Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A new dimension - the story of Adam Ant in Flatland

Fine in Flatland

Flatland was home to billions and billions of ants of all kinds - large ants and small ants, black ants and red ants, running ants and flying ants, biting ants and stinging ants. However, apart from being the biggest ant colony in the universe, there was something else unique about Flatland. As its name suggested, everything there was absolutely FLAT - in just two dimensions. Not that it mattered to the ants. They went about their daily life without being affected in the slightest manner by the fact that their colony was flat as flat could be.
After all, the only directions that matter for an ant are forward and backward; left and right, right? An ant never knows or understands the concept of above and below. Even when it seems to be climbing ‘up’ a wall, as far as it is concerned, it is moving forward and has options to move in three other directions - right, left or backwards after executing an about turn!

And so, the Flatland ants were as happy as happy could be with their two dimensional world.
Among the other billions there, lived Adam Ant. Adam was the most determined, dedicated and dutiful ant in Flatland. Attending to his duties sincerely, he was also ever ready to lend a helping hand to anyone that needed it. It was this trait of his that made him meet Mendik late one evening.

It is difficult for us on Eath to imagine Flatland... But we must definitely try so that we appreciate the story.
A friend in need

“Help me... Please help me...”
Every ant heard the cry but they were all too busy to notice. It was only Adam who paused to see who was seeking help and why. He looked to his left and right. Everything seemed fine. Shaking his head, he began to walk away when he heard it again,
“Help me.. I am in pain...”
Adam looked ahead of him. He just saw the behind of the ant ahead of him. He turned around only to come face to face with the ant behind him. Where was that cry coming from?

He stepped out of the line and looked all around. Nobody seemed to be in pain or distress. As he turned to join the line, he heard that voice yet again.
“Don’t leave me like this...”
Now he grew all antsy. He had searched everywhere. There was only one place from where the cry could be emanating from - within him. But could that be the case? Adam closed his eyes and sought to discover the origin of that voice.
“Who is this?”
“I am Mendik... Mendik Ant.”
“But where are you? I can’t see you anywhere...”
“Oh! What shall I say? Though you cannot see me, I am everywhere!”
“Hold on... Just a moment now...”

Then and there, right in front of his eyes, Adam saw the miracle. A fellow ant materialised right before him, from thin air!

“I am Mendik and I seem to have injured my leg...”
“Whoa! Wait a minute... From where did you come? You were no-where and... How did you do that?”
“I am now-here my friend... help me...”
“Sure!” Adam shook himself out of his awe-struck stupor and rushed to bandage Mendik’s injured leg.

“It is not that bad now”, said Adam as he helped Mendik on to his feet. “How did you hurt yourself?”
“Ah, I had a fall from a great height...”
“I fell from above.”

Adam suspected that something was not right with Mendik’s head. He seemed to be speaking gibberish.
“Come to my home. You can rest there till you recover.”
“Thank you. I sure am beholden to you. You cared when nobody even seemed to hear me...”

Soon, Adam and Mendik completed dinner and drifted away into dreamland.

The dreamworld in Flatland is also as flat as Flatland!
All in a day’s work

The next day, as Adam prepared to leave for work, Mendik began chatting.
“Tell me about yourself...”
“Oh! I have a lot of work to do now...”
“But at least introduce yourself to me... Who are you?”
“Ok. That is something I forgot. I am Adam... Adam Ant.”
“And where do you work?”
“Am in the foraging division of the army. I locate possible food sources that will sustain the colony.”
“And what? I just told you what I do?”
“That’s it? Locate food sources? That must not be hard...”
“Says an ant that depends on me for his own food...”

Mendik began to laugh out loud.
“My dear Adam! I didn’t come to your house because I couldn’t find my own food. I came because you are a good ant and I felt that you deserved a chance to discover the Great Truth.”
“Come again? I didn’t get you...”
“Adam, finding food is very simple. Give me just a moment.”
Mendik pulled out three pair of shoes from his bag and put them on. The next instant, Adam saw another miracle. Mendik just vanished into thin air!

He returned moments later.
“Adam, tell your troops to march straight ahead for fifty meters. Then turn right and march two meters. There is all the food that you need there.”
“But how?”
“I will tell you later Adam. Go finish your duties and come back.”

Bewildered but amazed nonetheless, Adam walked out to his contingent.
“Okay fellas! Today we head straight for fifty meters.”
“Fifty meters!” someone exclaimed.
“Yes! I am the boss here and you do as I say. Any problems?”
Whatever little protest had begun was quickly nipped in the bud. All the ants fell in line and began the long march. But Adam knew that every ant would be wondering at the logic behind his decision. The previous day, they had located some food fifteen meters to their left. Any sane ant would have directed his troops that way. Adam wondered whether he had been right in deciding to blindly follow Mendik’s words. Of course, Mendik had done some mind-boggling disappearing acts. But could he be trusted in ensuring this ‘food-appearing’ act?

Reason overpowered faith for Adam. After eight meters of marching, he thundered,
“Company halt!”
He quickly made calculations necessary for the course-correction that he was about to order. Simple Pythagorean Theorem told him that he would have to march on the hypotenuse of a right triangle to get to the original food-spot. The march would be for seventeen meters now but it was still better than going the forty two meters left in Mendik’s suggestion.

Illustrating the thought-process of Adam Ant!

Before he could give the command for a change in marching direction, he heard Mendik’s voice,
“Trust me Adam. Just trust me! I know more than you for I see more than you.”
He swirled around the see where the voice was coming from. Mendik was nowhere in sight. He turned back to his troops. A few of them seemed startled. Possibly they too had heard the voice. The others had obviously not heard it or were excellent actors, not bothered in the least about strange miraculous sounds!

Adam was convinced that the voice was coming from within him. Though his logic was screaming otherwise, he decided to take the leap of faith and listen to the voice.
“Company, forward march!”, he bellowed and the troops resumed the forty-two-meters march.

Being rationally irrational

It was not an easy march. Every moment, Adam had to bear with the silent rebuke of his troops.
“Our captain has become really ADAMANT! He is bent upon this foolish plan...”
“My feet are already killing me. I hope this march ends soon.”
“If there is no food at the end of the march, what do we do?”

However, these censuring voices were the lesser of Adam’s problems. The bigger problem was a nagging voice inside his own head that was questioning the logic behind his decision - and that voice got stronger with each step. But if at all there was an ant in the whole of Flatland that could doggedly hold on to a decision, it was Adam ant! Adam held on and marched on.

When they were about a few meters away from the goal, Adam knew that his faith and perseverance had paid off. Every ant was getting excited with the aroma of food. All the five noses of each ant were screaming, “Food! Food!”

A few minutes later, Adam’s company came across the largest ever food stockpile in Flatland history.
“Thank you Mendik Ant”, Adam muttered under his breath.
“You are welcome friend”, he heard a whisper.
Again, he could not see his friend but he smiled to himself. What was happening was something that he couldn't understand but it was also something that he couldn't deny!

Adam’s troops returned home with the food and were rewarded with a 3-day holiday for their excellent work. In the evening, Adam did not know what to do. He had a problem dealing with holidays. The only way he knew to spend time was to fill it with activity and now, suddenly, he had three days to fill.
“Music and harmony are not only about the notes, but the silence between the notes as well. Life is not only about activity but peaceful inactivity as well!”
“What do you mean?”, asked Adam curiously.
“Well, sit with me and think about the purpose of your life...”
Adam sat beside Mendik and thought deep.
“I guess, it would be to find as much food for the colony...”
“... because if the colony is well, I will be well too.”
“That is a very noble thought Adam and I hope every ant imbibes this from you. But tell me, why should you ‘be well’?”
“What do you mean?”, this time Adam was incredulous.
“Think of it Adam. You live to find food to eat and then you eat food to live. Your entire life is just stuck in this cycle. Where is the end? Where is the meaning? If finding food for the colony is the purpose of your life, then it should be complete today right?”

Adam was struck hard within.
“Tell me what is the purpose of your life?”
“Today, it is to teach as many ants as possible the purpose of their lives. But some time back, the purpose of my life was just to find the purpose of my life! Life has been given to us with a purpose and we need to discover what that is!”
“... and we need not collect any food?”
“You are a real mendicant Mendik Ant!” Adam smiled and said, “but I cannot accept what you are saying.”
“You are really adamant Adam Ant,” replied Mendik, “and let me answer you. Come with me.”

Experience of a lifetime

“But before that, tell me how did you know where the food would be? And how did you know what I was thinking? How do you talk to me from within me?”
“So many questions! I will never be able to answer you convincingly Adam. But come with me and you will know.”

Mendik pulled out an additional three pairs of shoes from his bag.
“Here, put these on.”
As Adam put on the six shoes, Mendik stood close to him wearing his own six.
“You ready...”
Mendik just touched Adam. A surge passed through Adam’s being. The powerful touch produced a very strange experience in him. With his eyes still open, he saw the usual things and everything in the room, but he also saw his entire universe within it, whirling and vanishing into an all-encompassing entity. He was obviously frightened and cried out,
“What are you doing to me? I have my family to care for and my work to attend to.”
“Hold on dear friend... You will witness the Truth about life.”

It was only when Adam rose above the narrow view of his world, into another
dimension that he could appreciate what Mendik was saying.
The shoes that Mendik had given Adam were special ones that he had himself designed. They carried an ant ‘upwards’ into the third dimension - something that no ant had ever experienced.
“Oh my God! Mendik! I see everything... My parents to the left there! The huge food reserve that we discovered in the morning! And... there is Ruby... that is Mark... that is Claire... I can see all my troopers Mendik...”
Then Adam fell silent. He was so lost in the bliss and beauty of the experience.
“See Claire Ant there. She is unable to decide what to do with the free time today. Why don’t you help her?”, asked Mendik.
“Claire!” Adam called out
Claire was startled. She looked around and saw nobody. But she went about her business.
“I am here... Above you.”
Though Claire seemed totally befuddled she just chose not to hear Adam. She continued cleaning her house.
“She does not understand ‘above’ Adam. Just as you did not. She feels that you are speaking to her from within her. That is how she perceives your presence!”
“Oh! How do I make her understand? There is so much to life than just foraging for food...”
“That’s what I told you Adam...”
“Could I borrow these shoes? I can make her wear them and she will understand...”
“It is not that easy Adam. She is not ready yet. Come let us return now.”
“Let us go to her house.”
“No! Not now...”
“Please... please...” Adam insisted and Mendik agreed.

The next instant, Adam and Mendik landed in Claire’s house. She was startled by two ant materializing in her presence.
“Oh my god! What is happening?”
“Claire there is a third dimension! It is called height. Rising to these heights also brings great ‘depth’ in life!”
“Calm down Adam”, said Claire, “have you seen a ghost or something? You seem delirious.”
“I am not. I am telling you the Truth. I can see everyone in Flatland...”
“So, you are claiming to be God? Adam, please excuse me, I have somewhere to go...”

Adam sighed hopelessly. Claire was convinced that he was mad and there was nothing he could say which would not worsen it.
“Have a good day Claire. Good bye.”


As they walked towards their home, Mendik said,
“See Adam. It is all about readiness. Claire is not yet ready for the experience. Once she is, I promise that I will grant it to her. What is more important is that you spend time to develop shoes like this. That is the purpose of life - to realize the importance of your ‘sole’ in taking you higher. Don’t try convincing others now. Realize the Truth yourself and live by it. Others will automatically learn - just like you did.”
“And what about you?”
“Ah! I have to leave now Adam. There are others in Flatland who are ready for the experience. For instance, there is Arrog Ant. If I help him with a little humility, he will be prepared for the experience. There is also Irrit Ant. If I help her develop a little patience, she will be ready for the experience.”

“Why did you choose me Mendik?”
“Because you cared to listen when I called Adam. You are not as adamant as your name suggests!”
They both laughed out aloud as they reached home.
“Thank you Adam. I will be taking my leave now.”
“Please don’t go! Stay with me...”
“That is being selfish Adam. Others too need to be liberated from their restricted two dimensional world.”
“But I will miss you...”
“I am always above you Adam. Call out to me and I will respond. You will hear my voice from within you... But that is only till you develop your own soul. Once that happens, we will be together always. Keep working on that. That should be the focus of your life.”

The next instant, Mendik was gone. Adam felt tears trickle down his anty cheeks.

“Don’t cry Adam! It makes me sad. Having experienced what you have experienced, do you find it hard to believe that I can see you, hear you and feel you always? I shall always be with you. I have purposely separated myself from you so that you miss me strongly. That will help you develop your own shoes faster... and come to me faster.”

If you liked this story, you will surely love these other short stories as well:

For all readers:

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  1. Awesome and Very creative analogy !!

    Going "Within" helps us to be "With Him".

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sairam brother,
    This is an awesome story. I loved the story and the way u narrated it.
    The analogy is very opt and this message came to me at right time.
    truly our Swami knows when to give and what to give.

  4. Oh, my. A childhood story read by an adult. Most satisfying. Most grateful. Namaste.

  5. Sairam Bro. Aravind,

    Wonderful and innovative story - you do have a 'penchant' for delivering stories. Keep it up.

  6. Sairam Brother , Pl patent this story if its an original one as I feel this is a best seller material So Inspiring and moving. Can be equated easily with what's going on inside . I can equate this with Herman Hesse Siddhartha or Richard Bach Jonathan Livingstone Seagull all time best sellers and nobel prize winners

  7. Madhusudanvithal Nori12 April 2015 at 20:09

    Sairam Aravind, finally I realised I have a Irresist Ant desire to raed your narratives. Great keep them coming, cannot wait for more. It was a case of so near yet so far - I was at PN for seva recently, naturally I did not want to disturb at your work. Best wishes and love.

  8. Sairam Ant brother Aravind... very creative message and powerful message... Thank you brother


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