This was our season of hope. There was an expectant buzz among all UVians. An undercurrent of uneasiness and even some quiet despair was apparent in some of the older UVians. Newer ones like us were looked on with an element of contempt and anger. None of that dampened the excitement in me.
Why should all major occasions be inaugurated by a virtual torrent of words is a mystery that I shall never be able to solve. Maybe the old UVians acquired their speech-making habits from the humans they perceived.
“Fellow UVians! Once more in the revolution of this planet around Our Father comes the time when we can attempt Nirvana. Our Father knows best why the Nirvana of a superior species like us should depend on gross material beings – humans – but He knows best”
All UVians reverently genuflected in the direction of the Sun.
“The attempt is fraught with danger. If we hit anything except a human we shall be transmogrified into grosser beings like the IRians. Even among the humans, hit the male of the species and the process of attaining Nirvana is reputed to be extremely unpleasant. Our myths talk of horrid and dangerous obstacles in the way some of which have the potential of transmogrifying us.”
“It is only the female human that offers us the best possibility of attaining Nirvana as also the possibility of the most pleasant path to it.” Pleasures imagined from a recollection of what the old myths had to say about this path brightened his entire appearance.
“It is in this season that humans congregate in those open areas called beaches where we run the least risk of running into other obstacles. What is better, they also wear a minimum of those outer coverings that have denied Nirvana to billions of UVians almost at the gates. This day used to be a day of celebration and merriment of us. But…”
I knew what was coming. Ever since we new UVians had arrived the oldies had been muttering about this. Somehow they seemed to think that the fact that they had suffered the entry through the Othree barrier, while a lot of us had come in through the new gateway, made them better than us. As though we did not deserve to achieve Nirvana because we had had it easy while entering the hallowed precincts of this planet!
“If I have heard this Nirvana-made-easy argument once I have heard it a hundred times”, I erupted.
“Pipe down youngster! I was about to mention the danger from this new species – the SPiFfians!”
“Yes! And you blame their coming on the increased numbers of UVians coming through the gateway! Enough, I say! What are you old ones but a bunch of losers. You have not achieved Nirvana in the eons you spent here and feel proud only of having avoided all the obstacles and survived! What a grand cause for pride – survival!”
There was a loud clamor from both sides and nothing much could be comprehended. The stentorian communication of the Grand Old UVian cut through it all.
There was a sudden cessation of all communication.
“Harsh words have been used but what comes from ignorance can be forgiven.” I grimaced but kept my peace. “Be warned, however! At the very verge of Nirvana congregate the SPiFfians and the UVian who falls afoul of this accursed species just dissolves into nothing! It is said that the humans have called on them for allies. That seems unlikely. The humans obviously welcome our presence considering that it is the humans who opened up that gateway in the Othree barrier and are doing everything in their power to widen it or open up more gateways. The SPiFfians, however, are a lethal enemy and you would be best advised to avoid tangling with them. May Our Father - the Holy Sun – bless you all with Nirvana!”
The meeting was over.
* * * * * *
Speeding through the atmosphere towards the planet of Nirvana was exhilarating. Nearing the planet I realized that I had been very lucky indeed and was heading directly for one of those open spaces bordering a vast volume of liquid. Nirvana was so close that I could almost sink in the portended ecstasy of the experience. The only fly in my ointment was the fact that the speech-making elder was close to me. One could have chosen better company when on the verge of the ultimate ecstasy.
There was a human. By the description of the older UVians that must be a female as well…No! Two of them side by side! I could hardly miss hitting my target if I succeeded in evading those tiny bits of outer-wear that could cause disaster!
Within micrometers of reaching my goal I stopped and hovered, aghast at the sight of the gossamer being enveloping the female human, who was my route to my goal. This, then, must be the SPiFfian! Waves of cold emanated from the being and I started feeling weak.
“SPiFfian! Get out of my way.”
“I am Lakme! No UVian shall pass me! Attempt the passage at thine own peril”
“I shall pass! If need be through you”
“Thou shalt not pass!” said she implacably.
I moved a nanometer further and found my extremities freezing.
“Give way, Lakme! Why bother us when you allow those Dand-Ruffians free reign?”
“That is a different department”, she said, nonchalantly. “My devoir is to deny passage to UVians. Advance and thou shalt surely perish”
I retreated a micrometer. Discretion is the better part of valor and if I bounced off into the stratosphere I could well try the next season to achieve Nirvana. Just as I was turning I saw the old UVian, who was already speeding away, smirk at me.
My own words came to bite me. Was I a loser who would be addressing the next meeting, filled with pride merely because I had survived? Better to attempt the passage and if the Holy Sun decreed my extinction, so be it!
“I come through, Lakme! Stop me if you can!”
I plunged with all speed down and into the gossamer being.
It was cold…sooooo coooooollllllld!
* * * * * *
“Kyra! Was that a sigh I heard from your direction?”
“No, Elena! If you heard one it must be a sigh of relief! What bliss to be able to tan in the sun without my skin molting like a snake’s!”
“Told you so, Kyra! Ever since I started using this sunscreen, I have stopped breaking out in rashes on the beach!”
The two women relaxed and dozed in the sun totally unaware of the absolute extinction of millions of UVians on their suntanned bodies! In one’s misery lies the foundation of another’s happiness. Such is life!