Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Confessional - Final Part

Galileo 1, 2470.

Tribunal Decision - Interplanetary High Crimes

Based on the confession of Mr. Deshprem Babu, and the circumstantial evidence, the tribunal concludes that Mr. Babu was not responsible for the death or disappearance of Mr. Swami. Just like a weapon maker cannot be held responsible for the deaths caused by the weapons created by him, Mr. Babu cannot be held responsible for the misuse of his machine, without his permission.  

This tribunal hereby acquits him of all charges brought before it.

Alicia Wang-Kumar


Galileo 21, 2470.

Tribunal Decision - Chief Interplanetary Authority

In review of the tribunal decision dated Galileo 1, 2470, in the case of Mr. Deshprem Babu, this tribunal upholds the earlier decision with express command to perform the following acts, that are hereby authorized:

1. That, all the evidence used in this trial be destroyed and expunged from legal records.
2. That, there is no official change in the stance of the interplanetary council that time travel is impossible.
3. That, Mr. Babu be advised to seek psychological counselling.

Ali Robson Zhang
Chief Judge


(Although Mr. Deshprem Babu was not known to keep a personal log, a single entry was found in his journal, for the last day of the year 2470. This is the last document found in his possessions, which makes a reference to his experiments with time travel.)

 Galileo 31, 2470.

This was a very eventful year. The acquittal took a load off my chest. 

In the last few years, I have reviewed the  logs of my time machine many times, since I was able to recover some data from it after it got damaged in the power surge. My calculations confirm that Mr. Ghosh's fountain pen indeed made its way to the medieval times. I have no way of confirming this as I have stopped all my experiments with time. But, I am completely baffled to note that Mr. Ghosh's writing career was not affected by the arrival of his pen in a time, a few centuries before his own. 
With much thinking, I can arrive at only one conclusion -- that the lost pen, did not belong to Mr. Ghosh. In spite of the tremendous respect I have for the curatorial abilities of the Kolkata museum, I think that they wrongly classified someone Else's pen as his. And that, also allows me to close up this rather unfortunate chapter of my life, on the last day of this year.

My work with time has always made me aware of the strange things it can do. I wonder, if there is something more to this, that I am not aware of.

Kolkata. March 15, 2011

He didn't expect his entry to be so easy. It was about 3 AM, and all the guards seemed to be fast asleep. He had scaled the back wall of the mission with relative ease, and it took him about five minutes to pick the lock and get into the exhibit room. He was really good at this stuff, and time had made him only better. At some level, he felt guilty about stealing from the catholic mission, but he had really fallen on hard times.

He had read in the newspaper about the traveling exhibition of the personal possessions of medieval popes from the Vatican. These exhibits were always interesting, since there was always something he could sell to a collector. As he walked into the hall, an ornate old chest immediately drew his attention. He opened it, and found bundles of paper and a few wooden artifacts inside it. Suddenly, he heard a loud bang. He had startled a cat inside the exhibit room, and it had tipped over a metal statuette. Suddenly, he heard a whistle, and some hurried footsteps. He had to grab whatever he could, and get out. In the box he had opened, he saw a cylindrical container, of the size of a large candle. Perhaps, it had something valuable in it! He grabbed it, and ran out, just in time to avoid the guards and jump over the wall that he had so easily scaled.

He was very curious to see what was inside the cylindrical container, which looked really old. As he opened it, he found something, that was wrapped in many layers of cloth and paper. Finally, after much careful unwrapping, he was very surprised to find a fountain pen inside it. As he held up the pen to the first light of the day, he shook his head.  

This was no antique from the medieval times!

He was holding a shining Sheaffer fountain pen in his hand. This would still fetch him a good price. There was a shop he knew, where he could sell it. He would tell them that it was a gift from his father. And, that he had fallen on hard times.


Mr. Saha was quite surprised to find the famous writer, Biswanath Ghosh, walking into his shop again. This would be for the second time. In two days.

"Mr. Ghosh, what a pleasure! Would you like to buy another pen from us, Sir?"

Mr. Ghosh looked a little unhappy. "Mr. Saha, I have bought many expensive fountain pens from you in the past, and I have never had the reason to complain, have I?. You know that I am very picky about my fountain pens, but given my past experience with you, I could just buy the Sheaffer yesterday without even checking it. And, when I tried it out at night, I found that it had terrible flow. I just don't know what to tell you." 

"Oh! I am so sorry. Please accept my sincere apologies, Sir. I will get you a replacement immediately."

In a few minutes, Mr. Saha came back, a little red-faced from the back of the store. "Sir, I am terribly sorry, but it seems that we have run out of our supply of  Sheaffers. But, I do have a slightly used Sheaffer that someone sold me this morning. Would you like to try it Sir? I will give you a substantial discount on it. And of course, you get to keep the free Sheaffer watch that came with the pen. With our compliments!"

Mr. Ghosh was hesitant, but as soon as he saw the pen, he had a strange sense of Deja-vu. As he held the pen in his hand, he felt that he had held it before. Somewhere. Or may be, sometime. As he started writing with the pen, he felt that the tip had worn just the right way, as if, he had been using the pen for ages. This was the pen he needed! Mr. Ghosh had a smile on his face.
As he got into a taxi, Mr. Ghosh looked at his newly acquired pen again. He had expected to spend at least an hour at Mr. Saha's shop, trying out the various pens he had in stock. But, he was done in a few minutes, and he had a pen that he couldn't complain about. He had expected to be late for his next appointment at Park Street, but now, it seemed that he would be early. It seemed that although he had expected to lose time, he had actually gained time this morning.

As he looked at his gleaming new watch, Mr. Ghosh smiled again. Time had never ceased to amaze him -- he wondered, what surprise it had in store for him -- the next time.

(The End)

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