(Babies in the pandemic were born, unaware of the world collapsing around them. Here’s what they would say if they could talk.)
Absurd, isn’t it? That you refer to us with the prefix of a deadly disease. Well, in your defence, we were born at a time when the world around us was dying. Sadly, when it was our time to take this big, bright world into our little orbs, why is it that everyone was playing peek-a-boo?
Mamma hums a gentle lullaby, caressing us to sleep. Jolted by the ambulance’s howling, we wake up with a wheeze. The sanitiser stank is so strong that even Papa’s cologne cannot make me sneeze! I am kept from my aunts and uncles. As I move in for a loving embrace, they brace to wash their hands.
Seated in the living room, we’re watching the ‘news’. I don’t seem to understand much, but man, those people are loud! As they swiftly read out another spine-chilling statistic, I hear a familiar thump. It’s similar to what I heard while still in the womb. I look up, it’s Mamma’s heartbeat, quickening. She must worry for me, I think.
Our babbles are muffled by the world’s weeps. Our first steps are celebrated, but only through screens. We long to feel Grandpa’s soft, wrinkled hands. Oh, what does it feel like to toddle, tugging at grandmama’s saree?
Throughout the day, ‘walkies’ are our favourite task. We hope you realise it is impossible to trick us unless you put on a mask! We know the world outside is scary, it has you feeling blue. But you can always turn to us, ‘cause we got a toothless smile for you!