I have been there before. This was the first thought I had as I woke up. I have been there before. That, and the smell of metal. The way your hands would smell when you hold a metal pole for too long. Damn, I’m getting nostalgic about metal poles. But it’s been so long since I’ve seen one. It’s funny, how many things we take for granted. Once upon a time, even the lowest of the low, even the criminals, the prisoners, had metal poles. Would be behind metal poles. How I long to go back to that time. But here I am, stuck in an age where anything with a whiff of modern is banned. If you want poles, you get wooden ones. You eat from leaves. I’m writing this on dried bark, using a feather dipped in juice. Food is cooked on an open fire; it always ends up way under cooked, or charred. I’m wearing a dress made of leaves. Mobile phones? Good God, what would you need those for? All plastic and metal and sinful. We sleep on grass, out in the open. (There is no mention of a blanket, but then again, we are in the Tropics) Wild animals prowl around us, occasionally attacking one of us, and their noises muddle up in our dreams. But this dream was different. I was walking, on an actual road, wearing actual clothes, and there were cars and buses, shiny and gleaming and metallic. And in front of me was a building. A tall, mammoth, glass structure with a wrought iron gate. I have been there before because I used to work there. Before the Back To The Roots Movement. These seemingly ordinary things, how I squandered them. the pleasure in having control over your own life. Caring about your looks. Making money. Spending money. Reading. What I wouldn’t give to go back to go back to that time. But the pioneers of the Back To The Roots movement don’t agree. What for, they say, wrinkling their noses in distaste, what do you need books and buildings and pressure cookers and paper for? It wasn’t there when the Earth began, so makes no sense to have it all now. Shake off that bubble of privilege, don’t act like a spoilt child, and don’t go harping around about modern things. They said modern as if it was a disease, as if they’d rather not say that word. It is the year 2195, and instead of being on the pinnacle of human civilization and technology, we are on the dredges. Back to the past. Back to the Roots.
I have no idea where this came from. I’ve just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale, so maybe the dystopia is from there. Also I have 4 days of holidays because Mumbai University is such an incredible mess. Just when I was getting assimilated to waking up at 5:30 every morning and rushing to do everything, eyeliner et al, and cursing this stupid weather and making notes, that BAM, you got a week off. Also which idiot keeps lectures at 8AM!!! Yeah so back to this, I have holidays, so I thought why not write something. So I gave myself a prompt, and this came out. It took 20 minutes. Appreciate it.