• anjali mohapatra

Silence!!

It was lunch break. I leaned back for ten seconds on my rocking chair. Perhaps, I was totally exhausted with continuous phone talk with my boss, as well as other staff members! From early morning of 8:30 am, I was literally stuck to my laptop till noon-lunch hour.

‘Ah, my goodness! At least a short break!,’ I took a deep breath of relief. I pondered about the last discussion before shutting down the laptop. Strolling around the room, I came out to the dining table. Dad, mom, my siblings, everybody had finished their lunch. Again I had to join in the ‘laptop’- work from home! I looked at my watch, then gulped the food as quick as possible. There was no time to enjoy the testy food leisurely. Once I was done, I went back to my room and opened my laptop for the next session. As I opened my laptop, the screen covered with the full size image of my boss.

He started his usual lecture, giving his advice, and future plan of work. I had nothing to say except ‘yes boss’! I was not against his wish, but the excess doze was too irritating for me! I felt like nodding my head every time like a dummy, nothing else. To some extent, I was happy that at least the next day, I could see what exactly was going on around my city. Although I was well aware of the heartbreaking news across the world. How bad was the current situation! The next day was Sunday, I would be free.

***

Sunday morning! Usually, I get up a little bit late to compensate the whole week’s hectic work. Just to get some fresh chilled air, I went to my balcony. It was 9:30 am. I was stunned looking at the scenario out-side of our building, and beyond it! I couldn't find a single person on the vast open space of our building, which is usually filled with campus residents busy with entertainment sports or some other events. Especially, in the Sunday early morning, the playground area is used to fill up with the high pitch noise of children. But, these few days, the pandemic fear had grabbed all the happiness of everyone!

I gazed at the sky. The sky was clear, rarely any bird was seen. Perhaps, the sky appeared so clear because of less pollution. ‘But, who quarantined the birds? Are they aware of this virus?,’I murmured myself, and smiled at my own absurd thinking. The part of the road which was visible from my balcony was silent. Randomly, one or two persons were crossing. No vehicles, nothing. The funniest part was - hundreds of families are residing in the the same campus, but from nowhere any noise was audible, not even the babies cry! I was really surprised to feel the quietness of the surrounding! ‘Where are we heading? How many days? Can we hide ourselves from this tinniest virus?’ I was terribly puzzled within with all these questions, but kept quiet! I didn't like to show up my weakness to my family members.

Though office work tensions were not there, yet I didn't feel relaxed. I came back to my chair. Suddenly, the message tune pulled my attention towards my mobile phone. I switched on the mobile phone.

Someone messaged me,‘Watch the breaking news’…and see the documentary film released by some unknown person.’

My eyebrows squeezed, forehead skin wrinkled. Silently, I watched the phone. ‘When these stupid persons will stop these fake news?’I frowned, and switched off my phone. But few minutes later, once again the message tune forced me to watch it.

This time I lied down on my bed, and opened my iPhone. My anxiety increased in double ratio to know what more worst thing could happen?!

‘The latest news is more vicious than the present one. It is said that the virus is prone to the sound. So, all are requested to make as less sound as possible. And besides that protection of ears are also necessary.’

‘What?! Who the hell are you? Are you kidding?’ I wrote angrily.

‘It’s not fun. I got the news, and I messaged you. Watch the documentary,’the unknown messaged.

I was quiet for some moment. However, I couldn't resist my anxiety to see what exactly the documentary is! Once again, I switched on my phone and watched it.

***

‘People are totally dressed up like astronauts. There is no way at all to identify, to which country they belong! Not a single person was in normal dress up. They were rushing somewhere. But they walked so funnily, it seemed as if they were walking on the moon. From their walk, I guessed they were worried, must not be in a normal situation. As if some one is chasing them seriously, and they are running to save their life at any cost!

I switched off my phone immediately. ‘What a crap? Is this a cartoon drawing to threat the human life more? Now whatever has happened, is that not enough?’ I wished a relaxation in Sunday, and what tension I had received! I couldn't settle down my mind, then came to the drawing room to switch on the TV. Every news channel had only and only one discussion of ‘Corona virus’!

My eye lids were fixed on the pictures of different cities across the world! Once, the most crowded cities are also completely silent. No humans, no vehicles, nothing was passing through the road. It looked so weird, but that was the truth! And the increasing number of mortality in all over the big cities were so dreadful that every single person was expecting, anything could happen at any moment!

I was really immersed in a deep thought. ‘Is this the end of the human era? How many days we can play hide and seek game with these viruses?! Within this crucial time also, how can people do social crime?’ I shook my head to and forth. ‘God knows whether it was a conspiracy or misfortune of humans!

I didn't dare to watch that news any more. My heart started pounding heavily. All were house locked. A typical silence engulfed the whole city. The whole absurd thoughts captured my mind. Mind was so fast, it was running from one track to another. Suddenly, I landed in so many thoughts at a time. Like the education, business, global relationship blah, blah, blah. Perhaps, the time will come that the school going children would get their studies through internet- a virtual education! Suddenly, phone buzzed. I picked up the phone. My friend Nikhil, a doctor in a well known hospital was on the line.

‘Hello, Amit?’

‘Yeah, Nikhil! Tell me. Where are you?’ I was on my toes, hearing his worried voice.

‘Amit, do me a favour, please! I don't have much time. Just listen to me carefully.’ His voice was feeble, and too much call interruption was there. I couldn't hear his full sentence even! But, I felt as if he urgently required something.

‘Yeah, Nikhil. I can hear you. Tell me, what do you want me to do?’

‘Amit, just inform my fiancée that I am affected with the virus. While doing my job with those patients, somehow I was caught the same. And I am quarantined. I tried her phone but I couldn't connect her. I have no idea how is she now! Please tell her to keep patience.’

‘What??! But..but where are you Nikhil? In which hospital? Can I visit you?’

‘No. You can't. Lockdown is still there.’

‘But, Nikhil! I can arrange something, and I would like to see you.’

Suddenly the line was completely cut off. I was disgusted with this call drop, and net work connection.

Hardly twenty days before lockdown, Nikhil’s engagement with Nita was accomplished in a five star hotel in Banglore. I was one among the other big invitees. It was a wonderful party! I was surprised how Nikhil was caught this dreadful disease! He was absolutely ok, and he took all the precautions before visiting the patients.

I clumped around the room with an unsteady mind. ‘How will I connect Nita?!’ I dialled two, three friends of mine, who were working in Bangalore. Luckily one of them responded me, and passed Nita’s residence phone number, not her mobile number. With a hope, I dialled that number. There was no response!

It was really a weird feeling! I tried again and again. After six, seven trial, a male voice responded, ‘Hello? Who do you want?’

‘Can I speak to Nita, please?!’

‘What?’ I can't hear you.

Once again, I repeated, ‘Nita ma’am. Is she there?’

‘She is hospitalised. By the way, may I know your name please!’

‘Yes, yes, Amit. But, why she is hospitalised?’

‘She was having a slow fever and cough. Doctor suspected something, so advised her to stay in the hospital till her blood reports confirm.’

I thrust myself on the rocking chair, mobile in my lap still connected to the other side. The voice of that man was audible, not clearly though!

I felt as if the sky was falling upon me! ‘What would I say to Nikhil?!’ I went on thinking, how come both were sick at a time! Definitely, somebody having infection attended the engagement ceremony from which both were caught infection. And that somebody must be one of their relatives who came from abroad -Singapore!

‘Is this virus has come to make all of us silent forever?’ I murmured myself.

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