Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It was a dark night. Not stormy, mind you, for the storms had somehow stopped more than 7 years ago. No one could really explain why. The answers published were apparently too vague. The International Weather DataBase would show you pictures of beautiful things called Clouds that once floated in the sky on their own. They did not, for a change, need those annoying jets passing along spraying white gas that induced showers.

Yasmin wished she could walk on the streets with her feet touching the ground under the shade of these clouds. But then, she didn't have time to think. She quickly wrapped her bags and got into her pod and joined the thousands of other pods moving along the road in unison. She was among the elite group of citizens with a Gold Card citizenship. She did not have to suffer travelling by the tubes like the Silver or Blue Card citizens. She had paid a heavy fee to get the licence for Manual Control, but it was worth it. It was a pleasure driving the pod at her own pace through an otherwise depressingly organised crowd steered on auto-pilot.

She took a diversion onto an empty highway and headed straight towards her ancestral home in Zone548-080. She needed to quickly pick up those documents before it was scheduled for demolition by the Urban Development Authority. The road was devoid of traffic or buildings and she was scared she might fall asleep, so she switched back to auto pilot and stared at the horizon.

She switched on the video monitor to Zaid's Connector. The camera on his Connector, tied permanently on his wrist, showed him lying on the couch watching the flatscreen. There was a message about easy slimming pills that were a big rage these times. Yasmin and Zaid acknowledged each other's presence with a quick nod and continued with what they were doing. Years ago, she had thought she's never see him again. But she did, almost every day. And it just wasn't the same anymore.

The first rays of the sunrise were visible now. She had never seen a sunrise before from such a clear viewpoint. She stopped the pod and looked outside. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

Before she could even begin to smile, the alarm on her Connector started buzzing. She sighed as she began to raise her hand and point the camera towards the sunrise. It was important to capture the image and location details. The Connector had to be told every moment about her position. If not, Visage Inc., the manufacturers and owners of the Citizen Database would downgrade her profile making her an unconnected Blue Card citizen. Being Connected made all the difference. Hence she told herself that she should thank her luck for the privileges and be happy. But she wasn't.

The Connector Camera on her raised hand had blocked her view and she missed the actual point of the sunrise. And she doubted she would ever see one again.