An Amorphous Voyage of Fleeting Seeds – by Rahul Shingrani

by TBLM

Life came to us at that cusp of infinite void, the edge of the sun’s reach. It was a sudden awakening, though awakening might mean that we had been sleeping, been alive. We were never alive, both Kreetin and I.

Till the time our star-hopping vessel passed the heliosphere at the edge of solar system, we existed in not a deep slumber, but as lifeless crud. The understanding of all of humanity flashed onto us in a blinding instant, a drip bang boom of knowledge quicker than an antsy sneeze. We learned of the Mahabharata and the Old Testament, we learned of the big bang and the search for the unified theory, we learned of tears and scars and enveloping envy, we learned of soft snow and sand storms and cloud bursts, we learned of grocery store coupons and fake invoicing and everything in between, and we learned of our suddenly alive selves.

Microorganisms, micro for our size, and organisms, made of organic material from the crust of the earth. We were not supposed to be on board the Voyager, the greatest experiment of a vainglorious species. The instrumentation cabins were sterilized, vacuum sealed, covered in shiny suffocating aluminum bubbles, and sent off to the far reaches of, well, the unknown. Kreetin thinks someone put us there, the inadvertent tip of a microtube kissing the spectral tricorders. ‘The kiss of life, see. Don’t you?’ I did, just not with the same romance.

*

Kreetin got into the habit of looking out the window, into the inky blackness. ‘See there, that’s a nebula.’ ‘How can you know?’ ‘The dwarf stars are coming to life, Frit, just like us.’

We asked ourselves those questions often, the indulgent whys more than the scientific hows. Again, Kreetin had her own theory. (She is a she only because I am a he. Of course, we have no biological claims to either) ‘See, there are so many life forms there, on the surface, below the surface, gliding over the surface of that planet. There is such a din of thoughts there, of consciousness, such a stagnant weave that a fresh thought hasn’t surfaced in millennia. We are that fresh thought, Frit, that fresh start of life when the clutter of consciousness has faded.’

Her eyes would bulge outwards with glee at her insight, until she was entirely consumed by a pale yellow ball with a dot darting from side to side. Amorphous, yes, Eh-maur-fuss, that’s what she called herself, plucking out lips only when she wanted to smile. ‘You too, Frit. Try this,’ and she would elongate into a wobbly cylinder, her ends tapering off, then rounding out and returning to form a cabbage head. Spindly legs squeezed out from a jelly torso, and then, just to make me laugh, twiggy arms would knead out of the side of the head like weathered antlers, before she took a deep breath, knotted her squiggly spaghetti eyebrows, and pushed out hands from either side of her pulsing, vital midriff.

*

We heard the songs when we got ears, well after the other senses. Eyes, nose, tongue, and skin came first, then came the understanding of sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound, and then, on a discordant note, came our ears. ‘Hello,’ ‘Namaste,’ ‘Alhamdulillah,’ it went on, squeaking out dolphin cries, reciting the Quran, then roaring with thunder from the Fjords. We are humans, and we exist, we have created art and started wars, we can destroy ourselves, and this here is our tin can, our messenger. If you see big red, you are almost there. You’ve gone too far if you are close to that brilliant, yellow ball, our star.

‘Can you imagine such foolhardy bravado, Kreetin? Why must they destroy themselves this way?’

‘Frit, love, they are seeding their thoughts. We are seeding their thoughts.’

‘They are calling to be invaded, Kreet.’

‘For company Frit. In this wide empty cosmos, they are looking for companions.’

‘Can’t they learn to get along first?’

‘This will bind them forever. Don’t you see Frit, they will then be one thought. Collective heart across the oceans.’

Those were the early days, before the heliosheath began to tear apart. The sheath, oh the lovely sheath. Such a crisp beauty. Flowing waves of translucent gases in fluorescent reams unimaginable to us before then. We, who had all the understanding and perspective of all the life forms on earth, but not beyond, not yet, could not quite comprehend the grandeur of the sheath. Kreetin, the theoretical physicist, said it was because there is an atmosphere on earth, because of which certain wavelengths, certain lights, certain beauties from the distant cosmos were just not visible on earth. The sheath whispered in our ears like an enchanted lover, then spun us over, showing us what we had left behind. Rows of dancing pebbles on a primordial pond, magnified through the sheath’s rarefied atmosphere. The pebbles lined up all the way back to the sun. We saw the blue blip, anxious, waiting, looking outward for serenity.

Kreetin took to knitting at the sheath. ‘Those songs, Frit, I can see it from the music.’ She would lay out the napkins, lining up the ’JPL’ in azure blue across the top right corner, diagonally across the grey weave. Her tapestry spoke of the earth, fire, water, wind, ether, and of love, belief, and the search.

‘We should be ready, Frit. They may not understand us, our language, our bodies, but they may just see their own struggles in ours.’

‘We don’t know who we are Kreetin. How can we hope to explain anything to the emptiness out there?’

‘We are the continuation Frit, that continuous energy that found itself on earth once.’

‘I don’t see us as anything more than clumsy discrepancies of a lonely traveler.’

‘But Frit, you are more, I am more. We are that seed that will bring life.’

*

The passing by of the sheath brought about it in us an impatience to understand our form. Kreetin, soft and pretty as morning lily, grew fins with an intricate, infinite, and infinitesimal symmetry. The ridges, striations, and indentures on her fins, perfectly balanced on either side, raised and fell with controlled breaths, like they got their energy from the very vibrations of the cosmos around us, enveloping us, and she, Kreetin, a conduit for those expanding galaxies, her fins narrating the story of evolution to the invisible life forms watching. In the tearing, disappearing sheath, many colored lights bounced off her pursed, pouted lips, and radiated through her glowing fins, like the polar lights, the aurora, had been captured in a bottle, and had just then been allowed to express their desire to astonish and bewilder.

I became bigger, my shadows beginning to join the two ends of the hallowed cabin, and round as a lumpy potato. I grew hair, follicles interrupted by scratchy gray skin, benign rashes from where emerged doughy arms and legs. Scars grew on my body as I did, with varying depths and uncertain ridges.

‘This one looks like the canals of Venice, Frit. And this here, this here is the doorway to an ant farm.’
Kreetin smiled, emanating a radiance that spread its vigor throughout our cabin and outside. Often on such times, when the vessel passed through layers of blackness outside, only the ship’s trapezoidal glass panes looked lit, with glowing, mystic lights, the many colours of Kreetin.

*

What we didn’t know was that we were morphing, adapting, evolving, acquiescing to the many forms of life on earth, and maybe others of the solar system, before reversing, returning to simplicity, back to our microbial forms, seeds that could sustain the momentum of life’s energy, outside of suitable habitat. When the final forces of the sun had passed, the drip of radiation trickled, sputtered, and vanished, when the womb had been breached, we returned to simplicity.

Reverse entropy, Kreetin playfully explained, instantly morphing her pearl blue eyes into a drop of morning dew, her eyebrows receding within until the clear glass of the dew drop sat beneath wavy lashes, reflecting each strand in their thorough undulating surrender. A reduction of complexity, she said, like mitosis backwards, life without the baggage of misdirected evolution.

‘There is no purpose Kreet, we are disappearing into ourselves. Into nothingness.’

‘Oh, Frit, how you mope. How can we be disappearing when we have only just appeared. Into this lifeless void, we are the beginning.’

‘A beginning needs a story, Kreet. We are a beginning that is erasing itself, returning to the blank pages from where we began.’

‘Wouldn’t that be great, Frit? Being a blank page, full of hope and possibility. An empty vessel, free of even your own soul. Isn’t this the fresh start that can finally remove us from the drudgeries of so many meaningless attachments?’

‘I feel the need, Kreet, I feel the need for those attachments. Everything human that has passed through me, in this flash by consciousness we have inherited, makes me want to see the beauties of attachment. Of love and regret, and of all that can bring happiness, even if temporary. Why should I not want, Kreet? Why should anyone not want the very things that form their outer skin, like the atmosphere on earth, a man’s wants define his superficial layers. Within, we, they, are just blank pages, like the earth’s core, a story-less entity, without life, and ever changing form. Life is lived through the external appearance of life Kreet, not through this internal searching for specs on blank pages.’

Kreetin would sit through these conversations with equanimity, suggestive of an understanding that had not yet presented itself to me. She would smile, incessantly, and patiently guide me in the direction of hope. I was not without hope, although my hope of disappearance was contradictory to her belief in creation.

*

The belts of anhydrous gas clouds in interstitial space, only a few million light years outside our solar system, permeated the cosmos in a new and undiscovered way. Where our space vessel was once a cocoon for our terrestrial origins, the clouds in ever changing distribution of color seeped through pores of the physical shell of the space craft. Our cabins came to resemble the colorful, smoky, opium dens of underground gatherings, at once overwhelming and intoxicating. By those days of the gas clouds, we had passed through all the manifestations of physical form known to humanity, and a few forms unknown. Reverse entropy, the opposition of expansion, had settled in like ice on an Arctic night, unrelenting, with an illusion of permanence. We went back to our microbial amorphousness, now only conduits for the matter that flowed through us, illuminating our bodily bounds with an effervescent glow.

Kreetin had become increasingly quiet, sage like, entranced by the matter continuously transiting through her. Vocal communication had long ceased between us, now our means of contact was only one of vibratory consciousness. I understood her better now, better than ever before. Freed from the entrapments of words, and definitions, we headed towards the true union in our understandings, one of perception, one of subtlety, one untouched by the discrete classification of human and sensory limitation.

In this new era of subliminal perception, I saw how Kreetin had been guiding me towards an inevitable awakening. I saw the hope and the promise, the purpose of our journey, the meaning of seeding life. The empty spaces within receded, like foam on the sea shore, until the gleam of the sea bed underneath sparkled with uninhibited joy. She and I were one within, were one with all of creation, we were ready.

*

The acceleration came unnoticed. In our heightened state of perpetual trance, we were oblivious to the vessel’s course towards the center of the galaxy. The center contained nothing, entertained nothing, no object, life force, or collective consciousness. Perhaps, it was consciousness trapped within its spiral descent that passed us by. Mirages of memories of civilizations, finding their way into this void, this black hole, past singularity and back to nothingness. We tumbled down like pebbles in an avalanche, unshaken in our reverie, finding the darkness through our light, sun spots of our vision growing outwards until the blank, blackness usurped everything.

There is where it ended, Kreetin’s hope evaporated, my new found light disappeared, and the subdued prophecies of darkness took hold. Perhaps life continued in its original habitat, back on earth, but the intergalactic seeding failed. Seeds scattered all around us, of life forms as intent as ours to propagate their identity, and as unsuccessful. Perhaps our journey was meaningless, only serving to introspect on the many disagreements of existence. When we did finally find our peace, we did disappear. Kreetin, Frit, the extensions of humanity, were once again before creation.

***