Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Resistance is futile"

Some of you who have read my other posts on this blog probably know that I am fond of sci-fi and particularly of the Star Trek series The Next Generation. Very few of you know about my father.

It has been more than a year now, that he died of cancer. I was there with him the last few days and it was a grueling time.

Today, I've seen the episode of the series mentioned where Picard is assimilated by the Borg. For those of you who don't know, the Borg is a collective organism made up on man-machine symbionts who want nothing more than to assimilate more and more people. Picard is the captain of the human star ship. You can imagine the rest.
Now, let me take you a few years back, when my parents and I used to watch this series together on tv. We loved it and assigned ourselves characters from it. Dad was a combination of Picard and Riker (the first officer), which made him Piker. Mom was counselor Adreeana Troi and I was, of course, little Data, who always said "may I ask a question?".

Watching this episode today and seeing the captain taken over almost completely by the Borg, brought back painful memories to me. Picard and my dad looked so much alike in their afflictions: pale, without the spark in their eyes that means the joy of being alive. Literally going out like a candle, at the mercy of a more powerful organism living in them, who didn't really give a damn, except for its own expansion.

The first book I translated had a lot to do with cancer. One intriguing theory was that our cells normally collaborate for the well-being of the organism. If one has to die for the common good, then it will. But cancer is strange. The cell refuses to die and obey any command from the central system. It modifies itself and the cells around it, drawing up energy and blood to create a whole new "organism", which seemingly has a mind of its own. A very strange story of treachery. It shouldn't happen and we don't know why it happens. But it happens.

Just like the Borg.

Except that there is very rarely a happy ending in our real life...


  1. This is an incredibly well-written and well-expressed account of what you experienced with your Dad, both in life (assumed) and through his painful suffering at the end. You have a brilliant mind, Lavi!!!

  2. Oh, Lavi, I'm so sorry for your loss. This is a beautifully written piece - to compare cancer to the Borg is incredible.

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. I lost both my grandmothers to cancer in quick succession, and it was indeed terrible to see the life drain out of them.

    I love that your dad's ST nickname was Piker :-) In South Africa, Star Trek always showed on Friday nights when I was a teenager, and it was a weekly TV date with my Dad, followed by the X-Files. Good childhood memories :-)


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