I cleared the lenses of my spectacles and as the 3D movie on a circular arena started, slowly I was away from earth – the tiny speck of sand on the beach, and was wandering in vastness and obscurity of the dark ocean of the cosmos. The space time dimensions were unified and matter was about to explode.
It exploded and there was the beginning of time, there was the expansion of the universe, the indefinite number of galaxies running away from each other like we see dots on a balloon go farther apart when inflated, the realms of nebulae, the dimensions of space, the creation of pillars of creation, the relativity of time, the solar system, the craters, the emanation of life on this tiny speck of dust in the immensity of hundred billion galaxies containing almost hundred billion starts and ten billion trillion planets. Then there was some feverish spiral motion of neutron star – once the sun to some planets, and ultimately the formation of black holes – most probably the end of eternity for some.
Though peripatetic towards exit, I was unconsciously on a standstill on an infinitesimal area in the perpetual darkness and emptiness, astonished, stunned and amazed, somewhere between vastness of space and infiniteness of time. Astounded, I was going to begin the journey of 13 billion years in a helical ramp of almost 93.98 meters, like Alice in Wonderland, right from the time of Big Bang till today, where 1 meter equals 147 million years.
I could visualize hydrogen, helium and lithium being produced in the first six minutes of The Big Bang and heavier elements, like oxygen and iron, forming billions of years later as a result of the nuclear fusion of the stars. Walking down the lane around 6.80 meters, there is the formation of the first galaxy after almost a billion years of the Big Bang, and later on its congregation into the clusters. The Milky Way galaxy is formed after 2.8 billion years or around 19 meters after the Big Bang point.
The solar system is formed after 9.23 billion years at about 62 meters. Oldest available rocks on earth are found to be around 9.4 billion years after the Big Bang at 64 Meters. Acasta Gneiss at 67 meters, 9.8 billion years after. Photosynthesis starts at 70.408 meters, after 10.35 billion years and oxygenation of the atmosphere at 77.55 meters, 11.4 billion years after.
The formation of Eukaryotes is at 80.27 meters and simple animals appear on the face of the earth at 89.319 meters i.e., 13.13 billion years after the Big Bang. Simple animals start appearing at 89.319 meters – 13.13 billion years after Big Bang. Plants appear at 90.816 meters i.e., 13.35 billion years, dinosaurs at 92.31 meters, mammals at 92.51 meters and dinosaurs die at 93.43 meters. Apes appear at 93.77 meters.
From appearance of humans at 93.87 meters – around 200,000 years ago and domestication of fire till start of agriculture, from Hammurabi’s code till dawn of Buddha and Islam, from the invention of the wheel till artificial intelligence, the first writing, the first meaningful spoken word, the Ice, Bronze and Iron Age, the Roman Empire, the Mayan, Indus Valley and ancient Egyptian civilizations, the Qing and Ming Dynasties, the Roman and Persian Empires, the Moguls, Columbus, from the East India company till China Pakistan Economic corridor, from Sir Syed Ahmed Khan till Jinnah, from Ibn-e-Rushd till Dr. Abdus Salam, the epidemics, the world wars, the space race, the VoyagerI and II, Apollo, SUPARCO, diseases from Malaria till Polio, the creation of nation states and passports, allowing women to vote till driving, our patriarchs and feminists, the dictators and democrats, the statesmen and scoundrels in the guise of honest leaders– all exist in the last few millimeters i.e., between 93.874829 meters and 93.87755102 meters. Everything and everyone that we know of, everything that we root for, our loved ones and the ones we hate, everyone we envy and those who we feel jealous of, are confined here. Our thousands of perfect ideologies which just cannot be changed, which we are ready to die for, all belong here.
Upon exiting the NY Museum of Natural History, I wished I could create a wormhole that would lead me from Central Park West and 79th St to Mall Road Lahore opposite Anarkali Market, where my universe existed. In the semi dark alleys of Lahore museum, I wanted to rediscover the conceit and inquisitiveness in this ancient palatial building where those two to three hundred years old doors with holy carvings, handmade paintings, handwritten Holy scriptures, fasting Buddha, the depiction of remains and some discovered artifacts from five thousand years old civilizations of Harrappa, Mohenjodaro and Meher Garh, our professions from barber to carpenter and glass manufacturing by hand, expounding that we are one hardworking, civilized and culturally and religiously advanced nation. That whole section of weaponry, where a rudder of Indian war plane is prominently placed as a war trophy, signifies that we are the brave of the bravest. Among the dust, the swampy walls and the termite eaten wooden girders, postage tickets, coins and photos of Pakistan movement are hanged in dusty and broken frames portray my nation’s fortitude of how much as a nation we can endure to get a piece of land to save an ideology thatwas supposed to be annihilated simply because others were merely larger in population. The models of Shaheens and Ghauris constantly inculcate that I am being saved although I am all there to save them.
I wanted to be at Mozzang to eat parathas, wrapped in the constitution that guarantees my free movement; unless on roads there is some daughter of ex-PM travelling, my free speech; unless I don’t commit the sacrilege of sanctity of the man-made holy ideology that was meant to serve me instead I start serving it, my security; unless I don’t encounter some suicide bomber in Moon Market or Mir Ali.
That is and was the truth for me. What am I nonchalant and indifferent to if I am worshiping some god of Artificial Intelligence or religiously following the rituals of China’s Communist Party’s religion in next five hundred or thousand years? I don’t care if cultures, languages, dialects, professions, sanctity and sacrileges, sorrows and joy, freedom and slavery, killers and saviors, dictators and democrats, all belonged some last millimeter of some 94 meters long evolution timeline – as a common heritage of the humanity.