Once upon a Time by Indu Balakrishnan

Once upon a time, there was just space. Literally nothing in space. Empty space is not really empty though. Nothing contains something, seething with energy and particles that flit into and out of existence.And then a gravitational singularity that contained all the energy and spacetime exploded to create what we now know as the universe. This marked the end of the dark age. 

Once upon a time, life was created out of this ‘nothing’ and higher forms of life followed – invertebrates, vertebrates, reptiles, dinosaurs and eventually humans. Asteroids hit earth. Climate change took place. Homo sapiens continued to evolve technology, culture and consciousness, turning humans’ ancestors into a near-geologic force on the Earth. In the end, every hominid species went extinct — except one. Humans are the last, and only, surviving hominid. 

Once upon a time, humans’ ancestors were nomadic hunter-gatherers for over two million years. As Earth became warmer, the diet changed as well. Civilizations were formed. The invention of writing took place. History was being recorded. 

Once upon a time, in the 11th century, borders were created and land was conquered and defended by kings. Law and order was created in the 12th century. The creation of money in the 13th century led to the birth of markets. The plague in the 14th century was touted to be the greatest  disaster to befall mankind. Columbus discovered America in the 15th century creating a need to re-evaluate the wisdom of the last thousand years. 

Once upon a time, in the 16th century, the concept of world peace was born and personal violence declined. The scientific revolution and the French Revolution of the 17th and 18th century respectively reformed the world socially and economically. The changes included the abolition of slavery, universal education, the rights of women to act as independent property owners, public health, and the diminution of capital punishment. 

Once upon a time, in the 19th century, communications expanded with advancement in technology. The 20th Century opened the portal to the future in many ways. The threshold where the modern world began, so to speak. The universe became smaller as man stepped on the moon. 

Once upon a time, in the 21st century, globalization took over. The world became smaller as borders became irrelevant. The world was now on the 2D platform. Digital was the place to be. Life moved faster than ever. You had to run really fast to stay in the same place. The side effects included obesity, lack of balance between personal and professional life, global warming, extinction of flora and fauna, depletion of water and natural resources, etc. 

And then, once upon a time in China, someone ate a bat. Or that’s what is the most prevalent theory. And now, we have all been sent perpetually to the digital world. Online classes. Work from home. Order everything we need online. Today, this is the new normal and it looks like it’s going to stay. 

Once upon a time, liberty was taken for granted. Now the global lockdown has taught us how precious it is indeed. The world is changing, and changing fast. Technology, education, health, eating habits, dress – there is hardly anything in life that is not changing, some changes we like, while others create fear and anxiety.

Tomorrow, this global pandemic will become once upon a time. Let’s hope tomorrow arrives soon.

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