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  • Writer's pictureManyaa Dikshit

The Edge of Yesterday

Maya wakes up to the smell of smoke. It’s not uncommon, the whole world smells

like this these days.

“Maya c’mon you’re going to be late for school!” her mum, Neetika shouts.

“Coming mum!”

Maya changes in a hurry.

“Don’t want to be late”, she mumbles.

Walking out of the house, she takes out her instant oxygen converter mask and

Opens her house’s chemical-proof bubble. Does that sound uncommon? Every household has them these days. How else would the people breathe? With the air

being filled with so many toxins? One inhale and you’ll be sent straight to the


Walking to school Maya notices her friend, Isha, coming out of her house’s oxygen


“Maya, wait up!”

“Isha, hi.”

“Aww what are you sad about bestie?” Isha asks.

“Physical Education got cancelled today. Headmaster Siddh said that we have some

“Earth Day” memorial thing, remember?”

“Oh yeah! My mum told me a bit about that. About 50 years ago, there was this day

called ‘Earth Day’ where the people celebrated the Earth and the materials and life

she gave us.”

“People celebrated this barren land?” Maya ridiculed.

“Hey don’t be like that. Mum said that the world had trees and animals then.”

Trees…” Maya imagined. “I can’t remember the last time I saw one.”

“Me neither. Can you imagine? A world filled with trees. There’d be birds everywhere

and animals would come out all the time!” Isha squealed.

“Huh. I can’t imagine it.”

Physical Education class rolled up and all the kids were called to the auditorium.

“Good afternoon, students. Today we will be showing you a presentation on how the

planet used to be in the memory of our beloved Earth Day.”

Sir flashed his presentation on the main screen. ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ instantly filled the room as headmaster Siddh showed the first image.

“About 5 decades ago, the earth used to look like this. Green fields filled the landscape

and the vast blue seas filled the holes the craters had made millions of years ago.

Animals flooded both these biomes and-”

“But sir!” a girl interrupted, “The ocean is just grey and dull. There are no sea-

creatures in it anymore!”

Headmaster Siddh chuckled lightly. “No, my girl, there most certainly are not.”

“How did it change so fast, sir? Mum said that the world looked just like your photo when she was growing up! How did so much change in just a mere 50 years?”

another student questioned.

“My child, humans are nasty creatures. We do not treat things that are given to us

right until we are about to lose them, and when we do lose them, we deem it as

‘unfair’ and ‘unjust’ and ‘out of our hands.’ ‘Unfixable’, ‘hopeless’, ‘wasted’ and ‘gone’

were a few words to describe the situation.”

“Oh! But sir, how did humans manage to make the world as it is right now?” a boy


“We took advantage of the materials mother earth gave us, my boy. We used plastic

items in bulk, we wasted all our natural resources and relied on even worse-off

materials to compensate for them. We left our lights and fans on and wasted

electricity. We ruined the soil by over-agriculture to feed our growing

population. We used pesticides and fertilizers to speed up the agricultural process

not knowing what harm it would cause in the long term! We threw our waste into the

oceans making it into the acidic water body it is now. We made nuclear weapons to

keep ourselves safe. These nuclear weapons gave out radioactive fallouts, creating

this dense grey fog you all must greet every morning. This is how we ruined our home, my child.”

No one ever talked about the earth day memorial celebration. The pain was too

much to bear. Why would the earlier generation have done this to them? Why would

they make this beautiful planet into a plain, barren wasteland planet? Maya fiddled

her shirt’s collar, confused.

Maya glanced up at her friend.

“Some orientation, huh? Who would have thought that it was humans who made their home this bad? I always thought it was some weird alien apocalypse like those

movies always show.”

Maya rolled her eyes.

“Isha, that's the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard”

“Hey don’t be a meanie!”

Walking back home Maya kept thinking about what Headmaster Siddh had said.

Trees, trees would help humans restore the earth's glory. But where are trees? Maya

had never seen one, and if she had, she didn't remember. She took off her instant

oxygen converter mask and walked to her mother.

“Hey, love! How was school?”

“Mum, where can I find a tree?” Maya questioned.

Neetika blinked.

“Where’s this question coming from?”

“Just a question.”

Neetika stared at her child and then said, “Come with me, love.”

“Why are we going to the basement?”

“Well, you wanted to know where you would find a tree, didnt you? So, I am showing you.”

Maya's eyes widened.

“We have a tree. In this house. In the basement. At this very moment !!”

Neetika giggled.

“Yes Maya, we have a tree in the house at this very moment. That’s how the oxygen-

bubble system works.”

“Do trees give out oxygen and make the houses air clean and breathable?”


Maya stepped into her basement. A tall ancestral tree stood in the middle of their

basement. It had a trunk and branches made of wood. Pipes were connected to the

big bundles of leaves.

“The pipes send the oxygen given out by the leaves to the rest of the house. That’s

how we have oxygen,” Neetika explained.

“So, if we start planting trees outside, eventually, the world could go back to normal?”

Maya questioned.

“Well, yes, but trees require water and sunlight. There’s no natural water present in

the ground and the fog hides the sun. It would be impossible for a tree to survive in

such conditions.”

“What if we use the sunlight creators we have in here? And we can go and water the

plant every day! That would work right mum?” Maya blurted out. An idea was

blooming in her head, and she was set on executing it.

“Yes, I believe that would work, but wait- Maya, where are you going!”

Maya ran up the stairs and picked the phone in the living room.

“Isha! I know how we can save the world!”

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