NIA Says ‘NO’

As 9-year-old Nia was packing her badminton kit for the her practice in the nereby sports complex, the blaring voice of the television news anchor came from the adjacent room, “2nd Wave of Coronavirus pandemic hit the country. Delhi to be in complete lockdown from tomorrow”.

“Lockdown, again?”, since March 2020 Nia was quite familiar with this term!

She rushed to her father and asked, “Papa, why lockdown AGAIN?”

To this innocent question, her father, Harsh replied, “Nia, it means that we shouldn’t go out of our homes as Coronavirus has come back again like last year. This time much stronger”

“So, this means my school will continue with its online classes for ore time? Oh I don’t like speaking to my teachers in a laptop frame. I want to sit in my classroom, roam around in my school, play with my school friends. Papa, this is not done”, She exclaimed.

Hearing to the father-daughter conversation, Nia’s mom, Ridhima intervened, “Yes dear, we are supposed to stay home for some more time. We need to be safe and sound and that’s why the government has decided on the lockdown again. We can’t go out as corona virus has hit us harder this time. And, yes, you will continue to have your online classes until some more time.”

Nia replied with a sigh, “Oh…No…how long!”

For the next whole week, each member of the family would be seen doing the same thing – Nia sitting for her online classes; Harsh interacting with his office guys at his home-workstation; and Ridhima, a nurse by profession, getting ready for her duty. She would get ready, hug little Nia, say bye to her husband, put on her mask and gloves and step out for her hospital. On reaching her hospital, she would first shield herself by wearing her PPE kit, re-adjust her mask tightly and enter the ward to attend her corona patients.

Whole day long, she nurses her patients with utmost dedication. At the same time making sure that she is not exposed to any virus infected patient. At times, her PPE kit makes her feel uneasy as it obstructs her breathing and makes her sweaty. But, Ridhima knows it very well that the safety of her family depends of the degree of robustness that she maintains in the safety measures.

With each passing day, Ridhima’s frustration started becoming more and more evident of her face and body language though she would not speak anything to anyone. Now, she had stopped her morning hugs to Nia. A ‘dry’ BYE had replaced her broad smile and warm hug.

Little Nia is perplexed but doesn’t know what has happened to her loving and caring mom. She looks at her mom; she looks at her papa; and she look at her mom’s mask, which she was not allowed to touch.

Days and weeks pass by, Nia cannot take this physical distancing from her mom any longer. She goes to her papa and says, “NO…Mom cannot STOP hugging me”!

Harsh held her little daughter, made her sit on his lap, and told her lovingly, “Dear Nia, your mother is a CORONA warrior. She fights corona day in and day out. The world needs her at this moment. She attends to the patients’ health needs and makes sure that they get well soon to HUG their little ones waiting at their homes.

As for hugging you, she will continue to HUG you with her EYES and not HANDS. She is a NURSE and knows very well how dangerous this deadly virus is.

Nia intently listens to her papa and says, “NO… My Mom is a superhero”!

Months pass by without Mom’s Hug to Nia. At nights, Ridhima bursts into tears before Harsh on her helplessness to caress her own baby. Harsh consoles her saying, “Not everyone can do what you are doing to the humanity. You are nursing people so that they hug their babies…You are SHAKTISWAROOPA, the Empowered Spirit”.

But Nia has no complain now.  She is proud that her mom is a superhero.

Nia says NO to tears!

Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a person living or otherwise may be purely coincidental

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