“Please fasten your seat belt and hold still.” You rest your hands on the cool metal in your lap and move your lips in silent prayers. The computerized voice starts the count.
“5…Was this a good idea?
4…. Your eyes quickly scan the red blinking numbers on the front screen. Where is the Pilot?! OMG!…Oh Right, it’s unmanned.
3….You have a sudden urge to rub your itching palms
2… Your reflection stares back at you from the metal part of the belt. God, I am old!
1… Engines whoosh like an angry wind storm.
Your eyes shut tight, refusing to see you being spun like a top or being thrust out of the earth, away from your time. Instead, the roaring of the engines gradually subside into silence and all that you hear is the vigorous thumping inside your chest. Did it not work?
You strain your eyes in the deep darkness that follows. Your hand cuts through thin air when you try to reach for the switch in your seat. You don’t have a light switch or any seat to sit on! You remain suspended in the stillness for what seems like ages. Then slowly, voices begin to penetrate your ears.
Someone whispers, “Hey, #Insert your name here..Psst…Have you got some ear plugs?” A soft cushion begins to press against your back and you feel your legs finally settle on the ground. Yellowish orange light begins to wash over your surroundings. Light falls over the white painted ceiling and then crawls on to the dull creamy walls following a pinned white chart with words printed in blue: “Rules to follow: Students…..”
In that small instant, your mind is racing at a supersonic speed as it controls your overwhelming excitement and eagerness. You have just invented the time machine! You are the next person whose name will be put down in the list of scientists who revolutionized science. You start imagining the opening sentence of the book: #Insert your name, changed the world by inventing the revolutionary time machine.
But the feeling lasts short when pain shoots up your shoulder. You turn your head sideways to see a concerned looking teenager; the same age as your son pushing on your shoulder. His black ruffled hair is neatly combed to the side and his maroon T-shirt is tightly tucked inside.
“Were you born with “Excited when bored” syndrome?” He mocks, pressing harder on your shoulder. Initially, you would have punched his leg but you are so excited that you suddenly pull him into a hug. “I missed you so much! I’m so sorry for not being in touch all these years.”
He pulls away from your hug and looks at you even more concerned. You laugh at him and ruffle his hair. Before he could react, a more mature voice echoes and you look in front. In all of this excitement, you had forgotten about the wall and the orange light which has now illuminated a large auditorium. The rough voice belongs to the coordinator of #Insert any university name that visited your school.
It was the day after which you began stressing about your future. You were confused about your major and mainly about the university that you would study in. You wanted to study in a university like Harvard or Oxford where you would graduate with high success in your field. You started to worry that you would end up in a not-so-highly recognized university and your future would be over.
Now that you have become an adult, it is clear that your CV and your degree is not your life. You began building a time machine so you could go back and tell that to your younger version. Turns out that you have become the younger you. Time has been reversed and you now have a second chance.
You do not remember the words of the co-ordinator but you stand up and walk towards the stage. You take another microphone and start speaking:
“Does the university that we get in really matter? Universities like Harvard and Oxford did not magically become recognized. Their students made them what they are and that’s what we all should do too. Get into any university of your favorite major and MAKE it recognized. Be the catalyst, not the products! I mean, look at me.. I didn’t go to MIT and I invented the time machine!”
The auditorium erupts into roars of laughter. You forgot that you are just a high school student, back where who got bullied for reasons still unknown to you. “But I did invent the time machine!” You whine at them in vain. More laughter follows and a chaos begins. The teachers glare at you but have no time to send you for detention and they hurry towards a group of wild teenage boys.
Your friend appears by your side with a grin plastered on his face. “Thanks dude! I thought I was going to die from getting bored.” He hands you a packet of jelly beans (How much you had missed them).
“You know my son loves these.”
“Oh yeah? I bet he’s best friend with my son.” He winks.
“This time I will make sure of that.” You mutter.
The inventor of the time machine still had some things to solve.
By Sidra Rashid
Electronics Engineering Student at Khalifa University