The Blue Cycle which slept peacefully

She rubbed her weary eyes and adjusted her Avenger’s skirt and her blue ribboned hair darted towards hall room where the sounds of commotion awakened her from her afternoon sleep. 

There she saw Aachi crying hysterically on her favorite mysore rocking chairs beside her prized dying blue lily plants. 

Priya di is talking frantically with someone on phone, they were talking about Ambulance, mud-burial and Thatha. 

As soon as she heard Thatha she woke up immediately from her slumber.  

Thatha? What happened to my Grandpa?  

Before she could she try to ask her MBA 2nd yr pursuing elder sister, Aachi grabbed her tight. 

Even though she was just a child, she could feel the soul squeezing out of her grandma’s body.  

Baby Karuna is a cute chubby 4th std kid who loves Salted mangoes and watching Pokemon, who cherishes a secret dream to make everyone happy in the whole universe! 

Even though she was not practically a baby, the name stayed. 

And why wouldn’t, considering she’s the little Nila, the Moon, in the Kumar household.  

It was 5 months ago, When Baby Karuna heard from her Ammu, Mother in Tamil, that school has closed due to some new animal which escaped from China, her heart sank and silently wondered why couldn’t Jackie Chan handle these pests by himself. From that day she prays every day before sleeping to reopen the schools and bring her most favourite person in the world back to her. 

Her Thatha. 

That day was just like any other day.  

Baby karuna started her day helping Aachi, her grandma, water her precious lilies and tuberose specially bought from Ooty, her hometown. She loved to recount, that, Ooty, 

was the very place where she met Veera, her grandpa, then a young & handsome doctor from Madras who fell in love in first sight. And later Thatha proposed the MA Agriculture pretty lady with the Blue lily.  

And oddly that day, the whole batch of blue lilies started to die and wither away for no reason.  

Karuna while tending to the Lush tomato plant, drifted away into trance, ‘It’s been a year since my birthday has passed, when will Thatha teach me how to ride bicycle. What if he doesn’t? No no ..he has to! He pinky promised that after he returns from medical emergency duties he will teach me how to bicycle…  ’ 

 —– 

A week after all the colleges and temples were closed, Veera and his close college friends took a temporary retreat from their retirement to work for COVID Emergency Medical services.   

Veera was posted at the 1st dedicated Covid hospital in the city, Nair hospital. Being skilled intensivist he was tending to the most critical and serious COVID patients of the city.  

Even though Thatha never really returned home, just sparing two or three instances where he waved and talked from the courtyard below their 3 BHK flat at Colaba. Ever after the single-minded society secretary Stalin, issued a directive to not allow any one from outside not even the ones who go for COVID duties into the Vrindavan colony, Thatha thereafter abiding it, used to video call daily in the evening without fail to Baby karuna.  

She particularly missed him today since it is her 9th birthday. She didn’t want gifts this time as she already had the blue Disney princess cycle,  packed safely dozing In the attic sine a year. 

She wanted time. 

Time with Thatha.  

It has been 8 days since he didn’t call baby karuna.  

She was worried whether he took his BP tablets on time and intensely missed the vivid stories he used to recite each day. 

She used to wonder even though Ammu, her Iron hearted Police woman, Mother and Home- in charge and Appu, her cheerful electric board officer, Father and Caretaker- in charge, were unusually over worked in this super fun vacation time always come home every night, but Thatha did not. 

And little Karuna was simply furious about that. 

The anger which piled up for a year was going to set loose in the form of grieved tears soon. 

………  

Priya di shook her out of her trance and gave her breakfast and made her sit 10am sharp daily, for the school, because Malar miss was always waiting excitingly to teach her kids the wonderful world of everything-is-possible Science. She used to give information on Corona daily to kids, the dos & the don’ts. Once she was advising kids not drink or taste phenyl just because some leader of some country said so, karuna blushed internally, she and nikki, her best friend and neighbour were planning to bathe in Lysol the other day.   

After the heavy dose of knowledge drilled into her small little brain, she used to nicely munch away her lunch and head for the mandatory afternoon nap. 

But that day was different, for some reason, karuna couldn’t sleep at all. She got up and for the sake of doing something she started to care for the blue lilies again until Aachi gave a good scolding and she fell in sound sleep in no time.  

Aachi by the windowsill, reflected why couldn’t she revive the blue lilies even after giving it the best fertilizer available. 

She silently thought may be some lilies are meant to wither away. 

…. 

There was sadness and grief spewn all over the Kumar’s home the whole night.  

Ammu and Appu didn’t return home yet.  

Karuna was told that Thatha had gone for a much-needed vacation to Ooty, and Ammu & Appu were helping him out.  

Karuna took refuge in her room and silently prayed to God to make her Thatha come back home rather than to Ooty, midway she had change of heart and prayed for his safe and happy journey towards Ooty and to come back home soon.  

And with Thatha in her dreams, finally teaching her cycling, she smiled and drifted away.  

While having no idea how beautifully cruel the world is. 

——  

Next day in the headlines, a futile report cries out aloud to deaf ears,  interview of Ahmed Jaleel Khan , veteran Anaesthetist posted at Nair, gives a tearful statement on how his ambulance carrying the body of famed intensivist was attacked and he had to bury the remains of his best friend, with his bare hands, putting him unto a Final, Peaceful, Sleep.  

Dinesh Raja

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