Endless Tales of Corona - 11

Chapter 11: A Quiet Evening by the Riverside

- Soundarajan R

The three friends sat beneath a huge canopy on the banks of the river. Matthew and Nikhil occupied a levelled ground and leaning on the tree, went on a siesta. The experiences in the island they had had so far were something straight out of a Hollywood movie. While they were resting and getting energized for the rest of the night, Rudha went around browsing through the flora. The tribes and her mother had taught her how to spot the poisonous ones from the edible ones. The island was a tropical paradise and rich in flora and fauna. Rudha’s curiosity did not let her rest. Being introduced to herbs and healing from the early part of her life, her quest was mostly around plants, herbs and healing. A surprise awaited Matthew and Nikhil in the ritual, that night. Soon, Rudha had collected the herbs and medicinal plants required for the ritual.

A quiet evening by the riverside

It was late evening by the time Matthew woke up. His stomach was groaning in hunger and he started looking for food in their bags. But having fed them the whole day, the bag had nothing left. Meanwhile Rudha was back with her collection. Fortunately, the collection had supplies for the night. She sat down on a small rock and started filling her bag with flora she had collected. “Oh, you are awake? I didn’t want to disturb you guys,” said Rudha, looking at him. Matthew seated in the same position as he was sleeping, turned slowly towards Rudha. “I have heard from mother of how physically inactive the people in cities are. It is not a surprise then, that this whole day would have been tiresome for you guys” said Rudha. Matthew, although couldn’t deny her, was a bit disappointed with her blatant generalization. People in cities nowadays are walking in the morning and evenings, some go for the gym and workout, some go on trekking explorations, some cycling and some are also playing their favorite sports. After all, there are scores of people strolling on the beach. “Inactive would be an extreme word. We in cities haven’t gone that far” replied Matthew. Rudha wasn’t interested on life in modern cities, but just was concerned not to disturb them for a reason and expressed it.

Nikhil abruptly woke up, picked up the stones and started throwing them towards the river. He was yelling “I will kill you monsters. I will kill you all just by a stroke!” He made it look so simple, while countries are struggling to fight it. Matthew shouted “Nikh…, are you ok?”. Nikhil came back to realize his position and sat up straight to have a long breathe. There was something in the air, which relieved the trauma and tiredness. They then sat around the smoothened surface and feasted on a fruit that Rudha had got. It tasted like guava but looked like a banana.

“So, how far is the place of ritual from here?” asked Nikhil. Matthew was still busy munching the fruits. “All I know is, if we continue in this pace, we might be late for the ceremony. We should pace up,” said Rudha. Nikhil was disappointed with the reply. He expected a number, something like 20 kms or 60% to cover. But Rudha is trained to describe distance in that way, being brought up in an island and not going through formal education.   

Nikhil nudged again, “How can we pace up, it is already night?”. Matthew and Nikhil only then noted the sky and was overwhelmed at what they saw. The sky was a black screen with twinkling stars that lighted up so brightly. It seemed to have seamless power without voltage fluctuation. Nikhil unable to hold himself, exclaimed, “Wow, never seen it this clear and beautiful...!” For a moment it seemed as though they had forgotten all about the dreaded disease of corona.

Meanwhile, Rudha came with a bunch of leaves in her hands – they noticed something glowing inside it. It was a fluorescent flower! How beautiful it looked! Had businessmen known about this they would have used them for all kinds of decorative purposes and in facades of modern glassy retail showrooms to lure more customers. With their enthusiasm renewed, the trio then began walking.

Rudha’s thoughts trailed on the giant Corona creature which had been spotted again in the island. The more she thought about it, the more anxious she became at finding the cure. She was quite hopeful about it. In fact, she was the more hopeful than Nikhil or Matthew. Matthew was lost in thoughts about corona, too. Even though he still had doubts about herbal cures, he couldn’t shy away from it after experiencing the healing it did and hoped that he could find a medicine for this rapidly spreading fatal disease. Nikhil could only think about going back and having a pleasant day in Puducherry strolling through the beach, eating shawarmas and gulping cheaper pint of fluids.

They continued to walk further to reach a place with thick woods and canopy blocking the bright stars, and the marshy land making it hard to walk freely. Although they had had good experience enjoying the flora of the island with its herbs, fluorescent flowers, and edible large fruits, little did they have any experience of the fauna of the island except for the encounter with the native humans. The forest, peaceful so far that night, started becoming noisy with a slow growling noise and it was growing intense!

- To be Continued - 

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About the writer - Engineer-turned-Development professional who is passionate about environmental and sustainability. He adores nature, its invaluable resources and believes in its right to exist peacefully on our planet and advocates for co-existance with nature. 

Endless Tales of Corona - 11 Endless Tales of Corona - 11 Reviewed by Gowthama Rajavelu on 13:22 Rating: 5

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