Punyasloke Bose



Punyasloke Bose


Mind Game

Mind Game

8 mins

Our very own town of Gobindopur was a happy little place where all the residents lived peacefully and joyously. Surprisingly, no one was overly ambitious and enjoyed their status as bestowed upon them by destiny. No one had enmity with anyone, and there was very little competition. Each one participated in others' joy and sorrow.

However, some from the modern generation didn't want to accept the status quo and took their struggle to challenge their destiny head-on. Not willing to accept the life their parents enjoyed, they wanted to create their own future and fortune.

Coming back to the ambitious people later on, first let me share how the majority of us enjoyed our lives together. Monetarily, most of us residents were content. Many of us did small businesses or some jobs, and there was hardly anyone without an active income.

Food was in plenty and businesses rarely resorted to hoarding commodities. Rarely did anybody hear of corruption. No government employee engaged in unethical activities to favor someone over another.

Evenings were spent in numerous tea shops dotting the town. People drank many cups of tea and enjoyed watching sporting events on TV. Some even participated in live discussions. There were very few bars, and not many middle-class people clustered around them.

Strangely enough, the local political bigwigs also behaved themselves amongst each other and kept their slanging matches in the House of Representatives or on TV chat shows.

But our own star boy Anup found it out of place to accept this life. Anup belonged to the modern progeny. He and his group of friends, five or six in total, found it difficult to accept this life devoid of any action and competition. There were a couple of girls also in the group. The girls were particularly angst-ridden that they all should venture out and try their fortunes in the outside world. No resident of Gobindopur discouraged them; instead, they gave them impetus to try their luck for themselves. So Anup, who was a highly meritorious student, harbored much larger ambitions and drew rosy pictures on his mind's canvas. He was motivated by Priya, who herself was also very talented. Then there was Alok and Param. They all wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Smita, also a member, completed the gang. All of them were a motivated and ambitious lot. All of them were pursuing modern-generation educational subjects. These subjects had only been taught for the past two decades.

Anup had done biomedical engineering. He did a special course on artificial intelligence (AI) for a couple of years, a totally new sector. Five years ago, no one had heard of it. Even Anup had diverted from his core field of medical engineering. He had heard about artificial intelligence while doing his master's. Concerned with the health and general well-being of his fellow human beings around him, Anup wanted to utilize the vast depths of AI to help mankind get rid of deadly diseases. Priya, his classmate of many years, wanted to use the technology of 3D printing to help make technologically useful machines. Smita was a nutritionist of exceptional quality and took the help of age-old traditions followed by generations, merging them with modern medicine to help humanity fight many deadly diseases.

Alok and Param were experts in banking and finance, and their aim was to exploit modern technology to help garner solutions for complex accounting and finance procedures being followed since time immemorial.

So this modern generation of Gobindopur, though few in number, was making their flight plans ready to move out of their sheltered nest.

Anup had received a nice but challenging appointment as a research assistant at a foreign university. Priya, his friend of many years, had also gotten an appointment in a foreign research laboratory a few hundred kilometers away from Anup. The others also got plum positions in various state-of-the-art institutes or industries abroad.

Before leaving their beloved hometown, they met at the famous tea shop of Shankar. There they discussed and analyzed their motives and approach to attending their new assignments. Slowly, other residents joined and felicitated them on their success. Some said that they should keep up the good name of the town from where they belonged. Others just simply blessed them. Everyone was happy in their happiness.

Within the next week, everyone left for their destinations except for Anup and Priya. They were held up due to some visa-related issues. Finally, their day came to say goodbye.

Then, all of a sudden, Priya's grandma fell seriously ill and had to be hospitalized. So Priya had to postpone her travel plans. Anup also decided to stay back and keep Priya company. As it is, he had an open-air ticket with flexible travel dates. Both of their employers were generous and allowed them the freedom to choose their date of journey.

Then, when Priya's grandma recovered and returned home, it was Anup's turn to be challenged. He met with a bike accident and fractured his leg below the knee. For six weeks, he was advised not to make any travel plans. This time also, both their employers allowed them the leverage to decide when to join. But there was a slight word of caution.

Finally, everyone was fit and fine, and their date of departure arrived.

This time they really did leave and went about happily and confidently. The whole neighborhood came to see them off. It was a beautiful sight of camaraderie and a feeling of brotherhood.

Both Anup and Priya made a big splash on their respective campuses. They got to experience an amazing place of work with beautiful infrastructure. What achievement in normal circumstances would have taken more than a year, they did here in just six months.

But all was not going well for them from then onwards, especially for Anup. He had to face a lot of peer pressure and cutthroat competition. He had to battle bias, bigotry, and surprisingly, racism. Actually, his stellar achievement had kindled jealousy in his team. So began a slow tough journey for Anup.

On weekends, Priya would come over to motivate and cheer up Anup. His morale was now sagging day by day. Even his mentors, to whom he had been a blue-eyed boy, had unfortunately turned their faces away.

During this period, Anup had built about half a dozen patents, but due to a lack of peer and senior support, he had to give them away to others.

Anup was very unhappy. He was seeing his hard work going down the drain. But he somehow failed to give in, although he was facing all the odds.

Priya, on the other hand, had been modestly successful with her 3D prints. She was able to make a commercial success of a couple of her works. But she was not too happy with her success as Anup's situation cast a cloud over her achievements.

Anup was seriously thinking of going back home. He had discussed this with Priya but initially did not receive her support. She kept saying that the situation would definitely improve and Anup must hold his ground tightly. She reminded Anup that back home he would not get the quality infrastructure and the funds to do research.

Anup, despite his opposition to staying on, continued thinking of Priya.

Priya knew that Anup needed more than just pep talks and support. She one day made the bold move and proposed to Anup, knowing that their union would divert his attention from his inward tensions. Anup was happy to accept the proposal from Priya, but he was not happy with the way in which this happened. He had hoped that one day he would propose in the presence of members of both families. But that did not happen, and he consoled himself that human beings sometimes have to accept situations that are destined the way they are.

Surprisingly, both families supported their decision, which gave both Anup and Priya a lot of mental tonic.

From then onwards, Anup could fight his way through life's ups and downs. He had made commendable headway in using AI in the field of medical diagnostics. He was developing ways where patients could be diagnosed with diseases without giving their blood. But unfortunately, his achievements were short-lived as a big Infotech company pressured him to part with the patent. The compensation he got was mind-boggling, but what he wanted was that the invention should have borne his name, and that was not to be. He knew that he was now a victim of mind games.

Being at a loss, Anup was thinking about what should be his next step. One who had gained expertise over Artificial Intelligence was now a victim trapped under his not-so-flexible intelligence.

Then Anup got a surprise visitor one day. The visitor had done a thorough study of Anup and his work. He had even done his homework about Anup's likes and dislikes and how his mental condition was at present. The visitor offered to Anup that he could use the patent in his name of his latest invention by tweaking some data here and there so that the intellectual property rights of his earlier invention, which he had already sold, would not be violated. By doing so, a new product would be developed with a slightly differing ratio of inputs, but in essence, the product would be the same. Also, the functioning of the machine and its objective would be the same as the one Anup had sold to the big Infotech company. Now a different name could be given to the machine, and a new patent could be created whose credit would solely go to Anup.

But how would this new client gain, and what were his objectives? How would he benefit? This thought struck Anup's mind. This new client would commercially exploit it and take the first mover advantage. Also, he would financially compensate Anup with a bigger amount. But there was always the worry that the company who got the patent earlier could go to the court seeking punishment for Anup and the latter company for cheating.

But that risk Anup had to take or forgo his claim to the invention. He was facing a big

 risk of a lifetime where a lot was at stake. Money, prestige, honor, and much more. With his produce, humans would not be treated as a commodity but as intelligent beings, masters of their own destiny.

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