Ojas and his friends were wondering about their Dusshera celebrations this year. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it had become difficult to even move out of their houses.
Physical distancing did not allow huge gatherings and so it was impossible to build the Ravan effigy, which they normally built and burnt every year on Dusshera.
“I cannot think of any way we can build the effigy this year? Do you guys have any suggestions?” Ojas asked his friends over a video call.
“We cannot just sit at home during the festival; we have always celebrated it with great pomp and show,” said Saavan.
“Saavan is right; we have to think of a way to celebrate the festival while following all precautions of wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance from each other,” Chandan added.
“But how will we make the Ravan effigy? It takes at least two to three days to do that. We can’t possibly meet and build it. We have to think of something else,” said Saavan.
“Let us all think about it and discuss in the evening,” Ojas suggested and disconnected the video call.
Ojas was still thinking about it when his grandfather saw him looking worried. He asked, “What is it, Ojas? What is bothering you?”
“Nothing Grandpa. I am just lost in my thoughts,” said Ojas.
“Oh Ojas! I know when you are lost in your thoughts and troubled,” Grandpa insisted.
“I was just wondering how we can celebrate Dusshera this year, Grandpa. The Dusshera fair has also been cancelled due to the coronavirus,” Ojas said sadly.
“Let’s think, Ojas. Festivals are meant to be happy events, not sad ones. Dusshera can be a very special and unique experience this year given the circumstances,” Grandpa consoled.
“Special? How so, Grandpa?” asked Ojas.
“By making people understand that the coronavirus is the evil of these times and we have to be ready to fight it and overcome it. We have to also prepare those who are not yet ready,” Grandpa explained.
“We are prepared, Grandpa. My friends and I make sure that we wash our hands regularly; we leave our houses only when it is absolutely necessary and we always wear a mask outside the house. Also, we use the sanitiser at all times,” Ojas said proudly.
“That is wonderful, but I believe a lot of people are still unable to understand the significance of these rules. You can still notice small children, adults and the elderly without face masks. You see educated people eating near food stalls without their masks and not maintaining a social distance.”
“People are still spitting on roads and some believe there is no virus at all. We can educate them and distribute face masks, soaps and sanitisers to these people. And also put up posters about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Grandpa explained.
“That’s an excellent idea, Grandpa!
The money we would have spent on building an effigy of Ravan can be used to buy these products. Let me present this idea to my friends and make this a memorable Dusshera for all of us,” Ojas said excitedly.
“But, do make sure that you take good care of yourself and your friends. Here, take some money,” said Grandpa.
“Thanks a lot, Grandpa,” Ojas said.
Ojas was extremely happy with the idea and he called his friends and explained Grandpa’s idea to all of them.
“Let us withdraw some money out of our piggy banks and buy these essential products. Later we can go and distribute them to the residents. We can also educate them on how they can prevent getting infected by wearing a face mask and by washing their hands regularly,” Ojas further explained.
All his friends immediately agreed. They decided to meet on the day of Dusshera.
Ojas disconnected the call and counted the money in his piggy bank. His friends did the same.
They all bought face masks, soaps and sanitisers with the money they had collected.
They then put a small table outside their colony and spoke to various people about the benefits of using face masks and maintaining hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
They put up posters explaining the concept of maintaining a social distance and not spitting on the streets as well as of not eating in crowded places together.
Spreading happiness on the day of Dusshera was a beautiful experience for Ojas and his friends.
It made them confident that they would now be able to conquer the evil of the coronavirus together.
They walked back happily to their respective houses after the distribution.