Black and White
by Meghashri Dalvi
The Wise Man rose customarily as the King entered, but it was the
King who bowed to the Wise Man. A tradition of honoring the knowledge
"Please, take a seat," the King offered. "We are waiting to hear
your new discovery."
The Wise Man smiled.
The courtroom was full. As it was several times before. When the
Wise Man had talked about their planet and their energy-supplying star,
and the possibility of space travel.
Or when he had synthesized sweet mushrooms and demonstrated plastic
Or when he had explained imaginary numbers and put forward the
theory of sub-atomic particles.
The citizens savored such occasions, just as the Wise Man himself.
He began in the deep, slow voice of his hundred-odd years.
"The question has been at the back of my mind for a long time. The
expanding universe indicated by the violet shift meant something. I
wanted to find out what it meant. I considered a number of theories.
Some matched the existing observations, some did not. Then a few days
back, as I sat with all my collected data, it realized on me."
A young student in a far corner strained his neck for a clearer
view. His eyes squinted as focused on the Wise Man.
"Imagine being at the very edge of a bucket full of water. Now, if
water is sucked from the center of the bucket, it will appear to you as
if all the nearby droplets are drifting away from you. Mind you, they
appear to move away, but in reality, they are moving towards the
center. The sucking force experienced by you will be much less than the
force on the particles that are closer to the center. This all makes
the surface ripples on water look strained or stretched. I hope it is
"It is," the King assured.
"Such a phenomenon is happening to our Universe! Right now!" The
Wise Man announced dramatically. "A great force at the center of the
universe is constantly pulling the matter towards it. Our planetary
system is at the edge of our galaxy and if you take the analogy that
The bewildered student was thinking rapidly, if the pull was really
that great to hurl the stars towards it, then it must be the strongest
kind of force ever! What would be its nature then? What has created it?
What controls it?
"Then it must follow that there is this big hole at the center of
our universe." The Wise Man was painstakingly elaborating. "The pull of
this hole is great, I mean so great that it even pulls light inside it.
And once inside, the gigantic power stops everything from coming out -
"When we call something black, we mean that the thing does not
reflect any color, any light. In the same sense, I call this strange
and powerful hole a Black Hole!"
Black Hole! The student gasped. A hole that swallows everything!
Matter, space, and even light! But wait! Matter cannot be totally
destroyed like this. Where does this sucked matter actually go?
"Interesting," commented the Big Blob. Its deep blue eyes, matching
neatly with the pale blue body, held surprise.
The Small Blob, still shining in the glory of youth, acknowledged
"That should solve the mystery of the universe forever, shouldn’t
"Oh! Life is not that simple." The senior furrowed its brow-like
"But isn't that the greatest mystery ever? And isn't it solved
completely with my work?"
"Well, the mystery is still not solved, my dear."
"Why sir, I in fact -"
"No. It would be premature to publish your results."
"Sir, when we began research in this direction, you had promised me
universal fame. Why not publish the work now?"
"Your fame would eventually come." The Big Blob said solemnly.
"But sir, my reasoning is logical. Pink shift is firmly established.
Data collected over centuries confirm it. Expanding universe is a
natural phenomenon. And -"
"Patience, my child. A scientist does not spill facts like that."
"But they are the facts. Aren't they?" Junior’s voice now had a
distinct hint of irritation.
"Yes. But they don't support your theory."
"They do! Look here, sir - imagine a bucket full of water. At the
center of this bucket, there is a hole. From this hole water is
continuously seeping into the bucket. Now this action will create
steady ripples in the bucket moving from the center to the edge."
"Imagine us living very near the center of the bucket. To us it will
appear that the ripples and the droplets on them are moving away from
us. If we try to collect information about more droplets that are
nearer to the edge of the bucket, they will also appear to be moving
"Let us take that picture and apply to our universe. It then becomes
very clear why the stars are moving away from us and why our universe
"You say there is a hole at the center of our universe, and the hole
is supplying matter to us all the time?"
"And what makes the matter pop from this hole?"
"Well, as you know, matter cannot be destroyed or created -"
"That is the whole point!" the bigger, older body quivered. "You
have not clarified that."
"That did baffle me at first. But I think a theory can be put
"Like a white hole."
"A white hole?"
"Yes. A hole that sources all the time."
"Huh! I would have agreed. But tell me, where would so much matter
"From another universe, of course!"
© 2019 Meghashri Dalvi
Dr. Meghashri Dalvi consults in Technical Communication, when she
is not writing science fiction or teaching Management. Her stories have
appeared in Aphelion, Ascent Aspirations, Anotherealm, Quantummuse,
AntiSF, 101Words, and Flash Fiction Press.
Find more by Meghashri Dalvi in the Author
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