checks the legs and the remaining parts and writes in the paper.
Now I am flat on my side so I can’t read what he is writing and if I can still there isn’t any benefit. I can just read what he is writing. I can't understand the meaning of these words.
“In normal position.” He says.
I have come to a normal position.
“Take a few steps,”
I do as he says.
I do as he says, thinking it's the favourite of every teenage Sunya.
“Do deep knee bend”
“Grip this pipe.”
I grip the pipe.
“With all of your strength.”
I apply force but not all. I remember that Devatas’ words – don’t show them all your strength.
“Now bend this pipe using all your strength,” he says, “if you can bend it you will pass the test.”
Should I apply all my force to bend it? I think. But that man has warned me. What if he was wrong? What if they kill me if I can’t pass the test?
“Bend this,” he repeats - no anger or irritation in his voice.
I’ll not use all my strength. I think. If this is the way to pass the test then half of the newbie won’t make it. If they kill half of us then I should be one of them. I don’t want to go back alone.
I pretend to apply all my strength but use only one-fourth of my strength.
4.5 Out of 5. He reads data from a screen joined with the pipe by a wire and records my score.
That Devata was right, if I would have used all my strength it could have four times more than the machine can show.
“Pull that chain,” he says, pointing at a chain attached with a pulley.
I do as he says but not using even half of my strength.
“4.5 out of 5. He records it.
“Push that,” he says, making me stand against a metal wall.
I do as he says, this time just using one-fifth of my strength.
4 out of 5. He records again and says, “Your test is over,” he smiles at me, “you have cleared it without a small defiance. Your body is perfect.”
I feel I should thank him for the praise of my body but I don’t as I’m not want their doubt that I’m something more than a Sunya.
“Sit on the bed.”
When I sit on the bed he injects a stitching needle that we buy from the trader but hollow in my fingertip and draws blood in a small transparent cylinder. I don't know for what.
“Now the last question,” he says, “what colour do you like?”
My heart sinks down to my stomach. I’m not prepared for this question. I don’t know what to say. I’m thinking – I mean trying to think straight, but my head has two voices. One says RED. It's the voice of the conversant inside me. As a Sunya I want to say GREEN- our colour but the voice of the conversant inside my head is growing louder and louder. And now, finally, I say, “Green.”
“Wait for the mental test.” He says, goes to a door in the room, and closes it behind him.
I tell myself to stay calm, stay clear. But I can’t as I think what if they would figure out about me. Do they kill my father too?
No, they wouldn’t. My father doesn’t have anything to do with me. He never even believes about the avatar. It’s my mother who believes I’m the Avatar. It’s my teacher who believes I’m the avatar. But does that matter?
The raid at Ratan uncle’s hut was because Ratan uncle broke their rules. and they have killed the whole family.
Will my mistake change my whole family?
Will I become a reason for their death?
I shudder passed through my chest. Feet pounding, fists clenched, I breathe aloud.
I wish I could run outside, away from the taste and fear of the test building. Sweat trickles down the front of forehead, through my hair, across my face. I wipe it away with my shirt sleeve and glance back at the door.
to be continue...