• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 10

After the Deluge

A man called Manu lived on the banks of the most sacred river. One day, when he stepped into the ash-coloured waters after finishing his morning prayers, he found a talking fish.
‘Protect me and you will be protected,’ it said.

Intrigued, Manu cupped his palm and carried the fish home. He filled a tiny glass bowl with clear water and dropped the fish into it.

Within a few minutes, the fish grew to the size of the bowl. Manu transferred the fish into a ceramic jug. The fish, once again, filled the jug. The fish grew bigger each minute. Manu carried the fish to a gurgling stream, but the stream turned out to be a tad small as well.

‘Take me to the ocean,’ the fish said.

And so, Manu got onto his tractor, fixed the giant trailer which he had borrowed from a relative and cut across the country, avoiding the narrow road which led to the congested city and led him straight to the ocean. Villagers stopped by to watch the spectacle. Videos of Manu and the strange fish were shot which soon went viral. A procession gathered and followed Manu all the way till he reached the edge of the ocean.

Before the fish found its way underwater, it whispered to Manu, ‘The world will be destroyed in a month’s time. The waters will inundate every inch of land. Get all living beings in a ship. And because you were kind to me, I will take care of your kind.’

News of the imminent perdition spread like wildfire. The best of engineers and architects were commissioned and the largest boat ever to have been built was constructed in two weeks’ time. Everything that could breathe was accommodated on the ship.


After the Deluge

On the thirtieth day, true enough, the skies opened up. The water levels rose and dragged the ship as if ready to swallow it like a tiny morsel.

The talking fish appeared on the horizon, perfectly serene and calm. Everyone watched in wonder. The fish guided Manu and he harnessed the ship to its back. The fish rode the waters like it was following an invisible compass to the destination of safety. When the flood waters receded, the land was emerald green. The sky shone blue and birds chirped sweet songs. It was like as if the concrete houses and the factories and the smoke had never existed. The trains, the cars, the trams had disappeared.

The only remanent from the past was a pile of five damaged cars, one on top of the other, resting atop the stump of a decimated tree. It stood like a monument, a testament to the history of human-kind. ‘Had to clean up the mess,’ the talking fish said before disappearing into the ocean while people descended from the ship and began walking into the forest, their new home.

Later, Manu was appointed the climate counsellor, the guardian of Earth and the voice of the silent animals, aquatics and insects.