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Bira hurriedly adjusted his white N95 mask over his face, making sure it covered his nose and mouth rightly and scrambled around before regaining his balance.
The sun shone brightly on the farm, but not all was bright. Something was bothering the young mind. Bira looked up dismally at the sky and later tried making sense out of the myriad shapes that the fluffy clouds took. At the far end of the farm stood the majestic range of hills. Till last year and a year before that, all of these had fascinated him. He had waited spiritedly for his summer vacations, to visit his grandparents, to be with nature. He loved his village, especially the red mud that covered its land. He had enjoyed walking bare feet on it and later scrubbing them away with huge splashes of water from the canal, drenching him from head to toe in the process.
He cupped his chin with both his hands, his elbows pressing against his thighs for support, looking at the little fish that went round his feet, that were immersed in the cool pond. He watched them nibble at his heels and later over the tip of the toes. He tried initiating a conversation with them when his mother cried out his name. ‘Bira, come over, lunch is being served.’
He hurriedly adjusted his white N95 mask over his face, making sure it covered his nose and mouth rightly and scrambled around before regaining his balance. Initially, he ambled and later his feet pushed himself up and in no time he was sprinting rather flying towards his house. No sooner he did that than he realised the mask stifling his breath and he decided to slow down his pace.
‘Where have you been? Didn’t I tell you not to stay outdoors for long?’ scowled his dad while pacing back and forth with his earphones on.
‘You are on mute, right?’ He cautiously asked him; he knew his dad was on call and didn’t want his father’s colleagues to hear him admonishing him.
‘Of course, now go take a bath before you get inside the kitchen.’
Bira dashed inside the bathroom. His family was already waiting for him at the table except for his grandpa.
He had been running temperature with some breathlessness so his parents had admitted him to the hospital.
‘Amma, have food, Appa will be back home.’ Bira’s mother assured his grandma.
Grandma looked weary and dull with the rim of the eyes, all puffed up. Bira knew she had been crying all night.
‘Tatha will return Tathi, don’t you lose hope.’ Bira tried consoling her.
She looked at him and without uttering a word had few morsels before retiring back to her room.
Bira went inside her room with a glass of buttermilk.
‘Have it, you’ll feel better,’ he said, offering the tumbler to his grandma.
He had grown so mature in a matter of time. She remembered how he had come to the village to spend his vacation last year. It was more than a year and they were still around. His parents working from and for home and him attending his school online.
He didn’t remember if he ever had a friend, did he? For the moment it was his family that summed up into everything. Friends, cousins, teachers, uncles, aunts; he longed to see them all, touch them or maybe pinch them fervently to feel their skin, their existence.
His grandpa had been his constant support and with him away, he felt aloof and lost.
But he knew he couldn’t share his concerns with his grandma. He didn’t want to sadden her any further.
‘Tring Tring,’ rang the phone.
He heard his mother’s incoherent words over the phone. He tried reading her expression but to no avail.
Later, she kept the phone down with a curve around her lips that said it all.
‘It was from the hospital. Tatha is doing fine. Doctor says, he should be off the oxygen mask by tomorrow and should get discharged after further observation.’
Sudden happiness filled up the otherwise tensed room.
Grandma smiled after a long wait. Bira hugged her warmly.
‘I told you, he’ll come back.’
‘My mate is back, my mate is back,’ he ran all across the backyard with his red kite in his hand.
Author’s note: I know I have not been writing regularly of late. But whenever I get some ‘me time’ and that mood to lift my pen, I try to scribble something to cheer myself up and also the pair of eyes that would stop to read my work.
Hope this short story made you smile.
First published here.
Image source: KhuramKing on pixabay
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I'm a stock trader by profession. A yoga enthusiast and a qualified Yoga therapist.
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