by Asad Ur Rahman
For people of the 2050s, agriculture is not as it was used to be back in the early 2000s. For Nora, a young girl born in Japan in 2048, things are different, a lot different, in terms that the need for sunlight is replaced by artificial light that grows the carbon compost in a few seconds that can be cultivated easily. And she has to eat it like other humans. Meanwhile, the cows that used to give milk, which was beneficial for growth, are now replaced with some capsules that instantly turn water into milk. Guess what? It doesn’t taste like milk, but it is what it is for Nora.
One day, she happened to pass through a narrow passage while going to her high school. She noticed that there is some smell, a refreshing aroma coming out of a small window. Nora felt this refreshing smell for the first time in her life. Yet she was getting late for school. So she ignored it and went straight to school. But, the smell was unique in that it left a strong impression on her mind.
Another day, she got late from school, and her electric hoverboard malfunctioned, leaving her to come back walking. As she came down the street of her school, she happened to see the narrow passage again. She decided to pass through it to know whether she felt the same smell again or not. Fortunately, the same smell was coming out of the window. This time, she decided to knock on the window to ask about this smell. As she did the first knock, an old woman spoke through the lock screen, “who is it?”. Nora replied and enquired about the smell from the women. The woman, being gracious, called her in and allowed her to have a bowl of soup that she was making, following the ancient Japanese tradition. Nora excitedly tasted the soup, and it felt energizing and tasteful that Nora had tasted it for the first time in her life. Feeling good about the soup, Nora further enquired the old woman to share the recipe with her. The women felt reluctant and hesitated at first instance.
However, Nora was not budging from the demand of the recipe, and she successfully convinced the old woman. The women went to the old store and brought a glass jar filled with brown leaflets and spices. For Nora, the leaflets and spices were new things as her food was mostly made through capsules. And the smell that these spices were giving was also very energizing and relieving. The old woman told about these as she happened to work on a farm a long time ago, and from there, she preserved these spices for making soup. The new technology of agriculture has replaced the traditional food, and now humans are fed as machines. So these things become obsolete as time passes. But, she has managed to preserve some of the spices, and now she has them in her lunch. Listening about agriculture was new and shocking for Nora. She became sorrowful that such tasteful spices are not available today. After that incident, she would usually visit the old woman’s house, and she would tell Nora the stories from her childhood about agriculture. She also told Nora about how climate change made it impossible for farmers to grow crops. Nora would listen to them and would imagine herself in the fields cultivating soil and planting crops.