This winning entry is written by Naba Batool from the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore. Naba has won GBox Sustainability Prize under Sustainable Writing Competition arranged in colloboration with EPS Times at GC University Lahore.
A warm sunny day, it was. Shayan got up early in the morning. After brushing his teeth, he didn’t close the tap tightly. There was some noise of water flowing down the tub in the washroom. He ate breakfast, left the dishes in the sink. A tiny trail of water was flowing through the tap. Shayan left his cottage for a morning stroll and took off the tracks that lead him right in the middle of the jungle to his favorite spot “The Green Circle”. A lush green sphere of tall trees circling the glittering water in the centre. It was a magnificent piece of work by Mother Nature. With the rise of the sun, rays would fall onto the water, making the water flicker. Shayan was always struck by the glory of this place, so alone yet so combine. He sat there, feet in the water, meditating. Seconds turned into minutes. He could feel time solidifying, leaving no trail but significance somehow. It was that moment that he heard or at least he thought he heard a gurgle in the water ; he thought it was a fish. Astonished and surprised Shayan was, by hearing another gurgle, this time with a huge disturbance in the water, followed by a splash. When the water settled down, it was then he realized someone was behind him.
It was a creature he had never seen before or ever had imagined having an encounter with. Someone literally and physically “so out of this world”. The ankles which he dared to observe in his first glance were swollen and the feet were fin shaped. As he examined the creature more vividly, the sense of strangeness progressed. The skin was covered with grey scales and Shayan could feel the coarseness, even from a distance. The eyes, carrying no cornea, were bulging and color was red as blood. Only then it dawned upon Shayan, it was the creature mankind was warned about, since the beginning of the sense of time; an invader; an alien. A chilling sensation went down his spine. He gathered all his strength and commanded his muscles to move and run, but all in vain. Shayan was frozen with fear.
The creature’s soulless lips were shaking. Shayan was stunned. The stranger was trying to stir a conversation. A conversation! Conversation with a creature, from God knows where, was one of the least possible things that can happen on Shayan’s list of “Impossible things that could happen in this lifetime.” “Who are you?” Shayan questioned first. “I assume you do have know-how.” A mechanical voice answered. “What are you doing here on Earth?” Another question from Shayan’s side. “My presence here strictly announces the devastation my home has suffered from. A meteor hit us and fell into our aquatic resources. We are facing a serious threat to our water resources and if steps are not taken immediately, we might get deprived of water. My visit to this planet is to gather information about the aquatic resources present here, so that we can save our planet.” “Then what will happen to us. We need water as well.” “Do you?” The creature cross questioned Shayan. “By the way you are treating or one should say exploiting these valuable resources, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how much you people value such blessings.” Flabbergasted by its comments Shayan protested in a mild tone “What do you mean?” “O! You ignorant little thing! You are perfectly aware of the ongoing fiasco, aren’t you? You know exactly what is going on and who has caused this, yet you show signs of ignorance and negligence. You humans are such a piece of work!” The creature roared. Shayan was scared to death both by the highly impossible yet seemingly possible presence of the creature as well as with the revelations. It was not that Shayan was unaware of what was happening. It was the unflinching heedlessness that was common in him like all the others. He was one of those people who would curse the government with all their might but will never lift a finger to try to rectify what was going wrong. “If you took all of the water what will we do then?” Shayan was frightened. “You have shattered the praised-worthy blessings. You humans are no worthy of such resources. You don’t know how to take care of a gift nature has presented you with.”So what will you do now? Will you take all the water from earth?” “We know how to take care of a present. We will cherish this gift. Unlike you ignorant selves we will never abandon such precious resources.” “Will you give us time to make up our mind?” You have already been given enough time. Enough with the countdown. It’s time to take action! In a time span of 24 hours we will settle here and pay tribute to water; a saving grace for all the lives. We will make efficient use of these resources and will never jeopardize them like you people have done.” With that last remark the creature fell into the lake and disappeared. His disappearance was followed by another huge water splash. Shayan broke down in tears. He was terrified. He started to run as far he could, as fast he could. Wrath was following him. He ran with all the power in his legs and in his muscles. He became entangled in one of the bushes and fell.
Shayan woke up in his bed, screaming with terror. His forehead was dripping with sweat. His shirt was wet. He was shivering. His pulse was elevated. It was a dream, a nightmare to be precise, yet it felt so real. He could hear the noise of water flowing from the tap, form the tub. He dashed to the ground floor, tightly closed the tap. Then he ran to the bathroom. The water from the tub was overflowing. He firmly closed the tap. His legs were unable to carry his burden. He fell on the ground and broke down in tears. He had learnt his lesson.
Water! A necessity for life to exist, yet we exhibit such rashness towards it. It is a gift from heavens. We need to relish it with utmost care and concern. We don’t always get a chance to wake up from a dream and rectify what was done wrong from the start. The sooner the better.