On a hot summer afternoon, when I was walking home from college, I realized that the heat was unbearable… and I was feeling thirsty too! I reached for my water bottle but it was empty. My home was still some distance, and all the cold drinks shops were closed. I felt miserable. Walking all the way in this scorching heat without a drop of water felt like punishment.
I moved towards the pavement, struggling to find some shade, but to my disappointment, with all the trees cut down to make way for high-rise apartments, the shade was nothing but an illusion. I looked up in the sky. It was almost 4 pm, but the sun was still burning brilliantly. I wondered where the rains had disappeared! It was mid-July, yet apart from a few sprinkles, there was no sign of rain.
As I walked along, my eyes got fixed on the pond by the park. It was almost dry. This was a great place for us in our childhood. I used to come here with my mother and cousins when I was even younger. We enjoyed the lush green lawns, pretty grass flowers and cool breeze rippling off the surface of the water. But it looked so different… just like me – thirsty and exhausted!
I thought, so much has changed around me and I just never paid attention to it? A few big trees look sad, tired and weak by the heat. It’s as if they have all given up all hope. Looked like, they had accepted their defeat.
A stray dog passed by sluggishly. After wandering on the streets, it found a minuscule shade on a pavement a few yards away, and sat with its tongue out – trying to cool itself off. A crow flew over my head, cawing in a harsh tone, as if it’s warning of some misfortune!
Suddenly, the world around me started spinning. I could see the dog, the trees, the crow, the thirsty lake, deserted land and the dry, muffled winds – all coming towards me…. They started coming closer and closer, as if they were ready to declare a war on humans. All seemed to echo the same cry: “You are the reason for our destruction…Yes you are the one!”
“No, in fact aaaI love youuuu all…” I said stuttering, feeling nervous. “You know I plant a sapling every environment day… aand I grew up reciting Wordsworth.. spare me!”
My cries were falling on deaf ears. “You don’t deserve to live… you have occupied everything on this planet, not even sparing us homes!”
The thirsty lakes, the dry winds, the barren lands, they all seemed to be echoing the same cry…
“Listen to me, please,” I continued pleading. “ I’m not of them, I’m a member of the World Wildlife Fund too… and often donate for this cause!
Nobody around seemed to care. Everything felt like a whirlpool! The voices started getting louder and it sounded like they were seeking vengeance. “You all will be wiped out …. And that day isn’t far” whispered a harsh, old voice, as if it cursed me, the entire humankind. ”
Hahahahaha” laughed the entire universe! That merciless laughter rang through the thick, warm air.
I closed my eyes and covered my ears with all my strength. I wished the voices would stop.
Are we being repaid with what we had earned! All our deeds would now have to be accounted for. I pressed my ears harder to shut out the voices until I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Are you okay?” I heard a voice. I turned to see my neighbor and friend Daisy looking at me with a worried expression.
I nodded helplessly, not knowing what to say.
“Okay please have some water. Looks as if you are not feeling well,” she extended a bottle of water to me that was half filled.
I gulped down the water… looked around, everything looked just the same, hot, dry but yes, peaceful.
“Let’s walk home, I said. “I’m feeling okay, thank you…”
I was alright, but I kept asking myself, how long will it be before our selfishness destroys everything and the voices I had heard would come seeking vengeance for real?
If we continue to ignore or remain silent, then yes that voice may be right, “That day is just not far!”