Naagu was working from home and his boss was on the line.
“Yes Sir. It will be done. No problem. By the way, let me ----” Before he could complete his conversation, he got distracted by the dog under his feet. Buddy, his daughter’s pet dog was circling him and scratching and making funny sounds, trying to catch his attention. Naagu yelled at his wife to fetch the stupid stuff and throw him out. “Not at all allowing me to carry on my work even for five minutes at a stretch. What my boss will think? Will he not believe that I am playing with this little demon and only when he calls me, I just buck up my work? Work from home is not a pleasure at all. Unable to concentrate on my work. Hey, you Renuka, I am howling here and what are you doing there? Where did you vanish?”
Renuka was not there. She was busy talking to her neighbour at the backyard across the fence. She was explaining to her neighbour how these doctors, of late, happened to be the Corona-carriers. She was citing examples of places in other parts of the city. The doctors living on rented houses were asked to vacate immediately and some nurses were even evicted from such apartments. They were all the time dealing with Corona patients and were bound to be inhibited with the virus. She was also narrating about the death of Dr. Simon Hercules who contracted the infection while treating such patients but could not save himself. He succumbed to Corona. She advised her neighbour, “So, Reema, don’t go to any doctor immediately after the ‘Lockdown’ is lifted.”
She heard her husband calling her number of times. She had to abruptly cut her conversation and rush inside. She looked up and down, hither and thither. Neither her hubby, nor her daughter Seema could be seen. Not even Buddy.
When Renuka did not turn up immediately, he rang up his boss and told him that he would revert to his business talk in a while. Before shutting down he said, “Let me bundle up this messy creature and leave him outside. Only then, I can pay attention to my work. Will call you soon, Sir.”
Buddy was still craving for attention by his scratches and mild barks. Pomeranians generally would not make huge noise. They were bushy and lovable. Naagu did not appreciate its pranks when he was busy with his work. Where did the two go? Neither Seema his daughter nor Renuka his wife turned up. So, he shut down his laptop, got up from his work and paid attention to Buddy. He thought, ‘Maybe it had to be given food or taken out for a walk.’ The minute he lifted Buddy, he suddenly jumped from his hands and rushed towards the lumber room where they had dumped many items which they did not use regularly, but were needed occasionally.
Naagu finding Buddy’s behaviour very funny, was curious to know what was he up to. Of all places in the house, why a lumber room? That too with an instant steadfast speed? Certainly not funny. Something serious. He understood that ‘Buddy wanted to convey something.’ It jumped over many sundry items rolling them over and skidding on a few. Then finally it stopped at a big bamboo basket. Oh! That basket! Long back they bought it in an exhibition for its artistic work. It was purchased mainly for helping the artisan selling it more than its utility value.
Naagu was looking at Buddy, wanting to know what it was going to do with the basket. Certainly, it did not want to play with it. But exactly that was what it did. It came back from the basket and pulled Naagu towards the basket. Again, it rushed to the basket and barked in its very low tone. Probably it wanted the basket to be opened. He had no idea at all as to what was kept in the basket. That too what could be there as something interesting to a dog like Buddy? Then Buddy came back again to Naagu and pulled him by biting the edges of his pyjama. Naagu got the hint. The basket had to be opened. He went towards the basket.
The minute he opened the lid, he had a shock of his life. His adrenal shot up suddenly and he shivered with spine chilling. He almost missed a heartbeat. He shuddered to think further. His darling daughter lay couched inside the basket and in an unconscious state. Buddy was trying to draw his attention from a long time for this purpose only. But Naagu brushed it aside giving no importance to its disparate calls. He did not catch the clue. At least now he was there. Shirking off his fears, he rushed to see whether the girl was alive. Thank God! She was alive but still unconscious. For how long she was there couched inside the basket, no idea. It was not the time to bother about why Seema came here and hid herself inside the basket and why Renuka did not bother to notice Seema’s absence. Why blame others? He himself did not pay heed to Buddy who kept on scratching his feet.
Seema had to be attended immediately. That was first and foremost. He carefully lifted the girl out of the basket and put her on his shoulder and brought her to the drawing room. He sprinkled water on her and tried to give her glucose. Thanks to Lockdown! Their neighbour Reema had purchased in bulk many glucose packets for her son Raju who was attending cricket coaching class. His instructor had advised him to take one every day after his practice. But due to Lockdown all activities had come to stand still. His parents thought it better to distribute a few packets in the neighbourhood to a few families having small children. That came handy now. Seema alas, was not responding to that instant energy drink.
Naagu rang up Doctor Saraswathy who lived in their vicinity and explained his problem and asked her to give immediate treatment to the girl. Saraswathy was about to leave on her COVID19 special duty. But considering the urgency, she agreed and asked him to come to her residence and not to the hospital. She repeated, ‘Not to the Hospital.’ After taking due precautions of mask, social distancing and sanitizing for all three of them, Naagu Saraswathy and Seema, full attention was paid to Seema. Saline water, injection and a few tablets were to be given coupled with lot of rest and sleep.
What a relief! Naagu got the medicines. Seema came home hale and hearty. Buddy was waiting very impatiently. The minute he saw Seema, he simply bounced on them and this time nobody shewed him away. Renuka too with her guilty feelings was on her toes to receive the girl. She was earlier advocating others to avoid a doctor not only during, but even after the Lockdown. Now she herself had to surrender to a doctor --- all for her daughter’s safe comeback to life. She was praising Raju’s parents for their good gesture of glucose offers. But actually, the very problem sprang up because of him.
Both Seema and Raju were aware of masks and sanitizing. For them it was a plaything. They would be at it as often as needed, rather more than necessary. But they did not bother much about social distancing. In order to bring that factor also into their daily games and plays, they were advised to play ‘hide and seek’ game better known as ‘I Spy You’ without touching each other. On that ill-fated day also, they were playing ‘I Spy You’. Seema in order to hide herself went to lumber room first and then on second thoughts fitted herself into the bamboo basket. Raju kept searching for her including the lumber room and could not find her. He did not think of bamboo basket as a hiding place. He gave up admitting his defeat. Just then his mother called him and he ran away to his place.
Seema unaware of these developments lay there for a while and then peeped out. Not finding him anywhere nearby, she gave a hoot and a whistle and signalled him the direction of her hiding. Raju did not turn up. Only Buddy came. She told Buddy to get Raju. Buddy went in search of Raju but could not locate him. As time passed and Seema did not come out of basket, Raju was also not available, Buddy became disparate and started nudging Naagu. Unfortunately, Naagu deeply buried in his work ignored Buddy’s shrill but clear clarion call. On the contrary he thought Buddy was a nuisance not allowing him to do his work. Finally, when Naagu decided to follow Buddy’s instincts, it was very late. All these small and silly disturbances delayed Seema’s rescue operation which in turn, led to further complications, like suffocation, getting herself crushed into a limited space within the basket and then later fear factor of getting locked up inside the basket, etcetera.
Seema was a in a way lucky. Dr. Saraswathy was available at the nick of the hour, for rendering medical attention. Otherwise, Naagu would be left running from pillar to post in search of a doctor, that also in these ‘lockdown period’. Renuka was still reeling under guilt conscience. When she was busy chattering with Reema, little did she realise that her daughter was in trouble. Buddy was really ‘God sent angel’. God is great! All is well that ended well. The best part of the irony was, just to happen.
Naagu’s mother Naraayani, was deadly against fondling pet animals. No cat, no dog, no parrot. For her only cow and crow were good creatures for us to take care of. She often cursed Seema and Naagu for unnecessarily patting and holding Buddy every now and then. But today having witnessed the nerve-breaking spine-chilling incident, her first reaction was to thank Almighty. To her, Buddy was not a mere doggy. It was in fact very God Bhairava, the God of Dogs.
She addresses the dog as Bhairavan only and is requesting others also to call him that way. Many a time, things do change overnight.
That was how Buddy became Bhairavan overnight.