Volcano And The End

He was hands-on. Digging away! He didn’t care for broken nails or dirty fingers. He just kept at it. Dig. Dig. Dig!

As nature took its course and overpowered his enthusiastic endeavour, he felt a tinge of pain in his fingers. And the thumping pain grew, slowly and steadily.

But the pain couldn’t cower the child’s motivation. He rummaged through the dried grass and the dirt to find a sharp stone.

Hard blows! One thump. Two thumps. Three thumps and on and on. The Earth cried silently, but the child didn’t hear or feel the pain of the soil. He kept on the violent act.

The topsoil yielded. Scared if she didn’t, the boy would continue the torture. The boy put his fingers through the hole to find the elusive prize but had barely covered much ground.

So, he searched again. This time, he found a stick. And he poked. Poke. Poke. Poke. The stabs got harsher, but the boy didn’t relent. By now, the ground was soar and wounded. She whispered a prayer, “Please, little boy. Not more!” But the boy remained oblivious to the ground’s plea. He continued to rain torture.

With sweat pouring like rain, his body was as hot as coal. Skin as red as cherry, the child collapsed and began howling in exhaustion.

The soil heard the boy’s cries and put her pain aside. She nestled the boy, tilting. Oh, so slightly. She let the grass brush his skin as if to pacify him. The boy felt a warmth surround him. And he began to pacify. 

At that very moment, the boy’s elder sister peeked out the door. She was glad to find her brother miserable. His dirty face was plastered with tear lines. His white shirt was now off-white and muddy.

She couldn’t stop giggling. She skipped in merriment while she ran up to her brother and asked, “Hey, Toma, why are you crying? Don’t worry about the dirt. One bath and it will all be gone. So, tell me, why the tears?

Toma said, “You said you planted that coin Papa gave you so that she would grow into a tree of coins. I wanted your coin. I dug and dug, but I can’t find it buried anywhere! Where did you bury it, Mona?

Well, you tried to take what isn’t yours, Toma,” said Mona, having the last word in a war of sibling drama. Shaking her head in disapproval Mona continued, “And that is why you couldn’t find it. You have messed up the garden. Do you know the soil that you are sitting on can feel pain too? That is a very bad thing to do, Toma.”  

She turned and started walking away from her brother. Then an afterthought made her return to her her brother, “Oh, listen! I never buried it, silly. I have it right on me!” Saying so, Mona took the coin out of the silver pouch she carried. She smiled like the empress who had won the world and walked back home with her head held high!

Annoyed, that his sister had had the last laugh and she still continued to own that prized coin, Toma stared back at his sister. Losing hurts. But losing to a sibling seems like the end of the world! And Toma felt just that! In frustration, he kicked his feet! Each kick brought a wave of agony to the Earth. The Earth shook at the boy’s self-centeredness but the boy didn’t care.

This is not fair, Mona!” Cried, Toma. “I won’t let you win!

Laughing at her mischief, Mona danced on the porch, celebrating. She shouted loudly, “I am the champion, my bro. La! La!! La!!!

Toma, too upset with his sister, kicked the Earth again. Crying, he tore the grass and uprooted small plants. The Earth protested the child’s vagaries. But Toma wouldn’t listen. She begged him to stop, but the boy didn’t.

Hysteric, he threw more stones and crushed the tiny vegetation that grew on the soil and thumped his way back to his house.

The trampled soil cried in anger. The ache of the torture throbbed from her surface to the core. The insensitivity of the child peeved her. But the Earth, in its motherly love still gave the boy a chance. She thought if she allowed the grass to tickle him, Toma would calm down. But Toma grew angrier.

The Earth remembered how mankind had ignored her pleas for thousands of years. People had stabbed and kicked and hurt her relentlessly. Some were kind to her and tilled the land with the right tools. They watered her and loved her. Some even prayed to her. But the number of such individuals was dwindling every day.

The Earth had tried her best to communicate with Toma but the boy just wasn’t hearing her. He was destroying the vegetation, killing the little helpless beings that lived in the soil. Toma’s craziness was just the last straw. The Earth decided to take the matter into her hands and took a human form, hoping the child would finally hear her pleas.

The boy was so consumed by his rage that he didn’t absorb the magic! A beautiful lady had conjured out of nowhere. He kept crying and hurting nature. The Earth knew she would have to do something to stop the boy before things went south. Because the earth knew her fury. If she lost it, the world or at least a part of it would be destroyed!

She took Toma’s face into her hands looked deep into his eyes and said, “Boy, stop hurting the plants, the little beings and the soil. They are crying in pain and asking you to stop. Listen to me, please stop!

Toma struggled free from the Earth’s grasp and said, “I don’t care. I hate my sister. I hate my dad for giving her a coin. I hate everyone.” He pulled at the Earth’s hand and bit her hard and ran away saying, “And I don’t talk to strangers!

The unruly child’s fit was the last straw! She had tried. She had taken the human form many times to communicate with mankind. But like Toma, no one ever cared for nature. They plundered and exploited the land, its produce and its natural resources. Man only took. Man only hurt!

How long could the Earth remain patient? How long could she allow other living beings to suffer at the hands of man? Toma was just a kid, but he was like the many men she knew. The more she thought, the angrier Earth got. And she quaked. Cracks began appearing near the hole Toma had dug. And then Earth’s anger burst out in the form of scorching lava from the epicentre Toma had dug up!

Gurgling with fury, she went on and on till Toma’s house and the neighbouring area were all turned into ashes.

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The Boy by the Window

Photo Courtsey: Rahul Vats

The boy by the window looked out. He wondered what was special about the day? It was same as yesterday. It was identical to any other day.


He was prohibited to look out of the window, anymore. He thought of how and why such restrictions were imposed on him.


In his heart, he knew the truth. His parents didn’t know any better. They were like any other parent. They were protective. He knew his friends had similar parents and similar fates. He questioned their judgment. In his heart, he knew…


They couldn’t do any better.


He was not sure if the sun had risen. His city was blind to the day’s rise.  It was oblivious to the rumba of the dusk and the waltz of the night. The boy tried to seek nature. In his heart, he knew…


There was nothing worthy to explore in the vast sky because he could not see the sky anymore.


He breathed in the atmosphere. It suffocated him. Tears ran unchecked. Was it disappointment raining down his cheeks or was it resignation?


He surreptitiously peeked out of the window while his parents were distracted. He had found such an opportunity every day, for over a year. Disappointingly, his world remained the same. He hadn’t seen the sun or the moon for long. It had been forever since he had smiled at a twinkling star.


He missed his friends. Did they miss him too?


It was his birthday. Last year, he was excited he was celebrating his birthday in a unique way. There was no school! There was no peer pressure to have the grandest birthday celebration. Sadly, this birthday promised him nothing special. It was like any other day in the past year and more. Would they have candles on his birthday cake? Would he get a Black Forest cake? He already knew the answer to these questions. Nothing could shed away the darkness. A candle would only be a farce.


A year had passed. Many more days would follow this day gone by. Would he look out of the window expecting the universe to glisten its blessings upon him? His young mind was crammed with questions. He knew the answer to one critical question, though.


For now, his heart only knew how to succumb to the unpromising circumstances.


He reminisced those games at the school playground. The boy by the window missed his friends. He thought of his teachers. There was a time, he had hated school and home-works. That was over a year ago. His life had changed drastically since then.


Smog had engulfed his world, halting his existence. He called that a ‘Smogulfed’ world. He lived in the unfortunate city that was dazed and ruined by the thick cloud of pollution.


Did Australia still have a sunrise? Did Canada still have a sunset? The news said it did. Why couldn’t he hear the birds chirp anymore? Why did he not see trees? Would the lamp posts ever stop burning? Why was he always surrounded by artificial lights? Why did he and his friends live in a blind world when they had eyes to see?


The child by the window was always gloomy. Unfortunately, he was born in a polluted city. His city had ignored the warnings of nature for years! He was a sad citizen of a cursed city that had capitulated to the reign of pollution and smog.


He said a little prayer. If there was a thing like birthday blessings, the boy at the window would get the gift of living a normal life again. Didn’t he as a child deserve as much? Or was being born in the unfortunate city his curse? Would he never see the smog disperse and the sun shine through? In his heart, he knew…


He craved to see the clear blue sky. Was that a distant dream?


He perceived a ray of light piercing through the dense city fog. Was that an answer to his prayers? If he was hallucinating, disappointment was eventual. If what the boy saw was true, he would have clean air to breathe! The boy put his face out of the window to breathe in- deep.


He was fearful to breathe out. Right at that moment, his mind whirled, his heart pumped, his lungs couldn’t hold it anymore. He breathed out with great force. What came out was a sooty smoke of his expectations. He surmised change wasn’t near.


The boy at the window was merely a child. He couldn’t fail at being hopeful. He prayed his next birthday would be shiny and bright, with birds chirping, ants toiling, butterflies flying, trees shedding leaves of joy and his lung enjoying the breath of fresh unpolluted air.


With this ardent hope, he shut the window. He knew they could shut him in the house, not his window of hope.



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