I am Kannan. I live with my parents, my sister Alamelu and grandparents in our big house with a wonderful courtyard. Elders tell us that we had two more brothers and a sister who died due to an epidemic, even before we were born .We love our Town Vellore; we have lovely lakes and a calm serene atmosphere. We are proud that our father is serving as an official in the administration of our king, Nawab of Carnatic.
My sister and I go to the best school in town in the present times (1685). I study in 7th and my sister in 5th class. Our best friend is Kumaran who has come to our town only six months back. His father was working in the big city of Chennai under British administration and Kumaran is always telling us of the exciting life in the city. His father is interested in making new things. Kumaran told us that he wants to make a machine that will make small objects look bigger! He is also trying to make flying machines. All this sounds so exciting! That is why we spend a lot of our free time with Kumaran.
Our house may not be as big as that of Kumaran’s.But we are very proud and happy to live in it. With tall ceilings and huge windows in every room, we get plenty of air and sunlight. We have lot of trees and plants around the house. Every day, we wake up to the happy twittering of birds. Our servants clean and wet mop all the rooms daily and keep them free of dust.
In Kumaran’s house, his father has a big separate room for his experiments. Whenever we visit, we secretly enter this room when his father is not there. The kind of things that lie around there is fascinating. One Sunday when we visited Kumaran, he said that his father was working on a secret machine called “Time machine” by which we can travel from one time zone to another. We did not know fully what this was all about but when we saw the machine, we, Alamelu, Kumaran and I could not help sitting inside it and fiddling with the knobs.
Suddenly there was a hissing sound and the machine started shaking violently. Now, we were very scared and started calling out to each other “Alamelu! Kumaran!”, “ Kanna…” “Anna!” Before we knew it, we were in a strange place, so different from our lovely town Vellore. There was so much of smoke everywhere with motor cars swishing past. We have never seen so many cars together in our lives! We ran and ran, away from the streets and entered a house, which was in a very tall building, so different from the houses in our town. Two boys stared at us as we came in. They were wearing some sort of masks.
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“What is this?” we asked in English, as they did not seem to know Tamil. Fortunately, they understood English and replied that it was worn to protect from all sorts of air and dust pollution. One of them ran inside and brought masks for us as well. I looked at a calendar on the wall, which showed the year as 2030. We asked the boys where we were and they answered “Bengaluru”. The boys said their parents have gone out and will return only in the evening.
Akhil and Aditya were very kind and gave us a lot of food to eat, so different from our usual meal. Yet we felt stifled in the place that had a suffocating atmosphere. When we asked Aditya and Akhil about it, they said that all kinds of gases are in the house such as fine particles and Carbon monoxide – an odourless, colourless gas produced by appliances or heaters. Earlier their father used to be a chain smoker and that was a big cause for the problem.
The atmosphere affected their mother who was an asthma patient, the most. “Now father has completely given up smoking,” they said.
The boys said that the family has taken steps to improve the ventilation in the house, particularly in the kitchen. They are using dehumidifiers to reduce moisture and encasing their pillows, mattresses, and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers.
All of a sudden, the knobs of our time machine became visible and three of us started hitting and turning them frantically - Lo and behold, we began to shake violently and we set off once again. We hardly had time to bid adieu to our new friends. The three of us were praying hard to be back in our good old town with its pleasing and healthy environment.
But sadly our prayers seem to have fallen on deaf ears. We did not know the place that looked completely different from our own town. We could hear people speaking but could not understand a word. Once again, we ran into the nearest house. There was an aunty inside who asked us questions that we did not understand. She also could not understand fully what we were speaking.
Finally, she called out to her daughters who came and spoke to us in English. “Today is a holiday. We are celebrating the 70th Independence day of our country.” they said. “Normally we go to our school, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Bhopal for the function; but today we are not going since my sister Arthi is not well said the elder one Mithali. “Instead today we will watch the PM speak from the red fort on TV.”
We liked interacting with the sweet girls who were more or less of our age. Just then, I noticed an ashtray on the teapoy. I thought it right to forewarn the family of what is going to happen in the future. The three of us, Alamelu, Kumaran and I excitedly shared the tips given by our friends of the 2030 era to combat indoor pollutants. After all, if they take preventive steps in 2017, many problems can be avoided in the future.
The girls were happy to receive the tips and thanked us.” We are lucky though that recently the Asian Paints company has come out with a product that arrest indoor pollution. Our father has already decided to but it!” said Arthi. . Mithali further explained, “Royale Atmos is a paint that reduces harmful air pollutants and makes the air cleaner. It also absorbs various foul smells & makes the air fresher. We were happy for these kids who had access to a product that helps to purify the air and improve the air quality inside the house. They are so lucky compared to Akhil and Aditya!
At that time the knobs of our time machine were once again visible. The three of us made a grab for it and in seconds, we started shaking violently and in a few more seconds we were back in the study of Kumaran’s father. Notwithstanding our adventure, we were relieved to be back home. We vowed to never again play or fiddle with the gadgets in uncle’s lab. We are grateful to be back in our peaceful, healthy and serene town; thankful to be living in our era….