Magrathean Sperm Whale and a Bowl of Petunias || BookishInktober2020

#BookishInktober2020 prompt 1: FISH

I know what you’re thinking.

‘But it’s a whale, Surabhi! A whale is a mammal, not a fish!!’

I know. Tell that to my brain though. Ever since I came across this prompt, I couldn’t get this image out of my head.

We hardly flinch when a pen falls from the table. We might roll our eyes when a book falls down. When a bowl of flowers fall, we might get momentarily worried, but we end up forgetting about it pretty soon. Have you ever wondered about a whale falling? From the sky?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is one of my favourite reads ever. I read it at a time when I craved for an adventure, and this first book ended up providing me one! I am yet to read all the books in the series yet- still on the fourth part when I left some years ago.

It’s the perfect mix of adventure, fun, comedy, physics?, sci-fi (invented physics?). It makes you wonder and think and laugh. So grab your nearest towel (you’ll know why when you read, I promise) and hitch a ride to the galaxy along with Arthur Dent, our hapless protagonist.

This fanart was inspired by the following long quote.


“Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.

Er, excuse me, who am I?

Hello?

Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No.

Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …

Or is it the wind?

There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?

And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


— Suri

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