Year 2050. The earth’s first tourist expedition to Mars was en route, and the ‘Voyager’ made a smooth landing on the red-barren surface of Mars. The excited people, covered in high-tech extra secure space suits hopped out, their mouths wide open at the unimaginable sight that lay before them.
The sky was a rather messy conglomeration of hues, transcending from orange to purple to pink without warning and the clouds were gigantic pieces of popcorn, often bursting into two. There were mountain peaks whose summit could only be imagined, and flowing down the mountains, in an orderly manner, was a river of hot, bubbly chocolate. There were huge, fluffy, marshmallows for boats, and people comfortably sat right in, often taking a bite off the seat as and when they pleased.
Houses were of all colours, some turned upside-down! Creatures they’d never seen before flocked the huge meadows. There were magnified soap bars for football stadiums, filled to the brim with excited fans, and the wide roads, which constantly kept changing direction, as if they were almost molten.
The guide said, “That is Mount Zuba, recently calculated to be 10m higher than our very own Mt. Everest.” One of the tourists, Ms. Sukhi, a teacher, suddenly felt a wave of nostalgia, and her mind wandered over an incident that had occurred about a decade ago.
The familiar, noisy, chatter of children filled the room. She saw herself, standing at the chalkboard, addressing the classroom.
“Well, which is the tallest mountain in the world, Kunal?” she asked.
Kunal, a short boy, with curly hair and a mysterious grin on his face replied, “Miss, I don’t believe its been found yet, but I can’t say for sure.”
“Its Mount Everest”, replied another girl from the left.
She smiled at the girl and said, “That’s right, now only if Kunal paid attention in class.”
“I knew the expected answer. But I don’t believe it! How do you know that the tallest mountain in the world is Mt. Everest?! How do you know Chlorine has 17 atoms! Has anyone ever counted? I refuse to believe facts as they are presented to me. I know there’s a world out there, a world that hasn’t yet been seen, and I will find it!” saying so, Kunal sat down, upset.
Sukhi was upset too for being spoken to in that way and asked Kunal to exit the class. That was the last time she saw him.
Reality zoomed back in. The guide who was showing them around, finally halted, handing out water bottles. “Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for ! Come up ahead, and take a picture with our lead scientist .”
Sukhi was really looking forward to this moment, to see the mastermind behind this expedition. “Welcome, Commander Kunal Gupta.”
Sukhi gasped. There he was, with the same mischievous grin and he recognized her too. A new-found respect developed for Kunal in Sukhi and she eagerly went in line to take the picture. She turned to Kunal and said, “One of the greatest moments for a teacher, is when a student can prove her wrong.”