Updated: Mar 11
About the Story Series: Maayavi Foundation, one of the largest tech companies in the contemporary world designs a simulated universe. People's consciousness is sent into the simulation where they act as a character and exist as subconscious beings. Similar to how we exists in our universe. In it's first trial Shashank, the project head is sent into an ancient city. The course of events within the simulation leads to the project shutdown.
June 22,2043 (Bengaluru)
“We are an ingenious species. Though we’ve been on the planet relatively for a short amount of time, our species have dreamed up and created far out things. But there are only a few things that have changed the course of human history. We can count them on fingers. Fire, wheels, agriculture, compass, nails, printing press, combustible engines, electricity, lightbulbs, telephone, penicillin, contraceptives, rockets, the internet, AI, ark reactors, ark stations and quantum computing. And now, we, the Maayavi Foundation, feel proud to announce that we are going to add our invention to that prestigious list.”, Ramana Vishweswara Aiyyar alias RVA, the CEO of the Maayavi Foundation addresses the reporters with a proud face and tone.
A large crowd of journalists from around the world has gathered for the press briefing cum PR event. Big media houses are covering the story on the prime time. Four billion people are tuned in live on different streaming platforms. It is a dream project for the Maayavi Foundation and they have created a lot of hype about it in media and on the internet. It isn’t for the first time that a Maayavi project has gathered this level of attention. They have always invested a lot in the PR. It seems as if they have always required a public validation for their projects.
Every company invests in PR and advertising but the Maayavi are a whole different level. Their product launch and project announcements have more views than the World Cup matches or a song premier by a world class popstar. Although there isn’t a single popular personality in the Foundation but the foundation has a cult following similar to what Elon Musk and SpaceX had in the 20s and 30s.
“We started off as a small gaming company in the late 20s established by some gaming enthusiast college grads from different universities and streams. Our first android mobile game, Maayavi, (on which the name of our firm is kept) had close to 5M downloads from the play store. It was a huge success for us. We had pretty big dreams and it was a perfect platform for us. We were so enthusiastic about our future that we decided to have a huge shot on our next project. We had a new kind of VR game and needed large investments so we did every effort required to reach big investors.
We made huge promises. We had an attractive project but the way we presented it made us collect a whooping sum of 97 million Indian Rupees! Our project was attractive but our promises attracted more investments. Our promises attracted even big names like Reliance who wanted to buy our game for their Jio Phone. How our deal didn’t work out with Reliance is a whole different story but we had pretty big promises. We made them see a dream we had seen and it attracted an amount of investment we couldn’t ever dream of, and now we couldn’t afford to break the promises.
We launched our second project and first smartphone-based full-fledged VR game. Yes, people now claim that game was ahead of its time but for us it was almost the end of the world as it proved to be big flop. We barely managed to collect enough revenue to pay back the amount we had collected. We had to sell off our assets and we still were in debt.
It would have been the end of the world if we would have had accepted it.But we decided to hold on. We went for another shot. And boom! Magic!
No, we didn’t have an instant comeback. It took us a while. But now, here we are! From almost closing down to becoming one of the largest tech companies in the world.
We as a company have always dreamed and hold on to it! And eventually we have made them come true.
Today, I am here to show you all a dream. And I want you all to hold onto it and I promise Maayavi shall make it come true.
Well…Hold your breadth. You’re not going to believe it…But…” he takes a long pause to excite an already exciting audience.
“We are creating a whole new Universe! A whole new reality!”
The crowd is startled. Some think it’s a joke; the punchline will land in the next sentence. Some think it’s just another hyperbole that companies use for the PR. Others are completely awestruck given the past impression of Maayavi. They mean what they say!
The crowd starts murmuring.
“Ahem…” RVA brings back their attention to himself, “I’m not kidding. Maayavi means what it says. Yes, we are creating a Universe.”
He looks at the startled faces of the audience and laughs.
“No, we haven’t gained celestial powers. We are not creating a real universe but something alike. We are creating a simulated universe. And who knows our universe is also a simulated one? Is it? Maybe we’ll find out the answer to this question as well with our creation.
We are creating simulations similar to the Universe we live in. We have been creating simulations lately. VR, AR business is booming. Our own company is a leading player in this field. But why are we calling it a new Universe is the scale of the project. And the quality! We are jumping to a whole different level from the existing standards of VR. You won’t be able to differentiate from the reality”, the crowd is listening all this awestruck.
“We are creating universe level simulations! God, aren’t you all excited?”
The crowd cheers.
“The project is in its initial phase and we don’t know how is it going to turn out but we are very sure that it will be something like we have dreamed of. I want you all to put on your VR sets. I am going to show you something”
Everyone puts on the VR sets. Video is played.
The Maayavi logo is introduced with an intense music to pump up the adrenaline of an already high audience. It is followed by 10 second silence and a distant flicker. The distance flicker intensifies in a huge flash mimicking the Big Bang in slo-mo. It will be called a slo-mo because one second for the Big Bang event is a huge amount of time.
The Gluon Neuon plasma soup, to the formation of first atoms, matter and antimatter, formation of stars to the formation of different galaxies to the formation of our solar system and origin of life on Earth to the evolution of the weird monkeys who would question their own existence. Everything is shown in a dramatic time-lapse with a very dramatic music in the background.
The time-lapse ends on Mars showing our bases, symbolizing the advancements we’ve achieved as a civilization. It is then followed by a five second blackout and silence. This silence is interrupted by a heavy voice.
“The existence is spontaneous or created by what we call God”, everyone identifies the heavy voice in an instant. It is of the famous Bollywood star Darshil Saxena. He doesn’t do a lot of advertisement but who denies a Maayavi offer?
“It is a matter of debate”, he continues in his heavy voice, “but the existence has served its purpose by creating us. A curious breed of monkeys that although does weird and sometimes very ugly things but time and time again has accomplished wonders.”
Brands have been doing this for more than a century now. They have always sold their product in the name of your pride and positivity. But Maayavi are always a level up. They would go saying that the whole purpose of the existence is the creation of humanity. Hyperbole would come and apologize for Maayavi advertisements.
“And now these monkeys are going to accomplish something that the whole existence would be proud of. These monkeys are creating a reality that would exist within the reality. A universe within the Universe. The Maaya”, no one is sure if they are watching a movie or a project announcement ad.
“Maaya is beyond existence and non existence. It is beyond causality. We have had so many Maayavis in the Hindu mythology that would create a Maaya. From the Rakshas to Lord Krishna himself. But the mythology is now going to be your reality.
Hold your breath. You are about to get a glimpse of what’s it’s like to be inside Maaya.”
The voice fades and is replaced by a faint classical note playing in the distant background. The darkness is slowly replaced by a roof made up of dried grass and palm leaves. People find themselves in a hut lying on a sheet of dried grass spread on the ground. As they wake up and get outside the hut, they discover a beautiful grassland spotted with trees and plants loaded with green leaves, and beautiful flowers. There are some other huts and paddy fields nearby. It is like a small village existing in some beautiful grassland.
As they explore further into the bucolic landscape they find a beautiful waterfall. The morning fog is giving it a ethereal appearance. There is an abundant lush and a vibrant fauna. Finding all these today is like visiting the Indralok or heaven. If we exclude the national parks and reserved forests. Rapid Urbanisation and soaring demands of a soaring population has left the world with a very little land for such panoramic and picturesque place to exist.
“Wouldn’t you all be wishing that you could not just watch and hear it but also smell it, taste it, touch it, and have every other feeling that you can have?”, Darshil’s deep voice returns with the words that most of the people would already be saying to themselves.
“If you think this is it. Let me show you something else.”
As soon as the voice ends people find themselves floating in the space with a majestic planet in the foreground and a heavenly beauty in the background pleasing their eyes.
In the next moment they’re inside a plane ready for the sky diving. In the other moment they find a stripper seducing them. In few seconds they find delicious food lying in front of them on a table.
Next few seconds, they’re floating on a boat in deep empty sea. They were being shown every pleasure they could imagine of in seconds.
“Think if you could feel all of these with all your senses. Wouldn’t it be dream come true?
We are the Maayavi. That’s what we do here. We make dreams come true. Give us two years at most and experience your dreams as reality.”
The video ends with a flash off. People take off their VR sets with a bamboozled face for what they just saw. They all are mesmerized but at the same time skeptical. They all have tons of questions but first they need to know how exactly are they going to do it.
We will come to know the same in the next episode when RVA explains the project further and answers some of the query that journalists and the other people sitting in the audience have.
III year student
Arts Faculty, BHU