Across 12. A person with ability to see the future; a software giant (6).
I’m smiling to myself. I put the newspaper down, reaching for my bag to get the case. I open it gently. Still smiling to myself, I take out the spectacles from the case and wear them. I take a look at the paper again. 12 Across is waiting to be filled. I adjust, on the frame of the spectacles, a knob of a kind. My vision blurs, as it does when opticians change slides while checking your eye power. It blurs for a small amount of time before I can see clearly. I check the crossword. 12 Across. ORACLE. The blocks appear filled. I adjust the knob again. When my vision clears up, I fill the empty blocks. O-R-A-C-L-E. I let out an evil laughter in my mind.
I can see the future. Am I an Oracle? But, I can only see two minutes ahead into the future. These spectacles only allow me to see what will happen at particular place two minutes later. Is it really a big thing? Two minutes is not a big time. What can I do in two minutes? Nothing great.
Next station Dadar, speakers in the local train crackle.
I recall how, when I boarded the train, I was late and did not get the seat. Then how, I adjusted the knob on the spectacles and kept watching people around me. It is sometimes funny to know what people do in public. I saw a person picking his nose. I made a mental note of not seeing in that direction after 2 minutes. It was grose. I turned my head in other direction and there he was. I saw him getting up from his place. He took his bag from the rack above and started for the door. I hurriedly walked to his seat and stood there, restored the knob and waited, waited for him to get up, get up in real this time.
Here I am, sitting at the window seat, feeling the fresh air gushing over my face. Oh, it feels great. It feels powerful. I sigh. 2 minutes is a very short time. Hell, what more can I do, by seeing two minutes ahead, than getting window seats in the local train. I need more time. 2 hours. 2 days. I need to do something. There must be some way to increase the duration. I need to know how this stuff works. Oh, why did I hate physics in school?
Next station Andheri, speakers crackle again.
I get down. I meet my wife who is waiting for me. I join her in the queue for the bus. I notice she has shopped for grocery. Why does she shop for the whole week at once? I choose to ignore her as I know I will have to end up carrying it. I have better business to do. I still have the spectacles on. I fidget with the knob and wonder how it works. I want to increase the duration. I can do so much if I get this thing to see much ahead into the future. I see that my wife is telling things to me. I don’t care. I don’t have time for her office gossip. I do not care how that lousy peon refused to fill a water bottle for some colleague or how some male chauvinist pig is troubling a friend of her over promotion. I’m sick of it.
Hey wait what did I just see? I saw these specs falling down on the road and a bus smashing it into pieces. I immediately remove the spectacles. I don’t know what to do. I look at them. In the next two minutes these are going to fall from my hands and I’m going to loose them. I need to do something about it. I don’t want to loose them. Think something man, think some way out. I instinctively put the specs into my wife’s shopping bag. She must have got furious. She must be yelling at me that if I can’t take some weight off her, I shouldn’t be at least adding to it. I don’t care what she feels about it. I’m too tensed. Have I changed the future? Oh wait. Future can be changed like this? If I saw it happening, doesn’t it mean it’ll happen anyway? If I was to change the future then shouldn’t I have seen the changed future at first place? Freak, this is insane. Oh no, is it true that the actions one takes now, decide the events in the future? This is getting very scary.
“You don’t care for me. I am carrying this heavy bag and instead of taking it off from me, you putting your own stuff in it? And what is this anyway? Why are you carrying these weird glasses? Where are your own? You aren’t even listening to me. Go to hell. And take your weird stuff with you.”
I see the spectacles in my wife’s right hand, raised high in air.
Can you change your past, I wonder.