A bluish gray rectangle blinked awake. "Welcome Vidyasarada" it said silently. Siddharth smiled at me. " There you are. All set and ready to go" Not very long ago, I was giving him piggy rides and tying his shoelaces. Look at the dear boy now ! Piloting me into a foreign land ! He had seated me comfortably in the lounge and attended to all the formalities needed for the immigration. I only needed to glide in. " Done ! Go in and enjoy !" "Will you be around ,Siddharth, in case I need any help ?" "Of Course. Always at your beck and call ! " I stepped in gingerly. It was a totally new experience. Imagine moving into a strange land at my age ! Very strange land, this was ! Like Darth Vadar's kingdom, this land too had inhabitants in all shapes and colours! As I timidly navigated across the lanes, I saw glittering and blooming flowers merrily trashing T.V.Programmes ; teddy bears , chubby angels and babies enjoying poetry; Marine creatures and pretty women discussing domestic problems, barnowls preaching, Invisible fairy godmothers analysing philosophical aphorisms and The Minders, flitting about with a good word here, an encouragement there......Everyone had static expressions as though there had been a mass botox-job drive by the government ; but, like the life of a puranic rakshasa residing in a hidden bird, the feelings and emotions of Cyberians had incarnated as yellow globular beings that beat bharathnatyam dancers hollow in the abinaya department. Though the place was sunny, warm and inviting, it took some gulping and self- composing to sound my first greeting. " Hullo, I am VS" I was not at all prepared for the blitzkreig of conviviality that drowned me out the very next moment ! Hi !... Hullo!... Welcome!.... Nice to see you ! .....Come on in ! I had never felt more welcome or more loved in all my life ! I felt at home. Instantaneously ! If settling in was easy, life in Cyberia was intoxicating. I could see myself getting more and more ensnared by its charm,its total lack of reserve or formality, its eclectic tastes , easy camaraderie . A world devoid of violence, rage, crime and political buffoonery. A world after my own heart. Soon it came to borderline obsession. Day after day after day after day.....something new, something exciting, something funny ! Never a dull moment ! One day, as I stepped out to buy the early morning greens, the neighbour Mr.Satnam Singh called out his usual goodmorning, but followed it up with an uncharacteristic remark " hope your ankle sprain has healed, Babhiji" Surprised , is not the word. This Singh is only an aquaintance in the Hi-Bye category and definitely not someone to whom I would run and confide my pedi-cures. And in any case, I had not breathed of the recent ankle mishap to anyone but PinkEyes20 in Cyberia. How could Sardar know ? "Siddharth !" " Cool down, " comforted Siddharth, materialising immediately. " PinkEyes20 is Satnam Singh." "What!" That was hard to digest! I had always believed PE20 to be a 23 yearold female medical student from Moscow ! Siddharth shrugged . " In Cyberia, sub kuch chalta hai" I too Chalta hai-ed and returned to the yapping session in Valentine Street. I had kept putting off sorting the mail in my choking mailbox for sometime and when I finally got down to it last night, I saw a very sweet response from Honybunny to a query I had dashed off three days earlier to Ajantha-sis. Was I getting groggy and seeing things ? or had the mailman goofed? "Siddharth !" " Cool down "comforted the immediately materialised Siddharth, " Ajantha-Sis is Honybunny." "But why does Honybunny look like Chocpop ?" "Because PinkEyes20 stole Sugarmint's ID" " What are you talking about ? ! I am going to give that meddling sardar a piece of my mind." " There Is No Sardar" Said Siddharth, patiently "and you have no mind ,to give a piece of. " " How dare you talk to your mother like this !" " You are not my mother. Rather, I am your father!" " You ARE Insane !" " No. YOU are deluded. Because You Are An Illusion !" He pointed the arrow at me. Enraged, I lunged at him. But though he was right in front of me, I could not reach him. Siddharth shrugged and clicked the cursor. PING ! 2 AM. A bluish gray rectangle blinks awake " Welcome Sandhya !" it says silently. Siddharth smiles at me: " There you are ! All set and ready to go!" ______________________________ A nightmare inspired by the latenight movie "The Others" in HBO.