Chinu was missing his school and friends a lot. Poor him. He was too young to understand the concept of lockdown. We told him that there is big demon” Corona” outside the house and is not visible to anyone. This demon is attacking people who are roaming outside without precautions. So, it is best we stay home and wait for lockdown to get over. Dejected and forlorn, he would cuddle mom . For him we were the sole saviours of boredom and I was his sole friend and sworn enemy too.
The lockdown seemed to be unending. It is so difficult to be in the four walls of your house 24*7. We were all in our house for the last 70 odd days. We haven’t seen our playground, the friendly security guards, the kittens in our society garden and yes! our very own friends who were very much like us refrained in their house. I miss those night hops to the ice-cream parlour with all of us relishing on different flavours of ice-cream. How would the ice-cream parlour uncle be managing with his shop closed in the peak season? The government could have declared ice-cream as an essential commodity for the kids and we could buy an ice-cream bucket and relish over it all day long… hmmm…wishful thinking! The snacks shop opposite to our house was booming with kids and elders buying variety of snacks throughout the day. The shopkeeper had a unique knack to sell his stuff. You would end up buying so much! What about him? His shop too was closed for the last two months and now he would be thinking on ways and means to revive his business. Chinu’s favourite pastry shop too was shut. If that could be kept open, we could have bought his favourite pastry and he would have been happy.
One day, Chinu woke up a little late. His eyes half open and he was so drowsy while walking. He went straight to dad who was shaving and his eyes opened in astonishment. He sleepily said, “Is the lockdown over? Daddy are you getting ready to go to office? Muma, did you pack my tiffin? I will be meeting my friends today. Yay, I am so excited!” After listening to all this there was a sudden silence in our house on a busy morning. My dad stopped shaving. Mom stood still in the kitchen and I was thinking that the very next minute there will be a big showdown of Chinu. My dad cuddled Chinu and said, “Sorry my little buddy, the lockdown is not over yet. We cannot go anywhere. We must be home. It’s just that we are carrying our routine so that we keep ourselves motivated and take each day as it comes.” Chinu wore an empty look in his yes. The eyes which were so invigorated and hopeful were now slowly brimming with tears. There were huge tear drops rolling from his big eyes, his nose was becoming red and he started crying loudly like never. He was wailing so badly that he was inconsolable. In that moment of grief he started blabbering, “I want new toys , I am bored with my toys , I want to see my grandparents , I want to meet my friends but lockdown is not getting over,” The desperate cry was so touchy that my parents were feeling helpless. They cuddled him and comforted him. Seeing all this I felt a sense of sudden depression creeping within me. I also wanted to cry. I wanted to express my immense grief and frustration. I wanted to pour out. But I thought it was not a good idea to cry with Chinu. Maybe I should postpone the idea of crying to some other day so that I also get the desired affection and attention like Chinu was getting right now.
The day ended with Chinu being in limelight as my parents did not want him to cry anymore. He was given utmost importance in everything. The number of cases were increasing and workers from other states who had come to the city for work wanted to return to their homeland. The factories, shops, construction works, everything were on a standstill. We were doing our bit of helping the people whom we knew by giving them money to manage their daily expenses. It was a dull afternoon. I was surfing the T.V. channels and found an interesting report on these workers who were travelling by road to their homelands. The poor people and their families were desperately trying to reach their destinations amidst the lockdown. The scenes were horrific. Kids of my age or even lesser were walking in hot scorching sun, some bare foot, some limping, some famished and hungry and some in total distress. It was such a sorry state. My heart was sinking seeing all this. I felt, here I am in the comfort of my house, eating the tastiest of snacks, with my parents in a ventilated apartment and still planning to express my protest. What about these kids who have nothing to look forward or guard them to reach their homes, just a simple wish to reach their homeland as soon as possible? I switched off the TV and decided not to crib ever, not to sulk ever. After all this I thanked God for giving me this life. I decided “No Showdown” and why a showdown? just because we are home. No never! Chinu is too young to understand the depth of the issue faced by all of us today but I am mature enough to understand that yes! this is a crisis and what is more important is to be human and support mankind in every possible way.