A pilgrimage can be one-way

by | Aug 6, 2019 | Fiction, Issue Ten

Packing list

– 62 pairs of underwear (no chance to do laundry)

-2 bras (might as well enjoy the zero-gravity)

-Cotton trousers, t-shirts, shorts

– One treadmill (zero-gravity great for elevation, not good for muscle-tone)

-One pair of shoes for the treadmill

-Spacesuit, (just in case I have to do any after-launch repairs)

-Space helmet (see above)

-Space boots (ditto)

-124 packets of dehydrated food (make sure it’s heavy on the butter chicken), 62 bottles of water

– Dry soap, dry shampoo

– Toothbrush, toothpaste (although, in space no-one can hear you scream… with toothache)

– ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth (should finally have time to finish it)

– Ravi Shankar’s ‘Passages’ for me, Norah Jones’s ‘Little Broken Hearts’ for Roopa

-Internet-enabled camera (those coronal storms are meant to be unforgettable)

– Red sari, for the descent

– Roopa’s ashes

-Internet-enabled laptop, to send the Last Message to my family of crowd-funders and the well-wishers and the morbidly curious and the delighted trolls

To do:

– add the course map plotted by the engineering team to the memorial website, remembering the Venus gravity-assist

– talk to the Gen X space team, make sure the Paypal transfer went through (19, 188, 600 rupees is a lot to process), and that Roopa’s modifications to the carbon-fibre reinforced carbon were properly made

– Practice talking to their doctor at the medical, explain again that even the Gods of Technology need to be appeased sometimes and a two-month journey alone is not much after 5 years. Do not mention you’ve spent those 5 years plotting your own death -Finish the speech for the Last Message: thanks to all who contributed to the first crowd-funded human sacrifice, no robot-driven probe could give the world this description of the heat, the sweat, the taste, the fear of the sun. Roopa, you were my life and my light.

Read more Fiction | Issue Ten

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