Totally fiction. No part of this is true! If it was I would’ve died of a heart attack right after!

The narrator is telling this story to his children some night in the near future, let’s say 2025. The pandemic has ended and everyone has so many stories to tell.


Someday, after many years, we will bring this situation in a joke.

So it all started when I got stuck at my friend’s place during the Lockdown. The Coronavirus was spreading like a wildfire and the government had to take major steps for taking control of the situation. Hence, the Lockdown – no roaming in the streets, going places, meeting people. Social distancing was the key to fight the pandemic. So when it all happened I was in transit from Pune to Ujjain, my hometown, and got stuck in Indore. All the transports to Ujjain from Indore were shut down the same day. I called one of my friend who was more than happy to accommodate me for an unknown number of days.

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I was in very good terms with his wife. But mostly, I was excited to meet their newborn baby who was 3 months old at that time. When I met him, I knew my days here will be as delightful as ever.

The baby took a liking to me and used to cry whenever I was not around. I used to take care of him when my friend and his wife had to do office related chores. I loved the extra attention from the baby. I used to carry him all around.

Then the day came when our prime minister decided to boost our morale. He urged us to come to our balconies at exactly 5PM clap for 5 minutes, or show any kind of appreciation, for healthcare workers who are risking their lives by tending to the infected. I loved the idea. My friend used to live at 11th floor. So I would get a good view of people from all over our neighbourhood clapping and banging utensils together!

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Right before 5, the baby started crying. He was hungry after a good sleep. My friend’s wife used to arrange milk bottles for the baby. Both of them, my friend and her wife were downstairs at the community house, trying to solve an issue with the water availability at the society. I grabbed the baby, picked the bottle and went to the balcony. I thought the baby would love some fresh air and a little change of scenery than the ceiling.

Exactly at 5, people from all over started clapping. The neighbourhood was filled with wonderful enthusiasm.

“Booo!”

My friend’s wife thought that it would be a good joke to scare me by making that sound so loud that I jumped. She did not notice the baby while doing it. It all happened so quickly…

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I lost my balance. I lost the grip on the bottle which was dropping when I tried to grab it instinctively. It was like I wasn’t in control of my body and my reflexes were doing everything and my brain went out for shopping.

While trying to catch the bottle, the baby slipped from my left hand. I grabbed the bottle with my right, bent my knees and grabbed the baby by wrapping both of my arms around it. The bottle was still in my right palm.

My friend’s wife watched it all went down with horror. She and I were so shocked that we did not speak for the next couple of seconds.

Then my friend entering and closing the front door brought both of us back to earth. He looked at us and asked what happened. Without looking at each other, we both said, “Nothing”. He gave us a puzzling look and went into the kitchen to grab some utensils.

It had been around 10 minutes but the people were still clapping.