Supporting Greta Thunberg from My AC Office While Sipping Coffee from a Plastic Cup

Satire

Supporting Greta Thunberg from My AC Office While Sipping Coffee from a Plastic Cup

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

For most of us, the furious face of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg — the Swedish schoolgirl who might have, over the course of the last one year, become the most recognisable climate activist on the planet — has been inescapable. No matter where you go, quite evidently, everyone seems to be talking about her. Just last night, I got into a heated discussion about her at a house party. The host argued that the activist was actually “just a young girl fighting Asperger syndrome, OCD and anxiety” and that “she had blown things out of proportion”. This hysteria, he claimed, wouldn’t help matters.

To this statement, I really took offence. After all, subjects like climate change are of great interest to me. Sure, the topic is trendy now, but ever since I top-scored in 10th grade environmental studies, I’ve always felt the need to “make a difference”. At least, I make it a point to not do anything to worsen the climate, for if I can’t alleviate it, I have no right to exacerbate it. So I took 15 minutes out of mingling at the party to mount a vigorous defence of Thunberg, saying that the fact that she has at least triggered worldwide discussion on a topic concerning everyone on the planet is what should matter. And then, I went back to pounding beers, leaving it to the host to sort out the glass bottles for recycling later.

Morning found me still hungover, with a heavy head. Just then, my phone rang. Oh gosh! It had been charging all night (sorry, Greta). On the other side of the call was a friend of mine, Navika. Just last night, she dropped me home in her Jaguar XF. Don’t even get me started, what a beast! I don’t know what the mileage is, but that thing goes from zero to 60 before you can buckle your seatbelt.

Navika’s hello brought my mind back from the racing circuit. As I was talking to her, I realised that it was getting colder by the minute and my thin blanket was not serving a purpose anymore. This, by the way, is one of my habits. I like to set the AC exactly at 20°C, rain or no rain, and then wrap myself in a blanket. Feels just perfect.

Navika was planning a holiday, and wanted ideas for places to visit. “Go somewhere far away,” I said. “Book a flight to some exotic destination and spend a week there.” Wanderlust is one of our generation’s great pursuits, and the idea of being in a flight, above the clouds, the feeling of being far away from all the clatter of the world, can be therapeutic for some.

Wanderlust becomes a lot harder if you’re supposed to also consider your carbon footprint.

Navika really seemed thankful for all my ideas bar one. She didn’t seem inclined to take the flight. Apparently, she had also been following Thunberg and was both impressed and inspired by how the activist sailed across the Atlantic. Greta, she told me, was scheduled to speak at the UN later that day. Oops! Wanderlust becomes a lot harder if you’re supposed to also consider your carbon footprint. After another round of small talk we hung up.

It was now time to shower. Thankfully the geyser was in a working state or else bathing amid this sudden drop in temperature would have proved to be a nightmare. Lukewarm water on a cold day meant that I bathed a couple of minutes extra. A few extra litres that go toward leaving you refreshed is a worthy exchange, is it not?

Now it was time to get productive. I, being a writer, sat down on my writing table with a pile of papers. Yes, I am still old-school that way. I prefer writing over typing. In the process, I must say, there is a lot of trash around the room. In line with the romantic idea of creation, I strike off more than I scribble. After an hour or so of work, it was time for a smoke break in the crisp weather. Marlboros and (early) winters are a match made in heaven. I know this may undermine my support of Greta, but I know waste-paper is biodegradable. Yes, yes, the cigarette butt is less so, but Mother Earth’s apparatus would be strong enough to flush one cigarette butt, wouldn’t it? That’s how I justify my daily smoke break, at least.

Just then, I was reminded that it was time for Greta Thunberg’s scheduled speech. So, I tuned into my laptop with my lightning-fast 4G Wi-Fi and here she was, shortly about to commence her address. As I listened to her speaking passionately, I sipped mineral water from my Tupperware bottle. As soon as she finished, I logged on to fridaysforfuture.org to register a strike and signed a petition on change.org.

Nobody is too small to affect a change, was my takeaway from her laudable speech. Anyway, I don’t do anything to harm the climate. I am on her team, essentially. But wait a second, despite switching off this AC, where is this flurry of cool air coming from? Crap! Forgot to shut off the AC in the adjoining room last night. Not again! I’m really sorry about all this, but trust me, I make it a point to not contribute to climate change.

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