Many religions, calendars and prophecies point to Dec. 21, 2012 as the end of the world. Is this another "Theory of the Apocalypse" that will come and go like others we have seen, or is this one that we should be paying attention to?
Ronnie is an investment banker with a multinational, has his hands full with things to do all the time, when not busy juggling his finances, he is browsing the internet for interesting recipes and has a very acute sense of humour. Cryptic at most times, his thoughts like his humour go un-noticed.
Joe is the silent of the trio, IT Consultant, avid cricket follower, plays the game too apart from Tennis. Though very proximal to Ronnie, loves to differ with him and has Sam for company in pulling the banker’s legs.
Sam is a creative guy, the thinker, who is lost beyond his time, comes out as an affable character and is seen on the time lines of social media most times.
All three work in the same building, with offices on the same floor and routinely met at various intervals of the day.
December 21, 2012:
Driving through Friday morning traffic from different corners of the city, fighting off the week’s struggles both at work place and domestic front, the three converged on to the most famous address in town, the most visible landmark of the metropolitan city.
10.30 am: As every day the trio met at the street side tea shop opposite the Metro railway station and was having a mirthful discussion of the previous day’s cricket match, a topic which was almost alien to Ronnie. While Joe and Ronnie preferred Tea, Sam sipped coffee with his smoke, the stray discussions on each one’s professional hardships slowly veered towards the hot topic of the day - Dooms Day.
While Sam recollected reading Nostradamus predictions on the internet and related it through Mayan calendar declaring December 21, 2012 as the ‘end of the world day’, quite interestingly Ronnie had a version of his own, his readings told him that the world will not end by way of disaster caused by fire or water but through a giant monster gobbling up the world in one go, he even gave his own version of the monster, more on that later. Joe was quite content listening to the other two and was only keen to see the day after!
They disbursed only to meet post lunch!
2.00 pm: Same tea stall: Armed with info on the end-of-the-world Joe and Sam told Ronnie that the time has come. It is destined to end at 4.31 pm (16.31 IST). Even as they laughed at the heavy lunch they all had, which could eventually be their last meal, Ronnie remarked with confidence “I’m immune to this doomsday prediction, Apocalypse will not effect me, I’m going to be alone… all alone… and shall enjoy watching it happen”. Things couldn’t have been easier for Ronnie to comprehend as Joe brought in a new dimension to ‘doomsday’, he added "there was not going to be any disaster, just that all life forms would simply disappear”.
Yes – ‘All life forms would simply disappear’ is what all three agreed to and promised to reassemble at quarter past four, for one final round of tea, coffee and smokes!
4.15 pm: Just as Sam paid the tea stall guy the day’s charges, Joe picked on Ronnie to throw away all money, for he would require none of them soon in a deserted world. Time ticked away and then as it turned 4.30 pm, Ronnie walked away in to the deserted by lane slowly blowing smoke in the air.
An Hour later: Silence engulfed his world, Ronnie felt he went deaf… couldn’t even hear the crickets, it got dark… a few lights across the road… he walked on to reach his office... the lift was there at the ground floor. Went into a silent office and found none… picked his laptop and went down to the parking lot. His small car was parked in the corner, as he found his way to the main road, one which had over thousands of two wheelers, cars, buses, taxis seemed still and a few vehicles parked haphazardly at various points.
He realized it had come true, the world had ended, but no calamity, no disaster, no earthquake or floods, no tsunami either. Life had disappeared, sans him! It was generally cold winter evening and he suddenly seemed to be the only man alive, rather human alive and soon he felt an eerie realisation, he must have been the only living being alive. There were no dogs, no birds and no animals in sight. No, the dead weren’t present either, they just disappeared. But he was wrong, the plants breathed, the air seemed fresh, the oxygen kept him going. He drove randomly to the nearest automobile showroom parked his car on the drive and drove away with a plush luxury sedan, filled fuel on his own at a filling station. Drove further, no signals, no vehicular movement absolutely no one in sight. Was he scared? NO, he had expected this and was not bothered about the solitude.
It was only when the radio in his car remained silent Ronnie realized that there was more in store than he expected. There was none to operate a radio station, but the audio CDs kept him company. The volume seemed to reverberate in to the alleys leading to his home. As he walked into his first floor home he was greeted by none. His two German shepherd dogs, his family all gone, no, he wasn’t shattered with emotions… simply stoic in silence. The TV had no signals, so all the world’s news was his to view and find out and none to tell him what happened.
It seemed to be quite an instantaneous happening that the World Wide Web too was gone, nothing to tell him where, how, when, why it all started and… he wasn’t bothered much now. There was milk in his refrigerator, he made some hot coffee and switched the air conditioner on and glad the power was not affected. Lit a smoke and started recounting the people who he thought went missing... his memory faded about the names of the people in his life.
An enterprising person, Ronnie never allowed boredom take over, so now too he just got up and drove down to the nearest mall, entered the best apparel showroom, dressed into one of the most comfortable outfits and slowly walked into the next door food joint, none to serve, but lots to eat. He helped himself to some delicacies and thought for a while – will they last long? How long? Well, not much of bother for now.
Next stop was the marine drive, the shallow beach, beautiful sight with the moon hovering. The chill had set in. Ronnie walked the sands alone and realized he needed to go home no more now! An hour passed gazing at the waves in moonlight and then the drive stopped earlier than expected at the 7 star international Hotel, amazing interiors, none to welcome… the food court was amazingly well decorated. The bar had the best of the world’s spirits. An occasional drinker, tonight Ronnie toasted to himself and didn’t know what to wish. The day had been long, actually the evening turned out longer. After relishing the spread of rich international cuisine, he checked into the nearest suite and lay there tired and soon fast asleep.
He woke to the sounds of silence! There was no movement, breeze was the only factor… he slowly walked out on to the lawns and the swimming pool. The first signs of lack of human touch started growing on Ronnie, he didn’t know how to get his tea ordered, so found his way into the kitchen and found enough stuff to make a decent breakfast.
It wasn’t until late evening of a sedate day of driving around in six different luxury cars across the different corners of the metropolis did it start dawning on Ronnie, the need for auditing his resources. He knew food was going to be his main worry. The refrigerated stuff in all the super markets would last for months, the fruits and vegetables were also sufficient for over a month.
As he drank, ate and dozed off, he felt alone.
Waking up to no chores, no entertainment, no news, no television, no internet, no life forms of any kind, Ronnie was quite literally marooned in a huge metropolis, with the towering skyscrapers and never ending and ever winding roads totally deserted of any life form. The first signs of boredom started creeping into the new found freedom.
Ronnie bathed and dressed in the best ever attire walked into the Church, he prayed, rang the gong and heard the reverberations for long. Life started to reminisce itself as he sat in the long corridor alone.
For years he struggled to make a living, to support his family, create some assets, wine – dine and enjoy life to its full. Now as he had the world all for himself, he was getting to feel lonely.
Suddenly a thought struck him, am I the only one living or is there someone else too? He started to feel better, the search for a companion in the concrete jungle began. His mobile phone never rang, the signals were still there. There was electricity, which he knew not would last how long.
The banker checked his balance, inconsequential he thought, money had no value, suddenly a chill crept up his spine – Life itself had no value, unless if he were to find another human being.
He quest for a companion saw him drive around and took him through deserted temples, airports, railway stations, stadiums, bus stands, and soon he was on the high way. Another town another deserted place, and the day seemed unending. He was now 350 kms away from his place into another not-so-long-ago bustling metropolis. The only signs of existence of life here was the huge no of vehicles spread across the city. Much chiller weather, lots of greenery, fountains, gardens and yes many more skyscrapers. Not soul in sight, Ronnie soon settled down in another luxury living place in the new city.
As he puffed away at his cigarette for the first time he thought of Joe and Sam, wondered how it would have been with the three of them around. A tear crept out of his eyes and trickled down his cheek. Had he wished too much for himself and been insensitive to others. It didn’t matter anymore. The only noises he ever heard in the past hour were his mind pounding with the thoughts of his friends and family.
He yearned to have them back. The thought made him emotional, he started crying and as the eyes swelled more… he told himself loud “I am not going to die without seeing them”.
He drove his latest acquisition, the German luxury car fuel filled to the brim, back to his city. The next 4 hours he drove like a man possessed, looking out for life forms on the moon kissed highways and the sprawling farm lands. Eventually he reached his home well past midnight. Parked the car and walked straight into his bedroom and crashed like a kid.
The alarm on his mobile started ringing, he snoozed it and dozed off again. Slowly he pulled himself to get up and saw the time, it was 9 am! He heard some noises. His house was still deserted. He walked out of his bedroom into the living area and then out in the balcony.
What he saw astonished him. He was shocked! Standing outside his gate were Sam and Joe in an animated discussion with Ronnie’s wife. He shouted out to them “Where the hell did you guys go”?
They shouted back “What the hell did you drink last night”