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Covid Kathaigal

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by umaakumar, Sep 8, 2021.

  1. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    PART 1

    THE ALCOHOL MALADY.


    It was March 2020 when the first cases of the covid 19 were reported in Kerala. The state made famous for containing the Nipah Virus.

    By end of March everyone were taken by surprise and fear as the UNO declared it as a pandemic and many countries were shutting down to contain the spread. India was not behind. By end of March the country went into complete lockdown. This is something no one has experienced before. Though each and every one of us was scared, we wanted to be careful.

    People all over resorted to panic buying. The world had a shortage of Toilet paper, while in India we laughed at it.

    In Kerala the most missed commodity in many household was alcohol.

    Well now I have a neighbour, a not so old couple. The man is a retired police officer who is about 73 years old and his wife who is 63 years old. They have 3 children living in this same place, Palakkad. So there is a constant visit from children and grandchildren in their house. It is a laughter filled house.

    A month of lockdown went smoothly and then came the fidgeting for alcohol. My neighbour, who we thought was a very quiet person, started making discreet enquiries as to where he can get a bottle. He was even willing to buy in pegs and willing to pay any price. He went around the neighbourhood and thus began the search for the bottle by all the alcohol consuming people. Somehow an auto guy was found who had enormous stock. What more, my neighbour stuck a deal with him, where this auto man would come and stand at the road corner and supply for everyone in the locality. It was a very convenient arrangement for everyone. When we saw a group of men walking together in one direction then we know the auto has arrived, much to the dismay of the wives.

    Now my neighbour, like I said the very quiet person, took to drinking like a fish. He would be as high as the sky at 11 Am and scream like someone is beating him. The first few times we would run to see what happened to see his wife very embarrassed and nodding her head indicating nothing is wrong. Then he would swagger around and talk to everyone. This was a big time pass for all who had nothing to do.

    This went on and on for a couple of months and one fine day all the alcohol consuming men went to meet the auto with their fat purses. The auto came at the allotted time. The auto man got down with a big grin to start his business, suddenly he fell and died. It was a heart attack.

    So sadly, the men returned and everybody sobered down feeling sad that their supply had ended.

    But 2 months later the lockdown ended and shops opened and it was business galore. Our man was overjoyed and drank and screamed in pleasure.

    But then now again here we are the second wave has hit. No alcohol available and the man again, as sorrowful as ever, and what more we are all missing some entertainment, in our boring lives.
     
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  2. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    The excitement of the enormous amount of money the auto fellow was making should have led to the heart attack. Alcohol produces either violent or hilarious scenes. Nobody could could entertain with the alcoholic scene like Dharmendra.Remember the suicide scene in Sholay.
    An interesting beginning.SLN
     
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  3. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    VENDETTA = Part 2

    The Bhat family lived in a 3 bedroom apartment. The family consisted of Mr. & Mrs. Bhat, their Son Balu, their Daughter in law Brinda and their 2 grandsons. Balu and Brinda held high posts in good companies.

    Mrs. Bhat doted on her son very much. Though he was nearing 45, she treated him like a 5 year old. She always competed with Brinda and was always fussing over him. Sometimes she would even give her choice of shirt he could wear to office.

    If Balu said the food was tasty, she would take credit, even if it was Brinda who cooked. Though at times it really irritated Brinda, she did not make much of it. Balu knew to balance his mother and wife. In spite of it there were occasional tiffs between the 2 women.

    Corona lock down did not make the situation any better, as the children were at home and Balu and Brinda had to occupy 2 bedrooms to work. Children were always running around and making a lot of noise. No maid, Mrs. Bhat had to do more chores as Brinda was working and would come out whenever she was free and do a little bit and get back.

    Many a times Mrs. Bhat thought, how nice to go back to old times. Just Balu and my dear husband. She did not mind the grandchildren, so other times she thought, how nice to just stay with Balu and grandchildren, without the interference of Brinda. All she wanted was to possess her Son.

    Then one fine day, Mrs. Bhat got a mild cold. Brinda told her to go to her bedroom and quarantine. There was a big commotion. Mrs. Bhat said “Do you think I am diseased, this is just an ordinary cold, don’t make a big fuss”. But Brinda said “Let us get a lab test done, if it is negative, then nothing to worry. We have so many people in the house, what if you spread it to everyone.” After all the shouting and arguments, Mrs. Bhat was confined to her bedroom. Mr. Bhat moved to the children’s bedroom. After the lab report it was confirmed, Mrs. Bhat had the virus. She was very disappointed. Most of the times her bedroom remained closed. Brinda would wear a PPE suit and serve her food. Mrs. Bhat kept grumbling to all her relatives that the food was not tasty. She also had many complaints that her modern daughter in law ordered food in Swiggy. She said “Brinda is not bothered about the health of the family, she orders or makes pasta, noodles or sandwich. My poor Balu shuts his mouth and eats everything.” She longed to be out of the room. It was day 10 and it was too much for her. They say that the idle mans brain is the devils workshop and it was so true that Mrs. Bhat was idle and was always scheming.

    The next day morning, she got up before Brinda and pulled a chair into the kitchen, did not switch on the light and waited. The minute Brinda came in she grabbed her and gave her many kisses. Brinda was shocked and screamed. Every one rushed to the kitchen and Brinda ran to the sink and washed her face with soap and dettol. Balu scolded his Mom and Mrs. Bhat with a sheepish smile said “Someone told me it is Daughters in Law day today, and I wanted to wish her.” Then she went into her room. Four days after that Mrs. Bhat was tested negative. Her room was sanitised and she came out of Quarantine.

    Now the wait began, every morning she would look at Brinda for any signs of Cold. For a few days nothing happened. She thought probably Brinda was lucky and did not get the virus. Few days later Brinda had fever and went into self quarantine. Mrs. Bhat was filled with happiness. Now her dream of having her son and grandsons to herself had come true. She called Balu and said, I have just recovered from my sickness; I cannot take care of a sick women. She cannot stay here. Imagine an old lady like me cooking for all of you and doing all the cleaning, it is too much work for me. She made so much of drama that Balu said “OK, I will go and leave her with her mother”. He went out and by then Brinda was all packed to go. Balu and the children wore PPE suits and off they went.

    Mrs. Bhat gave a thousand instructions to her son, “Don’t eat outside, don’t linger in their house, drop her and come back immediately. I will cook good dinner for you and the children etc etc.....”

    It was past 8 PM, no calls from Balu, no reply to Mrs. Bhats messages. Mrs. Bhat was really worried. Brinda’s parents lived 3 hours drive away. By now Balu should have got back.

    Then at 9 PM, Balu called. He said “Ma, I and children have decided to stay back here till Brinda is alright; you see this is a big house and lots of place for children to play. What more Brinda’s sister and her children are coming tomorrow, so the children will have fun”.


    Mrs. Bhats face became so disappointed. Soooo much for my planning, she thought. [​IMG][​IMG]







    3
     
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  4. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    BINGO


    Mrs. & Mr. Chaturvedi lived a quite retired life. He had retired from a bank. Mrs. Chaturvedi was a higher secondary pass. She could not study further as she was forced into marriage. They had 2 sons, both settled in USA.

    I need not explain the life of the retired couple. Both were in good health and had their routines. They had some common friends whom they met frequently. Mrs. Chaturvedi had a circle of her own friends and kept busy with some philanthropic work. She belonged to a ladies group which met monthly once and generally gossiped and played Bingo. Mrs. Chaturvedi received some money from her children to spend on herself. Apart from this Whatsapp kept them busy with sending and receiving messages. Their most cherished times were when their children called and they spoke to their grandchildren. They had planned to travel to USA in March 2020 and covid struck like a thunderbolt and they had to cancel their tickets.

    Lockdown changed their lives. No morning walks, so they got up late. They had late breakfast. No maids, Mr. Chatruvedi helped in all the household chores. Since they had no time pass, they both sat in the balcony in the evening and looked at their neighbours. Mr. Chaturvedi went out to buy milk and all other items were ordered online. The vegetable cart came to the apartment gate every morning and again Mr. Chaturvedi went to buy what was required.

    Like every house there were mild irritations between the 2 of them. Mrs. Chaturvedi sat glued to her phone most of the times and Mr. Chaturvedi was always sitting on his easy chair watching Youtube. One day Mrs. Chaturvedi announced that she was going to join online dance class. This was especially for senior citizens. Mr. Chaturvedi was shocked, he said “we are in the third floor, imagine what the people below will feel if you jump, no you cannot do this”. There stopped her dance class. Then a few days later she joined a meditation class, but dropped out after 2 days as she was not able to do it. She participated in online sloka classes and this kept her busy for about half an hour a day. She was missing her friends and feeling suffocated sitting at home.

    Then some of her friends told her they are going to play Bingo online. They asked Mrs. Chaturvedi to join in. She immediately joined the group on whatsapp. She sent Mr. Chaturvedi to buy a notebook with squares in it, so that she can write the ticket. But the stationery shop was not open and Mr. Chaturvedi could not buy it. She searched and found a notebook and asked him to draw the squares for her. Though Mr. Chaturvedi did not like the idea, he did not want to disappoint her. He sat for more than an hour drawing the squares.

    So the game started. This was an everyday affair. Once Mr. Chaturvedi got the message, she would tell her husband, “today Rs. 500/- cost of 5 tickets”. She did not know to do online transfer, so he would transfer the money. She would keep asking him till he confirms he had done it. Tiffin and tea time was 5.30 PM in their house. But then this was the game time too. So Mrs. Chaturvedi would keep the tea in the flask. Tiffin would be Maggie noodles, sandwich, poha etc. This was because Mr. Chaturvedi would not eat earlier; he wanted his tiffin at 5.30 only.

    If he wanted to ask her anything during the game, she would glare at him. Sometimes when she got a line completed, she would jump up and scream “I won, I won”. Mr. Chaturvedi would get a shock. Sometimes she would murmur loudly “let the next number be 30, 30.....thirtyyyyyyyy my kitchen is dirty”. Mr. Chaturvedi would run to check the kitchen. Sometimes she would exclaim “ 70 Oh 70, 70, seventyyyyyy old men are nasty” Mr. Chaturvedi would think she is indirectly talking about him.

    This was a totally irritating experience for Mr. Chaturvedi. A game is sometimes won and sometimes lost. Now because of Online transfer Mr. Chaturvedi knew exactly how much money she was spending. Before this he never had any account of what she was spending and she never discussed anything with him. He was irritated that she was spending so much money on a game. Moreover this game was spoiling his evening tiffin.

    After a few days Mr. Chaturvedi had a running nose and mild fever. He and Mrs. Chaturvedi went for the Covid test. By the evening the results were in. It came by mail and Mrs. Chaturvedi could not see it. Mr. Chaturvedi said both of them had tested positive. But since Mrs Chaturvedi did not have any symptoms, she told him to show her the results. But he refused.

    Since both of them were positive, Mrs. Chaturvedi did all the work and took care of her husband. She set up a pact with her friend who would do the online transfer for the game and continued playing, much to the irritation of Mr. Chaturvedi.

    Mr. Chaturvedi, never thought she would play when he or she were sick. How wrong he was.

    A few more days later, Mrs. Chaturvedi developed fever and her oxygen level dropped. Mr. Chaturvedi rushed her to the hospital. Now he had printed the earlier lab report. The doctor looked at the report and said, as per that report she did not have Covid, only her husband did. Because she did not isolate from him, she too got it. Mrs. Chaturvedi glared at her husband. Inspite of seeing her so sick, he slyly smiled at her, looking like he had achieved something. The doctor said they both need to be hospitalised. Mrs. Chaturvedi called for the wheelchair and sat on it and said she was ready. The doctor asked “What about your husband” Mrs. Chaturvedi looked at the doctor and said “send him to the mental hospital”!!!.
     
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  5. sln

    sln Platinum IL'ite

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    Simple conflicts woven into a story with an absolutely deserving last line comment.SLN
     
  6. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    THE GREAT INDIAN KITCHEN = part 4


    Komala and Bharani were from a small village near Madurai. Both left home for higher studies after completion of their 10th standard. They did their engineering and went to the USA for Masters. They met at the university. I would not say it was love at first sight. They were good friends who fell in love later. Both got jobs in the USA. But deep down in their hearts they wanted to come back to India. So after working for a couple of years Bharani got a job in India. After a few months Komala too got placed and returned to India. They bought a three bedroom apartment and lived together.

    Now as all Indian parents do, their parents started to talk about marriage. This is when they told their parents about their desire to get married. Their parents knew the affair was too far gone. So they got married in their village, went to Switzerland for their honeymoon and gave a party to their friends.

    They got back to their routine lifestyle. It was work, home, and gym. Weekends they became idlers. Both were health conscious and controlled what they ate. They would binge once in a while. Their home cooking was making porridge for breakfast and salad for dinner. Lunch was in the office cafeteria. Both were obsessive about keeping the house clean. Since there was not much cooking done, the kitchen was spotless.

    In their 5 years of marriage, Komala’s Mom had visited once, but city life was too boring for her and she had gone back after a few days. Bharanis parents had not come even once. But in mid march 2020 they decided to visit, after much persuasion from Bharani. They arrived by train one morning. On their arrival the first comment Sulochana made about Komala was “why are you not wearing your thali, bindi or bangles. It is inauspicious for married women to be like this”. Bharani quickly went to Komala’s defence and said “leave her alone, let her be how she wants. Don’t bring your village traditions to her”. Sulochana, though irritated, kept to herself. She did not like Komala wearing only a pyjama and T shirt every day. Whenever she had a chance she would say she would love to see her daughter in law in a saree with flowers in her head.

    After inspection of the kitchen, she asked “why so less stuff, are you both not eating?”. Komala said they do not eat much and do not cook much as both of them want to stay healthy. Bharani told his mother to make a list of what she wants and he would order it. After ordering the bill came to a whooping Rs. 8000/-. Not once in their married life had they ordered so much grocery. Since it was lockdown both Komala and Bharani were working from home and would lock themselves in their bedroom to work.

    Then the cooking began. Next day morning, Komala woke up to the sound of the mixie at 6.30 AM and the smell of fresh coffee wafting. Who can resist the smell? She got up and went to the kitchen to see breakfast cooking in full swing. Her Mother in Law gave her a large cup of coffee. Though Komala said it was too much, she was forced to drink it. Before they logged into work, breakfast was served. It was an elaborate one with chutney and sambhar. It was a different item each day, like poori/saggu, Pottu/kadalacurry, Appam/kurma, Idli or dosa with chutney or sambhar. Then again at 11 AM another cup of coffee and snacks to go with it. Lunch will be a full course meal. Though Bharani and Komala resisted, they were forced to eat. Some days Komala would come out of her room and see Sulochana making savouries for them to munch, or it would be something sweet.

    Komala would finish work at 2 PM and come out and see the entire house in disarray. Coffee cups in the living room, fruit peels or snacks littered on the floor, clothes laid on furniture to dry, even her desktop had her father in laws underwear drying on it. The kitchen sink piled with dishes and the kitchen counters and stove top were full of splattered food. Her parents in law would be having their afternoon nap. She will have to slog for about 2 hours to clean up the kitchen alone and then more time to clean the house. At 3.30 PM Sulochana will get up and straight away give orders for dinner and start making coffee. She will then sit in front of the TV watching serials. Komala will have to make an elaborate dinner; her in-laws did not like the idea of ordering out. Again after dinner it will be cleaning time. Bharani will do the dishes, much to the irritation of Sulochana. According to her, men should never enter the kitchen.

    Komala and Bharani in their work tension and the amount of cleaning that needed to be done everyday, forgot all about their diet. Though they were irritated and cribbed most of the time, the items that were cooked were too tempting to resist. On most days they skipped dinner. Each made fun of each other about their diets.

    Then June came and the old couple were getting restless, they missed their home and it was the season of sowing. At the end of June Bharani and Komala decided to drive them back to their village. It would be a good break for them too. It was too risky to take a train.

    Dates were planned, things packed, and the car serviced. On that morning Komala went to her cupboard and took out her jeans and wore them. She could not button it as her waist was 2 inches bigger. She cried, much to the amusement of Bharani. He said “see who became fattt “. Then he took his pant and wore it. He jumped 2 three times, guess for what, to pull up his pants and button it. Komala fell on the bed rolling and laughing. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  7. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    THE MUMMY RETURNS- part 5


    It was the year 2010, and all political parties were in election mode. You could see huge banners, many speeches and every politician was on their feet. Many promises left undone, were completed on a war footing. In April 2011, Tamilnadu went to the polls. Yet again, the AIADMK won. Ms. Jayalalitha the great dynamic lady became the chief minister. She kept up her promises made during the campaign and started giving the freebees. One such promise was to give each ration card holder 2 goats.

    Mariamma, a widow, lived in a small village in a small house. She had 8 children, out of which only 4 lived. Her son Raja lived with her along with his wife and a daughter. Mariamma was a great follower of M.G.R and later Jayalalitha. She had never missed even one MGR movie, and still could remember all the songs and some dialogues. Now, Mariamma got 2 goats for her ration card and Raju got 2 for his. On getting the goats, she was all praises for Jayalalitha and called one of the goats Jaya and the other as Amma. Though the goats were weak when she got them, in her good care, they soon picked up good health.

    Now coming to 2020, the goat herd has grown to 50 plus. Mariamma made good money out of this herd. But never would she give money to anyone. She kept her cash along with her meagre belongings in a steel trunk which was kept locked. She had a small bag tied to her waist with the betel leaves and tobacco that she chewed regularly.

    Every morning, Mariamma would take her wire basket, put her steel box with lunch in it along with a bottle of water, and leave. She would take the goats to graze in a small hillock. She would return by about 3.30 PM and on the way go to the TASMAC shop, drink and come home staggering. No one dared to talk to her when she was in this state. But all of them got good entertainment when she sang her favourite MGR songs and danced. The children would run behind her and they loved her as occasionally she would give them a coin.

    Then Covid stuck. Prime Minister Modi announced a country wide lockdown. Even in small villages people had to stay indoors. Covid was spreading like wildfire.

    Mariamma was oblivious to all this and started getting ready for her daily routine. Raju told her there was a lockdown and no one should go out. But Mariammas reply was “who is this Modi, kodi to tell us what to do. If my Amma was the Prime minister,she never would have done this. Even Covid would not have touched Tamilians. And what is this disease, have i not seen it all”. Saying this she took her goats to graze. In small places, most of them are known to each other. The police stopped her, but she gave them the worst scolding in the foulest of language, the policemen were so embarrassed that they let her go.

    In the evening, on her return the TASMAC shop was closed, she stood outside it and yet again cursed Modi in the foulest of language.

    But in about 2 days she had sobered. No alcohol made her a soft spoken person. She realised Raju, a daily wage worker, had no job. There was difficulty in buying groceries. She gave Raju Rs. 3000/- to buy groceries. She gave her Daughter in law Rs.1000/- and even her Granddaughter Rs. 100/-.

    Then Covid struck her. She was breathless, and was rushed to the hospital 30 Kilometres away. There was no immediate fear of infection spreading as Mariamma would stay away from the main house near her goat shed. They refused to let Raju near the ambulance and Raju went on his bicycle to the hospital. His mother was in the ICU connected to many tubes. The nurses and watchman kept chasing him away. Raju could just see his mother through a window. He did the same for the next couple of days. The only way he could identify his Mom was her wire basket with her saree, kept on the side table.

    On the 3rd day, she was shifted to the covid ward. He still could not talk to her but could see her on the bed with her basket nearby. The next day, he did not see her. Her bed was occupied by someone else. Since doctors and nurses were overwhelmed, no one was willing to give any reply to Balus enquiries as to where his mom was. He cried and asked everyone if they had seen his mom. Finally one nurse said “Probably she has gone up”. Balu wept loudly. The watchman came and consoled him. He directed Balu to the room where covid bodies were kept. Balu went there. He knew he would not be allowed inside, he peeped through the window at the bodies piled. There he saw the legs of his mother. Her saree was draped around it. He wailed and the watchman consoled him and told him to inform near and dear ones, and to do the last rites as he will not be getting the body.

    Raju went home and did the last rites for his departed mother. He was very sad.

    Because of overcrowding the patients who were getting better were shifted to lie down on the floor and the more sick patients were put on the bed. That is what had happened when Balu visited and could not see his mom. She was on shifted to the mat on the floor.

    Now Mariamma had recovered. She kept wondering why Raju did not visit. Then she was discharged. But she did not go home and kept sitting in the corridor. The nurses would feel sorry for her and give her some food. She spent 3 days like this. Then one evening there was a notice saying the health minister was coming to inspect the hospital. So the doctors and the watchman chased Mariamma out. She went out and took a lift and travelled a short distance. Then she found a person who was going to pass her village. She got dropped off and walked 10 KMS and reached home by 8.30 PM. She was an angry Mariamma.

    She banged on the door angrily. Her daughter in law opened the door. Immediately mariamma pounced on her and asked “What you thought I am not coming back is it?”. Her daughter in law fainted. Then she walked in and sat down and told her son to fetch her water to drink. Raju had run to the corner of the room and stood facing the wall, shivering. But he went and took a glass of water, shivering in fright and walked towards her, focussing on her legs.

    She took the water and asked, why he was shivering so much and why his wife had fainted. Then he slowly told her what had happened.

    Mariamma immediately asked Raju “ You did not break open my truck did you”...
     
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