He sat staring at the screen. He wondered when was the last time he looked anywhere else. It was for dinner he guessed. But how many hours ago was that. In his room with dark draped windows, he could not tell the passage of day and night. Flooded in artificial light, there was no sense of natural time. He went by his biological needs. Closing his eyes when he had to. Grabbing a bite when he had to. All his other time was spent working at his console. He worried if he could complete this work of his in reasonable time. He had to. Within this lifetime.
Adnan echoed these slogans in his head and returned back to his world that lay designed in a multitude of lines displayed on his screen. Now and then he would ponder over a line. He would then stroke his long hair, glare at the problem, and would move further only when he had untied the knot he perceived it to be there. He went on like this for hours at a stretch. He heard the door bell ring and he shouted "Come In" assuming it to be the maid. He didn't even look back. It had been a long time since anyone paid him a visit. He had seen to it that no one would disturb him by explicitly telling them that they weren't welcome. He didn't have time for anyone.
Rajam saw Adnan at his desk. He had changed a lot in the 5 years that Rajam had been out of the country. He still had his thick black framed spectacles on, but he had become more leaner, bordering on scrawny and mal-nourished with long hair that seemed matted in places. "Adnan! What has happened to you!?", Rajam startled Adnan. Adnan was surprised and he turned to look at Rajam. Surprise gave way to instant irritation which he made no effort to hide. "Rajam. Hi. I did not expect you to come unannounced", Adnan said crisply. "Unannounced! You have no phone, and you do not reply to my mails! What do you expect me to do?! The only way I know you are alive is through your weekly articles on technology in that magazine". Rajam spoke in an indignant tone. "Hmmm" came the terse reply, "What brings you here?" Adnan asked indifferently. "You Adnan You! What have you been up to these last 5 years. I heard you quit your job shortly after I left. No one has any idea what you are doing!" Rajam was still animated. "Well the magazine pays me enough for my needs Rajam, that is what I do", Adnan said. "Thats it?! Come on. You clearly have been working on something else. Those articles hardly take a few hours to write"
Adnan finally took his eyes off the screen and turned towards Rajam. He had been a close friend in his student years. He looked blankly at Rajam, noticing how he too had changed. He was more filled now. The good life he presumed. His head too shone a bit under the white light. He was looking at him with expectation in his eyes. To know what had happened to him. A lot had occurred, Adnan knew. He felt if he ever could tell any person what he was doing, it had to be Rajam. "I have been working on my dream Rajam, it is as simple as that. It requires my total devotion and that I have not failed at", Rajam felt a conviction in Adnan's words. "And what is this dream Adnan?", Rajam asked. Adnan wiped his oily face and rubbed his eyes. As he was preparing to speak, Rajam saw dark bags under his eyes. He hasn't slept a lot evidently he thought. "I call it E.A.U, 'Everything And yoU', it is a new operating system Rajam, entirely new". "An OS?! Entirely by yourself!? Are you the next Linus Trovalds?!", Rajam exclaimed and continued, "But why Adnan? Do not we have already too many?". "Don't you understand Rajam? That is exactly why, there are too many of them. Eau is going to change all that. It is going to replace all of them", Adnan replied. Rajam wasn't satisfied, "Explain it more Adnan!", he said. "Eau Rajam, Eau. Think of just one OS that runs on all your hardware. All your computers, all your embedded systems, everything. Imagine all your OS specific programs running without any hitch on this. Imagine it to be entirely free, zero bugs, and it runs how you want it to, just like any previous existing system you might have worked on with zero compatibility issues. Wouldn't you prefer such an universal OS Rajam?", Adnan ended his evocative speech. "It all sounds too good to be true Adnan, frankly", Rajam replied.
"That doesn't make it unrealistic does it, nor impossible. This is what I have been working on. This addictive desire to create an all possible OS. Eau, which means water in French Rajam. Tell me, what is the property of water?" Adnan quizzed. "Property? What do you mean by that?" "Its mould-ability Rajam!Pour it into any container, and it takes its exact shape in an instance. My Eau is just like that Rajam. Pour it into any hardware and it will instantly percolate through all its peripherals and invade all the silicon pathways. It will seamlessly integrate into the hardware and will result in one single entity", Adnan said with a flourish and his speech was wrapped with fiery passion. Rajam saw the intense sparkle in Adnan's eyes. He was speechless. He thought about it. He saw all monopolies vanishing, all inconveniences ending, an Utopia for the world of technology. He remembered Adnan in his university days, how he would rave about the philosophy of Richard Stallman, the guru of the free-software revolution. This Eau could very well be the pinnacle of that revolution. It had no reasons for failure if it worked the way Adnan said it would. Why wouldn't anyone not want to switch over to it if it worked the same way you wanted it to. It could be a hybrid version of all, and entirely free. Rajam ran over these thoughts within him, while Adnan quietly had turned back to his screen. Rajam started, "Adnan, this..", hesitated and continued,"this is visionary Adnan. It can change a lot of things". "Change it will. And this is just the beginning Rajam. My vision stretches far beyond what I have just said", Adnan replied. "More?! What more?!", Rajam felt his curiosity pricking out despite being numbed by Adnan's revelations.
"What else is unique about Eau Rajam, what else is unique about water?" Adnan asked. "Unique??" Rajam questioned back. "What can be unique about it? Its the most common commodity everywhere!" Adnan burst out in a sinister laugh at that moment. "That exactly Rajam, is its uniqueness. Everyone needs it. Food may be different, language may be different, humans are all different in many aspects, water is one thing that is common to entire humanity, sounds very trivial, but it is a fact. I am going to capitalize on the universality of Eau after it is established. Every distribution of Eau will have its unique instruction set translucently embedded. It will be present unobtrusively along with the previously existing system it emulates. Each task you perform, Eau will point out an easier alternative. With fewer keystrokes, with fewer clicks, it is going to simplify every task you perform Rajam, with its equivalent language. And it is going to be addictive, because people Rajam, are basically one lazy race. They want things easier for them. Eau is going to that for them. I call this the Eau-way. And I predict this affectation will spread into common language as well. It will all converge into one single language governed by Eau users! What we are going to then have is this unique universal language for humans just like there exists the unique machine language of one's and zero's. Imagine Rajam, this is going to be as common as the real Eau. Once this happens, people will be talking in Eau! Yes Rajam Eau! Imagine! It is going to be the single greatest unifying medium for all people in the world! Imagine!"
Rajam tried. It was beyond his capability. Beyond his entire gamut of thought. He never would have thought of world unity. He saw borders disappearing. He saw Eau as one fierce tsunami that would sweep across all bastions of technology, and soon would invade upon the world of humanity. He shuddered when he saw those fierce flickering eyes of Adnan again. It scared him. What Adnan was trying to achieve was transcendental. Adnan spoke, "Eau is going to encompass every aspect of our life one day Rajam. That day it no longer will be 'Everything And yoU'. It will be 'Everything And Us'. Eau Rajam, Imagine!" Rajam had imagined enough. He just closed his eyes now, and wondered if all this a mirage. He gathered courage and asked, "How far have you come Adnan, When will it be complete?". "It is almost over Rajam, I have equipped it for the present and the future", he pointed to a CD and said, "Here is version 1. But I have to complete the documentation and details of it so as to make it accessible to everyone" As he spoke the lights went out. He thundered, "Damn power cuts! They set me back by an hour everyday", but Adnan saw that it wasn't entirely dark. Light tunneled from behind Rajam. Suddenly his face drained and became pale. "Rajam, did you not close the door when you came in!?!", he shouted. "I must have forgotten Adnan", Rajam said puzzled by his outburst. "Close it Quick! Clo..", Adnan coughed on his words and collapsed on the floor. His face was wet with sweat and blood had completely drained out. His pulse was ebbing out. Adnan was no more. Rajam stared in horror.
Adnan's immune system had ceased normal functioning. A result of him being locked up indoors the entire 5 years. The open door and all the external pollutants and pollen had taken his life. Rajam took up to spread Eau. It took 5 years to decipher the complex instruction set and logic of Eau. The researchers gaped with amazement at the beauty of its design. It was unlike any. It was as beautiful as the marvels in microscopic life itself. Eau spread like a virus. At the end of another 10 years, it was the single OS the world over. At the end of another 15 years, Eau became the universal language which Adnan had envisioned it to be. Humanity now had a common platform. A common voice. It now remains to be seen how Humanity uses this gift to solve their discordant notes in all spheres.
The Best Things in Life Are Free
[PS: Listen to "imagine" by John Lennon]
[PS: Listen to "imagine" by John Lennon]