The Recall Device

My name is Yash, and I became an overnight success for proving that reincarnation exists. As someone born and raised Hindu, I always believed that the soul of any living being would begin a new life after physical death, cycling through an eternal samsāra. But like anything that cannot be proven, no matter how strongly and powerfully you believe, there will always be people who disregard it. Therefore, I made it my life’s work to prove that reincarnation exists. And merely twenty years into my bioengineering profession, I developed a device called the Recall Device that allowed people to access memories from their past lives, effectively proving that the samsāra cycle; reincarnation existed.

“So would anyone like to sit in this chair, and access their past memories?” I called out to the seated audience at the local science fair. “Obviously, if I demonstrated it to you all myself, I wouldn’t be very credible.” The chair next to me was a recliner chair with a large headset attached to it.

“I would,” a young woman got up from her seat and raised her hand.

“What is your name?” I asked.

“My name is Suhasini,” she said.

“Alright, Suhasini,” I responded. “Aside from my lab partners, you will be the very first person to access the Recall Device.”

She beamed as she walked over to the stage and sat in the chair. Then, she put on the headset.

“Now that you have the headset on,” I said. “You will need to configure exactly what past life you want to see and when. You will see questions in front of you that will help configure for you. You can answer via your voice.”

“Alright,” Suhasini said. “Okay. Random. Oh, man or woman? Hmm. Would be interesting to see a Man. Area? Southeast Asia. Random memories. Yes.”

“Be warned that viewer discretion is advised,” the headset started talking. “Please remove the headset if you begin to experience head pain, dizziness, or light-headedness. Also, remove the headset if you feel triggered by anything you see. COUNTDOWN WILL BEGIN NOW. 3 … 2 … 1 ….”

At first the woman was still. But then in an instant, she started gasping.

“Oh my god,” the woman cried. A little while in, Suhasini screamed in horror and removed her headset.

“I saw memories of me being a male soldier in the Bangladesh Liberation War,” Suhasini cried. “And I saw my death there!”

Afterwards, several people volunteered to see their past lives. Some were amazed. Some were disgusted. Some were traumatized. Others were indifferent. In any case, someone recorded the entire science fair and it went viral. I got a Nobel Prize, and my device sold millions upon millions of copies. I became a billionaire rather quickly. I also started a documentary series called Past Recall with Yash, where I’d interview people using my device, which also became a hit online.That was how my overnight success started. But with this newfound fame and glory, I was never prepared for the absolute hell that would soon befall my personal world.

Shortly after I became a success, a popular YouTube streamer named Viorware from America contacted me, asking me if she could be on my show. I gladly agreed and gave her the device.

At the studio, with all cameras on her as she was sitting on the chair with the headset, I gave the headlight for her to start.

“Be warned that viewer discretion is advised,” the headset spoke to her. “Please remove the headset if you begin to experience head pain, dizziness, or light-headedness. Also, remove the headset if you feel triggered by anything you see. COUNTDOWN WILL BEGIN NOW. 3 … 2 … 1 ….”

Viorware stood still, and then she started saying “oooh.” But then her amazement and color drained from her face almost instantly. She let out a loud gasp, and then subsequently a scream. After a short while she threw the headset off.

“Are you ok?” I asked her. “Saw anything triggering?”

“It was kinda bad, yeah,” Viorware said. “But it is fine. I don’t think I want to be on your show anymore. I’ll leave.”

A day later, I received a call from Viorware where she explained in detail what happened. Why she reacted the way she did, and why she didn’t want to be on the show anymore. Viorware saw herself as the infamous Ted Bundy himself, and personally witnessed him gruesomely murdering a victim. I deeply apologize to Viorware and compensated her with hundreds of dollars, and offered to pay full price for her therapy.

But no matter what I offered her, she disappeared entirely from streaming, and was never heard from again. I tried not to fear the worst, but ever since that day, I always harbored guilt that I ruined her career. Shortly after the Viorware incident, more data cropped up about the true consequences of the device.

An estimated 3.8% of the population worldwide experiences depression. But ever since I introduced the device, that percentage has become 11.4%. People’s mental health was devastated when they realized that in a past life they were rapists, sex traffickers, murderers and more. Some people’s mental health were also unsettled when they saw memories of themselves being victims of said crimes in past lives. There was also people who were already severely depressed, who deemed their current lives so awful they committed suicide upon learning reincarnation was real. Thus suicide rates also tripled.

As a result, I went from an overnight success to a controversial “businessman.” I was an amoral man who designed a device responsible for putting several people in therapy and causing the spike in suicide rates. My device was banned in over ten countries and heavily restricted in most other countries. But, the person who most hated me … was likely myself.

I was the first person to try this device, and I learned that my past self was Eli Whitney, a man who had tried to help hasten the end of slavery by inventing the cotton gin. Unfortunately, as history knows it, the cotton gin only prolonged slavery for a long time to come. When I first saw this vision, I didn’t think much of it, since I knew that in all my past lives, there had to be at least a few where I was a “villain.”

But after everything that happened, Eli Whitney’s story hit me closer. Just like my past life I also invented something that I ultimately had good intentions for, but became the catalyst of suffering. History was repeating itself again … all because of me.

Decades passed and the device was banned worldwide. My show was canceled and my business was in ruins. But due to smart investments, I still had a sizable fortune. But, no amount of money could erase what I have done.

In my late forties, I laid on my couch, watching a show. I was feeling lightheaded from the amount of alcohol I had drunk recently. But I was used to this feeling, since I got myself drunk often. Suddenly, someone called me.

“I do not have time for this,” I yelled at the phone, my voice slurred. “If you’re here to hate on me, just know you’re the millionth-”

“Hey Yash. It’s me, Jay.”

Jay was my former marketing partner, and a former friend. I was surprised that I haven't spoken to him in years.

“Huh? Why do you call me? What's up?”

“I know this is weird,” Jay said. “But, as your friend, I know that you have been very closed off from the world for a while. I also heard that you are in therapy.”

“Great,” I yelled angrily into the phone. “So you call me to tell me you’ve been digging into me.”

“I’m calling as a friend,” Jay said. “I’m truly sorry for not talking to you in a while. I called you because there was an old face that wanted to talk to you at a cafe.”

“Who wants to talk to me?” I yelled.

“Trust me, Yash,” Jay said. “I’ll send you the address.”

Begrudgingly, I decided to drag myself out of the house and go to the cafe. There, I saw a face I’d thought I’d never seen. I sat next to a woman who looked similar to Viorware all those years back.

“You’re Viorware?” I asked. “You disappeared. I thought you-”

“Yeah, I disappeared as Viorware,” she said. “My real name is Elaine Christoph. I heard through some little birdies how you were withdrawn, and I wanted to say, "I apologize for all the hate you’ve gotten.”


“You clearly invented something and didn’t expect the disastrous consequences of it.”

“But why are you apologizing?” I asked her. “I traumatized you with that. You learned you used to be Ted Bundy! I thought you-”

“Yeah,” Elaine said. “I was very depressed due to this, and needed intensive therapy. But I learned this. If you feel guilty and miserable about something, no matter if it is your fault or not, the best thing to do is to do something that will surely help others. For me, I changed my college major from computer science to law, and started a law firm. For my law firm, I mainly aim to help people who have been sexually assaulted or abused, especially women. I know this won’t even begin to atone for what Ted did, but for me, Elaine, this has helped with my guilt and shame.”

“You’re telling me that I need to help others to absolve my guilt?” I asked her. “Everytime I help others - in whatever lifetime I was in - I hurt others more.”

“Do something that you know won’t have major consequences,” Elaine said. “Help a lady carry her groceries down the street, or anything small. Good small acts build up, and eventually you’ll feel better for it.”

Suddenly, Elaine had a phone call. Then she told me, “I have to go. But this was a great chat. I hope you live a great rest of your life.”

She walked out. As I walked home, Elaine's words echoed in my mind. "Do something that you know won't have major consequences. Help a lady carry her groceries down the street, or anything small. Good small acts build up, and eventually you'll feel better for it."

Her advice hit an emotional cord with me, and I realized that maybe it was time for me to shift my focus away from self pity and instead look for ways to make a positive impact in small ways. The guilt and shame I carried would likely never go away, but perhaps I could find solace in the knowledge that I was actively working towards redemption.

Over the next few months, I started to make deliberate efforts to help myself and others. I joined an alcohol support group and volunteered at local charities, lending a hand to those in need. I donated a significant portion of my remaining fortune to various causes, supporting initiatives aimed at mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and rehabilitation programs for victims of crimes.

As time went on, I began to feel a glimmer of hope and purpose returning to my life. The small acts of kindness I engaged in didn't erase the past, but they allowed me to see that I could still make a positive difference in the world. The guilt weighed less heavily on my shoulders as I focused on the present and the future rather than dwelling on the mistakes of the past. Years passed, and my notoriety as the controversial inventor of the memory device slowly faded away. People started to remember me for my philanthropic endeavors instead. My name became associated with the positive impact I was making rather than the unintended consequences of my invention.

While I could never undo the pain and suffering caused by the device, I could strive to prevent similar mistakes in the future. I used my remaining resources to establish a foundation dedicated to research and development in bioengineering ethics. I funded scholarships and grants for scientists and engineers who were committed to conducting their work responsibly and with consideration for the potential consequences. Through these efforts, I hoped to prevent future innovations from inadvertently causing harm and to ensure that progress was made with the well-being of humanity at the forefront. As the years went by, I found solace and redemption in my commitment to helping others. The guilt that had haunted me for so long began to fade, replaced by a sense of purpose and the knowledge that I was actively working towards a better world.

While I would always carry the lessons and scars of my past, I knew that I could use those experiences to guide me and prevent others from falling into the same traps. My journey had come full circle, from a quest to prove reincarnation to a realization that the true power lay in the choices we made in the present.

And so, I continued to live my life, striving to make a positive impact one small act of kindness at a time, knowing that true redemption came from the genuine desire to make amends and create a better future for all.

Comments 1