“I guess this is the end,” said Sushil, holding onto his beloved’s hand, “I’m glad we could be with each other during our last moments of life.”
December 21, 2012. Approximately two and half years from now, the world is predicted to come to an end. Havoc dwells the streets, exterminating the entire human population, sweeping off towns, mountains, and all sorts of structures. Life, as it is known today, would come to a dead-end. People are staggering for survival; they would go down to any extent to stay alive in this hell-on-earth.
The wealthy and the infamous leaders of various countries have built a gigantic ship to stay afloat when Mother Earth unleashes its rage. Only the rich could afford the prices for survival, while the middle class and the poor were left to face nature’s wrath.
The seas have swollen to unimaginable heights, and earthquakes shake the basic foundation of the crust. Lava rips through the mountains, fusing anything that comes in its way. Ice is melting rapidly, causing tsunamis that wipe off towns, even the inner most places on the Earth’s surface. Land is shifting, making New York strike against the Sahara; the Himalayas collide with Sydney; Arab deserts merge with the North Pole; London knocks on the Great Wall of China; South Pole erupting into a ball of fire; Mexican civilians running about the street of Rome, and so on.
Such was the disastrous revenge of nature.
In India, in an apartment on the outskirts of Kolkata, sat Sushil and Sushmita. Sushil was the eldest son of a billionaire, while Sushmita was the only daughter of her middle class parents.
Having met in Standard Six, they immediately felt that they had been made for each other. They were incomplete without each other; their hearts were bound in an everlasting bond. Sushmita admired Sushil because of his innocence and his self-sacrificing character. He was unlike the spoilt brats of rich parents. Sushil liked Sushmita for her personality. She was indeed beautiful, but her helpful and polite nature attracted him the most.
During the five years they had known each other, they could only recollect love revolving around them. Sushil was prepared to give up his luxurious, lavish life only to keep his Sushmita happy. During the last moments of life on Earth, his rich father purchased the golden tickets, required for existence, for his family. But knowing that Sushmita would be left behind, he decided to stay behind, and die with Sushmita.
They sat glued to the television, watching helplessly as their fellow humans were being erased from this realm by nature’s calamities. They grasped each other’s hand more firmly, as they feared it might be the end for them. In the last one week since the news was made public, their love had only deepened. All these years of affection would prove futile if they could not support each other during their end. The events that took place during the last week of their lives were the most important ones for their relationship.
December 14, 2012. A week left for Doomsday. Everything was quite normal then, sparing some frequent disasters. An Earthquake had shaken Indonesia, and Tsunamis had wiped out the coastal areas of America and Europe. The casualties were high, sufficient enough to proclaim international emergency.
The various Governments of the world had known the fact that the world was coming to an end for about five years now, but they restrained from informing the public fearing mass uprisings and unnecessary panic.
The Secretary of the United Nations called for an immediate press conference. “People of the world, there is a fact that is need to be told immediately, and after hearing this, please don’t panic. The Mayans had predicted that the world will end on 21st December 2012, and their predictions are taking shape. The world will come to an end, and the recent calamities are supporting this.
This news should have been told much earlier, but nonetheless, it doesn’t matter much now. At least you are being made aware of the events that are taking place, and even if we expect the worst, all of us will know the actual reason for our elimination. But people, please don’t panic. Stay calm. The world has to end one day, and the day is approaching fast. It was a real pleasure serving you. Thank you.”
After hearing such news, the entire world was petrified. Some tried to revolt, while some accepted it knowing that they would complete their life cycle soon. They felt helpless, wailing for the thought of losing their dear ones. But they could not do anything; ‘21st’ December was destined for them.
December 17, 2012. The American Government and the European Community had undertaken a multitrillion dollar project to build a ship that would withstand nature’s impacts. It was almost completed, and so the American President felt it was time to reveal the top-secret project.
“It takes me great pride to announce that not all of us are going to die. Some famous personalities will survive, and for this reason, we have built a ship. Those who want to board the ship may do so buying each ticket for one billion dollar.”
Hearing the news, Sushil’s father, the owner of a multibillion dollar private company, sprang immediately to catch a berth on this ‘ship of life’. He had sold his company’s stakes and had gathered sufficient money to purchase tickets for the five in their family.
“Son, we are going to survive. Don’t worry. Here’re the tickets I’ve purchased for the special ship.”
“But there are only five here Dad, don’t you have a ticket for Sushmita?!”
“No son. I sold my company for six billion dollars and five ticket cost me five. I saved one because we need something to start our lives after we survive through this hell.”
“Dad… But why? You still had one billion left. You could have easily bought one more ticket for her.”
“But that’s not done, my son.”
“Dad, I hate you!”
Sushil ran out of his house. One could see tears rolling down his red cheeks. All he cared about was Sushmita, and hearing that Sushmita would not be with him after the disaster, he could only hate his father. He went immediately to Sushmita’s house.
He knocked on the door.
“Sushmita, it’s me. Please come out.”
It was midnight, and Sushmita was probably asleep. Sushil smote on the door.
“Sushmita, please come out. I really want to see you.”
The door opened, and Sushmita’s mother came to greet him. Yawning in the cold winter night, she was barely able to speak.
“What is it, son? Sushmita’s asleep.”
“Oh, mother!” Sushil threw himself on Sushmita’s mother. Sushil had lost his mother when he was five, and he treated Sushmita’s mother as his own. Sushmita’s mother also accepted Sushil as her son, as she knew that in the near future, he would be her son-in-law.
“That’s it. It’s okay. Now now, what happened?” asked Sushmita’s mother.
“Mom! I can’t live without Sushmita. I am incomplete without her,” he could only sob and utter the words.
Hearing such commotion, Sushmita woke up. She strode to the entrance of their two-room apartment. Glimmering in the silver moonlight, she resembled an angel. She took her mother’s side, and on seeing her, Sushil hugged her. Not anticipating it she fell down. Sushil held onto her with his life. He pulled her closer to him, as he had the fear of losing her. He kept weeping on her shoulders. Sushmita had known Sushil for many years but she had never seen him cry like this before. She immediately realized something was terribly wrong.
She took him inside, and after lighting the bulb in their miniature drawing room, she looked into his eyes. His eyes displayed grief, agony, hatred, disbelief and fear.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Sushmita I-I—” He began with tears in his eyes.
Sushmita tried to console him, but Sushil was not willing to block his tears. His father’s rude and arrogant behavior towards Sushmita’s fate was too much of a shock for him. Whenever he imagined Sushmita’s death, he could only cry. Sushil’s love for Sushmita was pure, and the thought of Sushmita’s demise was despair for him. Having understood Sushil would not stop crying, Sushmita laid her hand on his mouth. Sushil had to stop crying.
“Now tell me what happened,” said Sushmita.
“Well, you know about that ship which the American President announced?” replied Sushil.
“My Dad bought us the tickets, but—“
You should be happy. You are surviving through this devastating end.”
“That’s not the point. You see, he did not buy a ticket for you or your family, so—“
“Oh, it’s okay.”
“No it’s not okay. As I was saying, he did not buy a ticket for you, so I’m not going to board the ship. I can’t live without you! Never! I’ve thought of giving the ticket to you.”
“Don’t do that.”
“Well, I’m not going to take it. I can’t live, knowing that you’re not around.”
“Sushil, you please don’t.”
Sushmita’s words had a dominating influence over Sushil’s pleas. After arguing for half an hour, she could finally persuade Sushil into not giving up the golden ticket.
“Sushil, your Dad bought that ticket with great hope. He wants you to live, and so you should not turn down his hope. You live, and when you pass over to the other world, maybe we can meet again.”
“But nothing, Sushil. You will not give that ticket to me, and that’s final. Now please leave. It’s really late.”
Sushil left with reluctance. He could not believe his ears, or his fate. He was destined to be with Sushmita; he could not survive without her presence. As he walked towards his house, he looked down with disbelief and his vision was blurred with tears.
Inside Sushmita’s room, Sushmita gazed blindly at the stars. She had tears in her eyes. She was not afraid of dying, but she was afraid of losing Sushil. She imagined the after life, and she thought, “Will it be meaningful? Life without Sushil? Will Heaven provide sufficient pleasures to take my mind off Sushil?” As these thoughts entered her mind, she looked at a photo of Sushil, she was in tears.
December 20, 2012. Only a day remaining for the world to end. The process of the Earth’s destruction had intensified, and people scurried for protection. Vast stretches of the world had been destroyed. Kolkata was experiencing a major storm, and consequently, a flood.
Those who could afford the ticket prepared to board the ship, while others searched for alternative means to stay alive.
Sushil, his father, two sisters, and a younger brother readied their luggage. Sushil did not want to leave without Sushmita and opposed the packing of his luggage. He prevented any of his family members, or any of his innumerous servants, to touch his belongings.
“Dad, I won’t go without Sushmita. You guys leave without me. I’m not going to budge,” said Sushil.
“What rubbish?! You do as I tell you to. You will be going with us!” replied his father, now frustrated.
Sushil was an arrogant person, and was not willing to surrender to his father’s decision. He walked out of his room, and strode towards the garden. He was not allowed to leave the premises of his father’s huge land, because of the devastating flood, and especially because of his abrupt leave three days earlier. He admired the beauty of the tulips, which Sushmita dearly liked, and was instantly reminded of her.
“Sushmita, I’m sorry.” Sushil felt guilty of having to leave without Sushmita. “Wasn’t there some way I could get her onboard?”
The time arrived for them to leave. Sushil’s father threw their luggage in their custom-made Bentley.
“Sir, your father’s calling. It’s time to leave,” Sushil was addressed by a servant.
Sushil limped slowly towards the car. He sat comfortably on the rear seat. His father started the engine.
“That’s good, son. Now we will leave,” his father said.
After staggering through the flood, they finally reached the airport. It was night. The airport was deserted, sparing few employees who were loyal to their duties.
“Mr. Mittal, glad you made it. Your jet’s ready sir,” greeted one of the employees.
“Good, prepare to leave immediately,” replied Mr. Mittal.
The luggage was boarded on the private jet, and the Mittals were preparing to leave. They stood beside the make-shift ladder, waiting for the pilot’s signal to board the jet. Sushil looked back at the deserted airport, lost in his thoughts. He imagined Sushmita standing there, waving goodbye. He imagined tears in Sushmita’s eyes, as she was wholeheartedly telling him to take care, withholding her mind’s desires.
“Son, it’s time. Get onboard,” said Mr. Mittal.
Sushil did not seem to hear his father’s orders.
Before he could finish his words, Sushil dashed away from the jet.
“Dad, take care. Same to you my sisters and my brother, I can’t leave. No, not without Sushmita,” Sushil said with his back facing his family.
“Dad, you people move, I won’t come. Forget me, and just carry on with life. I’m staying behind. Go!” There was a sudden change in his tone. He sounded soft and in pain, as if he was in despair.
Mr. Mittal was stunned by his son’s words. He was boiling with anger and fear. But then he realized that Sushil was as arrogant as him. It had to be; it was his blood.
He turned towards the pilot, “Pilot, please start the engine. We’re leaving without him. Please start.”
Till then, Sushil had not disappeared from sight. Mr. Mittal cried out, “Sushil, it’s okay. You stay with your Sushmita. You don’t have to come. But I’ll miss you, son. Take care, and if the world does end, then I expect to see you in the after life, after I pass away. Now run to your Sushmita.”
Sushil felt the words echoing in his ears. He did not believe that his father would allow him to stay with Sushmita. Although afraid of losing his life, he felt the happiest person in the panic-stricken world.
“Thanks, Dad. Take care. Bye,” Sushil’s faint words reached Mr. Mittal’s ears. He was vanquished of losing his eldest son, but was relieved with the knowledge that Sushil would live peacefully during these last few moments.
Sushil made his way through the flooded streets. Rain was pouring down on him heavily, but that did not prevent him from reaching Sushmita’s house. The land under him shook, as tremors made its way through the Earth’s crust. The world was nearing its end rapidly.
December 21… 2012. Midnight.
As earthquakes repetitively shook the basic foundations of Kolkata was shaken up.
Sushmita sat up, gazing towards the disturbed sky. She saw an airplane making its way through the heavy downpour. “That must be Sushil leaving,” she thought.
She was lost in her thoughts, which was, though, disrupted by loud bangs on the door. “Who would arrive so late?” she thought.
She opened the door to find Sushil. He was drenched wet with water and was panting desperately.
“Sushil! Why are you here? I thought you left,” said Sushmita.
“How could I leave without you? I’m staying back with you till the end.”
“But Sushil, your father..”
“Dad’s left. I told him before coming here.”
Sushil wrapped his arms around Sushmita.
“Now I’m here with you. We’ll face the end together,” he said.
They entered into Sushmita’s apartment. Her parents were looking at the television with desperation, with hope of some miracle which would save the world from perishing. He looked at the walls of the apartment. Nothing was in its correct position; everything was shaken by the series of tremors underground.
“Sushil! I’m surprised to find you here! You were supposed to go?” said Sushmita’s father.
“Come on uncle. You know me for the last five years. I will never abandon Sushmita.”
Sushil made himself comfortable on the worn out sofa. They were watching the news, observing the devastating condition of the world at present. Sushmita sat beside him. Sushil felt happy with his decision. He wanted to be as close as possible during these last few hours of their lives. They held each other’s hand, gripping it firmly to form an eternal bond.
Tears rolled down their cheeks when they saw hell unfolding in front of their bare eyes. They had never imagined such torture. There were several reports of the death of innumerous people due to the disasters. One of these reports displayed a gaping trench on the Earth’s crust, which was eventually widening, as if to divide the world into two halves.
Another report showed the reporter being melted by the hot lava gushing out from Antarctica. One report showed a live cameraman shooting an approaching tsunami, and within moments, his camera lost communication with the server. Sushil and Sushmita were completely devastated by these sights.
Within moments, another series of tremors rocked the ground beneath their feet. At a distance, they saw a twelve storied tower collapse into the streets below. They knew it was their turn next. Looking down into the streets below, they saw magma emerge from the sewers. It melted anything that came in its way. Another tremor shook the Earth.
December 21, 2012. 4:00 a.m. Kolkata was petrified by the series of disasters taking place. Sushil and Sushmita still sat while holding hands. Another powerful earthquake shook their feet. They watched helplessly as the apartment beside them broke down to rumbles.
Sushmita’s mother looked out of the window.
“I think you may want to see this,” said she.
All the occupants of the room went towards the window. They were stunned to see what lay in front of them. A tsunami was approaching fast, which rose miles high. They knew that this would be the wave that would relieve them from their worries; this was the wave which would cause the extermination of the Kolkatans.
“I guess this is the end,” said Sushil, holding onto Sushmita’s hand, “I’m glad we could be with each other during our last moments of life.”
Sushil held Sushmita’s hand, gripping it ferociously, never to let go, as if by holding her hand, they would be teleported together to heaven.
“Yes, I guess this is it. I’m happy to die in your arms,” said Sushmita.
“Glad I met you, and I’m lucky to have fallen for you.”
“I’m lucky to have got you too,” said he.
Sushil bent down his head, in order to lay one final kiss on her forehead and then on her lips. They were successful in having one final private moment of pleasure as their lips met.
Within moments, the tsunami struck their building as Sushil and Sushmita’s existence was erased from this sphere.
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