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Dig Way Down, People

Krithika Karthikeyan, IIK Young Reporter
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Dig Way Down, People

Long, long ago, when Old McDonald still had a farm, there was a tiny town named Quepesa, which wasn’t even marked in the map. Quepesians were known for their honesty and integrity. The word ‘cheating’ was out of their dictionary (rectify, Cambridge). A brilliant inventor had just finished with his latest invention. The Gods were extremely pleased with him. They asked him for a boon. Being a very kind guy, just like other Quepesians, he asked for a machine that would fulfill the needs of every person in his town. The Gods obliged, and dropped a huge thing right smack dab in the middle of the town and chanted,

“This blessing is for every Quepesian citizen,

With this, you will always have room,

But don’t cross the line,

Or it will be your doom (sick, right?)”

Quepesa was dumbstruck. They were people who worked day and night for just the tight supplies. All of a sudden, the Gods told they could have whatever they want? What did you invent, dude? White Sauce Pasta?

Even with Allfather powers, Quepesa stayed as humble as ever. They never used the huge thing unless absolutely necessary. Every day, they thanked the Gods for the gift they got. The inventor was suddenly the spotlight attention. Quepesa was good. They were on the top of the world.

Word spread about the God blessing. Quepesa was suddenly famous. Since the spell to invoke the huge thing was ‘O great Wester, please ….’ they decided to name the blessing Westie (Westie? Sounds great. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I name a dog). Westie became an Internet sensation eons before the Internet was discovered.

So you can probably guess how the foreigners reacted when they heard about Westie. ‘Hey, did you hear about that little town in nowhere called Quepesa? Yeah, they got a wish machine from the Gods’. I’m imagining the reactions weren’t good.

Foreigners travelled from everywhere to see Westie. In days, Quepesa became the #1 tourist attraction for literally everybody. When people visited Quepesa, they were taken aback on how humbly people used Westie. They were aghast. ‘Come on, you have a wish machine and this is how you use it?’ they asked. Quepesa led them towards the warning the Gods recited when they got Westie. The foreigners were still not convinced. They held a meeting.

“Look, if Quepesa keeps using Westie like this, the Gods will probably come back to take it away” one of them said.

“The Gods seriously need to foresee their priorities. They gave a wish machine to a town which doesn’t have wishes” another moaned.

“We could rob it” the literal no-brainer of the group said.

“Oh totally, Robert, let’s see how you carry a 300 pound God blessing across the country” the first one was clearly annoyed.

They finally came to a conclusion: if the town didn’t have wishes, they were going to make them. They put their plan into action.

The next day, they began explaining to the Quepesians about the wonders of the outside world. “These dishes, oh my God, you haven’t tasted? Ask Westie right away!” Quepesa wasn’t giving in, but even they couldn’t help it. The outside world was way too exciting to ignore. “We have been missing so much!” Quepesa began using Westie for much more than just their tight needs. “Mission accomplished” the foreigers fist-bumped.

Time passed. Burger Prince was finally crowned Burger King. This brings us to present day Quepesa. Westie was still there, but now, instead of asking Westie to provide food for the family, people were now asking it to give them the newest Call-of-Duty game. “Oh, don’t forget the special gaming console too!” What the foreigners had started centuries ago still rubbed off them.

No matter how obsessed people were with Westie, they still had the one ground rule: Never go inside Westie. The inventor explained in his book that it hadn’t ended very well the first time somebody attempted that. The part of the book which said why was mysteriously torn out of it.

Every day, the Westie had one common visitor: 16-year old Daniella. Curious- that’s the word to describe her. She could come up with 20 questions for one explanation. She was constantly questioning the world around her. When the answers her parent gave her wasn’t enough (note: it never was), she went to Westie demanding answers. It never failed her.

According to Daniella, the only person in Quepesa who shared her interest was Westie. The person who only asked questions, and the thing which only gave answers- Quepesa thought it was a match made in heaven.

Out of the blue, one day, Daniella went hunting for the missing page in the inventor’s book. She read through literally every book she could get her hands on about the inventor. When none seemed to give her answers, she went for Westie.

‘O great Wester, give me the missing page from the inventor Trulus’ book!’ Daniella had gone through this routine a million time. She could chant it in her sleep.

Westie threw out the missing page, just like it did to every single thing it summoned. Admit it- 4000 years of summoning would make you bitter too.

Daniella pocketed the sheet. But, her inquisitive mind didn’t stop there.

“O great Wester, where were these missing pages?” she asked for the first time. Westie wasn’t exactly the top student when it came to question answering.

It didn’t respond. Daniella tried again.

No such luck.

She stood there for 15 minutes, waiting for an answer. She wasn’t ready to accept the fact that Westie didn’t have one.

Suddenly, a crazy idea formed in Daniella’s head, which is saying something, since Daniella was usually only about crazy ideas. She opened the papers in her pocket.

She couldn’t decipher what was written. She had to Google Translate it and take some time to understand what the inventor had written. She didn’t have that kind of time.


So she took a leap of faith. She stepped into Westie.

Okay, pause.

Now you’ve read half the story. Tell me, readers, is the internet any different than the story?

The Internet is relatable to Westie. A magic item, out of nowhere, gives us the answers we’re looking for. We use it only when necessary. Then the bad influence arrives.

This is one stage 50% of students won’t find themselves in. If so, listen out loud before you say something.

The foreigners in the story start by showing the marvels of the world to Quepesa, the same way some people show the marvels of the internet to internet users. We start discovering new things that blur our vision. These things are impressive, no denying that. But that is where the catch is. We’ve had a taste. We want more.

Daniella, in question, is just like any other curious person who wants to learn the secrets of the universe. We use the internet. While coming for the thing we need, we get attracted by the thing we want. The different things around the internet get our attention. To relate it with the story, we step into Westie.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, before you continue, what happened to Daniella?”

I don’t know. What happens when you step into a place with unlimited answers and get tangled into completely unrelated topics, and before you know, are sucked into the cyber vortex? Pretty much exactly that.

I’ve had enough curious-kid experiences to last me a lifetime (hey, cousins). But, during the elementary years, the deal must me carved in them: the best search engines are your family. I’ve learnt more about the Indian struggle for freedom from my grandpa than any other history book or internet article I could find. Even the school’s primary textbooks encourages us to ‘Google it!’ when they ask a question. I could sign a bet saying Wikipedia would lose a face-on battle with my Science teacher.

Don’t get me wrong. Google is a lifesaver. Wikipedia knows what you need to find. But, on the way, the many things you see is enough for a curious school-kid mind.
Take the Slender Man case for example. Just thinking about the case gives me the shivers. The kids were just 12 when they did the ‘thing’. They blamed it on a website which encouraged their curiosity. Unless somebody puts the check on the kids’ internet usage, cyber addiction will never decrease.

If parents tell you an answer which doesn’t satisfy you, it means that’s how much you’re supposed to know. Daniella didn’t settle, and she didn’t have a Cinderella ending.

Cyber-bullying is one of the most sensitive subjects one can go near. The internet has created mankind’s ray of hope, but, as my mom says, “A black dot on a white sheet will always be focused on”. Don’t be the next prey to cyber threats. Ask questions. Be inquisitive. But to your own search engine- your parents.

Dig way down, people. Just be careful where. You don’t want to be featured in this article’s sequel.

Thank you, and stay safe.


Krithika Karthikeyan
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