Tuesday, 13 December 2016


Those were the times of coils that came in hard green pungent sheltering smelling cakes, shaped in thin spiral mazes. They could hardly beat the beasts, for when it was evening they would come around in battalion forces. The blow of the conch shells - they came in triads from different neighborhood houses and just when the sun would turn orange from white. We would know that with the first sound of it, we must hurry to climb up the beds, sofa or the benches  closest to the walls, to grab the wooden windows by their edges and pull them shut. The more organic households would put coconut leftovers into an iron handi and burn them to keep them away, and then, when even that would fail we would gather to clap our hands into a mad mass mosquito killing spree. Not that we hated it, for it also meant a respite from handwriting practice.

And then had come the golden two words, almost as a knight in rescue. Good Knight! With its breezy smell, it 
would flute away the battalion forces into some oblivion, and almost in trance they'd dip on the floor to be broomed away next morning. No bloodshed, no violence. No loss of work, or time. It quietly did its work from the far distance of a switchboard. No malaria, finally, parents would say, heaving a sigh of relief.
Times, they indeed are changing. Malaria is passe. Even malignancy is treatable, often,  and NASA is sending rockets God knows where. And yet, you wish!! For beside those headlines are those silent news we often overlook…

"I don't think she will make it," reports my cook this morning. Today is the fifth day in a row and she has opened the conversation with the very same statement, only her frown tightening with every passing day with a tragic sorrow. The four years old chubby little one from her next door is now fighting for her life in the ICU, and perhaps will bite it soon - my cook has been telling me. This is the fourth hospital she has been admitted to. She was carrying fever for long. Her face is swollen, she cannot take in even a drop of water. Have the doctors been able to diagnose, i ask her. Over these five days, I realize i too wait to hear of hope everything she success carrying updates. They are awaiting blood tests reports, she keeps saying in reply. But today, she finally says yes. The reports have arrived. Dengue, turned terminal. What?

I'm scared, very scared. For her, for them and for us. I remember the several checklists that are doing viral rounds on whatsapp or on Facebook. Cautionary lists, what not to do, prohibitions. These mosquitos, they come during daytime, they say. But haven't we always known that the windows need to be shut in the evenings, the repellents to be put on for the nights? 

Times, they indeed are changing. We need protection to keep diseases at bay. We need protection, daylong. Always! I now keep the machines burning whenever we are indoors, throughout the day. When we step out, there's the roll on - http://www.goodknight.in/fabric-roll-on/. It says it is safe, made of natural oil. Nice smell, long lasting too. But frankly - what matters, much more, is that we are safe. Protected! 

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