I viewed the screen with shocked eyes which displayed my grades.The red cross next to my name indicated that I had failed my term exams. I could feel my chin quiver, heart racing and tears rising. I had failed the exams, my parents and most importantly "I failed myself" these words came out as more of whisper than I intended. Anger rushed my mind, forgetting that the screen was holographic, I tried to kick it, and fell. The world around me dissolved as I was about to hit the ground, instead I found myself on my bed, shivering even though the temperature in the room was quite warm.I looked out of my window, the sky was grey as ever,"another stupid nightmare"I sighed.I had these nightmares quite frequently before exams.
Feeling thirsty , I pressed the button at the side of my bed and a capsule appeared, after swallowing it I felt a lot better. I once heard my great-grandmother say that before the World War Four they didn't have water capsules instead the water they had was colourless, odourless and liquid! and that when she was young she used to play outside without oxygen masks!.Funny right?. She was one of the very few thousands who had survived the war. "The nuclear bombs had destroyed everything, every single tree, plant and animal in its way!" She used to say. My grandfather was quite young when this happened so he did'nt remember a thing, cities and technology gradually developed but no one has still found a way to bring 'plants' and 'trees' back. But why do we need plants? our daily needs are still being fulfilled. Thinking I turned to see the time. It was eight! I got ready as fast I can and ran downstairs.
Breakfast was a few protein and vitamin capsules. The question was still roaming in my head. Why?. My thoughts were interrupted by my mother calling my name."Riya?. Have you started preparing for your exams?"she asked.
"Uh...... sort of" it came out more like a question.
Pointing a finger at me my mother warned "Then you better start working Riya". I won't accept a grade less than A" the edge in her voice was quite recognizable as I have the same edge when I'm almost angry. My father tried to defend me "Go easy on her, she's just fourteen and besides, her holidays are going on..." if he was about to add more he didn't, mom's one look silenced him.”And Riya, I also want you to clean the attic, Roxi will help you" Roxi is our family robot she's quite nice and really helpful."Do you understand? " I nodded reluctantly. My younger brother smirked from the other side of the table. He really enjoys when I get scolded or punished, fortunately mom noticed "I suppose Rahul would like to give a helping hand" "no I wouldn't" he mumbled. But when mom gave him a dangerous glance, he
Put on a charming smile and agreed.
I spent the rest of the morning studying and hover-boarding, my favourite sport .Hovering a little above the ground made me feel taller and prouder. I got the hover- board for my 14th birthday, it was sleek and neat. At first, I wasn't even able to stand on it let alone ride it, but I had improved substantially. Now I could fly a foot above the ground and do a flip or two. I went to my brother's room to show-off a little, only to find him being lectured by my mother for playing that Virtual- Dragon-Slaying game for hours. I sighed, he might be a devil but he was still my brother "Rescue time" I whispered to myself. "Hey mom “I said "weren't Rahul, Roxi and I supposed to clean the attic?"
Rahul looked at mom with eager brown eyes "very well" she said and left.
As we headed towards the attic, he said "hey, I appreciate what you did for me out there" I smirked and replied "anytime brother"
The monitor in front of the attic door scanned our eyes and fingerprints to make sure that it was us. We entered a dimly lit room. It was filled with broken pieces of old toys and clothes which we had outgrown, separating them would have been quite a job as they were all piled up over one another but fortunately, with the help of Roxi , we completed the work within an hour. Feeling exhausted, I went to a corner and jumped down on an old anti -gravitational sofa., it wasn't quite comfortable, trying to adjust, my hand accidentally hit a button and the sofa moved to a side and a cellar opened below. I was shocked. I looked around to find Roxi and Rahul moving towards me, clearly as shocked as I was."Huh?" he said pointing towards it. "I-I don't know" I stammered. The cellar looked quite dark from the outside, but something about it lured me towards it....as if ... I'd find the answers to all my questions.I looked at Rahul and Roxi for conformation.He nodded "let’s go for it'' "I'm with you guys no matter what happens" Roxi added.
I climbed down first followed by my brother and Roxi. The place smelled different.....it smelled quite....soothing? Roxi switched on the old bulb. There was a box in the center of the room unlike any box I've seen it was light brown in color and it looked very old also it looked like it was made of....my heart was beating fast, I approached it slowly, I remembered seeing one of these in the museum.....it could be great discovery. I touched it. "It's cardboard!." I exclaimed. I exclaimed. My brother looked quite perplexed, he raised an eyebrow "what's a cardboard?", Roxi explained "cardboard is made by modifying paper and paper is made from......"
"Trees!" Rahul shouted with joy. We further looked inside the box and were even more surprised to find a diary, I gasped " It's priceless!" "a diary made of real paper an-and look! Something is written too!" Rahul added excitedly.
"And Its great-grandma's!"
I held the diary as if it was my whole life. I opened it with care and started reading it -
"There has been great unrest between many countries for the past few months. Chances are high for World War four or so the media says. World War Three itself was quite a disaster. Not every country was armed with nuclear weapons, so the disaster done was very less compared to the disaster which would occur during the later war. Technology has developed a lot but surely, we still haven't found a way to peacefully live with our neighbours. We destroy each other in order to avenge or conquer without thinking about the aftermath. I guess after the next World War, there would be nothing left for us to call ours. But technology will gradually reach a stage where we won't need plants or trees for surviving but little do most of us know the difference between 'needs' and 'wants' and 'surviving' and 'living'. Right now, we not only 'need' trees but 'want' them, we just don't 'survive' but 'live' due to them
So, I thought perhaps I should keep some earth and a seed, as a sign of hope, I have planned to plant it after the war, a new beginning, a new start. The first seed."
Still in a daze I reached inside the box and pulled out a little brown seed and small packet. “She must have saved it for us” I said. As I opened it, the soothing smell was much clearer to me, it was mud, it was nature.