From the Personal Diary of 'Manav'.
Date: Monday, June 13, 2003
Today I received a courier from 'Genesis Inc.'. It was an appointment letter along with a check of Rs. One lakh. I am sure it would solve my whole life's problem, but what I can't figure out is that why would a multi-million dollar company pay me such a big amount for a job I couldn't complete.
I was hired to do something, which I couldn't do. Still they treated me like a VIP, escorted me all the way till home from the office. On top of it they paid me double the amount I quoted them and also offered me a Job in their organization. WHY?
Let me recollect the whole incident once again. May be I am missing something.
It all began last monday when I saw an Advertisement in the Times Ascent. I am a full time Hacker and still looking out for a decent Job. I was browsing through the Ascent pages scanning every advertisement that mentioned the word 'programmer'. On the last page of the Ascent was an Advertisement of 'Genesis Inc.'. They had occupied one full page. The entire page was black with just one line sentence printed in white - 'We need someone, who believes he is a programmer!' The letterings were so small that I had to literally strain my eyes to read it. In the first glance it just looked like a white line on a black background. I have known 'Genesis Inc.' for quite some time. It was one of the top 3 companies in my list with whom I wished to work. It was a multi-million dollar company producing computer games for people of all ages, from Pac-man to mind-stimulating, realistic games. There were many in the market but 'Genesis Inc.' was the pioneer in computer games.
The Company recently launched an educational game by the name 'The Origin'. The game was designed to give the Generation Tree of any living being. Plants, animals or for that matter, of Humans too. It had become an instant hit. Students of biology, zoology etc. used it for their research. But the big chunks of customers were the kids who used it trace their own family origin. That amounted to 53% percent of their sale. Their annual worldwide sale, as reported by an IT magazine, was 3 billion dollars.
For me this was a golden opportunity. I had failed in all my previous interviews because I couldn't clear the general tests that were not related to programming. Except for programming there was nothing I could do right. I had a messed up life, a frustrated family and no job and I couldn't succeed in anything other than programming. To make matter worse, I had an unsociable attitude.
And here was this company that just had one criterion i.e. - one should be a programmer by heart and that I was. So I wrote an email to them giving detail of all my hacking activities and my code name - Manav. I believed in being truthful about myself. I had gained some popularity for developing some anti-virus patches and security stuff against the ever-growing computer attacks. I used my knowledge wisely rather than for destructive purpose.
In just an hours time I got an email from the company, inviting me to visit their head office. The appointment was for the very next day. I was surprised; the company seemed desperate.
The next day I reached the company five mins before time. I had all the required certificates, and the hope that I would get this job, not knowing what the job was. There was no job description in the advertisement. I was greeted by the receptionist and asked to wait while she picked up the phone and informed someone about my arrival. I looked around there was no one else other than me. That was strange, as very few companies believe in an appointment-interview. It was like giving an appointment of half an hour to each candidate instead of calling every one at the same time.
Not even five mins had passed when I saw a beautiful lady walking towards me.
"Hi! My name is Veda. I am the Research Head."
"Hi! I am Manav. Pleased to meet you."
She smiled slightly.
"Please follow me. The other members of the research team are waiting in the conference hall."
"Research Team, Conference Hall" the words thundered in my mind. "Why would they take me to the conference hall? Am I going to be interviewed by the research team?"
Not that I was not unsure about my knowledge but still the feeling of being grilled by equally qualified experts scared the hell out of me.
We reached the Conference Hall. As I entered the Hall I saw all faces staring at me. As if they were looking at the door even before we entered.
Veda signaled me to take the center seat behind which was large white board and black marker stuck to it in one corner. I believe it was her seat, because she stood throughout the session even though there were other seats empty.
Addressing her team she said.
"This is Mr. Manav. And that is his code name too. I believe many of us are aware with his work. So not wasting much time lets just get started with the meeting."
Then she pointed out at an old man sitting next to me.
"Mr. Manav,this is Mr. Kapil. Mr. Kapil would be briefing you with your job profile."
"My Job without any Interview?" Words banged again on the inner walls of my mind. I looked at Mr. Kapil. He was nearing his retirement. I fantasized may be I was being given his place.
"No time to think Mr. Kapil is already looking at me." I said to myself.
"Mr. Manav" Mr. Kapil spoke disturbing my fantasy.
"I believe you are aware of our newly launched educational game on the Internet - 'The Origin'?"
"Yes Sir!" I replied obediently.
"Well! It's our life's work you see. We had launched the shareware version last year and we had plans to launch the full version by next week."
I could see how nervous he was. His hands were clutched and sweating inside an AC Hall. Looking around I could see traces of fear on all the faces in the room.
"It took 3 years to design this Game and required a collection of data worth billions of dollars. We had to trace out every data from the hospitals world-over, to get records of each birth and death. We had to refer to each and every book ever published to collect the information of every single plant, animal, insect etc existing on this planet. You can imagine how much efforts and money has been invested."
He paused for a minute as if he was waiting for me to realize the vastness of their efforts.
Then he wiped out the sweat from his forehead and looked towards Veda, who in turned nodded, permitting him to continue.
"And now we have a problem! We have traced a virus in our Main Server. But we don't have a cure for it. It's going to cost us our fortune, our life if we don't cure it before the launch day."
"But if you can trace it, you can also cure it." I argued exercising my logical mind.
"Actually we didn't trace it. It announced its arrival all by itself."
Mr. Kapil was embarrassed to admit it yet he accepted the fact.
"We are unable to do any of our server activities. We have to update the database on daily basis. Some information is updated on it's own but there are other data that we need to update. Every time we try to do any activity at the server end we get just one Message. We don't know to what extent our programs have been affected."
He pushed a piece of paper in my direction. I picked it up. It was the print of the Message.
'You have been infected by the 'God' Virus.
This is the wall that guards all the wisdom of Life.
And no ignorant being shall pass it.
If you will to crack you need to have the will power,
and the answer to my question - WHO AM I?"
Enter the ultimate answer below to pass through this wall!'
"All our experts have tried every possible technique but we couldn't crack it." Saying that Mr. Kapil just fell back into his chair. He felt defeated. Then he looked up with a glint in his eyes and asked hopefully.
"Can you help us?"
I wasn't sure.
"Have you tried entering any code in the place that was provided." I had just finished my sentence when I realized that all eyes shot at me all of a sudden.
Then they looked at each other and the hall was filled with chattering sound.
"Gentlemen" Veda shouted at the top of her voice to get everybody's attention.
"Can we address the issue at hand first?"
"We certainly didn't consider that as an option Mr. Manav." Mr. Kapil tried to explain "How can we figure out the code? The probability of us getting the right code is one in a million."
"Since we have already tried all other techniques and failed why not try this one too as it is the simplest way."
I could judge from the reactions of the members that they didn't have any faith in my idea. Frankly, I didn't had much faith either, at that moment still I thought why not try it.
But Mr. Kapil and Veda trusted me and escorted me to the Server Room.
It was an experience of lifetime. I had never even dreamt of working in such a high-tech environment. It was a State-of-The-Art setup.
As prompted by Veda, I took the seat in from of huge flat monitor. The screen was crystal white with black letterings. It displayed the same message of which I had seen the printed copy.
With so many experts surrounding me, and Mr. Kapil and Veda sitting on my either side, I felt nervous. Also there were questions unanswered about my job, my pay and my career. The company just spoke about their problem right from the beginning, the have not even bothered to know anything more about me other than my name and work.
Nevertheless I decided to start with my work.
The first code I wrote was: 'God' And the experts behind me started giggling. As it was not encrypted they could see what I wrote.
Still I pressed enter thinking if it worked it would stop all the giggling.
The giggling increased now growing into laughter.
The Message I received was -
Then I tried 'Virus', 'God Virus', 'Virus God', 'Virus of the God', 'Virus Creator' and many such combinations.
I constantly got the same denied message in front of me, and giggling criticism behind me.
An hour passed. I was tired and so were my criticizers. Only two people remained focused, Veda and Mr. Kapil.
Then as a last attempt I decided to try once more. I thought after all he who has designed this virus is a Hacker like me, who wants to have fun. What else would there be to it, so lets play along.
Then I wrote -
'You and I are same'
'Access Granted' was the message that appeared on the screen.
"Eureka I yelled and jumped out of my seat only to be pushed back into my seat by all the pattering hands on my shoulder"
Joy spread all over the room. Even the criticizers came and congratulated me. Veda shook hands with me; she seemed impressed. As for Mr. Kapil, He couldn't control his tears.
Every body was happy except me, as I feared it wasn't over.
My fear was right it just took us to the next level where there was same white screen with yet another question to answer.
"Friends Its not over." I pointed out towards the screen. It didn't matter much to any one. They were still happy as if it was over.
I tried to explain again when a strange voice interrupted me.
"It is over Mr. Manav. Because if you could crack one, you could crack all."
I looked in the direction of the voice. A man stood there who seemed to be unaffected by the company's problem. He was a thorough gentleman. He lacked the fear that I saw in all the others. I was not sure when he entered the room.
Veda introduced me to him.
"This is Mr. Siddharth, He is the CEO of the company."
Mr. Kapil offered his seat to Mr. Siddharth, but he politely refused and took the seat next to Mr. Kapil.
When everybody settled down we started again.
The next question was in context to the previous question.
'If you and I are same, then I can't harm you without harming myself. And if that is so, then why do you fear me?'
To that I replied -
'Because I am not aware of the extent of our similarity'
'Access Granted' was the message that appeared again and with that joy that had settled down rose again.
I wondered how could a combination of words be so accurate as to crack a code. As Mr. Kapil had pointed the probability was one in a million. There was a good chance that the Hacker was online on the other end and this was just his front-end through which he was chatting with me. That would also explain why the experts couldn't solve the problem; he was counter-defending himself. I felt that I could read his mind. I started enjoying it.
'Why are you not aware?'
'Because I am more concerned about my Life than knowing these universal truth.'
'What would be your life devoid of this Universal truth?'
'May be nothing. But there are more important issues in life to think about.'
'And what are those important issues?'
'Everyday life's problems.'
'How do you solve these problems?'
'Tackling them as and when they arise taking the best possible ways.'
'Why don't you eradicate the source of all these problems?'
'Because that can not be done.'
'And how did you derive this conclusion?'
'Because since there has been life, there has been problems.'
'Do all living beings have this problem or just Humans?'
'I guess, because most of the time, It's us who create the problem for each other.'
'And why do you Humans do that?'
'To fulfill our own selfish needs.'
'It means your are not concerned about the Universe as you are busy taking care of your own life and its problems which in first place, you have created yourself. Doesn't that sound stupid'
'It does when you put it that way.'
'Which other way can you put it?'
'I guess no other way.'
'So its you who are creating problem and you who are solving it. How does it helps you live a happy life?'
'Then what does?'
'The Truth our religions preach. The truth as it is without any interpretations.'
'And what Truth is that?'
'The Truth that all beings are equal, the truth about Humanity.'
'Then what would it take to make you realize this simple Truth that Life is much more than the self-created misery you have been living so far?'
'May be a Life-threatening incident.'
'Like this One?'
'Yeah! Very much like this one.'
I couldn't help but smile at the Genius on the other side. He actually had a greater purpose for what seemed like a sadistic activity.
'I am pleased with your answers. And so you're blessed. But just to make sure that you don't forget what you have just learned, I am making some modifications in your Game's Code.'
'What is your codename?'
'Ask your SELF and you will know?'
The white screen suddenly disappeared leading to the homepage of the 'The Origin'. But this time there was no sign of joy and no sound of laughter. Instead there was absolute silence.
Instead of the joy of overcoming the Virus Attack, there was a concern about the modification, the Virus mentioned.
So Mr. Kapil asked me to try out the Game.
I chose to trace my family tree.
A form appeared asking me to enter details of my full name, place, date and time of birth and if I have ever changed my name legally.
Then there was an option of how back I wanted to go. I could choose from One to Ten numbers to get the records of that many generations behind. The program was written that way. But when I tried to chose an option from One to Ten. I found yet another option -
The Last option was - 'Infinity'. That was not the part of the Program.
The room panicked, and Fear voiced its concern.
"This might crash our program."
"We don't have data that many generations behind."
"We have invested our entire life's earning on this one product."
"This might kill our product."
Voices cropped up from all corners of the room.
Mr. Siddharth requested every one to calm down and then He turned towards me.
"Mr. Manav, can you please check the other options of the game too just to find out where all the modifications has occurred?"
I spent the next few hours checking each and every category, from organisms to insects, from reptiles to mammals, from fungus to all types of plants. I check all the categories that covered every single living being on the planet.
The 'Infinity' option was everywhere.
Fear reached it highest level with every single person being disillusioned including me about what would happen next. Even imagining the loss of such a failure would lead to a heart attack.
Mr. Siddharth was the first one to regain his composure.
"Just type your name and chose the 'Infinity' option. Manav"
His courage was on the threshold of breaking. He could hardly think of being professional. His attitude had changed. I felt pity for him. I knew his life would be shattered.
I followed his orders and entered my full name and the other details."
And then I chose the 'Infinity' Option.
For as far as I could remember the information was right but when I followed the very source of the tree, I was taken aback and so were all the others. Everyone the room was equally stunned at the revelation.
For a moment all breathe stopped. There was no activity whatsoever from anybody. Both the body and the mind came to a standstill. It was hard to define what kind of feeling it was as there was no sensation of the feeling itself.
Recovering from the shock I suggested we try out the same option for all the other categories.
"No need to do that Manav." Siddharth said.
"No matter what category you select, no matter what life form you choose, all will lead to the same source."
"At the source of all life forms you will get the same result - GOD."