Introduction to The Adventure
The tale is about a history professor Mr Gaitonde. The professor was going for a lecture in Bombay from his place when he met with a road accident. He had prepared a lecture on the theory which states how small changes can bring about huge consequences.
After the accident, he is hospitalized and falls into a coma. When he wakes up he describes a strange experience to his colleague who opines that he might have gone to an alternate reality.
The difference in the historical records of the two realities represented a manifestation of the catastrophe history that the professor had prepared the lecture on.
His friend was a physicist and he suggested that theories like the quantum theory of subatomic particles posit a possibility of different realities. A person can theoretically jump from one reality to another and experience a completely different history and sensory existence. Gaitonde’s two realities were as following:
In this dimensional reality, history has a different story to tell. Based on the theory of catastrophe, a small change changed the entire course of age. In the third battle of Panipat, Maratha leader Vishwas Rao escaped the bullet and survived the battle.
This triggered a Marathas’ revival that defeated Ahmad Shah Abdali and his Afghan troops. The Maratha Empire spread to the entire nation and India flourished under their democratic rule. Advancement of technology and economic prosperity made India a shining example for the whole world.
The British could not capture and enslave India and were limited to small jobs and services in various Indian industries. Gaitonde learned all this from reading the five volumes of the historical record in the Mumbai library of History which he visited after getting off at the Shivaji Terminus.
From the library, he visited Azad Maidan where a public gathering and conference was going on. It was the same function he was supposed to talk in. So, when he saw the seat of chairperson empty on the stage, he went up to it.
But as soon as he tried to speak on the microphone, he was booed and heckled off the stage. This caused him injury and the knocked him out off an alternate reality to the bed in the hospital.
Reality as we know it
In this Gaitonde met with the accident and could not give his lecture in Bombay. The record of the third battle of Panipat had Afghans defeating Marathas and later British conquering India and enslaving the nation.
When he recovers from his coma, Gaitonde finds his friend beside him in the hospital ward. The story is an interesting mix of theories of Physics, perception and human experience. Whether or not there are alternate realities, the truth is we all experience the same reality differently based on our individual sensory reception.