Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Existential Argument

aman was getting late for his work. His wife Janaki gave him a cold stare as he hurried up and finished his breakfast.

“I don’t know why I am doing this.”

Jaanu, not again…”

“Don’t you Jaanu me again!”

“Look, you know how it is at the institute. We are this close to making an important discovery!” He gestured as he knotted his tie.

“It is always work and your busy schedule. You never have had time for me in the four years that we have been married!”

“Come on… I know I have been very busy. I will make it up to you, I promise!”

“Do you realize that your promises have no meaning for me anymore?”


“I want a divorce.”

“Okay. Stop right there. I can’t have this argument right now. The meeting with our Senior Director starts in 30 minutes. I have to go. We will talk about this in the evening.”

He picked up his jacket and left the house.

* * *
Dr. Mohan was the Senior Director at the Institute. The observatory was completed four years ago and had become fully functional about a year ago. He had personally picked the staff for the Institute and the young Dr. Raman was his protégé who conducted cutting edge research on particle physics, the Big Bang and origins of the Universe. He had received a call from Dr. Raman yesterday about a possible breakthrough. He had arrived 10 minutes early to meet him and waited.

“Good morning Dr. Mohan”

“Yes, Dr. Raman. Let us get started. I couldn’t sleep last night after your call. I would like to hear the details of your findings. Let us get started right away.”

“Sure,” said Dr. Raman. He projected a chart on the screen.

“I believe we have reached further than any other particle physics research organization so far. This, Dr Mohan, is an image of the readings from the event immediately following the Big Bang.”

The chart had two clusters of fundamental particles.

“What are these two blobs?”

“After eliminating the cosmic background radiation from our readings and some serious mathematical jugglery that is difficult to explain in a PowerPoint slide, we have determined that these are the first clusters of fundamental particles from which the Universe evolved!”

“Do we know what they are? Leptons, Quarks, Bosons…”

“No. We aren’t sure. But we found out one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“The two clusters combined and exploded into what is the known Universe today.”

“That’s good. Let us get these results published immediately before the Chinese do!”

* * *
Raman realized that there was a text message from his wife that came in when he was meeting with Dr. Mohan. He opened it.

Don’t call me! -- J

‘Jaanu! She is cute even when she is angry. I am sure it will be fireworks when I get back,’ thought Raman. He had already reviewed the final draft of the paper with his secretary and dispatched it to the journal for publishing. His work was done and he left for his home.

Janaki was in the garden watering the plants when his car pulled into the house. A light smell of jasmine filled the air.  She dropped the hose, folded her arms and gave him the stare.

Raman’s physicist mind imagined the billions of atoms that formed the molecules that made up the complex cells, blood vessels, the blood that flowed in those tubes, her heart, brain, the millions of neurons that fired at any given instant and the neurotransmitters that shot around like frenzied ping pong balls that combined to form his beautiful Jaanu and promptly dismissed the thought of pursuing an argument with her. He ran to her and embraced her. Janaki kissed him as he whispered an apology in her ear and told her about the month-long vacation.


Image Credit: CERN-EX-1010219 03, Photos of the massive ATLAS art mural at point 01 at CERN by Josef Kristofoletti, Retrieved Nov 4, 2010 from the CERN website:

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction and the story has no relationship to CERN


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