Gandhi Quiz


Friends And Enemies

Maya came back from her play-mate Rani's home. "How did you finish playing so soon?" queried Granny. Every evening Granny had to threaten her to come back home! Maya had found a new friend in Granny's neighbourhood. Rani too had come to her aunt's home for her vacation from Bangalore. Both of them shared their love for the village, talked about their favourite teachers, watered Granny's garden and played together in the evenings.
"Oh, Granma, Rani is sick. She has got a sore throat and has fever too. Her aunt told me she needs rest and may not be able to play for a few days. The doctor has given her medicines." Maya replied disappointed. "She must have caught an infection causing bug" Granny said. "What do I do now? Granma, will you play with me?" Maya asked innocently. Granny chuckled. "Maya, remember your vacation will soon end and it will be time to go back to school. Why don't you complete your homework?" Maya dreaded these very words! She did not understand why her teacher had to give them homework even during holidays. Holidays were holidays and were meant to play, weren't they? Realizing what was going on in her mind Granny added that it was just a little work the teachers assign, so that the students do not forget all that they studied through the year!
Reluctantly Maya picked up her books. She kept aside the arithmetic book. She was already upset and maths was the last thing she wanted to attempt! She glanced at her English notebook. Three essays to be written. She picked up her pen and started scribbling. "What are you writing? Do you need any help?" Granny volunteered. "I am writing an essay on 'Friends and Enemies of Man'" Maya answered. "I can choose the friends later. There are many of them I can write about. Right now I want to write about the enemies of mankind". "Who are they?" Granny wondered amused.
"Bugs, germs, microbes" Maya answered "who make us sick." "Oh you are so disappointed you cannot play with Rani!" Granny exclaimed. "No Granma, I don't like microbes. I have learnt about so many disease causing bugs that kill so many people on the earth. There are so many scientists doing research. Why can't they invent something to wipe away all the microbes from earth? Then no one will catch any infection, right? And we all will be healthy!" Maya retorted.
"Granma, can I have a slice of bread?" Maya asked hungrily, patting her tummy that mumbled and grumbled with hunger. She always felt hungry when she started studying! "Sure dear! I was just going to get a slice with strawberry jam for you" Granny replied hurrying into the kitchen. "Granma, I want the bread slice with cheese spread. I love it!" Maya said almost licking her lips.
As Maya nibbled her tasty snack, Granny asked her "Do you know how cheese is made?" "It is made from milk, of course!" Maya replied. "Yes, but are you aware that certain kind of bacteria are added to the milk to help curdle it and give a special flavour and texture to the cheese?" Granny said. "Granma, do you mean to say I am eating microbes now?" Maya asked as she stared with disgust at her snack. "Yes, of course! But there is no need to worry. These bacteria will not make you sick." Granny laughed.
"Maya, do you know these invisible bugs are everywhere; in the air we breathe, the food we eat and in the water we drink. They are outside our body and even inside us. There are more microbes on your hand than there are people on this whole earth! Yes, there are disease causing bugs, but there are more friendly ones than harmful microbes." Granny went on as Maya listened spellbound.
"Granma, how else are the microbes helpful to us? Maya inquired diligently.
"Oh, we may not be able to survive without microbes! Without them there will be less oxygen to breathe, the food we eat will not be digested, plants may not grow, all the waste we throw will not decay. And yes, do you know so many antibiotics or medicines we take when we are sick are made from some microorganisms like fungi and bacteria? Of course, so many tasty foods like cheese, bread, buns, wine, yoghurt and yes, even your favourite chocolates cannot be made without the use of microbes!" Granny added.
Impressed with all the information Maya asked "Oh, Granny how do you know so much about everything?" "Maya, in fact I still don't know much. Tomorrow, let us visit the public library and see if we can get a book on friendly microbes. Then both of us can read it together" Granny said.
"Yes!" Maya said excited. "That means I can complete my essay only tomorrow" she added closing her note-book promptly. "And why is that? Why don't you finish writing about your 'enemy'?" Granny asked sternly. "Oh, Granny, that is because now my 'enemy' has turned into my 'friend!" Maya answered as both of them burst into a hearty laughter.

Dr. Reeta Mani

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