The buzz of the machines in the room was incessant. Outside, the cold night sky was illuminated with the luminous glow of the three moons. As Ime powered down the astronomy tower, he noticed a blip on one of the planets on his watch. Earth. He opened the image. There was a discernible bulge on the planet, emanating on the western part of the globe. It entirely distorted the circular beauty of the planet. As per the data, the bulge had been there for a while now, hence the blip. It was strange and needed to be looked into. Ime was sleepy, so he marked it for the next day, and left.
The next day, on his lex was a call for a meeting. When Ime walked into the meeting, he could see that something of importance had happened. Everyone looked concerned. Outside, it began to snow heavily.
“There is bulge on the western part of the planet Earth? Did you notice it at the astronomy tower, Ime?” Valhan asked.
“Yes, I did. Last night. Was going to look into it today. Why? What is that bulge?”
“We thought it was some geographic change for a while as it grew, but then recently, an agency on Earth by the name of Oxfam came out with a report that explained the main reason.” Valhan, who was the repository of research said.
Ime relaxed. It did not matter as long as the planet was not in physical danger. For them on Elone, millions of light years away, Earth was a source of great interest. They followed its developments, experimented with some of the things tried there, and were often amused by the absurdities of the creatures on Earth.
“The Oxfam report says that eight men, the richest billionaires on Earth, control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of that globe’s population. In other words, these eight men hold 50% of the Earth’s wealth.” Valhan continued.
“But how does that explain the bulge?” Ime persisted.
“These eight men are all in the western part of the globe, traversing from Spain to Mexico, with six of them from the United States alone. Hence the bulge.”
“Then there is no cause for worry. This bulge is not destroying the physical geography of Earth. The planet is not in danger.” Ime relaxed in his chair.
“How short sighted you are Ime, despite being an astronomer. The bulge is a red flag. It completely leaves out women, and all the other men on the rest of Earth. Wealth, on which strangely that planet turns, is majorly in the hands of eight, only eight, western men. Such disparity! It’s frightening when you look at it from Elone.” Iwe, the only female in the meeting spoke up.
A hush fell on the group. It was surprising that this had happened. They were all puzzled. For the last about hundred Earth years, the buzzwords had been equality, inclusion, parity, participation, equity, level playing field, sustainability, free markets, competition and the like. The words in use had evolved at a quick pace. On Elone, they had followed them, looked for their meanings and at times, been impressed.
In the last few decades Earthlings had found technology, the internet, and raced along a path that they proclaimed would change the dynamics and paradigm of their world. Technology, ushering in a digital era, would work to become the equalizer. Elone had become hopeful of Earth’s future. Elone had also been amused. Earth’s technology was so primitive, but they watched with interest.
“How come this imbalance has come about? Despite so much emphasis on the idea of a shared and inclusive world? ” Ime expressed the thought that was flowing in the room.
“That is something they have to ponder over. This bulge has the potential to turn into a catastrophe unless addressed.” Valhan said.
“What saddens me is that they still have such a long way to go. We had thought that soon they would be at a level where we could reach out to them. Their narrative however, does not reflect the realities on the ground. They are still a struggling species. Such an unequal world is not stable, so we have to continue our watch.” Iwe declared.
Outside it continued to snow, and millions of light years away, Earth was relegated to ‘wait and watch’.
9 Comments Add yours
Superb, refreshingly different. Strong commment on how the reality is going quite, quite counter to the loud, racous discourse on and passionate espousing of the cause of equality! And I loved the subtle reminder of the gender dimension.
Keep writing please.
Thanks. Hope to keep writing
Nicely written Sadhana.Is it a complete story or part of a longish story or a novel?
Thanks. Yes the setting is of my forthcoming literary science fiction novel.
Amazing! Your story telling talent is just awesome.
Thanks so much
Oh my my… I loved your narrative. At first, as I read, I took it to be some sci fi story,but the way you explained the imbalance of wealth through out the world was truly remarkable.
Thanks for stopping by Neal
I enjoyed every bit of my stoppage all thanks to you 🙂