The sun shone with gentle radiance, melting the fog and casting a breath of vitality into the biodiversity. Dairy trucks drove on the vacant streets, delivering packets of milk to each household. A newspaper boy pedalled his bicycle, carrying a bundle of newspapers behind him.
In a coordinated hand movement, the newspaper boy put his hand into the bundle, took out a newspaper, and threw it. Flying above the gates, passing over the lawn, and squarely hitting the door, the newspaper landed on the ground. A dog then picked it up and began to play with it, shredding it into pieces to relieve its boredom.
The newspaper boy slowly pedalled his bicycle, accurately hitting the doors of each house he passed through with a newspaper. A young man opened the door to his house only to find a newspaper slamming into his face. Recovering himself, he gazed at the newspaper boy indifferently pedalling away, continuing to throw his newspapers without care if it hit someone.
'I should file a complaint against that boy,' The man thought as he gazed at the front page of the newspaper and placed it atop a nearby tea table.
"Mom, I'm on the front page. Make sure you fully read the article!" The young boy shouted, picked up his car keys, and walked to the veranda. He then wore his socks and put on a well-polished formal shoe.
"Take care son. Drive slow, there is plenty of time for your appointment." A voice travelled out, filled with concern. The young man could hear the sounds of exclaim amid the flapping of the newspaper. He smiled with pride and opened the gates.
Sitting inside his car, the young man hit the reverse gear and brought out the car to the main road. Switching back to first gear, the young man started the car. After exiting the colony gates, he switched on the GPS.
"Pravaha Nigam." The GPS adjusted his route and began displaying the directions. It also showed his speed of travel, the condition of traffic on the road, weather, etc. The young man switched on the FM Radio, in hopes of hearing some morning slogans.
The time displayed in his watch stated 6:45 AM, so the FM Radios only played devotional songs during this time. They would switch to cinematic songs from 9:00 AM. The FM tuned to one of his favourite channel, Radio Mirchi; the RJ started with the day's weather and soon began his gossip.
"It's a good day folks. 6:50 AM and like always, we have a traffic jam in Broadway. Travelling during this time of the day when the fog still hasn't cleared has been proven to be harmful to the lungs but, you guys never listen to it anyway. Environmentalists have been screaming about global warming every day but, I can't live without my AC and roaming the streets on my rusty bike."
"Seriously folks, you should listen to those environmentalists. Anyway, I have good news for you lazy folks. You no longer need to care about Air pollution…"
"Here it comes," The young man smirked as he overtook a car and honked twice to showcase his victory.
"Vadlamani Kaushik, an Engineering student from the National Institute of Technology has come up with a scientific breakthrough that will save our lazy entitled arses. He has recently patented his prototype that is said to separate the Carbon-di-oxide present in the air into oxygen and carbon soot."
"That's me," The young man laughed.
"There is too much jargon which neither I nor you can understand; but, know this: we no longer need to be apprehensive about roaming on the streets in our cars. Heck, I am going to propose to my crush and go on long drives with her."
"You get her man," Kaushik laughed. He turned the steering wheels and took a turn according to the GPS' directions. After a long drive, a building came into view.
It was 20-storey tall and had a lawn. Security personnel could be spotted in many locations, patrolling and inspecting the visitors. At the entrance of the complex, a boom barrier blocked his path.
Stopping before it, Kaushik brought the window down and handed over a certificate and an identity card to a security guard. The guard inspected his certificate and then looked into his identity card. Two security personnel inserted a metal bar-like mechanism below the car.
The metal bar had a mirror attached to its top, rollers affixed at its bottom for motion, and a sensor on one end. It was used to check for any unsavoury objects hidden under the car. After their inspection concluded, the security guard returned the certificate and ID card, talking in his walkie-talkie. The boom barrier then opened, allowing his entry.
Kaushik drove the car to an underground parking lot and parked his car at an appropriate place. He then picked up a leather suitcase, fixed his appearance, and closed the door.
Walking towards a lift, Kaushik pressed a button and waited his turn. He got into it after some time and pressed a button with the number '14'.
The lift opened on the fourteenth floor, a well-carpeted corridor came into view. His shoe made soft sounds on the carpeted floor as he checked the room number.
Finally, the room '14G' came into view as Kaushik lightly knocked on the door. The door opened to reveal a suited man with shades. The man was 6 feet tall and had a hulking frame. With a stoic face, the man motioned for Kaushik to enter.
The door closed behind him as Kaushik made himself comfortable on a sofa. The suited man stood at one corner, making himself look like a statue. He neither uttered a word nor made any human-like movements.
Time passed in silence as Kaushik began to feel jittery. His heart was thumping in nervousness while a trace amount of sweat covered his forehead, despite the AC being turned in full blast.
8:50 AM, 10 minutes before his scheduled appointment; he had received an appointment with a higher-up from the Ministry of Environmental Science, in favour of his patent. If his talks went well, then he could directly seal the deal with the government, obtaining wealth and the opportunity to work with their Research Department after graduation.
'Mom, Dad, give me strength.' He silently prayed to his two emotional pillars. The silence was a torture as he calmly counted the passing of each second in his watch. He cursed at his watch for being lazy; if only it could tick faster.
Part anticipation, part fear at potentially meeting a big figure, and excitement at achieving something that none of his peers could ever hope to accomplish; Kaushik was a nervous wreck.
9:00 AM, the time for the appointment. The expected big figure still hadn't arrived. Every second that ticked after 9 felt like a hammer pounding his heart; he felt like he might go crazy if this persisted any longer.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the door opened as a man accompanied by a PA walked in. He had a fat, bulging stomach. The hair on his head had already surrendered to fate, leaving only a couple of shrub-like existences on the side. Sporting a bulbous nose, a thick pair of lips, and slanted eyes, the man wasn't much of a looker.
Kaushik hurriedly stood up and greeted the man, performing a light bow. The man placed his hands before his chest, his back held straight, performing a very formal Namaste.
"Please sit," The man motioned towards the sofa with a professional smile. His calm, collected eyes formed a sharp contrast to Kaushik's that was filled with a myriad of emotions.
"Have a glass of water," The man said with a smile when he noticed the nervous wreck before him. He looked at Kaushik like how a senior looked at a fellow junior. Even the demeanour he exuded was in no way different from a neighbourhood-friendly uncle.
Kaushik reached out for a glass of water placed on the table before him. He almost spilled the glass of water due to his shivering hands, but somehow managed to avoid making a shameful mess of himself. Downing the glass of water and heaving deep breaths, Kaushik finally felt his heart settling in place.
He was slowly regaining control over his emotions as time passed. The man opposite him sat without uttering a single syllable, as if he had expected such a situation beforehand. His PA though, was anything but calm. The PA continuously retreated in and out of the room, attending numerous calls, sending messages through her tablet, etc.
"Shall we begin?" The man spoke after some time.
"Yes, Sir," Kaushik said as he lifted his leather suitcase and placed it above his lap.
After his emotions had settled down, the brain of Kaushik began to work; hundreds of thoughts clashed as he refined the statements he was going to utter over and over again. In order to make a perfect transaction and leave a good impression, he mentally recited his dialogues to make sure it was crisp, clean, decent, and to the point.
His dream project began when he once visited the Capital after high school. The amount of dust and pollution in the Capital had baffled him. It was then he thought about inventing a machine that could purify the air.
He then joined a well-reputed university in the field of engineering, attended various workshops, pestered many colleagues of his parents for data, etc. The fact that both his parents were doctorates gave him access to many institutions, professors, equipment, and opportunities.
In the span of 2 years, he compiled the research work of many scholars that pertained to this field and obtained a formula that could separate Carbon-di-oxide into oxygen and carbon dust. Even though the pollutants in the air exceeded the presence of just CO2, it was still an achievement. After more research was conducted in this field by using his accumulations as a base, it wouldn't be long before purifying the air was naught but a dream.
Now, sitting before an official, just a step before signing the deal, Kaushik was on cloud nine. He had already finished his talks with the ministry beforehand. This was just an official record for the paperwork. Soon, his invention would become a major achievement for his country, if not for the world. The entire scientific community would know his name. Children would be inspired by his story. They would then follow his path and serve to protect the nature.
As Kaushik unlocked the leather case, taking out a stack of documents from within it, his mind was finally at ease. His eyes steadily drooped while his heartbeat slowed down to a crawl. His back leaned on the sofa, exhaling a deep breath; his eyes closed.
The man sitting opposite him stood up in fright on seeing his condition. He hurriedly roared for the PA to call an ambulance while summoning for the doctor stationed in the hotel. Soon, the entire hotel was in chaos.