Monday, August 10, 2009


Huddled up in a road-side booth, I face the body scanner, log in my destination code and wait. An electronic eye records my anatomy before dematerialising my body into electronic signals and, presto, I am carried along the Tele-transportation Superhighway to my final destination. It was a cinch but for a small hitch; instead of my home, a faulty line dematerialised me in a house in Mumbai's red-light district where a mujrah(dance of courtesans) was in progress. The dancer approaches me, swaying her body alluringly and only thought in my mind was... HIV......! Then I woke up in a cold sweat.

Ever since I saw a documentary on tele-transportation on the BBC, I have been haunted by such nightmares, though, I must admit, I often yearn for such technology when a prospect of long distance bus journey, along with the resultant cramps and stomach trouble looms large.

Nevertheless, travel by wire can be risky. By pressing the wrong keys you may end in Hanover, Germany, instead of Honnvar, India. Or Belgium instead of Belgaum. You may want to go on a pilgrimage to Tigris, but a bad line can take you to Tiger Hills on Indo-Pak border just in time to get hit by a shrapnel

On the other hand, there is the risk of your organs getting strewn around the globe: your eyes in Iceland, kidneys in Sydney, chest in Chesterfield or spine in Spain!

Added to this is the possibility that the body parts of one traveller could be placed on the body of another, resulting in weird transmogrification. No doubt a man would not mind if he acquires the head of Tom Cruise or Hrithik Roshan, but a gender mix-up could lead to less pleasing results.Imagine the head of of a very hairy man transplanted on to the shapely body of a Miss Universe!

Then, what if the passenger reaches his destination minus one of his vital organs. In such an event, if you tap a strategic phone line you may hear following conversation:
"Sir, one of my important organs has gone missing."
"Patience, sir. It's safe in Alaska. We will restore it by tomorrow"
"But my wife is getting impatient. I am meeting her after a month"

Yet, the technology can have positive spin-offs. For instance, through suitable modifications in the machine, you can transform yourself into a do-it-yourself surgeon. You can, say, extract one of your internal organs, repair it at your in-house workshop and put it back into your body. No scalpel, no pain and no exorbitant surgeon's fee.

Furthermore, newly-weds keen on starting a family but who are cash-strapped, can have their babies stored and reproduced at a later date when fortunes smile. The possibilities are endless.


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