I am a thirty two year old woman - a mother. My daughter, a five year old, is the only one I can see for miles together. We are stranded. We are in the middle of nowhere. We are at a place which cannot possibly exist. There are no clouds, no wind, no Sun. Suddenly, I hear a distinctive sound and in the blink of an eye, I find two shields at my disposal. I have no idea what the two shields are for, but their very presence ascertained the arrival of a storm stirring with danger.
Two words appear before me- Level One- and my daughter and I are transported to a battlefield. My daughter starts wailing for the harsh, loud sounds and the bloody faces are too much for her to take. All around, I see people murdering each other- the innocent mourning and weeping and the red coruscated rivers flowing. I look up at the sky and find dozens of arrows start shooting out of obscurity. The so-called ‘mother’s instinct’ enables me to act instantaneously and I immediately safeguard her with the help of both shields. My daughter is out of harm’s way, but three arrows pierce me. The vices of bloodshed, terrorism and war get me.
In a trice, we are hauled to a workplace. Two words flash before my eyes yet again-‘Level Two’. My daughter begins to calm down because of a serene and tranquil tune being played at the office. Then, I hear it. The peaceful tune being overshadowed by the sound of people abusing and belittling one another. They scream insults and the air resounds with offences. As a precautionary measure, I shield my daughter. The ceiling disappears into nowheresville and arrows whiz through the sky. The arrows impale me and send a searing pain through my body. I bear the pain silently. The lechery of bigotry, chauvinism and racism get me.
The setting changes. My daughter and I make it to Level Three-she is safe and unharmed, but I am on the verge of dying. We are in a room-dark, eerie and macabre. There is a huge computer and a man, with his face hooded, typing frantically on the keyboard and gaping at the screen. I can see bank accounts and transaction details, pictures and videos of people floating on the screen. I realize that he is a hacker. I can hear the arrows ‘swishing’ through the air, but I am too weak to move and too helpless to act. I arrange the two shields in the manner of a barricade around my daughter and plead the Almighty to deliver us from this suffering. However, the arrows are not in the least like the ones from the previous levels. The arrows are flaring. One arrow- the peccant of all forms of crimes- penetrates me and all I can feel is hurt and pain.
I can feel my soul smouldering away and all I can think about is my lovely little daughter. I look at her face- filled with innocence and sweetness- and a breath of relief parts from my lips to know that she is safe and out of harm's way. I glance at the shields. The shields wither to reveal that they are, in reality, books. I land a small peck on my daughter’s forehead and dissipate into the void of afterlife.
“Mother, why are you crying?” asked Rosa, my daughter. I snap back into reality and find myself staring at the PS-4, two words glaring at me- Game Over. I realize that my dystopian adventure was but a game and nothing else. That it was game over for me, but my daughter’s life had just begun. That I must replace the gadgets in my Rosa’s hand with books-the knights and warriors for a child. That this was the only way to stop the inevitable.
‘The end is nearer than ever before,
But do not worry for we have solutions galore.
Knowledge is the key for a future bright,
Spread it, for dystopia is no longer out of sight.’
Author ~ V.R.Kapse
Editor ~ Sanya Chadha