Children

Bhuvan’s Secret: A nasty surprise

Story so far: Bhuvan finds out that Popo Singh has been feeding the kittens at Mrs. Miranda’s shop. While he is apologising to Stella, they hear the siren of an approaching ambulance.

Popo Singh led a screeching ambulance into Sonar Street. Aai and Baba came rushing to the living room. Bhuvan dumped his bag in a corner and slipped into the bathroom to wash before joining them at the window. People in white bodysuits emerged from the ambulance.

“What’s happening?” asked Baba.

“Your neighbours are being taken to the hospital,” replied Popo Singh.

Bhuvan saw Hasmukh wearing a mask and approaching the ambulance. “It was foolish of me to step out of the house without a mask, Popo Singh,” he said. “I have now realised people may be big or small, the corona virus infects them all.”

“Dhanush!” yelled Bhuvan when he saw a familiar masked figure waving to him. He opened the door and was about to step out when Popo Singh tapped his lathi on the street. “Your friend is in safe hands. The doctors and nurses will take good care of him at the hospital!”

Word of caution

Dhanush popped his head out of the ambulance window. “Relax! Dash Man will be back in action soon!”

“I will go to Farida’s garden and pluck some mangoes for you,” said Bhuvan.

“Don’t make the same mistake as me. Stay home! Stay safe,” said Dhanush, as the ambulance left the street. Bhuvan waved until the ambulance disappeared from sight.

Someone knocked on the door. Baba opened it, after wearing a mask. A man in a white bodysuit entered and said, “All the people on this street are being tested for the coronavirus.” Bhuvan sat on Baba’s lap as the man in the body suit took a nasal swab for testing.

“The corona virus is powerful than all of us. Will we ever defeat it?” asked Bhuvan.

“Yes!” said Baba. “Scientists will find effective and affordable vaccines to prevent this disease.”

“I am bored of staying at home. I hope my school opens soon,” said Bhuvan.

Aai entered the kitchen and returned with a plateful of chikkis. “What are we celebrating?” asked Bhuvan.

Aai beamed. “I received an order for 500 cloth masks. It may not fetch good money like the designer blouses, but it’s enough to keep hunger away.”

The jingle of a tambourine and Stella’s voice floated into Bhuvan’s house. She was singing a song they had learned at school. Bhuvan washed his hands, popped a piece of chikki into his mouth and sang along, “We shall overcome, we shall overcome! We shall overcome someday! Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday!”

The End


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 11:00:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-final-chapter-of-the-serial-story-by-shyamala-shanmugasundaram/article36957646.ece

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