Conversations in Shroud

COVID Dead Body

No way! I wont leave without her seeing me one last time!

But they said she will not be coming,

But why, I wanted to ask. I wanted to scream.

And what about him? My best pal. Will he too not come?

There are whispers that he won’t come either.

Come on! They are kidding me. He will come.

I remember he came when I had mumps as a high school grader. He said he put his virility at risk to come and see me. Funny guy. He will come.

These people are acting funny. They don’t know how popular I am in my mohalla. Everyone will come.

Gupta ji, our next-door neighbor always wanted a son like me.

And Chaudhari saheb, that old, bearded man from the end of our lane. He says that if he had a daughter, he would move the skies to get a son-in-law like me (of course my father never liked that compliment. He had doubts on Chaudhari saheb’s caste).

And what about the Five Star cricket team members? Won’t they come? I had been instrumental in all the games we won against rival mohalla teams. They love me like mad!

And why this tight clothing? O god this is suffocating! I can’t even move an inch.

What did that weirdly dressed doctor say to the equally weirdly dressed nurses? O these beeping machines can’t let me hear a word!

What? They won’t send me home. Why? I want to go home! I want to meet everyone.

I want to see ma!

What does that mean- “He’s infectious?”

Come on! I want to go home before you dispose me off you scoundrels! Let me go! Let me go!

No one listens. Silence.

There is crackling of fire. A fire, as orange as the fading evening.

“Body not handed to family. Protocols followed”

The weirdly dressed nurse noted in her blue long register and flipped the page.


Prof Shah Alam Khan,Department of Orthopaedics,AIIMS, New Delhi

(Views are Personal)



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