Mrs. Sur quickly plugged a piece of cloth into the air inlet of the oven to prevent the coal from burning rapidly and rushed to her mother-in-law’s room. She found four of her sons who were reading loudly only few seconds ago had already reached there and her husband was looking bewildered while still in the middle of changing his office clothes. She looked at her mother-in-law, whose eyes were overcast with tears, she looked at her four sons and her husband and saw their visions were fixed at her youngest son Ravi’s nose.
“What is that white thing in his nose”, she asked, still petrified. She looked at her mother-in-law whose voice was choked in tears and was unable to utter a single word. Then she looked at her husband.
“I think it is a naphthalene ball”, he said while still looking confused.
“We have no naphthalene in our house”, she sounded confident.
“I bought it today for our mother to spread inside her wooden chest”, he said.
“But how it got into my child’s nose, since when a naphthalene ball has grown its own hands and legs?” She sounded very upset.
“Even I do not know how it got in there”, her husband pointed towards his son’s nose, which looked bloated. The white ball had not only blocked one nostril completely but also partly blocked the other one due to its large size.
Immediately upon his return from the office when Mr. Sur handed over the packet of naphthalene to his mother in her bedroom, the little boy asked his grandmother to give him one naphthalene ball while she was busy spreading them into her wooden chest. His grandmother gave him a ball and cautioned him not to put into his mouth. The little boy started smelling the ball alternating between his right and left nostrils when suddenly it slipped inside a nostril and was not showing any sign of coming out. The white ball, whose smell mesmerized him from outside, smelled terrible from its accidentally acquired foster home. Everything happened so rapidly that he was totally confused and started crying. When he found his grandmother also started crying that only increased his confusion and he started crying even louder.
In the meantime people from the neighborhood started gathering around the house. Everybody wanted to know why the child, whom everybody knew and loved dearly, was crying. The Sur family came out from inside the house with the naphthalene stuck child hoping that somebody could show some way how to bring the white ball out which would eventually stop the child from crying.
The wailing of the grandmother, screaming of the mother, crying of the child, all kinds of concurrent advices from the people who had gathered, request from Mr. Sur with folded hands in the loudest possible voice asking people to keep the noise level low so that he could think what could be done created a complete chaos. The other four boys of the family were standing with their mouths open.
“What happened here, why the child is crying, why so many people are standing outside this house, was anyone bitten by a venomous snake?” Everybody present looked at the person, who asked too many questions in a very short time while approaching carefully so that he did not step on anyone.
[to be continued ……]