HOW TO BE IMMORTAL DURING THE PANDEMIC

October 2020

i never liked physics. especially in 11–12th. especially the chapter of SHM. simple harmonic motion. everything moves in waves. good way to bring up that 2nd wave is here, its been quite sometimes now if you’ve noticed. it also seems this is just one of the earlier waves. there could be a third fourth fifth and so on. i’ve had my share of encounters with covid in both the waves. the first time right after navratri. my parents tested positive. no surprise because my father’s a doctor. two days later mom also showed symptoms. i thought it was a only a matter of time before i too get infected and get done with it (like recover and stay alive get done, not die and get done) because to be honest it was tough to maintain social distancing in an ill planned 2-BHK government quarter. but it wasn’t supposed to be and my parents were able to find an empty flat (with basic furniture intact) of a family friend who doesn’t live in gandhinagar anymore.

so i packed my bags - clothes, books, electronic devices and gadgets, essential medicines and moved to this empty flat. for 15–20 days. four kilometres away from my home. while my parents recover in home isolation. its weird to even describe what i was going through at that point. to spend my time i would primarily read, watch movies, not sleep on time and as a result not wake up on time. once or twice a day i used to go back home with fruits and medicines. leaving it outside the gate and from a distance watch my father collect it five mins later. the pharmacy was a really depressing place to be at. there were people asking for fabiflu or vermact or sompraz (and praying that they don’t return empty hand from here) for their covid positive family members and then there were random dudes who came to get a set wet hair gel or kids who came to buy mentos or a happydent.

thankfully none of my parents had any kind of severe complication. they recovered in about three weeks of time and were ready to step out just before diwali. it was over without much drama. and i thought my share of pandemic was over. it wasn’t.

March 2021

My grandparents live in a village 69 kilometres away from surat. i dont know if it was my father or my grandfather who was the fan of baghban, but every year my grandparents came to gandhinagar and lived with us for a month or two. so this time around too they came here in mid march and the moment my grandfather stepped inside the house, he complained of body ache and shivers. he slept without having dinner and woke up with a fever the next morning. meanwhile my grandmother was coughing nonstop. my father called my uncle to find out if they were out and exposed to the virus somehow. my mother called a laboratory if they could come home and test them. i called the family friend who let me stay in his empty flat the last time. too bad, my grandparents had gone out to meet some relatives, got infected and tested positive, and the flat was no more empty.

my father said he has found me a “room” and sent me the location. i went and checked the place. to put it decently, it could’ve been a hub of intimate activities of romantic youth, which the society looks down upon. i said i can’t be going there and went to a friend’s place instead. who generously gave me his bedroom to sleep in. this time around the actual scare was much less in a way because my parents were actively looking after as both of them had recovered and formed anti bodies. my grandparents were later admitted to a hospital. both of them were above 70 years of age and diabetic and it did get tense then. but the doctors, nurses and the staff looking after them saved their lives. this was late march. the “wave” hadn’t hit us yet. oxygen and beds weren’t running out. if they would’ve contacted it one or two weeks later then i don’t think i would’ve been fortunate enough to write this.

earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. the first human beings appeared 5–7 million years ago. yet they have progressed enough to overcome a naturally occurring or biologically engineered virus (we shall find out soon, China) for now. but they live only for 60–70 years. eventually they die. eventually. but i guess its the “untimely” death that hurts the most. the moral of this is that no one is immortal. and death is unavoidable. although, dying an untimely death because you stepped out to get hair gel or chewing gum would be trivial for some but devastating for your family.

stay in, if possible. wear masks, if you step out.

wanderer in thin air