10 May, 2021 – Kolkata, India

By Brinda S

She counted aloud as she joined the dots.

Can a dragon play Holi?”

The question caught me off guard, as I was calling for the Rt-PCR report for myself and my 5-year-old.

Is that a dragon in her colouring book? We have never seen dragons. Neither did we foresee the times that we are going through now.

She played Holi for the first time in February 2020 – just days before the pandemic swept us up in its first wave. She jumped in puddles of water, dipped herself in a tub of coloured water and sloppily dumped her baby-safe colours onto her baby friends.

Keen to keep alive her memory of one of India’s liveliest festivals, I said “Well, yes, they of course do! What colours did your dragon play with?”

Red, Blue and Greeeeennnnn,” she replied.

I smiled and got back to my calls. The reports were delayed and I was scared.  When they finally came, I took a deep breath before opening them. ‘Negative.’