Idhika, The Future Of The Desert

Excellence Award in the 'National Treasures 2022' competition

‘There are many possibilities for the future, this is the one I still dream of.’ I told my young grandchildren. ‘I would love to live in Idhika, let me tell you about my dream. The green leaved palms and aqua-green water of the oasis would stand out on the pink and golden dunes, but the real treasure lies below. I would head into the archway leading into the underground town where I would live. There would be thousands of stairs into the labyrinth of houses, grand halls and tunnels, of my underground world. There would be no money there, that would be a thing of the past. I would live in this self-sustaining underground town in the desert. I would water all the plants in my house. First, heading to the well and grabbing a bucket. The only reason they would have buckets still instead of pipes is so that we all would stay fit, remember where our water comes from and appreciate how much we have. The plants would be growing in tiny amounts of dirt and don't need much light to survive, just water and carbon dioxide, which humans breathe out, a perfect source of oxygen without ventilation shafts. The small amount of light would be provided using grow lights that give a full spectrum of light mimicking the sun to help the plants grow, these would be powered by geothermal energy. In my house I would have a colourful array of bioluminescent fungi and plants covering many walls of my home which provide oxygen and light. During the day, I would collect the fruit from cacti and ride giant iguanas. Afterwards, I would have to cut and dehydrate the local cactus fruit to eat and lay them out in the afternoon sun to dry. Sometimes, I would sneak away with my friends for a quick swim at the oasis. Each afternoon, I would spend time with the weavers to learn to weave. I have always wanted to learn to weave. I would go to the above ground camel shelter to brush the camels for wool before heading to our large underground weaver’s guildhall. One of the older weavers would give me a spinning wheel to spin my camel wool that I will use for knitting. When it gets late, I would head to the dining hall and catch my friends Ojas and Charvi on the way. They would both love to come with me to Idhika. Ojas would be learning how to butcher animals, while Charvi would learn the medicinal properties of plants so she can become an apothecary. We could eat cacti and mushroom-based food with iguana or fish. This is my vision, Idhika, what will our future hold?’ the young faces of my grandchildren looked up inspired to make a change but I know we will need many to make not only Idhika, but any city sustainable in the future. We need the hope and will for change. Nothing will happen if nobody dreams.

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