Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Looking back from the Future - The Strange Ritual

My name is ZZXD4. I am 12 years old. I live on the planet Gaedis Prime in Alpha Centauri galaxy. This summer I went on my first time travel vacation. It was to the time when humans were still a tribal race and lived on a single planet called the earth, our planet of origin which is now a radioactive dump too dangerous to visit anytime after 1000 BTT (before time travel). I got to witness a really interesting tribal ritual held in 1500 BTT which gives an insight into the intelligence levels, culture and civilization of the human race during the dark ages.

The ritual was performed in the middle of a huge arena. There were thousands of people gathered around the arena to witness the ritual. These were the same kind of arenas that were used for more violent sports during 3500 BTT. But apparently with the progress of civilization, mankind's idea of entertainment had become less violent and more ritualistic. There were 15 men actually involved in the ritual. The objective seemed to be to break open a large nut. The nut was larger than most of the nuts grown during that period, red colored and perfectly round. Those days people must have had plenty of leisure if they could spare 15 men just to break a nut. The fact that that watching a nut being broken was one of the predominant forms of entertainment during that period gives a fair degree of evidence regarding the intellectual development at that time.

The method being employed was rather inefficient as per current day standards. But before passing judgments one must of course consider the technological development of those times. Let me now move on to describe the method. One man stood having a club in his hand. Another one threw the nut towards him and the first man hit it hard with his club to try and break it open. Usually it would not break and it would fly across the arena where it would be retrieved by one of the 9 men spread across the field to pick the nut and thrown back to the thrower. While the nut was being retrieved the club man would run around to stretch his legs. There was another club man standing next to the thrower who would also take turns at trying to crack the nut while the first one rested. The thrower would also get some rest after 6-7 throws and another would replace him while he would go and join the pickers. There were also 2 men one next to each club man who kept making gestures with their hands. They were probably the tribe chiefs and were giving instructions on the nut breaking methodology. Sign language must have probably been a predominant mode of communication at that time before more sophisticated modes of communication evolved.

They had also evolved an ingenious method of gauging when the club man was too tired and replacing him with a fresh clubman from the crowd. There were 3 short sticks planted next to each club man. If the club man was too tired, his concentration would dip and he would let the nut hit the sticks. Then it was time to replace him. Sometimes the pickers tested the club mens' concentration levels by throwing the nut at the sticks while they were giving exercise to their legs. If they were not able to speed up and reach the sticks before the nut hit, then also it was considered time to get a new club man from the crowd. At times, the picker who caught the nut or the thrower would be able to sense the club man's fatigue from their body language and signal to the chieftains by rising a single finger. If the chieftain also acknowledged by rising a finger up, then a new club-man would come in. They had short breaks in between where they replenished their body fluids and a long break for feeding. They carried on this exercise for the entire day cheered on by the patient crowds watching. But the nut showed no sign of breaking. At one point one of the pickers got so frustrated that he tried to break the nut open with his teeth. This angered chieftain so much that he sent him off the arena.

Finally at the end of the day, the nut still remained unbroken. The crowds however looked quite happy. If this had been 3500 BTT, all the 20 odd men who had tried so unsuccessfully would have been fed to the lions. Clearly civilization had progressed and men were not so barbaric anymore. They had become gracious enough to accept failure and even reward genuine attempts. One of the club men who had had been rather persistent in his attempt to break the nut was honored with a large shiny metal cup. So in spite of expected results not being achieved, they were honoring their valiant club man who had tried so hard for close to 3 hours. At the time I began to realize they had a reasonably well developed verbal communication as well. Of course I did not understand the language. But I could at least catch the name of the little man who had made such valiant attempts at cracking the nut - 'Sachin Tendulkar'.

Other than an understanding of the ancient human civilization, the nut itself had intrigued me. I retrieved it and brought it back for further analysis. A detailed postmortem revealed that though the nut was of organic origin it was not really suitable for human consumption. I wonder why they were trying to break it then. One can never understand fully the people of another time. Maybe it was just the ritual that mattered and not the contents of the nut. After all the ritual had helped identify the chosen one 'Sachin Tendulkar'.

Coming up next week - A Leonine Tale - The Legend of Baikadu

Picture Credit: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3071/2661425133_1328692483_z.jpg?zz=1


  1. Hahaha! Nut-breaking is a game of glorious uncertainties :)

  2. Brilliant writing, amazing post.

    ~ another blogger @ http://mavericktechie.com

  3. What a take! Reminded me of Aamir Khan of PK!

    1. Thanks. I haven't watched the movie though.

  4. :)
    That's one way to look at it. :D
    That was such a fun and engaging read.

    Lovely writing!

    I look forward to A Leonine Tale. :)

  5. Boss world cup cricket ku ipidiya :) ?? Nice one :)