After a 10-day long lock-down for a meditation camp, we participants were handed back our valuables on 14th of March evening. We are in that fragment of the evolution where our cell phones are considered more valuable than our wallets. Thanks to google pay, paytm, money pay, paisa pay; some of us even carry our wallets in the phone. Phones these days have become inseparable partners. As soon as the phone was in the hand, all of us got unwittingly busy. Fortunately my phone ran out of charge and denied its company. I put my phone to charge and observed other known strangers (strangers because we were on vow of silence, we only knew each other by face, and by talk since few hours). Some were excited to share the meditation experience with their loved ones, while others were a little tensed; probably because of the invasion of uninvited guest, corona, in Bangalore. We were completely ignorant of the corona-happenings until then. Each one lost in their own world unaware that our 10-day lessons of equanimity had taken its silent flight, off our until then peaceful minds.
My mind was for sure undisturbed even after knowing the corona news. It was rather more excited to make people around aware that we are in a commercial world where ills follow pills. I dont know if I have to thank my prejudiced thoughts on medical market, mostly B.M Hedge influenced OR my love and strong faith in nature-cure and traditional Veda based treatment (ayurveda), corona created no fear in me.
After some book purchases and chit-chats; my charged phone was ready for use. I dialed home, only to know more about corona and other developments in my absence. My daughters' school and exams were called off. My brother had made an unexpected (at-least unexpected for me) travel to USA. My mind now got into working. No! it was not because of corona and USA; but because of mom, corona and USA. I wondered what made my brother accept the US travel, putting mother into stress that I knew would for sure surge every-time a media news popped out. Guessing brother's strong reason behind the travel was the food for my thoughts. Some where there was also a strong believe that the just finished meditation camp would have a great role to play in the coming days.
It was Monday, 6th of April.
I was digging into google for some information. Diagonally opposite, my niece sat on the bean bag, engaged with some toy in her hand. My younger who was in the balcony listened to a plane flying on the sky and rushed to question me.
Younger: Amma, because of corona there is lock down. How come the plane is flying? Did you hear it? Was it a plane?
Me: (Having heard the plane, surprised with her question and thinking for an answer.) Yes, it was a plane. I heard it. Yeah, lock down has but a full stop for all the flights as well. But you see, there are few Indians who are stuck in foreign countries and want to come back. Probably these flights are doing that job. Helping Indians stuck in foreign countries to reach their home.
Niece: (Fully alert with my reply) Then why is Manju still there in America? (She calls her dad by name)
Me: (Having a tough time to think of a way to make a 4 and half year young understand.) hmmm may be they get back only those people who want to come back.
Even before I could finish my sentence, my mother entered the scene, and my niece blurted.
Niece: (With a concerned face) Then Manju is never going to come back?
My mother: (Taken aback by what she heard, she shouted at my niece.) Khushi, You should not talk like that.
My niece started crying very badly both for having received the shouting and for having understood that her usage of words were not correct.
Me: Amma its ok. She was just expressing her concern. If human words are so powerful, then I will ask her to say something in our favor. You dont know the complete conversation. (I gave her the details of the conversation.)
It took my daughters' consolings, grannies pampering, a little distraction and a piece of candy to put a full stop to my niece's non-stop crying.
That day later in the afternoon during her bed-story time, finding her in good state, I stroke a conversation with my niece.
Me: Why did you think Manju is not going to come back?
Niece: Maaaaaamiiii (every time she says her prolonged maami, it sounds like a music to me). I miss Manju sooooo much. I want him to come back.
Me: (Giving her a hug) Manju also misses you a lot. That is why he video-calls every morning and evening. Isn't it?
Me: He will finish his work and come back soon. People travelling now in aeroplanes might have viruses. It is safe for your pappa to stay in his room and travel when the situation is little better. I know you love your pappa a loooot. Right?
Niece: Not just pappa maami. You know, I love my family the most.
I had no words to continue. I immediately took the story book into my hand. Squeezed her around my arms, hugged her, and read a couple of more stories than her usual dose as a reward for her loving words.