Far away from the city lived an old man on a mountain by the ocean who used to love comfort once upon a time. He lived in solitude and spent half of his life trying to find truth. He had a fierce determination to attain the highest knowledge about the environment he lived in. He did not believe in charity. He believed that to attain the standard he had set for humanity one has to help themselves. Those who can help themselves can help others too.
Every morning he woke up after the sun had risen so that he could spend his mornings trying to concentrate on the sounds of flutter of the butterflies. He learnt so much that he could even tell butterflies apart by the sound, and the speed of the beat of their wings. He learnt about butterflies and some birds, and then wrote a document about the environment he lived in. He was interested in the relative connection between organisms. He tried to find connection, and he also tried connecting with them.
He heard a flutter of a bird and was instantly reminded of the times he spent with his wife in the terrace back at home. He remembered the instances when he showed the stars to his wife in the observatory he had built on the top of a mountain outside of the city. At home they would watch the pigeons going about their business, pecking at the food grains left by his wife. They would count the number of times the pigeons would pick at the grains against time, and pick a winner. But that was a long time ago. He missed her now. But did she miss him? Was she still alive? Would she be looking for him? He knew he wouldn’t attain the answers unless he had clarity about what he wanted to do with it.
In his adolescence he hated the cities because he thought people were shedding their humanity instead of their egos and greed. Civilization was becoming uncivilized. He knew what’s in store for humankind. He had written enough material over the years which could help people get a glimpse of the future, yet they kept dismissing him and told him not to write anything anymore. He wished that someone would read his document in the future. No one had heeded his advice in the past. He had no more tears. He could not shed any. Sweat was the only way by which he could wash away all the negativity in his mind.
The stifling heat in the air, the stuffed establishments in the cities and towns, and the crumbling social structure looked like an air tight container where the planet was locked. The planet would implode at any moment under its own weight. He had to remind himself that it had already happened. It was an old story, the one he wished he didn’t see happen. As a matter of fact that was the last vision he had of the city or of anything.
During the time when everything was ok he would go to his private observatory and look at the stars. On that fateful day he went alone. His wife would join him. He knew the way his wife took to reach the observatory. He focused the telescope on the road he knew his wife would take. In fact it was a lucky escape for him. As he was looking through the telescope at what looked like his wife’s car, stopped in its tracks. That was unusual he thought. The ground shook. Earthquake, he knew. He held on to a tree, and did not let go for the next four minutes. He watched the buildings and the entire city being destroyed by a fire that broke out.
The earthquake destroyed a nuclear reactor in the far side of the city. Even though it was very far away he felt the blast wave hitting him, and he also saw the fire-ball. He watched the city degrade because of a nuclear meltdown and lost both his eyes in the process. The light due to the explosion was so powerful; the lens of his telescope amplified it. The following heat melted his eyes. He had enough strength to grope his way to the underground shelter he had built. He remained there but the nuclear fallout had already done some damage to him. He thought he didn’t have much time.
But he didn’t die even though he waited for the end. It in fact had extended his life span. The thought of that catastrophe made his body shudder. He heard a thunder. It started drizzling. He sighed and turned his head towards the sky. He heard the rain. He felt the tiny drops of rain fall in his empty eye sockets. It irritated him. He shook his head to remove water from his eye sockets. Just then he heard a flutter of a butterfly. He turned to his left, and calculated the distance between him and the butterfly. Twenty five meters away, he concluded.