Believe It or Not!
I shook my head in disbelief as I looked behind. There was no bed – I had slept on the ground! I felt nauseated seeing the place around. The ground also looked soggy like the walls. Now, when I looked more carefully, I saw that the room was spherical in shape. Not exactly spherical but it had no sharp edges anywhere – just curves all around with several flap like structures on the sides. Dull light was streaming in from one corner of the room. It was intermittent and there had been several short periods of startling darkness. I could hear faint gurgling sounds like the working of some distant, gigantic machine. I was bewildered and petrified. I was rudely disturbed by a large ball that was slowly rumbling down the window.
“Was I Alice in Wonderland? Was I dead and in hell?”
Confused, scared and hopelessly out of my wits, I saw the ball coming dangerously close. Without knowing where to, I decided to run. I got my second and bigger shock when I ‘saw’ that I had no body!! Mad with confusion, I wanted to kick the wall – but, obviously, I couldn’t! I calmed myself and decided to think about this bizarre situation. In the meanwhile, the giant ball had broken into bits and surrounded me. It was a gooey whitish substance and was sticking and rolling about the wall. I had no body and yet I could ‘see’, ‘hear’, and ‘feel’ that place. I was happy that whatever ghoulish contraption I was in, at least, it wouldn’t hurt my body! I realized that although I could see all around, I couldn’t move.
Then, I heard voices. It was my wife calling out my name.
“Was she also in the same predicament? In another torture chamber like this?”
And then, I heard my voice! I couldn’t be mistaken. I was talking to my wife. I heard myself crunching some chips. Just then, I saw another soggy shape descend through the window. I thought I saw the ridges of potato chips in it. I thought I was hallucinating. An outlandish idea struck me then – “Am I in my stomach? How is that possible? Well, nothing sane had happened since waking up! But, if I am in my stomach, then who is outside? What about my normal consciousness?” My wife had not sounded perturbed while talking to me. I had even heard her kissing me goodbye to office!
I had developed a parallel consciousness of my stomach. Very interesting! But, I didn’t want to continue experiencing the noisome acid filled environment with a window that emitted semi-digested balls. I spent what felt like an interminable stretch of time in my stomach. And, suddenly, I ceased to exist. I switched back to normal consciousness. I was simultaneously relieved, amused, astounded and scared. However, life went on as usual after that, and nobody felt anything amiss.
I remember the life in my stomach just as I knew who I was while I was in there. After that day, there have been a number of days when I have woken up in my stomach. Its familiar territory now – those flapped peristaltic walls! Now, I am convinced that I have two parallel lines of consciousness and I can experience only one of them at a time. I switch involuntarily from one to another. Of course, there are many puzzling, unanswered questions – what happens to the other one while I am experiencing one? How could I experience all that without a body? Are there other levels or types of consciousness? And most confounding of them all, who am I?