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Year 2100 | 12:30 pm | Mumbai
I flip through the book, scanning the pages that I have already read. The air is hot against my skin. I stop, gripping the book tightly to fan it against my face. In the world that I live in, the sun is always blazing, the temperatures soaring during the day. First, let me introduce myself. My name is Alaya and I am 11. The book I am reading is a book that every child is given to understand history. It’s like a diary written by two people Zoya and Mahi, Mahi being the daughter ( I already looked up what daughter means ) of Zoya, starting in 2030. Many parts of the country are now barren. A lot of things have changed or at least that’s what I have been told by the elders.
I flip to the very first page of the book, the part where Zoya mentions her reasons to start writing the diary.
I flip again to read the first entry of the book.
I stop and think about what a mother or a father is. I don’t understand the love Zoya had for Mahi. How could she care so much for a person? I wonder what that must feel like, to be protected. I have always been told that love is about everything, the planet, the trees, water, the air we breathe, all of it. Nothing belongs to us and we belong to nothing. We are the protectors and companions of the planet and everything that resides in it.
She mentions a toy. What is a toy? I also wonder what a farmer is. I quickly turn to the end of the book where the definitions are.
The word farmer means someone who owns a piece of land. We don’t own any land! I wonder why would they want to own any land? It seems so cruel. We always share and respect everything we take from the planet even though the planet doesn’t speak to us, it’s still our friend. We don’t have farmers but something called Prithvi ( Earth ) Rakshak (protectors) who love the land, care for it and it in turn cares for us. When I was born I was assigned the role of a Prithvi Rakshak. Every child is assigned a role. We also have Jal (Water) Rakshak (Protector) and Vayu (Air) Rakshak (Protector). Although we are assigned specific roles, we learn about everything, to respect, and care for all the roles equally. As a Prithivi Rakshak, I particularly learn about alternatives to food and growing. I am the protector! I even have a mark on my arm.
This is interesting. I flip again to a few months ahead
She has documented every little detail about her daughter. I flip ahead to 10 years later.
I want to reread the part about Mumbai. Oh, here it is!
I stop in horror. A large part of Mumbai did submerge but why was she only worried about Mahi? There were so many people in trouble. Shouldn’t she be helping others too!
Let’s see what happens a few months later after the incident.
It seems like Zoya was worried about Mahi’s life ahead.. Isn’t this a good thing though, to not have children?
I wonder what Mahi would write about now that she can’t pass this dairy to her child. I stop at the page where she had just received it from her mom.
I begin reading her entries. 2060 was when the wall was built since cyclones had become a regular phenomenon.
So this is what the city looks like from the other side! Yesterday we took a field trip to the wall to remind ourselves of our duty to protect and care for the planet, that the water is not our enemy but it was because of us that there is now a wall between us.
I continue reading her entires..
The law of not having children was revoked in 2088. Now, the government decides the number of children that will be born, and they aren’t the creation of two individuals but a part of a community. I don’t know what it felt like to belong to someone or to be loved and cared for by two individuals, to have that support. Perhaps I would never understand that and maybe they will just be concepts that remain tucked in the confines of this book and maybe that is okay.
I gently close the book
Walk to the window and stand there, staring out
One thought on “Families in 2100 Mumbai”
This is brilliant. It’s also lovely to listen to the words while scrolling through.
The idea of a Dictionary of Lost Words and Feelings. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking – lost feelings – what a concept.