This too shall pass – just have faith

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Disclaimer: With due respect to the thousands of Covid 19 patients having to undergo hospitalisation and to the scores of people who have lost a loved one due to the dreaded disease, I am not trivialising the virus or its effect. This is just an attempt to allay the fears of over 98% of the people who have been afflicted with the deadly virus, but with mild or no symptoms and are recuperating through Home quarantine and isolation.

Gabbar Singh, the epitome of terror, from the 1975 Bollywood blockbuster movie Sholay had many inspiring life quotes. One of the villian’s most popular lines that goes well with the current pandemic situation is “Jo darr gaya… samjho marr gaya” loosely translated means “the person who feels fear is as good as dead”

Revisiting the Gabbar Singh quote with a more ‘positive’ approach, one could get inspired if interpreted differently: “Have guts in the face of adversity and shun cowardice”. Well, that’s precisely what this post is all about… and yes, it’s from my personal experience! 

Friday Apr 2: The colleague I travelled with to and back from work last on Tuesday, called to inform about his Covid 19 test status – POSITIVE!. Soon, a dozen of us who work in close proximity got ourselves tested by RT-PCR and I immediately went into isolation in my home.

Saturday Apr 3: The email from the diagnostic centre arrived, that announced I was ‘Positive’. From then started a journey of fighting the emotional trauma – more than the physical discomfort. I soon contacted a friend and senior member of the 52 year old literary club, an authority on handling the covid cases, who suggested I talk to another of our members – a popular physician in his area. Soon I was consulting with the Doctor, who prescribed the mandatory medicines, diet and the regular monitoring of the body functions – like Oxygen saturation, breath rate, blood pressure and temperature. 

The diet prescribed was much more proteinaceous than my regular food, coupled with lots of fruits and fresh juices to keep the body healthy and boost my immunity. It wasn’t until late on day 2 that any proper symptom set in. The ever reliable paracetamol with its regular dosage controlled the fever and the loss of smell lasted only 4 days.

I split my quarantine period into 3 parts – The first was the intense medication period – the antibiotics and a couple of other tablets were on till day 5. The second 5 day period of rest with multivitamins and immunity boosters continued till day 10. Day 11 was refreshing change – an energetic me knew I had four more days of isolation and this was the period I had to overcome the physical weaknesses induced by the medicines. 

April 17: I was back in the main hall of my home – able to watch TV and have dinner with family. Life was slowly back to normal.

The above story of the smooth recovery would not have been all that smooth if I had been “locked up” totally in my “thoughts” in the 12’ x 8’ room with a laptop. I had tremendous support from my family – who endured my ‘lock-up’ more than me, lots of people calling to check on my progress and above all cheer me. 

Some of the best advice I had from family and friends included: 

Achcha Khao (Eat Well), Khul ke piyo (drink lots of water), Teen baar pranayam karo, (Pranayam – breathing exercise 3 times a day), 24 ghante positive raho (Stay ‘positive’ always – well, wasn’t I already?) Gaane gao (Sing songs – well this I did a lot), Change your routine, change fruit juice, get dressed to stay at home, listen to classical music. Read Bhagwad Gita… Trust me I did all that and more – Karaoking with Kishore Kumar, Mohd Rafi, Mukesh and Maana Dey apart, I had loads and loads of cricket to watch on my laptop (Thanks a ton to IPL). Above all… I kept my faith intact and strongly believed in the Persian adage – This too shall pass!

One of the important lessons learnt though the millions (just a wee bit of exaggeration) of WhatsApp forwards was this:

Immune system gets very weak by always living in a sterile environment.  Even if we are taking immune-boosting supplements / medicines, please regularly leave your house to the park / beach or anywhere else. Immunity is increased by EXPOSURE TO PATHOGENS, not by sitting at home and consuming fried/spicy/sweet foods & fizzy drinks.

I have the good fortune of living in an independent house with trees all around inside the compound wall. I used to walk for 15 minutes, three times a day around the house – Morning, Afternoon (yes, I know it’s summer – but the greenery in my compound helped) and Evening. I got lots of fresh air, sunlight to bask in and loads of energy to keep my spirits high.

In conclusion, I’d say fight the fever, cold, cough, body pains and flu like you did some years ago – with minimal worry – It’s all in the mind.  Have guts in the face of adversity and shun cowardice – remember – Jo darr gaya, samjho marr gaya!

AND YES: Wear a mask (or two) in public, Maintain social distance. Wash your hands and sanitise properly, regularly. The Covid is not painful – the emotional trauma associated with it is!


Venkat Parthasarathy

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