Talha’s birthday party was in full swing. The invitation cards had already been given out to all the twenty boys in his class, and it had been one long week since everybody at home was coming up with different, exciting plans to make Talha’s birthday more special!
The cards said Talha’s friends would be there by round about four o’ clock. Talha’s mother had been busy in the kitchen almost the entire morning, and afternoon too. His father, on the other side, was looking after all the arrangements in the dining room.
By quarter to four, Talha was all ready, waiting anxiously for his first guest to arrive! And there, at five minutes to four, his best friend, Saad, rang the doorbell. Then Ali, Bilal, Fahad, Shahmeer, and each of the boys, kept turning up one by one…and within twenty-five minutes or so, almost all were there. The fun had to begin then! There were so many interesting games to be played and won, so many attractive prizes to be given out, a magic show to be watched, a small football match arranged out in the huge lawn, and so much more that Talha had to show his friends!
Time passed quick enough, and soon the children were given a call for coming in for food. Though they were just in the middle of their football match, but who would’ve refused to taste the birthday cake that they had seen a little while back, which Talha’s uncle had fetched from their most favorite bakery!!! And so, they all were led to the dining room, where the dining table was laid out with extremely tempting snacks, and of course the cake!
The children, all stood around Talha, in a semi-circle, while the elders were at the opposite end of the table. Talha’s mother was trying to light up all the candles on the cake. As soon as she was done, she handed over the knife to the birthday boy. Talha cut the lovely chocolate cake, with a big smile on his face. Each of the boys then held out their plates, so that Talha’s mother could put in a cake’s slice for each of them. Some of them chose to use the forks in their plates, but it was just when Fahad, and Musa, and Zain, and Abdullah, and two or three more, tried picking up their cake pieces with their hands, bringing them up, close to their mouths, when Talha’s uncle, all of a sudden, created a disturbance to stop them!
Everyone present in the dining room, very spontaneously paused for a few seconds, exchanging confused looks, and worried expressions. Nobody was able to guess what had happened. Talha’s uncle was still silent, but he looked serious, and upset. It took a couple of minutes before he finally spoke, “Does anyone know how many of us are here right now?”
Well, that was a simple question, and the children, and even Talha’s parents, his grandparents, and a few others quickly counted the number of people in the dining room and gave the exact, correct figure. But Talha’s uncle nodded his head, as if not approving the answer!
Why? Why did he do like that…?
He then himself tried to make everyone, especially the little lot, realize that they had actually brought along so many invisible guests there in the dining room! And which “invisible guests” could they be, but “germs” of course!!!
The children had been playing and playing earlier, doing all sorts of activities, moving about, climbing, running, touching innumerable objects…and how shocking it was that none of them had remembered to give even a tiny wash to their hands before coming in for food! And that little act wasn’t to be a mere ritual…it really had to do something with health, and hygiene!
“Did no one think of Dirtoo, and Kachra Raani, or Ghunsunna, children?” Talha’s uncle asked the now equally upset boys. “You didn’t recall how bad, harmful, and dangerous they are?”
“Oh yes, we do know, uncle…we just forgot because we were enjoying our match so much!” was the reply one of the boys gave.
“That is what is sadder, dear children…you aren’t to forget that ever, you know? Even if you do not touch anything specific, there are always chances of different kinds of germs, and bacteria, settling onto our hands. And just think for a moment, what harm many of you would’ve brought to yourselves, if you had taken in all those germs inside your stomachs, along with that cake…” continued Talha’s uncle.
“I wonder how we forgot Commander Safeguard’s mission, uncle,” said Bilal.
“And so of Dettol Warriors,” added Shahmeer.
“Good! So from now on, you all must promise to stay committed to them, right?” exclaimed Talha’s uncle.
“Yes, yes, we all are always going to be on their sides, and will never let any germs harm us! Now we would never forget to wash our hands, before beginning to eat anything. We promise!”
These were Talha’s words, after which there were all smiles in the dining room, and then the food was served.