Vinay and the Agent are stuck on a single conundrum: will Raghav be able to leave his self-destructive behaviour behind and create a better future? Or will his pattern catch up with him again? Watch the story unfold in the first installment of Deflection Point.
“Why the hell do I care, if you are on a self destruction spree?” fumed Vinay. “I am fed up of your toxic behaviour.” He was seething with anger and his fiery eyes were arched on the plastered body of Raghav, who couldn’t help but listen to his best friend. His head bowed down in shame. Raghav had failed his friend again.
“This is the third episode in last 2 months Raghav, till when will this continue yaar.” Vinay was sounding helpless.
“I am sorry” said Raghav, he apologised earnestly fully aware that it will fetch no relief.
“I found you, unconscious in that party, then had to beg everyone possible including your dad, to save you from police detention and now we are having this conversation in a hospital room.”
Vinay continued “Something that you experimented for fun, 6 months ago has now started to become a habit Raghav.”
“You have been a topper throughout school and college, you have won every debate you participated in, you are recognized for your ‘out of the box’ solutions. Why do you keep doing all these unwanted things?”
“These guys can do anything if you don’t pay them for ‘the stuff’ and once you are addicted, there’s no way out. They’ll skin you if required, for their money.”
Raghav for the first time in 6 months; felt as if he had woken up from a slumber. It was a near death escape. He was never known to be responsible but this time even he felt ashamed of the way he was letting his life slip out. Had it not been for Vinay, he would have gotten lost in obscurity. He slowly raised his head and his teary eyes made a feeble attempt to meet Vinay’s. His expression seemed like a true promise this time.
Vinay went closer to Raghav and spoke with all intent “Listen champ, you and I have come a long way. We trusted each other and this faith made us overcome every challenge.” Raghav nodded in agreement.
“We need to stay focused for what lies ahead.” Vinay patted gently on his broken arm and walked out of the room to meet the doctor.
The call made him tensed, he was new to work. “May be Boss wants to welcome me.” Agent thought to himself. As he entered the swanky office, he could see no one. The surroundings begged for his attention but he was too preoccupied by his thoughts.
There was a zen like feel to the office – spacious, uncluttered, minimalistic and an energy frequency that was soothing and calm. Finally, the boss entered.
“Hello Agent 72, I hope you are looking forward to your first task.”
There was a detached softness to his voice. A bit startled, but quickly gaining composure, the agent said “Yes, sir! I mean, this is my first day. But I can surely handle it.”
Boss chuckled, “Don’t worry at all, you are doing fine. You will get the hang of it. Here, this is yours.”, handing him a smart-tool device. It looked like a transparent crystal cut out in a rectangular shape. To change and view records, all he had to do was swipe in the upward direction, there was dynamic interface on every page. It all felt like Minority Report to the agent.
“I am sorry, but what’s this?” he asked.
Boss started, “As a responsible organization, we believe in doing things the right way. Why should one waste paper for record-keeping when you can have the ability to access all records from the universal library using the crystal? It’s basically a perfectly mapped cloud. All the records are real-time and represented live.”
No wonder why the office has so much space, thought the agent. He blurted, “So what is my assignment?”
Boss took a sip of his special beverage, took the device from the agent, and began, “The subject name of your case is Raghav Sharma. Let me show you his flow diagram.”
1 month past the fatal accident, Raghav was recovering back to normal. “You know what……” Vinay, entered Raghav’s room with a beaming smile and he paused.
Raghav was immersed in deep reflection, he smiled and said “This article got my attention, you know Delhi is amongst the top 5 international cities in the world for highest consumption of drugs.”
“But it isn’t even legal here, I guess?” Vinay was surprised.
“Yes, it isn’t. It is sweeping away the youth entirely. Easy access and lack of correct awareness lead the gullible ones to try it out just to manage their stress. Then slowly the need escalates to experiencing a high and then it becomes an issue of survival.”
He turned his gaze towards Vinay and said “Once we are in power, tackling this will be our first priority. I was entering a hell-hole. I did not leave my father’s wealth to rot in a hospital bed.”
“And to help you take the first step towards our life-long goal; I have news to share” Vinay chipped in, “Delhi University, student election dates have been announced and you will win it. This is going to be our first step. Meetings and rallies have been planned, I am lobbying hard for a meet with The National Party (TNP), Secretary. Time now for us to create visibility where it matters the most.”
“Time for action!” Raghav was ready.
‘I Did some research on Raghav” said agent 72 “He has faced a lot; tough childhood, beaten and bullied, never understood by parents, failed relationship. All of this has made him some sort of a rebel. He has patterns of getting hooked to short-lived distractions – excessive partying, drugs, multiple flings etc.”
“Yup, all sensations. Just to compensate for the inner lacks. Very well observed no. 72!” remarked the Boss.
He tapped the crystal, it started to flicker with white lines running in multiple directions like a flowchart. “Let’s look at his plan. It shows how Raghav has moved along and also reflects the possibilities that lie in the future.”
The agent was astounded by the enormity of the diagram, but chose to hide it. He asked,” Possibilities? Isn’t it supposed to be exactly as planned?”
The Boss replied with a kind smile, “Only the broad outlines of the life-plan are fixed, but what happens in the small details is purely driven by the autonomy of every subject. We cannot interfere, it’s a rule. The subject is here, this white dot moving along the line.” Agent strained his eyes to focus on the moving dot.
Both Raghav and Vinay were immersed in election work. They held rallies in all colleges. Connected with the local unions and student groups to garner support. Raghav was authentic in what he spoke, crowd loved his honesty, his vision for the new society and they supported his fight for youth empowerment. His speeches ended up being most viral and trending amongst all colleges. The sentiment was with him and his opponents were miles behind. Vinay’s flawless planning and groundwork was paying off well. Elections were just a formality.
The Boss continued “Raghav Sharma is about to reach the deflection point.” The dot was slowly moving towards a node-like circle in the flow diagram.
The Agent asked, “What’s a Deflection point?”
The Boss further zoomed in, “You see this circular node from where multiple lines are branching out; that’s what we are talking about. It’s the point in life where the subject has to make a choice. Every choice leads to outcomes. These are represented as branches here on the plan layout. You can see all the possible outcomes listed here”
Agent was still confused “But, why is this Deflection point so important?”
“It’s time to celebrate my friend.” Raghav slurred with a drink in his hand.
“You started again, you had promised not to.” Said Vinay. Both had come out for a dinner. The roof-top restaurant had a beautiful ambience. Gentle breeze was flowing through. Raghav had pulled Vinay towards a corner for a smoke. He was already a few pegs down.
“One should never celebrate until the game is over.” Vinay tried to restrain Raghav.
Boss explained “Data suggests that if Raghav makes the right choice; he is due to become the Prime Minister of the country in the near future. The real change agent this country badly needs. That will happen only if he chooses the ‘Branch B’ at the deflection point.”
The agent was stunned by the level of future development shown here, and asked ” Ok, so how does one ensure that he makes the right choice?”
“That’s the catch! A subject’s choice is usually a set of probabilities extracted basis his past memories. He will choose what his patterns dictate. The same patterns that you shared with me.” The Boss replied.
Agent 72 was perplexed, “What do we do now?”
Raghav started moving away from Vinay while the latter tried to stop him from drinking more.
“You know Vinay….” continued Raghav playfully “I owe my life to you, just a couple of weeks after the nomination formalities and we would have taken an important first step.”
As he moved backwards, his left foot landed on the wet cement mix. On the terrace, towards the side facing east, just where they were standing; the fencing had been freshly fixed, less than 5 hours ago. Raghav’s left foot slipped and his body arched backwards.
The fencing on the edge of the terrace could not hold his weight and he fell as Vinay screamed loudly, RAAAGHAAV……
To be continued…
– Darpan Jha
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.