Endless Tales of Corona - 10

Chapter 10 - Journeying to the cure

-         Sumithra Vasudevan Unni

Nikhil and Mathew woke up chirpy, after a good night’s rest… It had been days since they slept peacefully, and they missed the comforts of Pondicherry. “It is amazing to wake up in a forest, you can hear the bird calls. I miss this in the city”, said Nikhil. “Didn’t know you loved birds’ man... If you are interested, I’ll put you in touch with a bunch of guys who go birdwatching regularly in Pondy. But you must be willing to wake up early in the morning.” “Well... I guess I could sacrifice some sleep to connect with nature. Didn’t imagine it to be so cool….”

Rudha was up and ready for the day. The guys freshened up, had a nice herbal tea and rushed to get ready for the day. At the breakfast table they asked, ‘So what’s our plan for today?’. Rudha smiled. It’s a special day today and we have special tasks to do.’ ‘What’s so special about today and what are our special tasks’, asked Nikhil. ‘You’ll know soon. Finish breakfast and let’s talk’, giggled Rudha looking at the puzzled faces on both their faces.

‘I spoke to ma and she told me about Corona. It’s deadly as it can spread very fast and infect millions in no time. It spreads through contact.’ Rudha watched Nikhil and Mathew go pale as they listened to her.  ‘But, there’s hope. This forest is home to many plants of innumerable medicinal value. We could create a vaccine for it. It could boost people’s immunity and prevent the spread. Ma was telling me about the plants that could be used to create the vaccine. There are herbs that grow under the sycamore tree, at the heart of this island.’

Walk in the woods. Painting by Michael Mrozik

Mathew wasn’t convinced. ‘These herbal medicines are not really scientific, you see. Plus, there are lot of steps involved in drug testing before it can be released worldwide. How are you going to test the medicine and see that it works…’ Rudha smiled again, ‘it’s worth a shot. If we can find the herbs, and create the vaccine, you take it to the city, analyze its molecular composition and find a pharma company to produce it at scale.’

Matthew shrugged. ‘Okay, let’s get started,’ Rudha said. ‘It’s going to be a long journey. How’s the josh?’ ‘Aye, aye captain!’, screamed the two. ‘Now let’s get you disguised so that you won’t stand out. They wouldn’t want non-believers watching the ritual. It will take us two days to get there, so let us start today and we will be there right on time for the ritual. Ma will meet us there.’

Nikhil and Mathew got off their regular clothes and started off with the body painting. They were painted in black and white stripes. They wore a head gear with feathers, some tribal accessories made of shells, and a dress made of green leaves. Both the friends now looked nothing like the city lads and would easily blend in with the tribals now. “You have to get your walk straight. If you appear to be at discomfort with the forest, they’ll recognize that you are not one among them. Also, walk as quietly as possible. The tribals are usually very quiet in the forest, lest the wake up any wild animal,” advised Rudha. Nikhil raised a brow and asked, ‘What would happen if they find out?’ ‘You won’t come back alive. They will sacrifice you to the Gods.’ Rudha’s words sent a chill down their spine.

The trio walked into the forest, heading north. Rudha led the way and Nikhil and Mathew followed the trail.  Both the city boys often struggled to catch up with Rudha, who glided effortlessly into the forest. ‘She is like Mowgli,’ remarked Nikhil. Mathew shushed him. They walked until sunset, barely resting in between. They stopped near a riverside and drank some water. It tasted so sweet and cold, that it took away all the tiredness until then. ‘Let’s rest here for a while and we’ll start walking again in sometime’, said Rudha. ‘But its going to be pitch dark, wailed Nikhil… How will we walk in the dark…’ ‘You’ll see,’ smiled Rudha….

- To be continued -
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About the writer - Sumithra is an engineer-turned-development professional with a keen sense of working for a cause. She is natural humourist and love to sing.

Endless Tales of Corona - 10 Endless Tales of Corona - 10 Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 19:12 Rating: 5

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