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“Back in your childhood, you had 105° fever as a one-and-a-half-year-old lad. The situation was critical and danger was looming over your survivability”, said my father impulsively. He continued, ” No one could understand what was causing this high-grade life-threatening upsurge of body temperature within you. However, you survived these odds and came out of the dire circumstances.” To further motivate me, he reminds me, “You have been a strong child. If you could survive those conditions, I am pretty sure that you will get through the present situation as well. So, just stay strong, as you have always been, and put up a fight against COVID.”

The wordplay from my father was just the motivation I needed to carry on with my quarantine ‘journey’ forward. Indeed! Quarantine is a journey in itself. You come out as an entirely different person by the end of the strict imposition of movement. It has an over-arching impact on the physical, mental and emotional state of being. It beats you on all fronts and at the same time, teaches you to rise against all the perceived odds. 

As I write this note, as a memoir to myself, I aim to look back at the several ways in which the situation unfolded during my battle with COVID. At the same time, I would also want the readers to draw crucial lessons for themselves to gain insights into the troubling circumstances. 

Firstly, I would like to bring down a major myth that people have about COVID. It is the ‘myth of superior immunity’ as I would like to term it. To be honest, this is something even I have been boastful of, and part of it is true. I never drink or smoke, and seldom eat from fancy restaurants or roadside hawkers. I pursue an active lifestyle, being actively involved in sports, running, jogging, and basic workout activities. Back in 2018, when dengue had struck me, I was back on my feet the very next day to give an exam but, Covid truly came down on me. It had me bedridden for days with blackouts, prolonged high-grade fever, and a fluctuating oxygen level. Details of these events are something I would not want to reveal owing to the disturbing nature but the bottom line is, that corona plays with your body, mind and soul. Yet, this doesn’t mean that there is no way out of it even when the virus is at its prime in your body.

Secondly, this is a battle that you have to fight alone. Despite being in ‘home’ quarantine, surrounded by friends and relatives and the world at your fingertips, you might feel lonely and depressed. Negative thoughts of the present, past and future are bound to navigate through the sanity of your mind and hit you during odd times of the day and maybe even nights. Sleep deprivation becomes a new normal and hunger takes a backseat. The mouth is continuously yearning for moisture except when you try to gulp down water down your parched throat. 

Thirdly, no matter how hard you try, you cannot keep up with the quarantine routine suggested by doctors. One needs to understand that whatever your body allows is more than enough. Here I would like to point out some of the important things that need to be focussed upon during the onset of symptoms, these include,

  • Steam – regular intake of steam through a vaporizer/kettle/pan soothes your nasal cavity 
  • Kadha – a mixture of ayurvedic herbs are crucial home remedies to counter the virus
  • Haldi-Doodh – helps in the prevention of cough and provides relief to the throat
  • Lukewarm water – honey – lemon – a combination to improve immunity and provide instant strength to the body
  • Breathing Exercises – like Kapal Bharti and Pranayam along with proning exercises strengthen your lungs

Lastly, a note on taste and smell. Yes, they would go away and there is nothing that can be done about it. I remember eating a mango with the peel on it while assuming it to be papaya. Toothpaste would make no difference no matter which company you use. It’s funny how something as small as a virus plays with your body’s metabolism to this extent. However, the human spirit proves to be crucial to win against the dreadful disease. 

Hope, will, and determination to fight off the virus are central in this quarantine journey and struggle. A person with a balanced physical and mental state can evade catastrophic outcomes associated with the virus. Mental toughness and a healthy lifestyle are always at the helm of affairs in response to the viral pandemic. Overall, the struggle against the virus is real, even if one is not infected by it. However, an active lifestyle with immense physical and mental congeniality, over a continued period, would enable strength, grit and calibre to prepare oneself against this invisible enemy at hand.

 

Arnav Anshuman

PhD Research Scholar,

Department of Geography

Delhi School of Economics

 

About the Author

Arnav is a storyteller who observes, absorbs and narrates incidents surrounding him.

He’s waiting for the zombie apocalypse and until that day, he’s academically engaged in sports, ethnography and everyday life. He’s a big time foodie, a chess addict and an expert at initiating conversations. Connect with him @ArnavAnshuman to peek into his thoughts.

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