I was sipping Assam tea while enjoying my favourite
freshly-baked walnut brownie made by my sister Simran. The doorbell was
answered by her maid and a miniature storm invaded the room as my 6-year-old
nephew zoomed inside. He dropped the school bag on the sofa, kicked-off his
shoes and socks, got rid of his neck-tie and then with an innocent smile, quietly
sneaked into the kitchen.
Moments later, sporting a grin that extended as far back as
his ears, he seated himself on the chair next to mine with a big bowl of strawberry-banana
‘Whoa!’ I exclaimed as I raised my eyebrows and stole a
glance at Simran. She smiled back placidly at him.
I couldn’t stay quiet. ‘It’s raining outside Adi. Wouldn’t you
rather have some hot chocolate milk with a sandwich or something?’
‘Come on mausi’, he made a face at me.
I turned to Simran in hope ‘You must not allow him to eat
all this during this weather Simmi. What if he falls ill? My neighbour’s
daughter is down with viral fever since a week and she’s gotten so weak.’
Simran teased me with her twinkling eyes, ‘He’s got a magic
wand to protect him. Something like a secret potion. Only that it’s not a
I was beginning to feel as if this was some conspiracy being
played out by the mother and son while I was the silent spectator. What’s worse
is that I was really feeling worried that Aditya might catch a cold soon. He was
close to emptying the bowl of the yummy ice-cream.
Noticing my restlessness, Simran came and hugged me from
behind as she put my worry to rest ‘Didi, I give him Dabur Chyawanprash every day. You obviously know about this time-tested, age-old
formulation for good immunity, right?’
‘Yes, I’ve heard about it but does it
really improve a child’s immunity?’
‘Of course didi. Thanks to the goodness
of a number of herbs and 40 natural ingredients, it actually strengthens the
body’s defenses and protects against illnesses.’
I was still skeptical as I recalled my neighbour’s
daughter, ‘But does that mean you allow him to eat and drink anything he wants?’
‘Didi. I have seen it work and that’s what
makes me resolute about its efficacy. Do you even remember the last time Adi
fell ill? Previously, he would keep catching cold every now and then from kids
in his school. But now, things have changed. His health his good.’
I slipped my hand over the corner of the
table while muttering ‘touch wood’ to myself.
She continued, ‘In fact, it’s so often
that his friends keep falling ill and he has no one to play with. Hence, I even
told his friends’ parents to start them on Dabur Chyawanprash.’
I happened to notice that indeed Aditya
seemed to be in good health. ‘If that is the case, I totally trust you, Simran.
Go Adi, eat whatever you want!’ I tickled him and his peals of laughter filled the entire room with a wondrous rapture!
“If you would have delayed bringing her here, she may not
have survived,” saying so, the doctor walked out of the room towards the
waiting area. Babli still lay unconscious and severely dehydrated – lips parched,
eyes sunken and breathing rapid. The drops of the IV fluid slowly merged into
her bloodstream, each drop slowly adding a little more life to her petite body.
In the hustle and bustle of the town hospital, Babli’s
mother – seated on a wooden bench in the waiting area – wiped her tears with the
corner of her saree. As Babli’s father and the doctor walked towards her, she
stood up – eager to hear that her precious one had survived the severe bout of
They had travelled miles from their village to reach this
hospital, for the treatment of their only 5-year-old daughter. After exchanging
a few questions with them, what the doctor related about her condition came as
a shock to Babli’s parents.
‘Your daughter has just survived a severe infection. But do
you know this could have been prevented? If only she would have used a toilet
instead of defecating in the open.’
‘But everyone does it in the open in our village’, said Babli’s
‘What everyone does may not always be right Ramu. Passing
stools in the open contaminates the soil and the water with germs. Kids, when
exposed to this, can easily catch infections as well end up with worms in their
‘Oh no! I wish we knew this earlier.’
‘Not only that, poor hygiene is one of the leading cause of
deaths amongst children. And if you think of it this way – it is an avoidable
cause. Can’t we do even this much for our precious ones? Give them better toilet
facilities in schools & at home, teach them to wash hands properly after defecating,
wash hands before & after eating and keep the surroundings clean.’
Ramu stood with his head low as he began to say, ‘Doctor, I cannot
thank you enough for saving my daughter’s life. And I make a promise to you and
to her today. The promise of better sanitation for my daughter, my whole family
and my village too. No child in my village shall die for lack of hygienic toilet
facility. I shall speak to my uncle in the Gram Panchayat and take this
initiative ahead for the benefit of my entire village.’
‘Sure Ramu. In fact, HUL’s flagship sanitation brand ‘Domex’
currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme for the same reason. They
make toilets accessible and affordable for a number of villages. They also help
us educate everyone about the benefits of clean toilets and good hygiene. What’s
more, they are working hard to build 24,000 toilets in rural areas of India by
Babli’s mother too added with a sparkle, ‘I will discuss
this with all the women of our village and we will pass this knowledge about
hygiene to our kids. The school teacher is our friend and she will help us too.’
‘Well done Ramu and Rajjo. I will be proud of you if you can
do this. And as far as Babli is concerned, she will be bubbling with joy once
again, very soon.’
You too can bring about the change in the lives of millions
of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to
do is ‘click’ on the ‘Contribute Tab’ on this page and Domex will contribute
Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like
Babli live a dignified life.
This is my submission for an Indiblogger Campaign #ToiletForBabli
He was the one who normally cooked non-vegetarian food in their house, albeit not too often. Not that she didn’t know to prepare it, but simply because he liked it that way. Of course, she loved it too! Especially when he would go all the way to bring out their pristine Borosil dinner set, lay the table with all those pieces of glass bowls, plates, casseroles, tumblers, glasses and more!
“We’re just the two of us, honey” she would often exclaim but he paid no heed while decorating their red table-cloth with numerous pieces – he would simply turn around and flash that smile at her – one which would make her go weak in the knees, even after four years of marriage!
She savored watching his graceful movements in the kitchen as he cooked, as much as she relished the food cooked by him. Today, however, she felt like surprising him. She’d picked up chicken in the evening and decided to cook him a sumptuous non-veg meal.
She ran one final check of all the dishes before the doorbell rang. As she lifted the lid, the rich aroma of the chicken masala made her hunger pangs even more intense. An almost audible growl from her stomach made her giggle to herself. Perfectly golden brown, appetizingly loaded with just the right amount of masalas and piping hot, she picked one small piece of chicken to taste and it just melted in her mouth, tantalizing her taste-buds. Garnishing the masala-laden delicacy with fine-chopped coriander leaves, she secured the lid of the Borosil serving bowl, placing it on the table.
The richness of the rice-flour parathas cooked with ghee was evident in their softness. Off into the Borosil casserole went all the super-hot, soft, soft parathas that her husband immensely relished with gravy.
The chicken biryani was almost done too. The rice grains were tastefully cooked to perfection when she checked, the chicken flavor permeating every grain to release a lip-smacking aroma. She quickly fixed up the fresh green salad, some papad, his favorite boondi-raita and added a dash of lemon to the diced onions.
Just as she was about to call him on the phone, she heard the car pull into the driveway. Looking through the window pane, she saw him pull out of the car, with a small gift in his hand. She smiled coyly. He had a surprise for her, too!
This post is in response to the Trifecta Writing
Challenge – Week 102. The challenge is to write exactly 33 words about love
gone wrong. However, we are forbidden the usage of any of the following words: