Characters: Rajesh, Sameer, Ansh, Ritika, Ruhi, Rashi
Sameer (on a conference call with Rajesh, Ansh, and Ritika): Come on guys! We need this get-together! It will be a perfect weekend! It has been a really long time since we had a get-together after we got busy with our jobs.
Rajesh (sounding hesitant): I don’t know man… I have plans with Ruhi. I already promised her I was gonna take her to the beach.
Ansh: Rajesh you do it every time! Ritika you say something he always listens to you.
Ritika: Rajesh Beta, if you say no I am gonna come there and hit you really hard on the head, and listen I am going to call Ruhi anyway and I will convince her to come to Sameer’s farm house this weekend.
Rajesh: Ok fine! I will be there and please don’t call her I will do the convincing by myself.
Sameer(Cheerfully): Ok then! Its decided. Everyone at my farm house tomorrow evening at 7:00pm. And don’t worry I already informed Rashi she will be there too.
(Everyone hangs up really looking forward to this long-awaited get-together)
(Sameer’s farm house was quite out of town with around 12-15 row houses nearby. Populace around was really scarce as not everyone in the city would choose to come to their farm houses every weekend. That Saturday was a bit special as it was the new moon and the news channels were rambling about the appearance of Millers comet after 100 years in the sky, and it was going to be a spectacular view to watch. It was already 6:30pm and Sameer and Rashi were already at the farm house for preparations. Around 7:15pm they heard car stopping outside the gate. It was Ritika.)
Ritika(Entering in with two-three bags in hand): Hey guys! Will you please give me a hand these bags are really heavy.
Sammer: Here let me help you.
Rashi: Ritika so happy to see you after such a long time! How have you been?
Ritika: Oh don’t ask the work is really giving me chills(They chit chat about their daily routine and all).
Rashi: That bad hunn…Don’t worry it’s just few more days before you get that promotion.
Ritika: (Sarcastically) Yeah right! (suddenly she remembered something and pulled out her mobile) You know what something weird happened just a few minutes ago, I just had Ansh on the phone and this happened. It cracked. As I was talking to him.
Sameer: You dropped it?
Ritika: Our connection… No, I didn’t drop it. It just cracked as I was holding it.
Sameer: It must be the WiFi. It happens due to overheating…don’t worry, anyway did Ansh say anything?
Ansh: No, I think it’s fine. He just said he wanted to talk about ice-creams, but that’s not the point, on the news, you know, they’re talking about the comet. The Miller’s Comet. And they keep telling people that this can happen.
Rashi(chuckling): Yeah. I don’t think it’s the comet it doesn’t even make sense
Ritika (trying to sound serious): No. The interference. They’re saying things break.
Sameer (rolling his eyes): Ok fine! It was the comet! Now stop this chit chat and help me! everyone will be here soon.
(Everyone was there. It was a great evening. The tables were set and the silence around was filled with music, laughter, jokes and memories of their college days)
Rajesh(excited): Oh, I used to love that place.
Ansh (interrupting Rajesh): Me too! And you will definitely remember that one incident where Ritika fell down right on her face!
Ritika(Sounding irritated): Shut up Ansh! You bring it up every time we all are together; you know how embarrassing it was for me. That dog was really scary and the floor was wet! I slipped! I remember it very well! (getting angry) now stop this conversation ok.
Ruhi(trying to sound comforting): Oh sweety! They are doing it on purpose don’t let them win, they are just want to see you get all red and puffy like old days.
Sameer(laughing): Yeah! she is one angry redhulk.
Rashi: Ok guys enough with the bullying, jokes apart but does anyone know about this comet thingy? It’s really going to be something they say. They said it is going to pass really close to earth and it might have some effects on the earth’s atmosphere. And it will be seen around 9:00pm in the sky.
Rajesh: Wow that sounds really cool! I think we should go on the terrace and enjoy the view.
Ansh: Ok before we do that I have a question? Did the news say anything about tower cells being down and all… because my phone does not seem to have any range at all?
Ritika: Really! In fact, my phone cracked when I was talking to you they said that would happen.
(and suddenly the lights went out, it was really dark and everyone tried to switch on their phone battery but all the phones were dead. Finally, they found the candles and lit a few)
Sameer: That’s really weird! Lights never go out in this area, and what happened to everyone’s mobile phone?
Ritika: See I told you this would happen, you did not believe me when my phone cracked.
Ansh: Ok may be this is because of the comet, who cares! Its just a power cut. Let’s go Sameer let’s get those Florescent glow stick from your storage for now.
(Sameer and Ansh went to storage room in search of the Glow Stick)
Rashi (trying to lighten the atmosphere): Ok listen everyone, let’s talk about this Miller’s comet until they come back, when was the last time it passed by the earth? Was there anything on the news about that?
Rajesh: I read something this morning about a comet in the 1930s.
It was in Finland. Knocked out all of the…electricity and communication.
(Sameer and Ansh came back with three box of glow stick and sat down trying to open one of them)
Ritika(interrupting): Actually, it was in 1923. And, yes, it was in Finland. It was actually crazy, because it affected the people. After it passed, they would get lost. They would end up in the wrong home.
They would forget things. They wouldn’t really know where they were. And I remember reading about this one woman…who called the police and said, “The man in my house is not my husband.” And then police came over…and they said, “This is your husband”, And she said, “No. This is not my husband. I killed my husband yesterday”.
Ritika (continuing her story): and the woman said “That’s how I know it’s not him.” But they couldn’t arrest her, because he was standing… right there in front in them.
Ruhi: Do they have any theories of why?
Sameer (trying to sound funny): Think how lucky she is. She gets to kill him again. Clearly she wants to kill this man. It is like that movie..
Ruhi(Shouting with surprise): Oh, my God! This is like your phone!(showing her phone which cracked just now)
Ritika: Oh, my God! That happened to my phone tonight. And I was just holding mine in my hand.
Ruhi: Exact same thing! Shattered!
Ritika: Yeah. This is what they were talking about on the news.
Ansh: Do you have a landline here Sameer?
Sameer: No. I never bothered do get a landline.
Ansh: All right. I need to make a call to my brother.
Rashi: What’s wrong with your brother? All of a sudden you wanna call him?
Ansh: Nothing. He’s fine. He just, um… You know Kartik. He hangs out with all those, you know, theoretical physicists. He just said to give him a call, you know, if there was anything weird going on.
Rashi (getting a bit tensed): Like, why? What did he think it could do?
Is it something serious…effect and all.
Ansh: No! god! See there’s a massive celestial object, and he just told to call if something comes up, at first I didn’t even bother but now it seems that it is better if I contact him about the magnitude of the effect. That’s all.
Sameer(confused): You guys realize…it’s just a power cut we live in India it happens! why is everyone getting all serious, relax! Ok listen guys let us go out and see if there is anyone with working landline.
(Everyone stood up and Sameer hands them Blue glow sticks which made it easier to look around. It was really dark outside. Nothing was visible through the window. Everyone steps out and the sky had this spectacular view in the sky, it was the Millers comet slowly moving through the sky, it was really beautiful. For moment everyone stood in silence and watched the comet floating slowly like there was water in the empty sky)
Rajesh: Man isn’t that magnificent, and here we are all worried and suspicious look at that it’s incredible.
(Ansh goes up to the car and calls out for Sameer)
Ansh: Hey Sameer look there is house around two blocks away from here should we go… and it is completely lit up.
(Everyone gets near the car and yes as Ansh described it was lit up)
Sameer: Ok guys listen. Me and Ansh will go to that house, see if they have landline make a call and come back. And until then Rajesh you see if we can get the generator in the basement to start.
(saying so Ansh and Sameer started walking to towards that house and others went in to see if they could make the generator work)
Rashi: Ten minutes we give them. Else I am going there too.
Rajesh: They will be fine. We’re just rattled because we’re addicted to cell phones and Internet.
Ritika: We are. Really what did we do before cell phones?
Ruhi(sarcastically): Yeah, let’s discuss it after we get the generator to work alright.
(Everyone walked to the basement. Rajesh tried to start the generator but it was out of fuel, Rashi knew that there was some diesel back in the shed, they brought it in and poured it into the generator, and it started in the first attempt. the house was lit up again. Everyone went upstairs and waited for Ansh and Sameer to come back. It was almost seven minutes since they went there)
Rashi: Em, you seem to be the comet expert here tonight. What happened the last time?
Ritika: I read one more thing. It was, like, in 1908, 1903…
(sounding horrified) Oh, my God, oh, my God,oh, my God. What is…What was that?
Rajesh (shocked by her sudden outburst): What, Where..What is it?
(Ritika pulls Ruhi and Rashi away from the door and shouts)
Ritika: Lock that front door.Don’t open the door.
Rashi: I’m gonna get the bat.
Rajesh: Yeah. Give me the bat.
Ruhi: Is that door locked? I’ll check it.
Ritika (pulling Ruhi backwards): honey, stay away from the door.
(A loud thud happens on the door and everyone moves away from the door)
Ritika: See, I saw someone picking in from the window.
Ruhi: Would it be Sameer and Ansh?
Ritika: But why would they do that , they should have simply got in, and why would they bang the door so loud?
Rajesh(holding the bat firmly in one hand): ok relax girls, we still don’t know who made that noise so relax.
Rashi: How long have they been gone?Like ten minutes. Five minutes out, five minutes back. They should be back by now.
Ruhi: Okay. I think we should go get them.
Rajesh: Yes, I think so too. Ruhi you stay here with Ritika, Rashi and I will go and see what taking them so long.
Ritika: No Stay, or let’s go together…
(suddenly the door opens)
Rajesh: Oh, my God. Oh man, it’s them. What the hell happened?Are you okay?
Sameer(all sweaty and tensed): I’m fine, I’m fine.
Ritika: Are you okay? (looking towards Ansh ) What is this?
Ruhi: Yeah, What’s the box?
Ansh(still trying to catch a breath): That was… at the other house. I thought I saw Sameer put it down…Then he was running around the corner and…
Rashi: You just took it?
Ansh: I just followed him.
Sameer: I didn’t… you saw it in my hand?
Rajesh: Why was he running?
Ritika: Sameer, what happened?
Sameer: Ansh, why did you take that box with?
Ansh: I thought I saw you put it down.
Sameer: I did not touch that thing. I don’t know what that is, or why you grabbed it.
Ruhi: Guys, what happened?
Ansh: Okay. We were at the other house. Sameer went around the side. I thought I heard a noise. (looking at Sameer) You made some kind of sound, and then you saw what? Something. You won’t tell me what you saw.
Rajesh: I don’t understand what’s going on. What did you see?
Sameer (unable to speak): I don’t…
Ritika: What did you see?
Rajesh (looking at Sameer and Ansh): What’s in the box?
Sameer: No DON’T!
Ansh: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Rajesh (looking suspicious): You don’t want to talk about it
and you don’t want to open…
Sameer: Fine! Open the box! Open the box. What do I care?
Rashi: What is wrong? Calm down. What happened?
(Rajesh took a pin and started working on the box, after a little effort he opened it, it as a small white box…metallic and a black handle, size about a size of small laptop. He opened it at as shocked by what was in the box….)
Rajesh: These are pictures of all of us. These are…Somebody’s marked us. I can’t figure this out…
Ruhi: This is insane.
Rashi: And there are numbers on the back.
Ritika (trying to sound normal): Sameer. Baby, what did you see?
Ansh: yeah Sameer what did you see? For the sake of God, man.You can’t stand there and not
say anything! I was there with you and you just started running.
Rajesh: Sameer! There are pictures of us in this box!
Ritika: Sameer! Say something!
Sameer (still in a shock, trembling voice): I went to the window, and I looked in the window. And I saw a table…with wine glasses and candles…and dinner set for six people.
I saw…you three were there.
Ritika: Oh, my God. What?
Rajesh: Right. Okay, stop this bullshit, Sameer.
Sameer (unable to express): I saw…
Rajesh: Did you guys come and made a loud thud on the door? Did you come to the side door?
Ansh: No. we went to the side door at the other house. They wouldn’t answer the door, so I went…and banged the front door
Ruhi: This is so scary, you idiots walked in a circle came back here? And knocked on this door.
Sameer: I did not walk in a circle! I went two blocks. We went up to that house.
Ansh: Yes, and I knocked at the door. Nobody answered, so I went
and banged on the side door.
Rashi: Did you see yourself, Sameer?
Sameer: No, I did not see myself.
Ruhi: No, because you weren’t there.
Ansh: We did not go in a circle!
Ritika: Ok Just calm down. I don’t believe this. This still doesn’t explain the pictures.
Rajesh: What’s on the back of the pictures?
Ritika: Numbers. They’re all…We’ve got two, one, one, three. That’s five and mine is one.
(she writes the number down on a small note pad)
(looking at Rajesh) Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where are you going?
Rajesh: I’m gonna go over there. And see it for myself.
Ruhi Ritika & Rashi(Unison): No, no, no.
Rajesh: Think about it. I’m gonna go back over there. I’m gonna ask to use their phone…and, hopefully, Ansh can get in touch with his brother. And if they don’t answer. I’ll just leave a note. Ok. That makes sense. Right?
Ritika: You should not go back.
Ansh: It’s fine. It’ll be fine. I will go back with him last time I saw nothing… (sits down to write a note)
(everyone looks at Sameer …he had his elbows on the table resting his head in his hand…like he was not able to compute what he just saw)
Sameer: I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me just do what you want…but I saw what I saw!
Ruhi: But what’s a note going to do? these people have pictures of us, they might be crazy.
Ritika: Shit! There’s someone out there.
Rashi: Yes, There’s someone out there.
Rajesh: What? Oh, my God. Oh, there’s a big guy at the door.
Ritika: Oh, my God. At the door?
Ruhi: What should we do. What should we do?
Ansh: Look He’s walking away. He’s walking away.
(Rajesh goes ahead and decides to open the door)
Rashi: Please, please, please be careful. What is it, Rajesh?
(Rajesh opens the door and no one is out there but he finds a note stuck to the door and reads it out loud)
“Hey, there. Don’t mean
to freak you guys out,
but we just wanted to borrow
your phone for five minutes’ tops.
(Ansh lifted up his note to show it to everyone and it was the same not that was just now stuck by someone on the door…even the handwriting was same)
Rajesh: How is that even possible? Does that…that mean the Sameer from the other house came and stuck it on our door, this is insane!
Ruhi: Guys I think we are losing our minds…Its absolutely ridiculous! this is definitely some prank…I think we should check for cameras!
Ritika: I think we should go out and see for ourselves.
Rajesh: Yes, I was gonna say that, let’s do it.
Rashi: Are you guys crazy, there is no need of doing that!
Ritika: Listen guys, as Ruhi says if someone around here is playing a prank then they are really ruining our fun night, let’s go out and confront them.
Ansh: Yes, I think that’s the only explanation.
Rajesh: I, Ritika, Ruhi and Ansh will go and see what’s going on, Rashi you stay here with Sameer.
Rashi: ok fine, please be safe!
(Saying so Rajesh, Ritika, Ruhi and Ansh get out of the house. It was unusually dark between the road leading to the house two blocks away, but they keep walking and they came near the house, and it was exactly like the Sameer’s farmhouse, but row house are always twins so it was fine, but when Rajesh looked in through the window…)
Rajesh: Guys! Its Sameer and Rashi. How is that possible.
Ruhi: What! But how is that possible?
Ritika: Oh my god! Guys listen there is someone coming from there, let’s go.
Ansh: Yeah let’s go, we will come back with everyone.
(Four of them start running towards the house, as they reached the middle area they saw four figures emerging form the other side of the road. They were shaken to their core, it was them they looked the same even wore same dress, only difference was that the other Rajesh, Ruhi, Ritika and Ansh carried Red glow stick. All of them stood still like they were paralyzed. And then out of fear ran to their own houses. It was an out of world experience. They get back to the house try to explain what they saw)
Rashi: What? You are actually saying you saw yourself there, are you on drugs, I don’t believe you! This is crazy.
Ritika: No Rashi its true we know it’s crazy but it’s true, Sameer was right it was the same house.
Sameer: Yes! I told you didn’t I, I am not crazy, I saw and it and its true…. Wait I think we should get that book from my bag.
Rashi: What book? Are you talking about that book which Kartik forgot in your house last week?
Sameer: Yeah exactly I was gonna courier it, just give me a minute…
(Kartik was a physicist and had been doing some research related to the event of Miller’s comet. Sameer opens the first page and starts reading the page out loud)
Sameer: These are Kartiks’s notes from his lesson plan for his class. “Decoherence and Schrodinger’s Cat.” He talked about this. Do you guys know what Schrodinger’s cat is?
(everyone nods their head in denial)
So, it’s a, um…It’s a thought experiment. There’s a… There’s a cat in a box…that has, like, a 50/50 chance of living…because there’s a vial of poison…that’s also in the box. So, regular physics would say that it’s one or the other. That the cat is either alive or dead. But Kartik would argue that quantum physics says…that both realities exist simultaneously. It’s only when you open the box that they collapse…into a single event. Right? So, listen to this.
This is what he’s written. “There is another theory: That two states continue to exist…separate and decoherent from each other, each creating a new branch of reality…based on the two outcomes. Quantum Decoherence ensures that the different outcomes…have no interaction with each other.”
Ansh: Hold on. Well, that explains it. So we’re in the box. We’re the cat. We’re both alive and dead. So, there are… There are two separate realities, and… presumably until the comet passes.
Rajesh: Until the comet passes? Okay. Or decoherence is maintained and those two separate realities…will remain separate once the comet passes.
Sameer: Everybody will be fine. Decoherence keeps us separate. Right.
Rajesh : All we have to do is stay inside until the comet passes.
(Everyone just sat there waiting for this nightmare to end, Sameer and Ansh were trying to discuss something trying hard that no one else hears them)
Ritika: Hey Sameer you have a cut on your head you need a Band-Aid, here take this one it’s a cloth Band-aid.
(Sameer whispers something in Ansh’s ears and gets up to take the bandage, applies it to the forehead and goes towards kitchen, to get some pain killers and calls Ansh with him to help him find the headache pills. Both go out of sight of other people and start talking)
Sameer: I just want to wake up and start again, you know?
Ansh: did you see the box of glow stick, they have Blue box opened and Red hasn’t been even touched (Ansh gets the glow stick from his pocket and it was red) Sameer we are in the wrong house. What are we gonna do? We have to get the out of here.
Sameer: Okay. Okay. Let’s take…Take the book.
Ansh: Do we take the box?
Sameer: Take the box it doesn’t belong here…
(Sameer and Ansh realise that they were in the wrong house, the house which they came from opened Red box of glow stick. As a distraction to escape they come up with a plan)
Rajesh: You know I never believed in such theories, but when I see it happening in front of my own eyes it seems unreal.
(Everyone nodes. Suddenly they hear Sameer shouting)
Sameer: Guys there is someone in the backyard you need to come and see this!
(everyone runs towards the kitchen, Sameer and Ansh were trying to see something in the dark. Everyone looked at the backyard where Sameer pointed to have seen someone but no one was there)
Rajesh: Sameer, I don’t see anyone. What did you see exactly?
Rashi: Yeah, I see no one.
Ruhi: Guys wait… where is Sameer?
(everyone turns around. Sameer and Ansh were nowhere to be found and they came in the hall the box and Kartiks’s book was gone!)
Ritika: Even Ansh is gone? Where did they go? And more importantly, where’s the box?
Ruhi: Oh, my God. They took the box.
Rajesh: where did they go?
Rashi: I have no clue where they went.
(It was very unnerving to see both just disappear like that, everyone started looking if they were still somewhere in the house, but they were nowhere to be found and neither the book nor the box. Just then Ruhi sees through window that someone is approaching the door)
Ruhi: Oh, shit! There’s someone coming.
Ruhi: They’re coming over here, guys.
Rashi: Yeah. It’s Sameer.
Ruhi: Is it Sameer?
Rajesh: Is it Sameer and Ansh? Yeah, and they have blue glow sticks.
It’s Sameer and Ansh. Cool.
Ritika: They’re coming to the door.
(Ritika opens the door and it was actually Sameer and Ansh, both looking sweaty and tensed)
Ritika: Are you all okay? where have you been?
Rajesh: What happened? Why did you leave. And where is the box?
Ruhi: Can you please tell us what happened?
Sameer: We went to…We went to make a phone call, and then when…when we looked in the door, we saw…We saw this, basically. Diner set for six. I.. I got startled. I fell over. I hit my head. We went back to the house to…but we were in the wrong house.
Rajesh: Wait. You already came back here. We already heard this story. Why are you telling us this story again?
Ritika: Yeah, You came back with the box.
Ansh: Wait. What?
Ritika: Because you came back, and after you hit your head…We gave him a Band-Aid and you gave us the…
Ruhi: But not that Band-Aid.
Ritika: What do you mean? Oh, my God. I gave you a cloth Band-Aid. But you have a plastic band aid on your head!
Ansh: Wait a minute…. There was another Sameer and an Ansh here?
Rashi: Yes. And you left with the book. You left with the pictures, and we didn’t know where you went.
Sameer: We were at a house where everybody had red glow sticks!
(soon everyone understood that the Sameer and Ansh whom they saw before were form a different house and they took off with the box and the book as soon as they realised what has happened)
Rajesh: They’re in the right house.
Rashi: Well, welcome back.
Ritika: Welcome back.
Rajesh: man, I’m sorry this is really making no sense.
Ansh: No its fine, you just didn’t know.
Sameer: Anyways we need to be careful, I think we should mark this house so that we realise we are in the right house
Ritika:So, it was you guys who left us the note.
Ansh: No, I never got out with that note, but we ended up with two notes.
Ritika: And so did we. If you didn’t, and if the other Ansh didn’t, then who has been leaving the notes?
Rajesh: “Quantum decoherence ensures that the different outcomes…have no interaction with one another.” So, that mean one note has been written at least four times.
Ruhi: Well, how many Sameer and Ansh are walking around out there? May be infinite!
Rajesh: Okay, before we do anything, we have to figure out how to mark our own house.
Sameer: If every house is the same…If we put a marker in front of the house, there could be an infinite number of houses with that mark. So, we have to do something random.
Ansh: Something that can’t be repeated. Something unique. Dice. Do we have dice? If we each roll a number for each of us, that’s what? That’s…
Sameer: Six times six times six times six times… That’s hugely random.
Ritika: The probability of that repeating is… tiny. And then what?
Rashi: But so we have to have something visual. I mean, should we write it down, put it in… put it outside? Put it in an envelope? put it in a box.
Rajesh: That’s, that’s…That’s exactly what they’ve done.
Ritika: They were ahead of us. They were making a marker for their house. They made a unique mark. Only we took it.
Ruhi: If it seems like a good idea to us, it would seem like a good idea to them.
Ansh (looking towards Sameer): Do you have a box?
Sameer: Yeah. Yeah, let me look.
Rashi: So, we need photos.
Ruhi: I will get the album.
(Until then Sameer came out with a box, Empty, but it was exactly like the box which other Sameer and Ansh brought with them some time ago)
Sameer: How does this work as a box? I didn’t even know we had it. It was just under a pile of crap in the back.
Ritika: So, tha… Tha… That’s your box? It was here all the time.
Ruhi (Entering the room with photo albums): Of course it was. And look at these albums stack it has the same picture that we found in that box.
(Everyone sits down at the table gets their photos and rolls the dice. Each number is unique and random. They write the number behind the photos with a blue marker…if you remember…the previous box had same contents…photos and number behind it. Everyone remembers those nos. And they are written on the writing pad on the table, Ritika realises that there is a possibility that may be they all are in the wrong house…! And she takes the pad and start verifying whether they tell the right no.)
Ritika: guys let me ask you something, tell me your number from the previous box.
Sameer: Mine was 6
Rashi: Mine was 5
Ruhi: 3 I think…yeah 3 definitely 3.
Rajesh: Mine was 3 too.
Ritika: Oh shit! Guys everyone has got wrong number in this notepad except Rashi. Do you know what that means! We all belong to a different house!
Rashi: But why am I only the one who remembers the right number!
Ritika: Because everyone else left the house and went into the dark area while going towards the next house two blocks away!
(and suddenly everyone realises that no one belonged to this house and that they were lost in the circle of different realities, everyone just sat there frozen, as the gulped the reality of the situation, soon after sometime Sameer spoke breaking the silence)
Sameer: I think it’s better I go out there and start searching whatever reality I belong to…
(soon one by one they get up and start leaving the house in the hope that they find their home…where they came from)