Children

Bhuvan’s SecretFreedom from School

Story so far: Bhuvan goes to buy Kulfis for his friends instead of going home. He thinks of adopting a kitten from Mrs Miranda’s lace and button shop.

All hell broke loose when Bhuvan woke up the next morning. It was nine, and he was late for school.

He stormed into the living room and found Aai busy stitching a face mask.“I am late for school. Why didn’t you wake me early?”

“Your school is going to be closed for the next few months,” said Aai, meeting his eyes.

Bhuvan put his hands in the air and danced around the house before peeping through the living window facing the street. Stella was standing near the door and feeding a banana to her little sister, Mercy.

“Have you heard the good news?” asked Bhuvan. “No school! We can get up late and play the entire day,” said Bhuvan.

“There is no reason to be happy,” answered Stella with a straight face. “Didn’t you hear the news last night?”

Bhuvan clicked his tongue.

Unexpected

“There is a new Corona virus which has arrived in the country and making people sick. We can’t visit each other’s houses or play together. Our city is under a lockdown.”

Bhuvan frowned at the mention of the unfamiliar word. “Don’t think too much! Be happy, Stella! No school!” said Bhuvan, puffing his cheeks.

Mercy started giggling.

“Yes! I will be happy,” replied Stella. “My mother spoke to our teacher this morning. We will receive holiday homework through SMS. Isn’t that exciting?”

Bhuvan’s smile turned into a scowl. He turned his attention to Baba cleaning his auto outside the house. “Can we go for a ride?” he asked.

“No! We can’t leave the house until the lockdown is over!” said Baba.

Aai interrupted them with two face masks. She tied one around Bhuvan’s face and gave another to Baba.

“This is so uncomfortable,” said Bhuvan, pulling out the mask and gasping for breath.

Aai laughed. “You will get used to it. Wear one if you step out of the house.”

They entered the house and sat down to eat breakfast- a simple meal of roti and gravy with carrots.

“What is a lockdown?” asked Bhuvan, pushing all the carrots to a corner of his plate.

“Everyone stays inside their house!”

Bhuvan scowled. “That’s not fair!”

“Only those people who will help us stay safe and help sick people,” said Baba.

“Will I fall sick too?” asked Bhuvan.

“If you eat well, play and be happy, you will remain healthy,” replied Aai, pushing all the carrots to the centre of his plate.

“Stay away from sick people and wash your hands before you eat,” added Baba. “Do you know the old lady at the lace shop across the street?”

Bhuvan bobbed his head in acknowledgement.

“She caught the Corona virus and was admitted to the hospital last night!”

“I hope she recovers soon,” said Aai.

Bhuvan stopped eating and muttered to himself, “Who will feed Mrs Miranda’s kittens?”


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 11:28:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/bhuvans-secretfreedom-from-school/article36183223.ece

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