It was one of the lazy weekend afternoons at the Shirke household. You know the time of the day (specially reserved for weekends) when everyone has had filling lunches and just lies around like pythons that have swallowed goats. All they can do now is lounge around until a teeny weeny bit is digested and then they can move a bit. Yes – exactly one of those times. Since the only thing they could do now was talk, that is what they were doing.
Whenever there are a mix of adults and children in a group, the talk invariably turns to the “days that were” – irrespective of whether the group were humans, Grajons, birds or bees. So, it was no surprise that Shirke’s mother started off with her school days and what she used to do and how things were. Shirke, for a change, showed some interest in the tale – maybe because there was no escape. 🙂
Her stories were not very different from ours – she talked of an earth that was cleaner, greener and emptier. She then talked about the decisions taken by the Grajon council to ensure that the earth subsisted – most of it was what humans had also arrived at – reuse, recycle & reduce, plant more trees and so on. She then talked about how the Grajons had evolved to save the earth – like how they had given up transport for intra-planetary travel and how they had harnessed the earth’s magnetic and electric energies to create levitation spots so that they can move from place to place, how they had managed to change their residences from the ground to the air and how they managed to use the sun and wind energies to run their households. It was an eye opener to Shirke – he never knew that Grajons had ever lived on the ground. He thought they always lived up in the air.
His mother then went on to tell him about one batch of Grajons who had decided that they liked the warm underground rather than the bright sky. These Grajons had evolved so that they could see in the dark – they ensured that they got just close enough to the earth’s core that they got the light but not the heat. They harnessed this heat energy for their daily use. They had created cities below the earth where they had pools and streets and houses and stuff. They had developed everything that they wanted in their daily lives and their senses had adapted to the underground so much that they had to wear special suits when they came above.
Shirke’s eyes started getting rounder and rounder when he heard this and soon, he was begging to go visit. Shirke’s mother went – “Er, hmmm – maybe it was not such a good idea to shoot my mouth…” but then gave in to the insistence and they planned a trip in the evening. She communicated with some friends they knew and was told that they were definitely welcome to come visit and stay too, if they felt like it. She picked up some fruits and vegetables which she knew were always in shortage below and hence would be appreciated and they set off.
They were greeted at the entrance by their hosts and transported underground. They had to wear special eyewear to ensure that their ultra sensitive eyes were not damaged. They saw the huge city with its many inhabitants living in cohesive harmony with the other creatures that lived underground like moles and badgers, gnomes and trolls and so on. Shirke had the time of his life – fortunately for him, his hosts were very nice people and didn’t mind answering the zillions of questions that he threw at them. After spending a couple of hours outside, they went to their hosts’ home and were treated to a sumptuous dinner. Soon they said their goodbyes and left to go home – Shirke almost asleep between his parents who were supporting him.
The last thing that Shirke heard was that Grajons, in their effort to not completely milk the earth dry, would periodically shift and leave these places as ghost cities. They would then set up establishment at another place and allow the earlier place to be replenished. It struck me actually much later that maybe the excavated sites that humans talked about were actually Grajon ghost cities, instead of being ancient human civilisation remnants. Something to think about – eh?