“Mama, there is a bone stuck inside my throat.” I cried out while eating my lunch. Mama ran to me from the kitchen. She asked me to drink water. “It’s still hurting”, she looked worried. There came my grandmother. “Bohu you should have fed her, she’s a child.” I said, “I’m not a child, I am 9 years old now. Don’t scold my mama.” “Shut up! You keep quite”, grand mom commanded. Then she made some balls with the rice in my plate and put one inside my mouth. “Don’t chew, just swallow it”, she ordered. I swallowed one by one 3 of them. No relief at all, I started crying. ‘It still hurts. It is there inside my throat.” The household got worried for me. Mama brought a banana and asked me to eat. All went in vain. The pain insisted.

It was a Saturday. I came from the half day school and was relishing my lunch with hilsa fish fry, my favourite. And the mishap! It spoilt my happiness.

Father returned from office in the evening. He listened to mom and grand-mom about my trouble. He called me and consoled and cajoled me a lot. “Don’t worry my princess; you will be well next morning. Just drink a glass of warm milk and go to sleep.” How to sleep when something was pinching my neck?

Mama asked Papa to take me to the hospital. Papa laughed and said, “Sometimes there is no happy choice dear, only less grievous than the other. Why horrify the child with the forceps of the doctor. Just one night, have patience; she will be alright tomorrow morning.”

The next morning Sunday, I brushed my teeth; father took me to his friend and colleague, Anant uncle’s house. He had been told about the fish bone episode the previous devening over phone by father.

Arrey the cute little cat come here.” He called me near him and made me sit on a chair. He asked me, “What food you like, sweet or sour?” I said both. “Hmm, whom you love the most? Your mama or papa?” “Both” I said. He laughed and asked if I dreamt during sleep. “A lot of them”, I said with enthusiasm. “Bimal, your daughter is very smart. Does she love to play?” “Yes, she plays a lot outside the house” my father said.

Uncle went inside and brought something in a small white paper. It was some white powder. He asked me to open my mouth and poured the white powder into my mouth. It was sweet and tasted like sugar.

He patted my back and said, “Go home and have a hearty breakfast. By noon the pinching will be chhoo mantar. You will feel good.”

At lunch time I was surprised. I could gulp my meal without any trouble. No pinching and pain. The discomfort had vanished. Uncle’s magic powder had cured me!


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