The Fragrance Of New Books

March month was getting over and the month of April peeping in, with the new aspirations. April, the month of a new class badge, new classroom, new friends, new teachers, and most importantly new books. Like every year, this year too, Gagan was excited to write her name on new notebooks in some stylish font. Covering the new books with self-designed laminated sheets was her dearest hobby. She was thrilled to get a glimpse of her 6th class textbooks title pages. "Oh no! Mom said we can't buy books this time, as deadly COVID has spread everywhere," Gagan spoke to herself. Going to the bookseller and buying books in a crowded shop was a risky affair. But Gagan was after her mom day and night, to acquire new books. Respecting her curiosity level, mom decided to get the books home delivered. "Ma'am, we will deliver the books in a week's time." the bookseller reverted after mom's frequent attempt to contact him for long five days. Gagan was exceptionally excited to get the fragrance of her new books. "Yipee, I will get my new books in a few days." exclaimed Gagan and dialled to share this happy news with her best friend. After a long wait of 10 days and numerous reminders, finally, the books arrived. Gagan was at the top of the world, to receive the bundle of fresh books. Books were lying in front of her but the poor girl was not supposed to open or even touch the cover sheet. Mom told me that the books might be carrying the infection. So we need to wait for four days, to be sure of the books, being COVID-free. It was the fourth day. Gagan was ready with her artistic fonts to label her books. "Mom can I open my books now?" she asked. "Gagan, I told you that we need to wait for four days. We will open them on the fifth day." The class's best reader and artist, Gagan became sorrow again and started the countdown for the next day. She woke up early morning. Before she could go near the books set. She looked at mom's worried face and asked," Is everything o.k. mom?" Mom sobbed, "Gagan, do you know what happened? The bookseller from which we bought the books, his shop...,his shop got sealed. He, his whole family, and all the staff members are tested positive. Now it is very risky to touch these books." Suddenly, mom's cell- phone rang. Mom's mouth was wide open listening to somebody on the other side of the phone call. Mom passed on the phone with the recorded call, to dad. I could hear somebody from the other side saying, "Ma'am we have the parents list, who bought books from that bookseller. You need to come for the swab test." Mom tried to convince them that we didn't even touch the books. But they overheard it and called our whole family for the testing, the next day. Mom was upset and annoyed too. As if that books set was the culprit, She picked a sheet, ran towards the bundle of books, and cover them in a rage. Gagan kept staring at the blurred vision of the poor new books set and the books' mislaying fragrance.

For reading more short stories or to share your own experiences. Do join our mothers group @ The Moms Orchid.

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