When Aunty Rao sees kids falling sick, she comes out with her bag of home grown remedy to tackle the problem
Its a beautiful sunday morning with lots of sunshine in this winter season. To sip coffee in the balcony would be the ideal thing to do. Its always a pleasure to see children playing in the play ground from my balcony. With my coffee mug in one hand and newspaper in the other, I walked towards the balcony in anticipation of hearing lots of chuckles, giggles and young voices from the play ground.
To my utter disappointment, the park looked barren and sans any activity. Where are the kids?… I wondered and then spotted Smriti with her 4 year-old son coming to the park. ‘Everyone’s under the weather with some sickness or the other’, informed Smriti. ‘Bela’s 2 year old has sore throat, Neha’s 5 year old has had a tummy bug and Dipti’s 3 year old is nasal and chesty and suffering from flu. Aunty Rao, it seems none of them has been taking Tulsi and black pepper mixture that you suggested at the start of the changing season. I must admit, it has really helped me and my family this year’ said Smriti.
‘I am glad that it has helped you, I have been using that since my child hood, 5-6 tulsi leaves crushed and mixed with a pinch of black pepper powder everyday whenever the season changes for a few days boosts the immune system of the body’ I said.
Seeing deserted corridors motivated me to go to all these mommies and help them with whatever I could offer them. My first stop was at Bela’s on the ground floor. Her 2 year old daughter was suffering from sore throat. Little one was already on antibiotics but was still in discomfort. ‘Lets make her a bit more comfortable’, I said and asked Bela to do two things for me, first, to give me some warm Ghee, second,to switch on the TV. ‘Aunty Rao, what’s the connection here?’ ‘You’ll see now’, I said. As soon as the baby got engrossed in Teletubbies, I gave her tonsils a firm yet gentle massage. ‘This will relax the tonsils and give her a relief from pain’, I told Bela. I then went to Bela’s kitchen and made a ginger and honey mixture which she would keep giving the baby with warm water. Combination of cartoons and the massage indeed had refreshed the baby and consequently the mother and I was feeling a lot better myself.
My next stop was Dipti’s house at first floor. She gave me a warm but tired smile as I entered. She had a three year old boy who was suffering from flu and a 5 year old who was miserable with an ear ache. Flu is an ailment which can be avoided very easily by taking a few precautions such as covering oneself sufficiently but with kids its never an easy task. I told Dipti to keep rubbing the toddler’s chest, hands and feet with either roasted saffron, or brandy to give warmth to the body which helps to breakdown the mucus and lets it out. I took some boiled water and added eucalyptus oil to it and put it near the bed so that the fumes can make toddler’s breathing easy. And then I had a brilliant idea. ‘Who wants a nice bowl of hot porridge with nuts in it?’ I asked enthusiastically and both the boys put up their hands. I went into the kitchen and made ‘Sheera’. I sauteed a spoonful of gram flour in some ghee and added two cups of warm milk to it and let it cook for a few minutes. To this was added sugar, chopped almonds and cashews. It smelled delicious and the boys loved it and it was gone in no time. ‘Sheera is one of the best ways of clearing sinuses off mucus not only because of heat but also by virtue of the ingredients which help in dissolving the mucus and making the nasal passages clear’ I informed Dipti.
‘ Should we do some magic to make your earache go away?’ I asked the older one. He was all ears when I asked him to bring me a handkerchief. I roasted a handful of chick peas in a pan and tied them in the handkerchief to make a sack. ‘Please keep this sack on the frame of your ear and your pain will be gone in a few minutes’ I instructed. The magic was the heat retained by the chick peas for a longer time and that would keep the ache at bay. The activity proved to be very interesting for the little fellow and he enthusiastically followed my instructions. It was such a relief to see all of them a bit less tired and bit more their usual selves.
It was almost lunch time, so I decided to make a quick stop at Neha’s house to see how her daughter Ria was coping with stomach flu. ‘ Hello, Aunty Rao!’ said Ria trying to sound enthusiastic, as I entered her room. Ria looked very lethargic but her young mind was alert and active. I wanted this child to be running in the corridors soon. ‘ I hope you are giving her plenty of fluids, Neha?’ I asked. ‘ Yes, aunty, I have put a jug full of rose drink with lemons, salt and sugar near her bed and she is taking it at regular intervals.’ replied Neha from the kitchen.
‘Is that rice that you are cooking there?’ I asked after I had a whiff from that direction.
‘Please dont throw the water once the rice has been cooked and give it to Ria, it will help to reduce her diarrhea.’
Two days later, as I sat in my balcony again, I saw happy faces playing in the play ground. Everything was normal once again. I could hear lot of happy sounds around and it gave me a warmth inside. Young bodies frail yet resilient are able to fight their physical battles not only because of their fast paced recovery mechanism but also because their minds are pure and when somebody tells them, “You are going to be fine soon”, they Believe that.
By Aunty Rao