Experiencing the pandemic first hand

COVID -19 knocked the doors of Bengaluru in the early March 2020. The impact was not that great during initial days, but it gained a mammoth form on few weeks. Towards the beginning, health sector hardly detected many positive cases, which made people go easy on their attitude and be less vigilant. Over time, much against the expectations of people, it shifted its gears towards higher speed and cases started increasing. In a matter of few months, it became a hot topic in the entire world; in fact it adversely affected the pace with which daily life functioned. This was accredited to the shutdown of factories and work places. All daily activities came to a standstill and people stopped coming out of their houses.

It was on 24th March 2020 that the Central Government of India imposed Lockdown 1.0, mainly to get the current situation under control. It was indeed a great step taken by government towards controlling the increasing number of cases. All of this particularly during the time when the masses were not much aware about the virus. However, life of people working in public offices went unaffected as we used to go to office and work from there. Though it was very risky and filled with lot of health implications, I working in the health sector, was anticipating great loads of work coming our way owing to the emergency situations. Hence, amidst the lockdown imposed city-wide, I would still have to daily manage to go to office and work from there. During those days work-load on all of us increased by nearly 10 times, making us return very late to our homes. Few days when casualties were reported, often I would have to stay at nights in the hospital amidst the grim and less on hopes situations. Seeing people in a tensed mood, worried for their people’s health, crying and feeling broken was indeed a tough time for me to focus on work without getting carried away through their plight. All through these times I would be anxious with thoughts like: “If I fall ill and contact the virus, who will be taking care of me? If I get attacked by the virus, how well will my body respond in healing the systems?” The answers I would get from deep within were quite saddening.

As a matter of fact, any situation doesn’t prevail for too long. Changes for good are bound to happen. Gradually as the days passed relaxation in terms of people/vehicular movement/residential/commercial activities stepped in. Life eventually attained back it’s normal state. Sluggishly it turned into like life with or without virus remains the same. Going forward on operational COVID management front, cases had started witnessing a decline by August, however gained a peak in the months of September and October as and when movement within places was eased. I along with my colleagues clocked still more hours throughout this. As state governments had gradually started giving relaxations in terms of interstate activities, that’s the point where I asked my parents to come to Bangalore. This decision was taken based on multiple reasons, primarily because they were also staying alone and the source of income for them was not constant and fluctuated.

Say it destiny or sheer luck, I contracted COVID within a week of my parents’ arrival to my place. I knew it would happen sooner or later as I was exposed to the positive patients since quite some time, and how much precautionary level of activities one undertakes, virus knew its way how to seethe into my system. For the first two weeks, I was institutional quarantined in my hospital. Staying along for the entire day, not doing any productive work, and getting hundreds of calls from people in my circle expressing their consolance, made me more pessimistic. At that point I started questioning myself that will I be able to recover from this situation and make good use of my skills? Two weeks got over in this self-questioning and denial phase; post this, I was quarantined at home for two weeks. As my parents were aged I chose to stay locked inside a room in my house. They would give home cooked food to me, keeping it outside my room’s door. This phase though isolated at home, was better than that of hospital isolation. I had a positive feeling that at least my parents were there with me and talked to me everyday, reinstating hope in me. I could spend good amount of time with them watching TV and talking for hours, something that I had lost touch with ever since I entered the medical profession. Also, we would have food together, though sitting at distance, but physically together. I relived so many good times in that frame with my parents.

Frankly, COVID times brought a mixed bag of feelings. It was during initial lockdown days I used to feel lonely as nobody was staying with me in a big house. On the top of that I used to manage everything single handedly- going to office, cooking, cleaning vessels, room etc… With homecoming of parents not only did I get quality family time but a motivation to steer through this challenging phase and keep learning new things everyday. Also, I started looking at life from a greater intellectual perspective, of living each day the fullest; of enjoying each and every moment and cherishing company of our people. After all these viruses come and go, if one has a good bunch of people around, that person emerges triumphant of all situations.

The author chose to remain anonymous.

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