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Adi & Praja 103

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Adi and Praja

Chapter 9 Issue 103: To the City

But heroes have no fear. They have vigilance of course, and a sane and intelligent mind, otherwise they would get in great trouble. But heroes have no fear for things that other people who themselves have never seen what they tell, tell – however eerie.


(to the city)

Now, skipping a few years of Shano’s life, he became fourteen. His desire to discover the whole world had grown bigger and bigger. But he didn’t want to hurt his parents – he only knew that it was a subject about which one should not talk, and therefore he could never ask his parents to go on an adventure. But, being fourteen, he thought he was big enough to make his own decisions. Moreover Crish had been to the city several more times, and was still alive and healthy. So finally Shano decided to sneak away, but thinking of the worries his parents would have, he wrote a reassuring letter and left it under their bed. He wrote: “Dear parents, don’t be afraid. I am fine and I am big now and I am going to do some dangerous things but I won’t die because I am strong. I will come back.” He thought that his parents would understand and never worry now.

He had to walk at least ten days, or more, and slept along the road, or sometimes in houses of kind people, who gave him meals, and sometimes they gave him so much that he was carrying a heavy bag with food enough for a week. So then he gave away everything to children he met further on along the trail. He had never any problems getting enough to eat and make some new friends. When they asked where he was going, he said he was going to get something for his parents in a next village a day’s walk further on, and because that was normal, nobody would ask further questions. When he had walked about nine days he saw, at a distance down from where he was walking, for the first time, a car. It had four wheels and was yellow. Now he was sure that the city existed and Crish’s stories were based on truths. He started walking faster, and more and more cars appeared on the hillsides. Finally he reached the road. He was almost hit by one, because, though he had heard that they were moving faster than birds, he would never have imagined that they were moving that fast. Some lady grasped him by his arm and pulled him forcefully away from the road. He was excited. He wanted to have a car also. He would never hurt anyone, no people and no animals. But to drive a car was really the best thing you can imagine on earth and in the heavens – of that he was convinced. He went down to where he had seen the car. And he was extremely lucky that day. One car stopped and the door opened and a lady came out, and she asked him whether he was going to the city and that he could get a lift (whatever that was). A goddess could not have spoken more beautiful words. He went inside the car, and the lady said to car: “Go home.” The car obeyed immediately, it started to drive faster and faster, and also higher and higher, uphill, and they met many other cars coming from the other side and from side roads. It was a miracle that they never hit each other. The car must be very intelligent, he thought. The city was two hours behind that mountain, she said. (He had thought he had to walk three more days.). He asked: “How does the car know where to go and when to stop and go slow and fast.” “It is the computer,” said the lady. He remembered that years ago Crish had told him about a con-puter and that he had then decided that he himself wanted to become a con-puter. And now their was one in the car – but he saw only the lady. When he heard the word computer his mouth remained half open and he did not believe his ears. Was he dreaming. Did con-puters really exist? But where was he or she or it? She explained that the computer was very small and hidden behind the dashboard. He wanted to see it, but she said that is hidden in a metal box was too small to be seen. Shano had to learn many things, and that is just what he wanted. He tried not to think about his parents anymore – they would not be worried – he had written them a letter before he left. In reality his parents had not slept for more than a week, and when they finally fell asleep it was out of pure exhaustion. They had searched and asked everywhere, to no avail. They still believed (or hoped) that he would come back after a few days. But silently they feared that he met with an accident, or had been kidnapped and been taken to the worst of all places – the city. Weeks went by, months went by, two years went by. They had accepted, as far as they could, that their intelligent and lovely boy had died somewhere – or worse – been taken to the city. They never supposed that he, on his own initiative – had walked almost as far as the city – and if they had, they would have worried even more. Shano, in the mean time, was given a room in the house of a friend of the lady with the car – and now his adventures really began. Everything – literally everything – was totally different from what he had ever seen or imagined. He saw thousands of cars of course, and other vehicles – as they were called – and people with the strangest cloths: some of them almost completely packed with cotton and wool even though it was bloody hot; others, often tall and fat, like the ones who he had passed by his house on the hill-side with white or red skins and light colored hairs were wearing almost nothing, and he could very clearly see the difference between boys and girls now. They were called ‘forrennes’, as far as he could understand. The sounds were tremendous. Day, and even night, all kinds of music came from all sides, but not at all beautiful, compared to the musicians he had met years ago near his home. It was rather shouting, crying, beating, as if the musicians came from hell. But when he went to see them, there were no musicians at all: only black boxes. Sometimes people were dancing frantically around the boxes and kept doing that the whole night. At other times the boxes were talking and making wild and crazy sounds, but nobody paid attention. Many people were shouting on the streets, even the whole day long. Apparently they wanted to make something clear to other people, such as “buy my vegetables, not his, not hers,” but because thousands of people were shouting and dogs barking and some vehicles roaring, nothing was clear at all. There were loads of dirt and rotting vegetable laying around the streets and squares. Nobody cared to keep anything clean, because they found that ‘others’ would have to do that. Anyway, it didn’t bother Shano too much. But if Crish had suggested that those beings living there were gods, Shano seriously started to doubt that now. Still, at the same time, many people were very friendly. Luckily Shano was intelligent enough to realize that he would get lost if he did not member where he had gone. If he forgot, he would never be able to find his room back. Another thing he experienced even the first day was, that if you asked something from someone, he or she immediately demanded a reward by ‘money.’ He quickly understood what ‘money’ actually was, and the mood hanging around it, and he was really disappointed to find that the real friends that people had where not other people, but money. The more money, the more ‘friends.’ He also understood quickly – a thing that Crish had never told him, that you can get money only by doing what someone else told you to do. He was not aware how lucky had been to have been offered a free room in a good house, and to be provided food and everything he needed by some people who were at least forty years older than he was. He thought that, just as where he came from, everyone was like that, and he didn’t find it special. The people even seemed to love him, and he loved them too. They were enjoying Shano’s keen intelligence, and found it very remarkable that a fourteen year old boy from a remote place could read well, even English, and that he knew a lot of things (he had read always every book that came to his valley and the school) and was enthusiastically interested in virtually everything. But in the rest of the city society, Shano soon found that having no work meant having no money, meant having no house, meant having to sleep on the side walks of the streets, meant having to live in a filthy environment in filthy cloths and no opportunity to take a bath, meant having not good friends, and to be despised by many people. All such things didn’t exist where he came from. In his valley, whenever necessary, people always helped each other and shared what they had. If somebody was ill, there would always be someone taking care, and old people could stay with their children and grandchildren and great grand children. There was no wealth, and there was no poverty. There was good air and clean water and warm sun and shadowy trees for everyone, and because they didn’t know about technical things they had no TVs, computers, no refrigerators, no cars, no money, no jealousy and no lack of time. Naturally Shano wanted to help everybody in the city, especially children, who were poor or sad. But there were thousands. The only thing would be to give them money. Some people had enormous amounts of money, thousands of times the amount of the price of a kilogram of rice, but they never gave it to these children or their parents. So he thought that he should get money to give it to the children.

Then – he had been only a week in the city now, he passed by a big shop, a very beautiful shop full of light, and above the shop was written ‘Computers.’

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