It was a grand undertaking. The morning was misty and cold. The wind pierced my armour like the innumerable arrows that made Bheeshma’s deathbed. I was off to a battle. That was what I understood.
As it sometimes happened, I could make out that it was a dream. It was sometime in the future. The future was now. It was here.
There was talk all around of ‘a Clash of Civilizations’. It was bigger than a third world war ever could be. How can that be? A nuclear war can wipe out all mankind. What could be bigger than that?
The general shouted- “Onwards, men and women! The victory shall be ours!”
I was mounted on a white steed. It broke into a gallop. I looked around. All around me were warriors of all races, sizes and colours, mounted on horses, camels, elephants and all sorts of animals. Er…birds too. I could distinctly see some Africans atop a few ostriches. Some were marching on foot- the cavalry. We were in millions, brandishing every kind of weapon. I had a sword- incredibly light but strong. I saw the sharp edge, glint with a piercing look. The entire army spread out in all directions, and I could not see the end, simulating a long facebook post. I felt proud. Who could defeat a fleet like this?
Steadily we galloped, eager to engage the enemy. The danger did not scare us. The mission was everything. I could not glean who the enemy was or what the dispute was about. But that did not dampen the ardour.
The weather was horrible. It rained as if a celestial dam had collapsed. Dark clouds surged above like evil intentions. Thunder rolled in a threatening baritone.
The entire day we marched, till it was dusk. The storm did not abate. Suddenly we could see the enemy.
In numbers they stretched unto the horizon, just like us. The figures were dim and far away. But rapidly we approached each other and in seconds we were face to face. The darkness had descended with grim determination and even when close I could not make out their faces. I screamed in a passion of anger and raised my sword. But the blade rebounded with a clang. The general stopped. All of us stopped. We had to. There was something solid, but transparent, impeding our progress. The barrier would not let us through. We could see the enemy soldiers dimly on the other side.
“We can reach their minds. Attack!” The general hollered.
Suddenly my sword morphed into a pen. A paper appeared on my lap. All around me soldiers were typing furiously on smart phones or were writing assiduously on paper. Some were speaking rapidly through hand held mikes. The gale whooshed around like clashing WiFi.
I heard the clinks of steel on steel as swords clashed. Lances pierced body armour with an ominous crunching sound and had the merest suggestion of gushing blood. Bodies fell with sickening thuds. Screams rent the air and groans formed a continuous background noise.
The battle was on, and raging- in the realm of thought.
A series of lightning bolts illuminated the whole area like field lights in a stadium. I could see clearly for a brief, startling moment.
Stretched before us, like a thick sheet, was a massive mirror. My own face stared back at me, a study in incredulity.
We had seen the enemy; and it was us.