WRRITEN BY M.K.VERMA (VPS) Pratap, the youngster, had always cherished the dream to be an IPS officer to shoot the criminals on their forehead because he had to suffer a lot by the criminals around him in native place; but being a part of middle-class family, he had not enough facilities to fulfill the task and his only hope was his hard-work and devotion towards studies. There was another family in the same building where lived Priya, a lovely black-eyed pretty girl in her teens with black curly-hair. Priya and Pratap loved each other very much, but quietly and smoothly. They talk only through their eyes. There was no correspondence except exchanging of love through eyes to the souls. Priya, the brunette, was fond of dancing and it was her jingling steps during the first day of Navratra festival that captivated Pratap’s heart unknowingly. She was in pink and her cheeks with a rosy glow had given her a look like single red-rose in the garden which was dancing overflowing with joy in the gust of wind. She was the Venus star among the galaxy of stars. Her naughty eyes and dancing smiles on her lips took his heart under her grip very gently. Moreover, on the final day of the festival programme, when she was awarded with the title of Dandiya-Queen of Antophill Area, Pratap couldn’t help his heart falling in love with her. Priya, too, fell pray of his eyes-full with love and respect for her. Now, whenever Pratap comes in front of her home, she, too, comes out of her home, stands against the wall having her one hand at her waist and staring at his face motionlessly, only twinkling her eyes frequently. Pratap also forgets the world around him and absorbs himself in the depth of her lovely black-eyes. There is fast love between them, but social responsibilities and restrictions have hung a curtain of perplex ion; despite their eyes shoot at their hearts and they dream of being consorts. *********************************************** On one hand, the couple of love was absolutely submerged in affection for one another, the world, on the other hand was heading towards a grave danger. Extreme selfishness of some developed countries like America and France was making danger for not only human beings but also for all living and non-living things. Two small countries- India and Pakistan came across for something wrong between one another and decided to go to the crusade. Some countries sided with India and some sided with Pakistan. The war broke out and soon it took each and every country under its grip. Thus, the third world war took place. Peace loving mankind had become bellicose. They began to destroy one another, but it was only a tip of the iceberg. The people seemed so frenzied that they appeared very much thrust of annihilation. They were ready to go at libitum to get rid of others. They were destroying one another even in half hearted spirit. In this very evening they started bouncing bombs In Antophill Area. People became afraid of the situation. They began to seek shelter. There was nothing but hubbub and cry with terror everywhere. They had lost their infatuation of the family and property. Every potter had his own axe to grind. They were trying their level best to escape death, but it could not seem possible. Perhaps people were adamant to meet with a global annihilation. Pratap’s family was also seeking shelter for escaping death but Pratap let them go without giving his company, for he was eager to see Priya, who at this time was horrified and was unable to decide what to do or not She was stepping to and fro looking fearfully the flying people. She had already lost her family. Pratap called out her. She instantly moved towards him. She was in black Gujrati dress. The reddish in her cheeks had turned into pale due to fear. Her black hair spread over her shoulders was giving her a look like evening moon of full moon day in the sky; and Bindi at her forehead was like the star at the moon. She came by him with perplexed heart; could speak nothing but looking at his face fearfully. “Priya,” asked Pratap, “We are going to die later or sooner. I know you love me very much and so do I. Shall we enjoy the remaining breaths of life together?” She, at once, was ready and forgot, what was happening around her. Priya, as well as, Pratap overflowing in emotion of love forgot the fear of the situation and set out for a good shelter to have maximum breaths of life together. There was nothing but love in and around them. “Where shall we go?” asked Priya, “Buildings are being destroyed.” “I know. Let’s come”. They rushed towards Antop Hill leaving behind flying people and destroying buildings. They mounted up and came into NeelKanth Mahadev temple. Priya sat by Pratap and Pratap held her hand strongly. “We can enjoy here more and more breath of life because this place is far off the city.” The air raids were going on. Soon a bomb exploded near them, but the couple of love was beyond the world now. They were filled with emotion of love and despite deep dark; they were absorbed in sharing of love. Their eyes were glowing in the dark and there was nothing but love in them. Just then more bombs were dropped and the temple began to crack and fragment of the built part of the temple began to fall down. “I had cherished a dream to make you my wife.” Said Pratap, a bit sorrowfully, “But there is no prospect to end the war just now. We have only a few breaths to enjoy together.” “Let the future go. Enjoy the present. Don’t think of eventualities. I am much pleased and lucky as I got you so nearer to me. A few moments with you are far better than a long isolation. If God will, I would be with you even after passing away from earth.” Pratap was very pleased to listen to her and kissed her forehead. Just then there became a great clamor of explosion and another, too, at the same time. The clamors were so terrifying that they quacked each and every home and demolished it to ground. It instantly muted the human cry. Priya clung to Pratap. Pratap took her under his arms. Just then the roof of the temple fell down with walls. The temple turned into debris soon. ******************************** There was deep silence and deep darkness all over the place. Nothing was seen alive, neither at nearby nor at far off. There was no sign of life. Nothing was seen but twinkling stars in the sky. Suddenly, someone seemed panting and heaving heavily, as if, they had made a great effort to do something intractable just now, and are having a sigh of relief. They were two figures-one was a lad and another one was a lass, lying on the ground. After a long run, the girl mumbled, "I fear." "Don't worry; I am with you. Have patience. There would be no harm now. You see, there is no bombing now. Perhaps the war got end. Pakistan has given in and my country India got victory. "You are right, but see no one is at nearby places ..... even not single cattle. The night-deep and dark is awfully trembling me with fear. " "Oh! Don't mind. You speak as a horror-stricken. This is our trying moment." He pressed her hand affectionately. "Let's have a rest. We will look for the people in the morning." They had a sound sleep. After a long run, Priya opened her eyes but it was still too dark. She closed her eyes again, but couldn't sleep. Pratap too, awakened and was astonished at the darkness. He uttered to be in a fix, "What happened with the sun? How did the night become so long? I think I have slept nearly seven or eight hours and still it is too dark". "What will we do now?" said Priya to be at a fix. "Wait, we will wait until morning comes. What else can we do in so deep darkness?" She uttered something meaninglessly to herself, and then began to look the starry sky. Suddenly she recalled her mind and expressed her doubt, "Pratap, look! The sky is full with stars” "Yes, I see", said Pratap, with full of love and joy. "You…… You know, it was full-moon day yesterday!" said Priya. "Yes, I know" "Now, where is the moon today?" She could speak in light voice. "It should be in the sky, but how is the sky so dark! What happened with the moon? Pratap got puzzled at this fact and began to observe the starry sky and surprisingly he exclaimed, "0 My God! What happened with the world? How it happened so unexpectedly!" He was wet with perspiration in seconds. Priya asked with fear, "What have you noticed? Please tell me; what wrong is going on?" Pratap, too, was perplexed but tried to reply Priya. "I am surprised at the location of the asterism and constellation," "What wrong happened? What have you found?" "Look, the location of the small bear in eastern horizon. Is it possible? The Alfa star of the small bear so called the pole star is not seen anywhere. Look, the Orion constellation above our head. How has it become possible to be seen in this month like March? We see stranger stars and constellations, too that were above sight so far." They stepped onwards with trembling legs. "There is no sign of the moon in the firmament. It seems we are in a stranger world." " 0 My God! What happened with us? Where are we now?" Her voice resounded and rested soon, but answers were beyond mind. "Where are we going?" "I, too, don't know, but am trying to find out somebody else". contd..