A peek into our future…
(Reading Time: 9 min Approx)
She sat there staring out of the protective tinted window of the community living pod at the blazing red ominous sky waiting for the sun to set; there was still about an hour left. Everyone was fast asleep except her; she couldn’t sleep. It was still extremely hard for her to sleep during the daytime; maybe her body was still stuck in old circadian rhythm but people around her blamed it on her old age. They didn’t understand; they never could.
They would never understand what it was like to have a vacation and go sightseeing with your loved ones; there were no sights left to see moreover you can’t go outside without getting third degree burns. They will not understand what it was like to have fun picnic on a beautiful day or to enjoy a peaceful night life beneath the stars or just spending a day in themed water parks; they will never enjoy all the sports which her generation loved; leave that, they didn’t know the concept of restaurants or dates. She felt so bad for them; their life (now hers too) was hell to her, with no sign of recreation or relief. The only thing keeping her sane was the fact that hopefully hers will get over soon.
She was ninety seven years old, one of the very few left from her generation. More than seven decades had passed and she was still not adapted to her new surroundings, she wasn’t even acclimatized; she often used to say, “I am beyond evolution”, it was an inside joke of hers. It still surprised her when she saw people going to work in the nights and sleeping during the days; their days and nights were reversed.
She struggled with the new living arrangements on a daily basis and still found the system of living pods really odd as it was nothing like her concrete house in which she grew up. Living pods were self-sustainable living spaces that acted as a disaster relief shelter as they were fully equipped to deal with the lethal radiations, gases, acid rain and the whole works which the climate offered nowadays. They didn’t have any warmth and cosiness of a home but they were the only solution for surviving anywhere on this planet.
It was twilight now, everyone was still sleeping; she decided to start early. She wore her bodysuit along with her gloves and oxygen-mask and moved to the ‘cleaning zone’ before the rush hour began. This was how they used to take ‘bath’ these days, getting yourself scanned and sprayed from ‘god-knows-what’; people claimed that it kept them free from all kind of germs and dirt, just like vaccination. It did. She missed her childhood bathing ritual which involved a lot of water; now the things were very different. Today people can’t even imagine such a thing existed, never even in their wildest dreams; water for these people was something which you can only drink and that too in precisely calculated quantities.
After the regular cleansing session she went to the water dispenser, after swiping her card she got her stipulated share-three litres of water for the next twenty four hours. Long gone were the days of personal water purifiers; the rivers had all dried up decades ago and the oceans have turned into a pool of acid with nothing but poison.
Tonight her schedule was packed as usual; she had a session with school kids to explain them about the concept of pets which existed during her time. Later on she had a meeting with a producer who wanted to make a documentary about what life was like around seventy years back. She had become a minor celebrity around her country as she was one of the very few who were alive and had witnessed the Armageddon themselves. She was the walking repository of all the information that every official of every department wanted. These days she was busy transferring all of her knowledge and memory in every way possible before she passes away. She hoped for soon enough.
She had just come back after completing all her engagements and took her daily tablets which were all that was needed to satiate her hunger and fulfil the needs of her body. This was what was left in the name of ‘food’; she stopped her thoughts right there as it was a very dangerous territory for her to venture in. With no cultivable land left, no water or soil to nourish the plants there was no concept of producing ‘food’ anymore. Their food came from pharmaceutical companies with no taste whatsoever.
The night was almost over; it was a busy one for her. Everyone had returned from their work; their bodysuit unitards hang in the fumigation and dry cleaning chamber, they will all be ready again by tomorrow night.
The sun was coming up marking the end of another working night; she lay in bed with her mask by her side waiting to be engulfed by peace which only sleep could provide.
The sky again turned ominous blazing red and the world went to sleep!