Original: “Kuhum” (Assamese) by Santanoo Tamuly
Translated by: Tinam Borah
A hilly stream…
An icy hillock, tinted raw
A refreshing breeze…
There I saw a group of young college students, jumping about from one rock to another. The girls hopped like grass hoppers and went all the way up to sit on a tall rock… That same hillock! The calm sound of flowing water and a chilling, pleasant breeze of air… There were white reeds growing nearby, which seemed like they were dancing in rhythm with the air, sometimes looking at their reflection in the water of the stream.
One of the girls; let’s call her Sangeeta, was also dancing her head along with the reed, her eyes fixed on it.
And my eyes were still fixed on that hillock. The one on which Sangeeta was sitting.
I had been here many times before. Not to enjoy the natural beauty, though. I’ve been suffering from an illness ever since the day I had come to this place. A mental illness. I felt, there must be some mystery behind this beauty. The enigma of this place somehow fascinated me. Sitting on the sandy bank of this hilly stream, amongst the huge rocks, enthralled me with some strange ecstasy. What was I hoping for? This hillock on which Sangeeta was sitting… It was beginning to crack. I don’t remember when it had started, but one day the rock will split into two halves.
And if a smoky, egg shaped stone emerges from between these halves, I shall not be the least bit shocked.
I shall bring over this strange egg shaped stone to my laboratory. One or two people might speak out in sarcasm, “This huge zero must have come out of his head.”
In any case, whatever others might say, I would not be bothered by any of it. If I could bring to light some new phenomenon, with the help of this huge zero, one day these same men will be stunned and astounded.
May be, I shall be the one to discover the secrets of the primeval earth and its forms, which have become extinct now. The world around me will journey backwards towards the times of the past gradually. The whole backdrop and scenery of the environment around me shall be changed. These woods would seem primitive. Amidst a smoky sky, shall be seen bizarre foliage, reaching the heavens.
At times, an earsplitting uproar would be heard. That would be the sound of busy, hungry creatures in sheer delight.
And today, my mind is perplexed just because of them. I would have probably not been so mystified, had I not found this remaining piece of their carcass, a proof of their existence.
The girls were laughing in amusement, probably at my funny style of dressing and my gesture.
One day, after my research, I’ll say, “This zero is a fossil, an artifact of history.” The enthusiasts of science stories would probably think that I am talking about the whole earth. However, I have no intention of being that broad in perspective. This gigantic zero, the egg-shaped stone had once merged into this hillock. That had been millions of years ago. And…
After one and a half million years of its evolution, I shall settle in my laboratory to unravel the mystery of this zero; the egg of a dinosaur that had died out ages before the birth of man.
The girl whom I had named Sangeeta, must probably be wondering why I am staring at her since so long.
Editor’s Note: The Original Science Fiction was written by Saantanoo Mama, as he is popularly known while he was a Student in the Department of Geological Sciences in Guwahati University in the early 1970s. Recently, the place where the story was conceptualized came into News as a CSIR based Scientist Diganta Narzary claimed to discover a dinosaur egg in the said area.
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