It poured in from everywhere. Brown sheets streaked the windows and the ground with its dark hue. It swirled and eddied into the gutter. They watched it gush down the street till the black slurry disappeared into the purifying unit.
From the safe confines of their playroom, they wished for it to end now. “Why doesn’t it stop? We cannot go out for four hours after that,” moaned the youngest girl.
“You know what that can do to you? I saw a girl in school who disobeyed the rule and walked into a rain puddle just an hour afterwards. She had burn marks on both her feet,” piped the elder one.
“You know, back in 2015, the rain was very different. It was colourless and odourless. In fact, people used to go out and play in it,” remarked the middle and the wisest one.
“What?” shrieked the eldest in absolute disbelief. “Don’t tell me it was not acidic like it is now? That acrid smell doesn’t go even after it stops. No one can step out in that!” she challenged her sister.
“Can’t imagine it, right? Even I couldn’t believe it. Rain back then was exactly like the water we drink,” emphasised the wise one.
The children turned away from the window and looked at the jug of water on the table with awe. Three pairs of eyes saw the clear, thirst-quenching liquid. Three pairs of eyes also saw the corrosive discharge from the sky. They tried hard to imagine life 30 years ago when rain and water looked the same. It was unbelievable.
“I wish I could go back in time to play in that rain,” said the wise one wistfully, not realising that she was paying the price for the carelessness of her grandparents and those before them.