“Today is not today,” Kripa blurts out, “It’s yesterday.”
“What?” Sanya can’t bear to not look up from her reception desk.
“Yes. It’s either that or tomorrow is supposed to be the real today.”
“What’s wrong with you today, Kripa? What’s all this mumbo-jumbo?”
“No, no, you don’t get it. Nothing’s wrong with me today. Things were wrong with me yesterday. Today things were supposed to be okay.”
“What is supposed to be okay? What are you saying?”
“The experiment. It was only supposed to last for no real time with no butterfly effect. It wasn’t meant to spill into tomorrow. You are supposed to be you today.”
“I’m supposed to be who?”
“You. The Managing Director. Oh gosh! You don’t get it. Of course, you think you’re the receptionist.”
“Okay. Now, stop it. I don’t know what sort of joke this is, but it’s of poor taste to make fun of someone’s death.”
“Death? Whose death?” Kripa was confused.
“You don’t know? Mr. Pandey passed away last night.”
“Who’s Mr. Pandey?”
“Have you been drinking? Mr. Ravi Pandey, our MD.”
“O, my God! You mean Ravi, the peon? He’s dead? But he wasn’t supposed to. How could he…?”
“Are you completely out of your mind?” Sanya snapped “You’re calling our MD who’s just passed away a peon?”
“But… but it’s impossible.”
“You are the one who’s being impossible right now, Kripa. Irrespective of how we hated our MD, it’s a grave news. Show some respect.”
“We’ve got to do something, Ms. Arora… Sanya, I mean.”
“Hey, are you crying? Kripa… Kripa, look at me. What’s wrong? What’s been bothering you?”
“Tomorrow…my tomorrow, you came up with an idea to use your gadget for our own little adventure,” Kripa says as Sanya looks at her with a puzzled face. “Hear me out before you say anything.”
“You are an MD of this company, so it was easy for you to get that…that…experimental gadget for yourself.”
“But I never was an MD,” she blurts.
Sanya shakes her head. “You are being ridiculous now and I didn’t understand a single word of this.”
She looks at the big neon sign board behind her. It said ‘TIME LAPSE TECHNOLOGIES.’
“I remember everything Kripa…I am a receptionist and I have been here for years…how can I ever be a MD…it is absurd. Mr. Pandey is…I mean he was the MD. I owed my job to him…and you did too. I think you had little too much to drink last night. You should go home. I will have to manage so many things today. The phones have been ringing non-stop since Mr. Pandey’s news became public…”
“Stop this nonsense Kripa,” Sanya snaps.
“She is right, you know,” she says in an all too familiar voice. “That was not a simulation.”
The person in front of them was a smart woman, in her mid-forties, with long flowing black hair. Kripa thought that there was something sinister about this person, but she recognized her.
“Hello, as you know, I am Priya Pandey, and as of now, I am the new MD of Time Lapse Technologies,” she said, with a smile, looking straight at Kriya.”I want you to call the staff and assemble in the Boardroom at ten.”
She turned around and walked into the office that was previously occupied by her husband. She shut the door.
Kripa looked at the shut door and wondered why none of the employees were allowed into that office. She looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was nine o’clock. One hour. She rushed to her desk to make those calls.
Twelve nervous employees were assembled in the boardroom, not knowing whether or not they would have a job tomorrow.
At exactly ten o’clock, in walked Priya Pandey, and immediately introduced herself.
“I m distraught that my husband, Ravi is not with us anymore. But he gave me clear instructions that I must continue with what he called the Project, no matter what.” She continued, as she wiped away a tear.
“Ravi had been working night and day on a microchip that will revolutionize the world. It is the size of a pin-head, and once implanted, into a human, off course, will give that person access immediately to every bit of information ever known to man. This means that what took twenty to thirty years, or even a lifetime to learn, will now be instantly available.”
There were expressions of disbelief from the listeners, all highly qualified technicians.
“The upside is if you want to learn to play a musical instrument, work out mathematical and chemical formulas, and a billion other things, you can do it at the click of your finger. It will be the biggest search engine in the Universe, all in your brain, which the size of a grape-fruit.”
“The microchip is a learning device. It’s not magic. It is science. The person has to spend that much time learning it. The time spent, though, will be nullified. If you spend five years learning say a guitar, you will have to live every second of it. Learn. But then the time you spend doing it will be discarded from the universal time line. You will wake up in the tomorrow. Not five years later. For the rest of the world, you have learnt guitar instantly but you have spent five years doing it.”
“We are going to test this on the four of us,” Mrs. Pandey announced as the lights came on again.
“Four?” Sanya said getting her brows together.
“Why did you think I was so cool today? We are going to activate this device from yesterday when Ravi was alive. He will be among us again,” Mrs. Pandey said with a big smile. “Let’s go.”
Year 1 Day 1:
Sanya: I want to study and gain the qualification to progress in this company. I am tired of being a receptionist.
Kripa: I want to earn a lot of money. A Lot.
Ravi: I want to research other devices and mechanism that can advance humanity.
Priya: Me too.
Year 1 Day 70:
Sanya: (With ear-to-ear smile) I cleared the qualifiers for theoretical physics!
Kripa: (With a look that a shark has at the sight of blood) I took up another job that pays well. Now I will earn more.
Ravi: (Punching his fist) I have set up an experiment that will solve the yield problem for most of the Kharif crops.
Priya: We have. Let’s hope it works out.
Year 1 Day 330:
Sanya: (Shaking her head with a smile) Wow! What a semester! Studied a lot. Worked a lot. Feels great.
Kripa: (Almost pulling her hair) This job isn’t getting me any money. I have to find something else. Honesty does not pay for sure.
Ravi: (Looking down) This experiment failed. It’s OK! There was a lot of learning. I will keep doing this.
Priya: We will.
Year 2 Day 98:
Sanya: Quantum Physics. What a course! Grueling but equally fun.
Kripa: ‘Time lapse technologies’ is a waste of a company. I am resigning. Peanuts. That’s what I get.
Ravi: German research shows using ammonium chloride helps prevent wilting in rice plantations. I should recreate this in India.
Priya: Why does he keep saying ‘I will’? It’s we. All the time. Together. Anyways.
Year 2 Day 290:
Sanya: Today I learnt how to write the equation of a black hole. Singularity, What a concept! I was meant to be a physicist.
Kripa: (With dark circles under her eyes) it’s been six months since I resigned. I have lost all my money. I have put my house on mortgage. I am interviewing as a baggage handler at Mumbai Airport
Ravi: The experiment failed in Indian conditions. It was a great learning, though.
Priya: I learnt a lot too. Ravi is a brilliant scientist.
Year 3 Day 145:
Sanya: (With tears of joy) I am done! Masters in Theoretical and quantum physics. Now I will apply for raise in my own company.
Kripa: (With a wily smirk) Being a baggage handler is lucrative. I can steal jewelry, cameras and sell them off. It is easy money. People are so stupid checking in such expensive items.
Ravi: This is bloody brilliant! I can’t believe this I found this chemical that prevents insects from destroying rice plants.
Priya: (With blood gushing to her head) We did Ravi! Not only you. Both of us together. Why doesn’t he include me?
Year 3 Day 355:
Sanya: (Jumping in Joy) I am a research scientist now! I am going to make my mark. Be the best.
Kripa: I am Cl-air-vo-yant… I lifted a digicam today and none of the cctvs could pick it. I am getting rich. This is huge money.
Ravi: I am going to France to present this research. Phase 1 was a success.
Priya: I am going to stay back. Only Ravi is going. That’s fine.
Year 4 Day 56:
Sanya: Ravi Sir’s conference went well. He is going to include me in Phase 2. Great opportunity to put some great work out.
Kripa: Guess what! I just found Ravi’s bag on the Paris – Mumbai flight. It had a formula for some new chemical. I will sell this and take down my former boss.
Ravi: Great progress. Phase 2 is a great challenge. This Sanya girl is a nice talent. I am going to include you for the next phase. Where the hell is the formula?
Priya: Phase 1 was a success. I worked so hard with Ravi. I don’t know why he wants Sanya in the project.
Year 4 Day 288:
Sanya: (Pointing at the heaven with pride) Today my research had a major breakthrough. I am made assistant M.D.
Kripa: I have earned millions by selling the formula. My penny pincher ex-boss is down on his knees now.
Ravi: Phase 2 is turning out to be a success. Sanya is a wonder kid. The rival company came up with the chemical. I saw a woman stealing the formula from my bag. It’s Kripa! I am going to call the police.
Priya: Ravi is chasing Sanya too much these days. I will have to teach him a lesson. And Kripa! She is a thief.
Year 4 Day 364:
Kripa: I am in so much trouble. Police have arrested me. I have lost all my money. I am going to kill Ravi for this!
Ravi: I lost my research. It’s over. Who cares about phase 2, now? I just handed everything to Sanya. I don’t feel like continuing with my life.
Priya: He promoted Sanya and not me? I am supposed to be the new M.D. Ravi, I will kill you.
Year 5 Day 1:
“Today is not today,” Kripa blurts out, “It’s yesterday.”