CHILDREN'S STORY BY - Basushree Pandey, Translated by Mahesh Paudyal
Children! You must have seen big, inflated balloons kept for sale in the market. You must also have requested your parents to buy them, and kept at home. At some homes, during children’s birthdays, they make bunches of inflated balloons, and hang them together.
It is so pleasing to see air being blown into a balloon. But once it blasts, the rubber pieces can bring a lot of harm. We should immediately throw them away. If, by any means, a fragment gets into your gullet and gets struck, it can even bring death. Some children often take up pieces of broken balloon, pull inward with their tongues and make a small ball-like bulb, and play rubbing it on palms or on foreheads.
My husband also loves to play with balloons. He has not abandoned his childhood interest even today. Every year, when Dashain festival comes, he buys several packets of balloons, and keeps them in his cupboard. Any child that happens to be with him when he opens the cupboard, gets an inflated balloon for sure.
It was the full moon day of Holi festival. People in our neighborhood were celebrating the festival at one of our relatives’ with full pomp, throwing color and lolas—balloons filled with water—at one other. The family had a nine-month old baby too. He could hardly crawl. Laying the baby in the cradle in one corner of the room, the parents walked up to the top of the house to enjoy Holi . After enjoying for a long time, they came downstairs to see if their child had woken up.
The child was not in the place they had placed him. He was near the door, lying unconscious. Alarmed, the parents rushed the child to the hospital. The doctor examined his chest, stomach and everything, but it was of no use. Later, when he examined the throat, he found a piece of balloon stuck in it. If they had immediately noticed, the child could have been saved. But since it was too late, the child died.
The following day too, there was a news that another child had died, swallowing a balloon. I remember, in our village too, an eight year old child had died for the same reason, some years ago. When my husband heard all these things, he stopped brining balloons.