Twelve-year-old Ayush and 10-year-old Avantika were excited. Their holidays had started and they were going to a summer camp for an entire day. The theme of the camp was “Walk into the Future”. They had decided that they would participate in as many unique activities as they could.
On the day of the camp, their parents drove them to the venue, a resort on the outskirts of their city. It was a beehive of activity with excited children swarming over the place. At the registration desk, their parents showed the payment receipts and the siblings received their entry cards and food passes.
“We will pick you up at 6.00 p.m. at the same spot,” their dad said before driving off.
Time to explore
Ayush and Avantika entered the vast ground, which was filled with small tents, each of which had a theme. Their gold passes allowed them entry into all five.
Tent 1 had a sign: “Meet your Future Self 50 Years Later.”
On Tent 2, it said: “Travel Through Your Imagination.”
Tent 3’s sign was: ‘Treasure Hunt.”
Tent 4 was: “Inventions of the Future.”
And on Tent 5: “Walk into the Unknown.”
“The first tent looks interesting,” Ayush said.
They rushed in to see that it was packed with 25 children. They watched, as each child walked up to the table. A woman wearing a grey Camp Future jumpsuit sat there. After a small discussion, the child was handed a slip of paper. They watched puzzled, as one by one, the children left the tent. When it was their turn, they approached the table.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked them.
“A brain surgeon,” Ayush said.
“A scientist,” Avantika smiled.
“Great,” the woman smiled, writing something on two small slips of paper. “Go to the next tent, there will be several staff members to guide you. They will also give you detailed instructions. Be back here in half an hour.”
She handed each of them a small piece of paper. The siblings walked to the large tent. It was buzzing with activity. College students who were volunteers, wearing jeans and black tee shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Camp Future,’ scurried around helping the children.
Each child was assigned a volunteer who gave them detailed instructions. The siblings quickly changed into the clothes handed to them. Admiring their reflection in the mirror, they marched out of the changing rooms, their heads held high.
Peek into the future
They returned to the first tent and sat down in the place assigned to them. Each child was dressed in the clothes of the profession they had chosen. Small mics were pinned to their ears.
“Ayush!” the teacher called his name.
Ayush walked up to the stage, wearing the green scrubs of a surgeon, white gloves, a mask over his nose, and a white wig on his head. He smiled at the other children in the audience.
Removing the mask and the gloves, he spoke. “Hello everyone, I’m Dr. Ayush Gupta, chief surgeon and head of the neurology department of Gupta Mind Specialty Hospital. Today I’ve performed not just India’s but also the world’s first surgery, where new talents have been fitted into the brain of a patient through a cache of selective memories. This intricate surgery took nine hours. The patient has been transplanted with the memories of a mountaineer, a tennis player and a musician. Now he need not spend hours practising any skill, it will happen automatically due to the memory implants.”
Everyone clapped. One boy in the audience asked, “Can the patient play tennis?”
‘Yes,” Ayush nodded. “Very well at that. Once he recovers from the surgery, he will be able to do all the new activities. He can go on expeditions, play tennis or give stage performances as a musician.”
“Can anyone be fitted with new memories?” a girl asked.
“Yes,” Ayush replied. “The person must choose new memories of the profession they want and sign a consent form and we will do the rest.”
“Brilliant idea,” a boy said.
As the group clapped, Ayush walked off the stage.
“Avantika!” the teacher announced the next name.
Avantika was in a suit, all bundled up with goggles, gloves and a mask.
“Hello, I am Dr. Avantika,” she said, removing the mask and goggles. “I’ve just created the HE1HA gene. It’s the gene of good health and happiness. It took my team of scientists and me, 35 years of hard work to make this gene. We transferred this new genetic material into the cells of several lab rats last year. Every rat has shown promising signs. Not one fell sick in the entire year and neither did any rat show any signs of sadness. The HE1HA1 gene boosted their immunity and mood. With this gene injected into their bodies, they could fight all the diseases.”
The audience broke into a thunderous applause.
“Can humans be injected with this gene?” a tall girl asked.
“Yes. The plan is to inject this miraculous gene right at birth, so that the child grows up healthy and happy,” Avantika replied.
“What happens when an older person is injected with this gene?” a boy asked.
“Their ailments start disappearing and they become healthy and happy,” she smiled.
“Will it be an expensive treatment?” a girl queried.
“Initially yes, but we hope to reduce the cost later,” Avantika replied, walking down the stage.
As the other students spoke about their future selves, Ayush whispered. “I think I’ve found my calling in life.”
“So have I,” Avantika high-fived him. “Camp Future has been an eye-opener!”