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The Zim reader

Rachna Chhabria narrates the tale of a young girl with a clairvoyant side
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 23:46 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2024, 23:46 IST

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Naina had the magical abilities of the Zim. It was the talent to read the cloud-shaped halo around people’s head. Inside this shape was the sketch of an object that would show what would happen to them the next moment. Naina was a prophecy reader who warned people of what mishap awaited them. 

Naina’s favourite hobby was walking on the road studying people’s auras. Then she would follow them to see if the Zim or the prophecy came true for them.

One Saturday morning, she left her house armed with her backpack — containing a filled bottle of water, a packet of chips and several toffees.

The first person she met on the road was her neighbour Ponnappa uncle, a man in his sixties. He was going for his morning walk. She studied the Zim over his head. Inside the cloud-shaped halo was a huge coconut. Now came the tricky part. It was to analyse the Zim. Would Ponnappa uncle drink coconut water? It was hot in Bengaluru and chances of the old man drinking tender coconut water was high. 

But if that was the case, she would have seen a straw inside the coconut. Frowning hard, she studied his Zim. Then realisation dawned, that a coconut may fall on his head. 

“Uncle be careful, a coconut may fall on your head,” she warned.

Ponnappa uncle looked alarmed. Everyone knew about Naina’s special powers. Her predictions had saved many people from accidents. His first thought was that he would skip his morning walk today. But as he was diabetic, he couldn’t forego his daily exercise which kept his sugar levels under control, coupled with a strict diet.

He immediately borrowed a helmet from his son. Wearing it, Ponnappa uncle started his walk. Naina followed him to see if her prediction would come true.

A few minutes later his phone started ringing. He stopped his walk and picked up the call.

Naina’s eyes widened. He had stopped beneath a coconut tree.

She watched as a coconut fell on his head. Luckily the helmet saved his head from injuries. The coconut rolled off his head and hit the ground with a loud thud.

Sighing with relief she walked away. 

A little ahead she met Mrs Pathak, all dressed up in her silk sari, to attend her friend’s daughter’s wedding. She was waiting for her driver. 

As Naina neared Mrs Pathak, she saw a crow inside the Zim over her head. 

“Crow’s dropping on her expensive clothes will be disastrous,” she muttered.

She warned
Mrs Pathak about the crow she had seen in the Zim. Mrs Pathak was worried. This sari was special as it was her mother’s. She didn’t want to spoil it. 

Mrs Pathak borrowed an umbrella from the watchman. She held it over herself. As she moved towards the road to wait for her driver to return from dropping her daughter to school, a crow flying over her head, pooped over her. Luckily, the crow’s droppings splattered over the umbrella. A relieved Mrs. Pathak waved to Naina.

Naina saw her aunt Kimaya walking towards her building. She studied the Zim around her aunt’s head. Initially she couldn’t understand it. As she tried to decode the shape, her eyes widened. It was a lift. The chances of her aunt getting stuck inside the elevator were high.

“What are you seeing in my Zim?” her aunt asked. 

“A lift,” Naina replied.

“Oh no, I better take the stairs to my fourth floor flat. I can’t afford to get stuck in the lift as I have claustrophobia. Thanks for the warning, dear,” her aunt said.

Naina followed her aunt inside the building. Instead of taking the lift, Aunt Kimaya started climbing the stairs. Within a few seconds the building lobby went dark, as the power supply was cut off. Switching on the torchlight on her mobile, she continued climbing the steps. 

Naina was happy that she had saved her aunt. Last time her aunt was stuck in the lift she had a panic attack and was hospitalised for a few days.

Opening her backpack, she pulled out the packet of chips. Tearing it open she started munching on the potato wafers as she walked on the road.

What poor Naina couldn’t see was the Zim over her own head. 

It was of a dark hole.

A pot-hole her area was famous for.

Naina didn’t see the crater ahead of her. 

A step forward and she plunged into the dark hole. 

Sadly, she couldn’t avert her own Zim.

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Published 17 May 2024, 23:46 IST

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