Written by Avi Sriram and Atharv Sriram – grade 10 and grade 5 students respectively
Six year old Raju, woke up with a sudden start to the cacophony of clapping and hooting of everyone around him, the clink and clunk of vessels and the loud ringing of bells.
“What is the commotion about Didi?”, he asked his older sister, Reena, who too was clapping her hands vigorously with complete enthusiasm.
“Don’t you know Raju?”, she asked lifting him up so that he could peer right over the railing.
“Today, all the people of India are clapping their hands to say ‘thank you’ to all the doctors and scientists who are, and have been working so hard to protect us from the deadly corona virus.”
Raju stared in awe as he saw through his tiny eyes , a large crowd of people, clapping and hooting all around.
With a curious look on his face, he asked, “Didi, even daddy is a doctor, right? Does this mean we are clapping for him too?”
“Yes Raju, of course we’re clapping for him too. After all, he too works hard, doesn’t he?”
Raju cheered along with the crowd. He still hadn’t completely understood what all this was for but he still clapped, louder than ever.
Later that evening, Raju went to his sister who was watching the news. He went closer and read the headlines right at the top of the TV.
“Cases”, he said, “230…what does this mean Didi?”
Reena told him that these were the number of people who had been affected by the virus and also added that the total number of people over the last few months was around 17000.
Raju’s eyes popped out. He had not even learnt to count till 17000.
Reena continued telling him about the virus as Raju looked at her, amazed.
“The virus was first detected in Wuhan, a small district in China. Soon it spread to different countries, to people all across the world.”
She further added, “If anyone has a cold and sneeze, they have to rush to the doctor and if they are detected to have the virus, they have to stay in the hospital for fourteen days without meeting anyone. This is called as ‘quarantine or isolation’. ”
“Really?”, said Raju in slight disbelief.
“Yes Raju. Why do you
think schools closed so early this time? It was only because of this virus.”
“Haha Didi, exams got cancelled too, I’m so happy.”
“But Raju, we must remember that while we are among the lucky few who are not affected by the virus, there are people, millions of people, who are suffering in pain. Do you know that not only in India but in a number of other countries, people aren’t even allowed to step out of their houses? All the stores, offices, schools and even airports are shut.”
“So does this mean no Europe trip?”, said Raju, a little tear rolled down his cheek.
“Im sorry Raju, but not this time. It’s important to be safe isn’t it?”
Just as the horrific situation of the world and the long awaited but cancelled Europe trip wee being discussed, their mother came in and told them that their father had to handle three new patients affected by corona, so he won’t be able to come home that night.
Raju jumped up, a sense of fear and reality struck him. “Will daddy be all right?”, he asked slightly worried.
“Of course Raju”, said his mother, “He should be home first thing in the morning. I’m going to bed. Remember not to stay up go late okay?”
“Yes ma”, the kids responded kissing her on the cheek.
The kids then resumed their conversation about protecting themselves from the virus
“We must wash our hands every one hour”, Reena continued, “and we must remember not to touch our faces with dirty hands. If we ever want to go out, we must always remember to wear those masks that daddy got us and we must consciously make sure not to shake hands with anyone, not even a high five.”
“Wow Didi, this is so serious and now I am beginning to understand the situation. It must be so hard for everyone around world”
“Yes Raju, labourers and factory workers in India may be forced to starve because of closing down of workplaces and no money. You see that truck on the news, right there? It has come to take all these people back to the small village that they originally came from.”
“Oh Didi, this is so sad. I wish I could do something for them.”
“There is not much Raju, but you can definitely contribute by following precautions to protect yourself from this virus and also spreading the message to all your friends. That will lead to a couple of healthier people in our world with no treatment. Wont it?”
“Yes Didi, I will remember to follow each of these rules strictly and I will tell my friends to follow them too.”
“Come on Raju, it’s getting late, we should go to sleep.”
“Yes Didi, let’s go.”
The next morning, Raju woke up a little too early and ran out into the balcony eagerly awaiting his dad who had promised to play cricket with him that day. The doorbell soon rang “ Daddy!”, said Raju, who walked toward him with a beaming smile.
“Don’t give me a hug Raju beta. We need to be safe now more than ever yes?”
“Daddy, thank you for protecting not only our family but also helping in the protection of the entire world from this deadly virus. You really are my hero and I wish I could also be like you and save the world from something someday.”
Written by Avi Sriram and Atharv Sriram – who are in grade 10 and grade 5 at the National Public School, Koramangala, Bangalore
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