Train of Tales Children

Bhuvan’s Secret: Freaky Friday

Story so far: Bhuvan is bored when lockdown begins. Then he discovers that Mrs. Miranda has been admitted to the hospital.

Friday morning didn’t bring any joy. He fed the chickens some bajra and sat near the front door, drawing a kitten on a piece of paper. He waved to a tall turbaned figure in khaki walking along the street. He knew it was Popo Singh, the neighbourhood policeman, even though he was wearing a mask.

A man in a tempo entered the street and delivered a message through a microphone: “Protect yourself from the Corona virus! Cover your nose and mouth with a mask when you leave the house. Wash your hands before you eat. Stay away from people who cough and sneeze.”

Aai walked into the house, clutching an enormous shopping bag. “What took you so long?” asked Bhuvan, after she had a wash.

“There was a long queue,” replied Aai, emptying the contents of her bag into a corner of the living room. There were onions, potatoes, chillies, tomatoes, brinjals and a small packet of raw peanuts.

“Why did you buy raw peanuts? I wanted peanut chikki!” asked Bhuvan.

“The store shelves were empty!” said Aai.

“Where have all the peanut chikkis disappeared?”

“People don’t go to work. No sweet factories are open. How can chikkis appear in shops?”

Bhuvan didn’t answer. A charred smell came from the kitchen and he found Baba standing in front of the stove, spluttering over a cloud of black smoke. Ever since the lockdown started, Baba often tried his hand at cooking. Baba grinned, tossing the pan into the sink. “I have made some khichdi and roasted papads.”

Nowhere to go

Knowing there was no use complaining about the lunch menu, Bhuvan looked out of the window. Stella and Mercy were standing near their doorstep and waving to their parents.

“Mrs. Miranda has been admitted to the hospital. There is nobody to feed her kittens. Do kittens eat peanuts, Stella?”

“No! They need milk, minced eggs and fish!” she replied.

Bhuvan rolled his eyes and went looking for Baba. He found him repairing a radio in the bedroom. “Baba! I am bored. Can I go out for a few minutes?”

“No!” he answered, without looking up.

“What’s the use of a holiday if we can’t go outside?” asked Bhuvan. “Stella’s parents are not staying at home. Why should we?”

“Stella’s mother is a nurse. Her father works for the municipality. They are allowed to step out of their house.”

Bhuvan rushed to the kitchen, clanged a ladle against a steel plate, singing, “Go, corona, Go!”

To be continued


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:25:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/bhuvans-secret-freaky-friday/article36315573.ece

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