Harsh and Samir had been friends since school. Both had gone to same school and also they lived nearby. Both had been in an intense competition throughout. No matter what it is, both will try to give their best.
But as they say that, there is only one space on the top; Harsh was able to win almost all the contests against Samir. Harsh used to be the first rank in the class while Samir was a close second. Even all the science fairs, debate competitions and video games- Harsh was able to ace everything.
Harsh always used to tell Samir that he shouldn’t think much about it. After all, they were friends. And Samir would feel better and they would enjoy fighting in computer games.
With years passing by, the friendship kept growing. They both joined the same institute after 12th Science. With their common love for physics, they decided to go for a PhD in Quantam Physics. That was when the duo became trio. They met Zoya. And it didn’t take more than a second for Harsh to fall in love with her.
With the feelings growing everyday, he decided that he will confess about the same on her birthday. Harsh started waiting for 15th February planning how he will propose to his love. He had rehearsed the whole planning with Samir for the past whole week. Samir was happy for his friend and had been supporting Harsh in all ways possible. In fact, he had rented him his lucky black shirt.
Two days were left to her birthday and Harsh was busy in his hostel room writing the proposal speech when he heard the knock on his door.
At 2 AM, Harsh wondered who would have come. He put the writing pad aside, and went to open the door. The moment he opened the door, an old man jumped into the room and asked Harsh to close the room.
With an awkward feeling, he hesitated for a bit. But after seeing the guy who might have been over sixty years old- he felt that he could defend against any danger. So he closed the door and turned to the old man.
Harsh asked: “Who are you?”
“I am Harsh Singh. I am you from future. I am you after thirty-five years.”
“What? You must be kidding. How can this be true? How can I believe you?”
“It is true, Harsh. You remember your science project that you presented in that fair?”
Harsh did remember it for sure. After all, that was the time when his dream of building a time machine had started. That was the time when he decided to give his life to Science and research.
“Yes. I remember. Are you saying that I’ll be able to build time machine one day?”
“Yes. You will be. Exactly 35 years later, you’ll succeed in building the time machine. You’ll get every success and fame that any scientist can dream of. Just to make you believe that I’m you from future, here’s something I have brought which you recognize as well as you love the most. Here’s the trophy from that science fair which I had won in school. I mean you had won.”
He took the trophy in his hands and it didn’t take Harsh more than a second to recognize it. It was the same trophy that was placed at the top of his study table. Same trophy. Same name- Harsh Singh carved on it. Somehow, he was convinced that this old man was him from future. And, he was overflowing with joy that he would be able to fulfil his dream one day.
“But, Harsh. There is something important which you have to do today and for it, I have come here. I don’t have much time, Harsh. Even though you will build the time machine, your life won’t be all sunshine. You won’t be happy ever.”
Harsh was getting nervous. “What do you mean? Why will I not be happy if I’m able to build the time machine myself?”
The old man smiled. He came close to Harsh and helped him sit down. “Because, your family life is going to be a complete disaster. What do you think why it took you over 30 years to build a time machine! Your wife won’t be happy when you’ll take up research work instead of a corporate job. And she’ll not leave a single chance to taunt you for the same. You’ll never get a decent sleep for a night because of these daily arguments with your wife. You need to save yourself from this and that is why I have come here from future. I don’t have much time.”
“Okay, future me. So what do you want me to do?”, harsh said.
“Well, I don’t have much time, Harsh. Please try to understand. You have to stop it from happening. You know who your wife is going to be?”, the old man asked while walking towards the door.
“Who? Oh wait! Are you saying what I am thinking right now? Is it Zoya? Is Zoya going to be my wife?”
“Yes.”, and suddenly there was a spark of light in air and the old man disappeared.
Harsh was confused about what was happening with him. But deep down, he knew what he had to do. He was feeling extremely joyful knowing that he was going to be able to build the time machine. He was going to achieve his biggest dream. And, who would have been a better person to reveal this news to him than his own self!
While he was thinking this, his phone rang. And to his surprise, it was she. Zoya. He wondered why she was calling in the middle of the night.
He picked up the phone hoping that she was fine. “Hi Zoya. How are you? Is everything okay?”
“Well. Umm. Harsh, I wanted to say something. It’s 14th February. It’s a Valentine’s day, Harsh. For whole night, I was unable to sleep because of this thing going on in my mind. I wanted to confess something. I’m in love with you, Harsh. I have been in love with you since start. And, if you feel the same, I want to spend this Valentine’s day with you. Will you say yes, Harsh?”
This came as a shock to Harsh but it did clear one thing about why his future-self had to come at this time. He had to end this story before it started or it will hurt both their hearts. After all, beyond love, it was his dream that mattered the most. And not only that, if his life wasn’t going to be happy, the same would be true for Zoya too. He was sure that if Zoya was in his place, she would have done the same thing. So if he was saying no to her now, it was good for both of them in the long term.
And that’s what Harsh did that day. He said no to her and that was the last time she had talked to him. The trio was broken. For Samir, it was tough to maintain friendship with both. But Harsh made it easy for him.
Now since the resistance was not there, Harsh was sure that he’ll be able to build the time machine earlier. And he started working on it right after he received the degree. He lost connection with his family as well as friends.
For Zoya, she got support from Samir in her darkest time and that helped her get back on track. After a year, Samir proposed to her and they both got married.
Harsh kept getting failures in his adventure but he never stopped trying.
——–35 years later on News——-
Morning of 15th February- 35 years later,
He returned to the house from his research lab when he found lock of his house was broken. He went inside hurriedly to see what all was missing.
He entered the hall and saw that everything was right at its place as he had put. He moved to bedroom- but everything was intact. Everything was as it is. Then why was the lock broken?
Tired of the work for whole night, he came to living room and switched on the TV and started changing channels to find something interesting to watch. But, his mind was occupied in what was missing from his home.
While switching channels, he stopped when he saw that his trophy cabinet above TV was open.
And he moved to the cabinet to check what was missing while the news anchor declared:
“Breaking news: To the surprise of the whole world, the science has given us its priceless gift that we had been waiting for years. And it was done by no other country than our India.
After zero, this has to be the biggest gift that India has given to the world of Science. We’ve been able.to build the time machine. Actually, not taking credit away from this talented scientist- our own scientist- PhD in Quantam Physics and the owner of Sinha Research Labs. The whole nation congratulates you on your invention of Time Machine, Dr Samir Sinha.”
And that was it. Harsh understood it all. He understood what happened that night 35 years ago. He understood who visited him that night. And he understood what is missing from that trophy cabinet.
That science fair trophy was not there.
-Arjuna@War (Parth Shah)