by Asad Ur Rahman
Wandering through the beach, Idris and his grandfather felt a soothing sea breeze. They had come outside of their underwater community to enjoy walking on the narrow strip of land. It was the only land that was left in the Maldives after the sea level rise in 2035. Idris was seven years old, and his grandfather was sixty years old. Since his birth, Idris has been living in the underwater city named Aquadives. He never questioned the life of human beings under the water, but still, he loved to live on land under the naked sky. However, on this day, he asked his grandfather, “Why don’t we build a house on the land?” His grandfather answered, “Because a sudden wave of water could destroy our house at any moment.” Idris became very sad and kept quiet for a while and then spoke suddenly, “But you have lived most of your life on the land, how was that possible?” The old man took a deep sigh and became nostalgic. Surely, he remembered the time when it was normal to live on the land.
Idris shook his grandfather and asked again, “What are you thinking grandpa?” The old man answered, “Yes, son, it is true that I have lived most of my life on the land, but then we made some grievous mistakes.” Idris did not understand and enquired again, “What mistakes?” The old man replied, “Its a long story!” And then he started telling him the history of the world. He said that the planet Earth was in its natural form until the rise of industrialization. Our atmosphere paid a huge price for the invention of machines. As a result of the over emission of gases in the air, the environment got polluted. Consequently, global warming occurred, and the sea level rose.
The old man became emotional when he mentioned the flooding of his city, situated in the Maldives. He said, “Our houses were drowned in the water. So, we had to move to another city that was also destined to be drowned in the following years. We had left everything behind us for destruction.” He told the little boy that it became very difficult for human beings to survive on the land. So, a famous physicist in the Maldives named Kader persuaded the government to invest in his project of building underwater cities. Within ten years, small towns were built that supported thousands of people to live without the fear of floods. Today, the underwater colonies have successfully restored the normal life of Maldivians who were about to go extinct by the rising sea level.
As the Old man went on telling the story, Idris really thanked the physicists in his heart and wished to meet him one day. While they were still talking, a group of people started yelling, “Kader is here, our guardian is here.” The boy got really excited and asked his grandparent, “Is that the physicist?” “Yes,” the old man answered in joy. The child showed interest in meeting him, so his grandpa held him from his hand and approached the physicist, who had become very old. The boy said hello to the scientist and said that he also wants to become a scientist like him. Kader responded to the little boy with love and said, “Dear, you could even become a great scientist, there are still many problems that we have to solve.” The boy got confused and interrogated, “What kind of problems?” Kader replied while looking towards the sky, “Climate change is not over yet, we have survived the calamity but that’s not a permanent solution.” He further went on to say that we will have to reverse climate change. The boy pledged to play his role in the mission and said goodbye to the scientist. It was dark, so Idris and his grandfather, wearing their suits, dived into the water and entered their city again.