It wasn’t until Proakrit felt the sudden recoil from the advancing throttles when it hit him. And, it hit him hard. He had gone for it, after all. In spite of all the opposition from all quarters, he had decided to go for it – to be this forlorn candle in the wind against a predicament of dire proportion. Only this time, the candle was most likely going to run out of fuel. Ah, but Proakrit! He had sufficient fuel to charge himself. Gushing ebullience, elephant drive and incurable obdurateness were the dispositions God or the stratagem of eventuality had bestowed upon him. To his folks and friends though, he was more of a loving and magnanimous individual. To his girlfriend, he was the ‘one’ – a multitude of womanly-advocated adjectives of preference for a man. And, although they all hoped that he would employ this softer side of his personality to make a mark on planet earth, he had to do otherwise. And, he had to do it, because the status quo demanded the same. As he was musing about the things that lay ahead, the Antonov took to the skies in the fading sunset bound for Oman.
It was about two months ago that a team of geological experts – later scorned as a team of geological perverts by the ‘Global Times’ – had managed to rip apart a gargantuan portion of the northern side of the Antarctic ice mass in one of their drilling adventures, which, of course, didn’t quite turn out to be a drill. Unfortunately for them, they were unaware that precarious faults and fissures had already appeared on ground zero. The drilling part was just the ‘slicing of the cake’ as it were. There were numerous stories on the media of a military exercise in the area with submarines conducting experiments that could have caused the cracking. Amidst the speculation, allegation and media hype, Hurricane ‘Gizmo’ took its toll, propelling the huge ice mass at a horrible pace towards the Indian Ocean and finally onto the coast of Africa. The Ice mass crashed into the South African coast at 14 miles an hour creating a massive earthquake that destroyed most of the southern part of Africa leaving most of the north intact. The impact of the collision not only destroyed Africa, but also created massive instability of the tectonic plates in most parts of the Middle East and Asia. It was too early to even surmise the death toll in the wake of the incident, not to mention the culminating effects the incident would have on the earth’s crust in the days to come.
Proakrit, along with some 400,000 people from across the world had volunteered to aid in the rescue efforts in the areas affected by the devastating incident. Due to the scale of the devastation, it was extremely difficult and even suicidal to venture into the heartlands of Africa. The melting ice, extreme flooding, recurring earthquakes and collapsing landmasses were scenarios of foreboding doom rather than backdrops for epic sagas of humanitarianism to be etched in history. Not unless, some stalwarts went against the odds in the spirit of humanity to fight the calamity; even if it meant never returning home alive to be with their loved ones and friends or to live their dreams and aspirations. Proakrit had a hard time explaining his reasons for going to his girlfriend, Mira who was terrified at the prospect of loosing the only ‘one’ she had ever found. And, in that dimly lit room on Sunday evening, he had told her, ‘’This is probably the last time we will see each other, but pray to god that we find survivors. And, if you have some more piety to spare, do pray for me, too.” That was exactly what made him the ‘one’ that Mira had come to know and grown to love. She also knew that arguing with him would get her nowhere, so she accepted her plight and stood silent accosting the melodrama in the air. And, she didn’t even cry!
It’s hard to reason why humanity fluctuates in the gamut of behaviorism and personalities. People have rose to become Einstein’s, Freud’s, Bach’s and Gandhi’s, but also have turned into Hitler’s, Bin LaDen’s and Jack the Ripper’s. Is this a normal condition of the planet or a conditioning of souls triggered by double-standards in a divided world with imperfect appraisals and calculations? There are those who do things out of hormonal compulsion, and there are those who do things for themselves at all costs. There are also those who do things for glory, and there are those who do things on account of ethos, principle and value system. Still there are those who do it for the good of others as if it were some sort of subconscious stimuli they’re responding to with no questions asked. Proakrit was pretty much a blend of the last two types with benevolence and reason running in his blood. In the short flight to Oman, he had spiraling thoughts and qualms about his decision to go and felt all alone and ambivalent. ‘’Do beliefs stand in a cosmetic world? Is it worth to give up one’s own life for others? What about those who’re indifferent to empathy, suffering, pain and anguish and go about life furthering their agendas in our Darwin’s world of inequity? And suddenly, as if by a stroke of lightening, it all came to him. ‘’It’s all about the finale – a life well lived is a life of no regrets. And, if one, in his/her deathbed at the end of the journey feels that life has been fruitful, that’s the whole purpose of life. It’s all about what you’d feel at the end and be willing to live with it.”
The voice of the captain came over the speakers informing the passengers that they would be shortly landing at Oman. From there, they would be taken to Ethiopia via ship where the catastrophe had minimal impact and where the rescue team was to be assembled. Proakrit prepared himself for the Herculean task that lay ahead and thought of his parents and Mira. He promised to himself that he would return home and marry Mira and have five kids. Whether or not Proakrit returns home is a question of fate, but in any event he will certainly have made a mark on planet earth. And, let’s hope Sir Elton John sings one for this candle in the wind. Let’s also hope that it’s not a eulogy for the dead.