I had come to visit my dear old school. It was 2000 A.D. - nearly 2 decades after I had passed out. I was thrilled to see my alma mater after so long, on my visit to Bombay. It was nothing like I remembered it - 4 stories rising skyward, the corridors thronged with noisy children, our classroom, and teachers! They didn't have teachers now. With the population cut so drastically, they couldn't afford to waste manpower on such an unimportant task as teaching children.
Today children were taught by cyborgs - the marvelous combination of a
human embryo brain, programmed to teach a subject. It had its terminals
on the desks of the children-video screens and a sort of typewriter. The
pens we used to use have long since become old-fashioned. The children
of the ninth standard were being taught the elementary rules of
telepathy – the art of transferring thoughts. Our school still
maintained its small population.
The school was built under a beautiful garden, tended by the children.
It went 9 stories underground. This new structural form of building was
very versatile and stable. It was resistant to fires and earthquakes.
The concrete structure had a new compound that would not catch fire, and
the buildings being underground prevented it toppling over like
matchsticks, as did the skyscrapers of old. The only buildings above
ground were administrative ones, but they too were protected by a very
elastic layer of concrete at their bases.
In the recess, the children crowded around me, eager to know how their
school looked ages before they were born. After answering some sensible
queries, I found a path through them, and found the way to the games
grounds, after taking directions from a cyborg robot discipliner. The
grounds were large rooms, filled with synthetic soil, and marked for
different games. There was hockcricket, a game played with a curved
stick and stumps. I didn't enjoy descriptions of the games, for they
were all sorts of terrible mixtures of games played in my time.
I went to see the Principal, which was a sort of triumvirate, because it
held 3 brains in a common fluid. Their blood vessels were linked.
Whenever an important decision was to be reached, the brains held an
internal conference, and relayed their answer through electronic means
to cyborg robots, who executed it. I somehow pity the 100 human brains
in isolation in the school, and thank my lucky stars that l was chosen
to have a body. The children prefer their cyborg teachers to complete
robots. They have human feelings and human failings.
Before leaving, I just peeped into the students’ hostel. The students’
cabins were spick and span, having just been cleaned by electronic
vacuum cleaners. The students were allowed to decorate their own rooms
as they pleased. After this enjoyable and exciting day, I went to the
school parking ground, got into my vacuum car.
After going through the air locks, I got into vacuum local 23. It was
nice to be sucked along by the power of vacuum. After some time, I
turned into vacuum highway 4, and settled down to a long ride, after
switching the oxygenizer to high.
25 years later, I have the opportunity to visit my old school again. I
laugh when I remember the English essay on BIS that I had written 25
years ago, which had been read out in class, and printed in the school
magazine. The school is unchanged through the years. The playground is
as dusty, with the same red mud, and the same kids playing football. We
have acquired more flats in the building, it is freshly painted, and
there is work going on to create a new section. None of the old teachers
are there any more, but I do meet some contemporaries who have their
own kids in school. Our favorite skeleton and formaldehyded specimens
still adorn the biology lab. The principal is Mrs Seervai now, and not a
feared triumvirate of brains. I proceed up to lunch with the children,
and everything is as remembered, except that I sit with the teachers
this time. It has been a fun visit, and I hope that not another 25 years
pass before I visit again.
© 1984-2012, Sualeh Fatehi. All rights reserved.
This article was written in 1984, and published in the BIS school yearbook, Spectrum, in 1984.