Coco Chatter II – Tales of my furry baby

My cute little furry baby Coco is 2 months old and is quite happy to look at the sights from our balcony. She loves looking at the birds flying here and there, tries to nibble a leaf from mama’s plants (and is always unsuccessful, thanks to mama’s watchful eyes) but gets equally petrified of the sound of the dogs barking below. Since she is too tiny to slip from between the railings of the balcony she is never allowed to be in the balcony alone.

So the day when Mama skeptically leaves the balcony window open, Coco happily walks upon to the balcony.  But she cannot cross the threshold of the balcony on her own yet. So just like Simba is standing at the top of the hill top in The Lion King, our baby too stands, soaking in the sights.

While Coco is happy at her new found access to the balcony, the pigeons and the squirrel who are regular visitors are worried about this invasion to their space & are gone as soon as they spot Coco. So even while being incapable of stepping into the balcony independently, being petrified of the barking dogs below, there is still a gleeful expression at being able to scare the others away.

Ah! The joy of feeling powerful & the sadistic pleasure of being in control, even though not entirely worthy of it.

Maybe, it is so with Hoomans too.

Coorg – Where Nature dwells

This year Coorg was our choice, to be our runaway from the urbane life. We took a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru and hopped into a vehicle for the 5 hour drive (as most of the websites suggested) to Coorg. But thanks to Bengaluru traffic, the drive was stretched to a little over 7 hours. hence, it was evening when we reached our resort in Kushalnagar.

While trying to find accommodations in Coorg, the options that we found on internet were either in Kushalnagar or Madikeri and we were wondering what is the difference between the two. Kushalnagar is just like any other city, is closer to places like Nisargadhama, Tibetan Monastery and the Elephant Dubhare camp. Madikeri, on the other hand has a hill station feel, much like Khandala. You have to drive through winding roads to reach Madikeri; also while driving in the city itself, you are going up and down the slopes. Mandalpatti, Abey Falls and Raja’s seat are in Madikeri and there are many shops here to pick up the local spices, coffee and other stuff. Ah and there is one Dominoes’ outlet too

The weather in Coorg was really pleasant. Even in the month of May, in the mornings and evenings, there was a bit of chill in the air. Our resort was located in a remote place, far from the madding crowd. The morning here belonged to chirping birds and there was lush greenery all around to soothe our eyes. In fact, at night, we even saw fireflies (I had never ever seen before this).

The Golden Temple

The first visit for us was, The Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery, a beautiful and serene place. Irrespective of one being a spiritual person or not, one should definitely visit this place. The idols in this temple are simply alluring. Their grandeur is encompassing. The paintings on the walls, the architecture, the motifs, the beautiful and well maintained lawns around the temple, everything about this monastery is beautiful. Even in a room full of people, there is a sense of peace here.

Next day’s trip was, to Mandalpatti, which is high up in the mountains. It is a 17 km bumpy ride in a jeep (it would be a good idea to hire a jeep with a door on the passenger side, too). It is a drive through red sand roads, which has puddles (if it has rained) and stones. No proper roads after a certain point and so no railings to prevent any mishaps. The jeep drops you off at a certain point and beyond that you have to walk a short distance, to reach the topmost point. Once I reached the mountain top, I remembered the saying ‘Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations’. Surreal and picturesque! Mountain ranges with lush greenery, clouds touching the mountain tops and the strong winds blowing, make you forget about your bumpy ride. Just one feeling then, to be in awe of this beautiful place and regale in the vastitude of nature.

Abbey Falls

This is very close to Mandalpatti, just around 3 kms away from the starting point of Mandalpatti. One has to walk down a few stairs to reach the waterfalls. As you start descending the stairs, you can hear the sounds of the waterfalls. There are railings put up in front of the waterfalls, hence people can’t get close to the water. Yet, it is a nice and peaceful place, with lush and soothing greenery.

Raja’s Seat

This is also in Madikeri. A small beautiful garden, from where you can see the sunrise and the sunset and get a bird’s eye view of the entire Coorg. This place offers an entirely different view, from that of Mandalpatti.

Nisarga Dhama

Nisarga Dhama is a walker’s paradise. You enter into it through a swinging bridge which is a delight in itself. The bamboo trees in this place are an absolute treat to the urban kids. There are paddle boats here, for some boating. You will be able to witness the innumerable cat fish swimming in the waters there. As you walk into Nisarga Dhama, you reach an enclosure for deer, which houses about 11-12 of them. The kids can touch them and feed them too. That is a sheer joy for them. However, a gentle warning that this place needs a lot of redoing, though it is already in the process of being redone. There is lot of room for improvement.

Elephant Dubhare Camp

Since we couldn’t reach on time, we couldn’t enjoy the activities here. So it is important, to reach before 1700 hrs. The rafting closes at 1700 hrs and obviously there is no way to reach the elephants there. From afar, we could see 2-3 elephants though. One is of course allowed to wet one’s feet in the water or even take a dip or play in the river. But the river bed is rocky and slippery. It is surely a fun activity for the city bred kids.

So the next time, you feel like spending some time in the midst of nature, it is a good idea to consider Coorg, which can be absolutely rejuvenating, in spite of the long drive to reach the place.

This blog was originally posted in Tripoto

https://www.tripoto.com/karnataka/trips/coorg-where-nature-dwells-593c9c844fdb6

Listening maybe the best help …sometimes.

Our newspapers, our TV channels and even our Social Media is filled with so much of negative news; news of hatred, news of crime,news of scams and so on that any kind of additional negativity is a strict no for a majority  of us. Those of us who believe in the Law of Attraction like to stay optimistic and positive in life. A lot of us don’t want to hear complaints on health issues, unfriendly behavior or anything that may cause us distress.

Friends over professionals

Fair Enough. I too choose to surround myself with people who talk about joys, blessings and stay optimistic. There maybe a large number of people who choose to do so too. Who then listens to the little boy who always got bullied in school but never mustered enough courage to say anything & resigned to the fact that being exploited was a common thing after all? Who would listen to the young girl who got sexually abused but was asked to keep quiet to save embarrassment to the family & who concluded that maybe it was her fault if someone did something wrong to her. Who would listen to all those children who carried the burden of fulfilling the unfulfilled dreams and every setback made them feel like a failure?

The easiest answer – a professional, a therapist! True. But how many of us can afford a therapist. Just forget the  monetary aspect of it, how many of us can feel comfortable talking about our fears or our experiences? How many of us can trust somebody with our feelings? How many of us would find support among our loved ones to go seek a professional help rather than just ‘fix’ it ourselves? There maybe no statistics or data for the above but there is one about the number of suicides. The number of suicides reported in 2019 were around 1,39,000, which means so many people felt that dying was easier than the life they lived.

The role friends and loved ones can play

We may not be professionals who can counsel people on how to lead their lives. But we all can be good listeners. Despite wanting to be around positive people, let’s try and hear out someone when he/she comes to us with a problem, without being judgmental about it. Let us try to hear them out without any bias and give them reasons to trust us. Each one has his/her own journey in life. We may not be aware of the choices they had and the reasons for the decisions they made. Sometimes, people may not look for solutions, but just for support or just to vent out their frustrations or inner fear.

Let’s be a little kind to each other. While we try to spread positivity, love and cheer, let’s also be supportive to someone’s troubles. Despite what they may confide in, we ought to maintain our respect for the individual and not be opinionated about their troubles. Eventually, it may be only the medicines or talk sessions that may help and that depends on how troubled a person is. If it appears that the person is better off seeking professional help then we should just guide him/ her to do that rather than avoid the troubles. Why hesitate seeking professional help for any kind of stress or anxiety related issues when we don’t think twice before going to a physician for a flu or cold or any physical discomfort? Something as simple as insomnia could also be due to some other underlying issue.

Just being there

Listening to complaints can be daunting. Hence it is also important to identify if a person is really troubled or a habitual complainer. While the former may seriously need support, for the latter nothing may change the habit. So the next time, someone, particularly a happy go lucky and cheerful person comes to us with a problem, let us hear them out. That is all they may need.

Saving lives is not necessarily always about jumping into fire or into the water etc., sometimes it may also be about being a bit patient, taking out some time & listening and of course eventually encouraging professional help, if needed.

Life’s illusions or lessons for maturity?

At some point of our life, all of us or most of us have had a friend or a relative, who has meant the world to us. So important to us that we think we may not be able to survive even a day in their absence. Life does make us believe in many illusions like this.

We might have lost someone to death, and we might still be dealing with the loss, and trying to fill the vacuum in our lives. We might also have lost someone to circumstances – this person may have moved out of our lives due to their own choice or we might have chosen to leave them or due to these circumstances.

Loss due to circumstances

Obviously, we would never have a chance to meet those people who have left this world. But, this cannot be said for those who have just chosen to walk away from us or whom we have chosen to ignore. After some time, if we get in touch with them, we realize that the person, around whom our life revolved, is a total stranger to us now. We don’t know any more if this person loves sunrises or sunsets, whether he is a beach person or a mountain person – so much so that we may not even know his favorite food now.

This is the same person whose likes and dislikes were often given more preference than our own. Meeting him was a daily ritual and hours would just go by in his presence. This is the same person who we thought was the most important person of our life, without whom life would be meaningless for us.

An illusion?

But, in reality, these are just the illusions of our life. Or may we call them lessons for maturity? In spite of thinking that we may not be able to pull on a day without them, we have actually survived the separation. Not only survived, have continued to live our life in probably the same way.

Nobody is indispensable

Despite what we believe, the fact remains that nobody in this world is indispensable and that we need to continue with our life in the same way, irrespective of the presence or absence of someone. The day we understand and realize this, is the day that we get mature enough to face the ups and downs of relationships.

Learning from our loss

Life and God have a strange way. They will make sure that we precisely do that one thing, which we thought would never be possible. In the process, we end up being stronger.

We learn that getting attached to any person, place or thing is not wrong. After all, we are social animals. We may need people around us to laugh with, have fun with, to encourage us, just to hear us out and for several other reasons. As long as we know that there may come a time when we have to just let go and move on, we will be fine.

Let go

Let go of our love or attachment for that person, place or thing and move ahead in our life. This also does not mean that we have to be prepared for the worst, in our life always. We just need to be emotionally strong to be able to deal with such situations effectively.

We are enough for ourselves

The one thing that is always going to stay with us is our own self. We do not need another person or thing to love us and make us feel important. Each of God’s creation is important and that is good enough reason to love one’s self. We are worthy and we are enough.

Irrespective of anyone being there or not, we will still be there, till the time God decides otherwise. The choice is for us to either live in such a way that we can make a difference in someone’s life or to just move from one calendar date to another.

Let’s choose to live fully, with or without anyone by our side and make a difference. Not just wait.

This is an old article that was originally posted in Women’s web.

Coco Chatter I – Tales of my furry baby

It has been a little over a month of having brought our furry baby home. After the initial adjustments, we as in the family members and our baby, are aware of our schedules and seem to have adjusted well.

But in the initial days it was obviously tough, mainly because we were new to each other. One such incident is still fresh in my mind. It was about 4 days after we got her home. When we got her (Coco) home, she was about 45 days. The place where she lived earlier belonged to a Maharashtrian. I being a Tamilian, out of a habit would converse with Coco in Tamil & English. Needless to say, both of us were in the process of learning to communicate with each other.

For no apparent reason , she began whimpering badly. I picked her up, held her close tightly. In no time, she was comforted and her whimpering stopped. No words, just a warm embrace; which also was an assurance that she didn’t have to worry because I was there.

Maybe it holds true for us humans too. Sometimes it is not the words, or the way they are expressed but the mere presence of support and comfort that maybe needed and may matter. We may not always need to offer solutions rather just listen sometimes.

Raising Emotionally Sound Children

A family is the safe cocoon for us that supposedly protects us from the external world and keeps us safe, physically as well as emotionally. But what happens  if we face danger from within the family? Who will protect us if the person causing us danger is a family member?

Imagine this scenario where a young girl is undergoing therapy for depression and the therapist gets to know that the girl had been sexually abused by her father, in her childhood. Her own father! The first thought that crosses our mind will be, how could he do that? What was he thinking? And so on. But that’s one aspect of it. My thought goes on to the child. How does she cope with this as she grows up? Is she able to get over it easily or does she continue to be traumatized by the incident/s? Will she be able to trust other human beings normally or will she be too gullible to fall for the first available support outside her family? Does her mother stand by her side and admonish the man or does she ask her daughter to sweep it under the carpet? If the mother stands by the father, is the girl able to deal with this or does she hold herself responsible for whatever is wrong? Maybe there is a perpetual conflict in her mind, maybe she considers herself unwanted since nobody takes her side on this. There could be so many issues.

Childhood trauma and long lasting effects

According to available data, in 2018, about 109 children faced sexual abuse in India every day. This data pertains to 2018. 109 children every day! So many children who are at the risk of living with this trauma for their entire life. Not only this, it is believed that during the lockdown, the number of calls received by children in distress helplines have gone up by 50%. It is also noteworthy that 90% of the abusers are believed to be someone known to the one who has been abused. The trauma of being sexually abused, and that too by someone who was trusted. Would seem like a double whammy of sorts.

While not every child is sexually abused, such kind of a traumatic experience may not be the only thing that can affect our kids. There are many small and big things that can affect them on an emotional/ mental level. Psychologists suggest that Inner child trauma is a state of mind caused by things that a child may have experienced during the childhood. There could be some emotional needs which are not yet met, some sort of insecurity during the childhood which continues to stay in the person’s life even in adulthood, some sort of guilt or shame (which also could be associated with some sort of abuse like the above), not being allowed to express their emotions and some sort of rejection. Inner Child trauma is a whole different area to reflect upon and gain insights.

Encouragement to express fearlessly

When it comes to matters like sexual abuse, being privy to domestic violence, a victim of bullying or even feelings of unworthiness, the children need to be encouraged at school as well as at home,to speak, without fear. Speaking about it fearlessly will not only garner support to face the problem but will also protect them from further damage. This damage could be physical as well as emotional; as the pent up emotions and trauma can lead to a different kind of problem.

An awareness needs to be created both, at family as well as school levels specifically with regards to sexual abuse, substance abuse and emotional well-being. The awareness could start from a basic level such as good touch and bad touch, thereby enabling the children to understand what is not allowed at all.

No perfect parents

There is no rule book for parenting or any rules for perfect parenting. Each parent is on a learning mode yet the least the parents can do is to let the children grow up without any trauma from the childhood. Low self esteem owing to lesser confidence of parents, or very critical parents, guilt due to too much pressure and not being live upto those expectations, a feeling of failure and so on, the list is endless. There are so many things that can show up later in life or affect the adult life of a person. As parents, what is important is to make the child feel worthy, to be allowed to express their emotions, to be felt heard and to let them make them their own choices. This is not to suggest that the children be left to fend for themselves. Parents definitely ought to be there for guidance and support but not to impose one’s set of beliefs or choices on them. When it comes to cultural, traditional or religious beliefs, it maybe tough to take a stand but for the other choices in life, they can be given a chance to choose and then guided accordingly rather than just making them live our unfulfilled dreams.

Happy Children grow up to be happy adults and happy adults are the ones who can make the world a better place.

Simple Observations – Newer Lessons II

What a sight it is to watch a mother sparrow feed a morsel of grain into the mouth of a baby sparrow! This is not a scene from a documentary on National Geographic or Discovery channel. I happened to witness this love between the sparrows from my balcony.

In spite of living in the midst of a concrete jungle, I am privy to such scenes sometimes including a squirrel relishing some food grains while holding it with both hands and balancing itself of its two feet and sometimes a friendly squabble between two parrots or pigeons.

It is sad that more often than not, most of us are unable to cherish such sights and in some cases, even witness them. In an effort to multitasking our roles, moving from one chore to another, meeting deadlines, beating traffic blues, handling subordinates, delegating work, binge watching web series, not many of us are able to enjoy those small moments of joy and bliss.

While in some cases, there are no more trees left for sparrows and squirrels to laze upon, there are cases when one is glued to the screen so much that the presence of these little things in their midst goes unnoticed too.

In awe of God’s creations

Maybe for some, there is nothing grand or unusual about watching things of nature but yet it seems like a good idea to be in awe of God’s creation. Each of them is a reminder of what God is capable of and watching the other beings is also a gentle reminder of how lucky we are to be born what we are. The types of resources and knowledge we have to access to is unbelievable and yet it seems like humanity in general is causing more harm than good to Nature.

The screens in our lives may have nothing new to offer. It is pretty much predictable and known to us. But nature, in all its glory is worth a watch. It is full of surprises, joy and positivity. So the next time while driving back from car, if one is in a passenger seat, it may be a good idea to move away from the screen and watch at the beautiful sunset outside. While it is the same sun and the same sky, there might still be something different each day.

Value and enjoy what we have

Let us try cherish what God has made for us, let us be kind to the beings around us and let us value Mother Nature and hold them in good stead. Wouldn’t it boring to just be living among huge skyscrapers without a single bit of green in sight? Wouldn’t it be boring to be just listen to the nonstop chatter of humans and honking of cars, without a wee bit of the noise of sparrows or even crickets? Wouldn’t it boring to just be cocooned in the malls and buildings all the while without getting a whiff of any fresh air? How could one miss the sight of the full moon night filled with stars, like a school classroom filled with students looking attentively at the teacher?

Don’t you agree that it’s time to stop reading my descriptions of all these beautiful sights and go find some yourself? Go for it! Happy viewing!

Nature is a treasure trove of joy and positivity.

The Soldier who inspires you to forgive and just love.

25th Jan 94 is an unforgettable day for an officer of the Indian Army and the villagers of

Longdipabram, a village in the Tamenlong district in Manipur. This was the day when their lives were to change, on account of an unfortunate incident.

Before I get into the details of this incident that occurred two decades ago, I would like to mention something that I wrote in the recent past, which goes like this:

“ What’s the big deal when people do special things or care for a family member or friend?

The Big Deal is when something is done for strangers or people whom we know cannot or may not reciprocate in an equivalent manner.

It’s no big deal if people are respectful and cheerful in your presence.

The Big Deal is when someone can be in awe of you, even if you are not a part of their life anymore, even in your absence & just your memory.

The Big Deal is when people smile, just at the thought of you.

Your family will always wish you to be around forever.

The Big Deal is when you touch the lives of people around you, in subtle yet significant ways

that they wish for you to be around them always.

That’s a life well lived, in a way that even God would be proud of His creation.

When I wrote this, I thought this was a musing rooted deep in philosophy. The line ‘Even God would be proud of His creation’ seemed too unreal and impossible to achieve. However, I have met someone who time and again makes me feel that maybe this might be one of those people who God may surely be proud of.

An unforgettable night

Going back in time again, on 25th Jan’94, Col DPK Pillay from the 4th Batallion of Brigade of Guards, went on a mission of apprehending militants from their hideout. Col Pillay led the ambush and during the skirmish that ensued, one of the militants fired 4 bullets on his chest and arms, a portion of his leg was also blown off by the grenade attack there. In the midst of this ambush, 2 small children were caught and injured.

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PIc Courtesy : From Col Pillay’s social media account.

Despite the grave injuries and the threat of losing his life, Col Pillay ordered the evacuation of those children before his own. Luckily, by the time help came back to evacuate him, he was able to hold on and could be provided with necessary treatment before it was too late. After the requisite treatment, he was back on his feet, in stable condition. He was decorated with a Shaurya Chakra, apart from the many other professional milestones that he achieved in his life.

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Pic Courtesy : Col Pillay’s social media account

Like most of us do, he too moved on in his life with his postings and duties. Little did he know about how grateful the citizens of Longdipabram were to him and how they held him in high esteem.

The Reunion

However, in 2010 during his tenure in the Ministry of Defence, he got a call from his friend informing him about a memorial in his name in Longdipabram. Surprised, he made a visit to the village.

He was given a rousing welcome at the village. In fact he was received by the militant who shot him. He got to know that the militant had surrendered, served his punishment and upon his return had transformed and taken to farming. Col Pillay also got to meet the injured children who had grown up to be adults now and the mother of those two children as well. Not only this, the village went on to adopt him by gifting him 100 acres of land, which he obviously refused.

The choice of vengeance or love?

Col DPK Pillay had all the reasons in the world to hold grudges against the man who shot him, to be angry about the things that went wrong in his life (owing to this incident). As an after effect of those bullet wounds, he still suffers from shoulder pain and such for which there is no treatment, except therapy.  The pain being a part of his life, till he lives. But one knows that there is no pain or anger, when one looks at the kind of work that he has done for the development of Longdipabram. From simple activities like setting up orange orchards, to more developmental things like getting highways developed and getting a school built, organizing scholarships for girls there,there is so much work that he has gotten done.

It is awe inspiring; not the fact that someone can do so much charity and not brag about it. But simply that someone chooses to live on without any anger / hatred or vengeance about a life threatening negative situation. It is only right that I mention this incident here.  I once had the privilege to meet him at his office and I noticed 2 frames of the picture of him, in the injured, unconscious, close to death state. I asked him as to why he had two frames of the same picture at different places, in his office. His reply was that there was one at home too. I was surprised and speechless too. Although I did comment as to why would one like to have this, as it is a painful reminder.

Most of the people I know would not want to keep such memories framed or mention them again. But he does that, maybe as a reminder that life is so uncertain and nothing is in our control or that Love is the biggest way to help us win others or that his life is a second chance and he better use it to make the lives of others better. I can only guess this as I missed the chance to ask him.

His work speaks while he performs in silence

I could point out at half a dozen people who wouldn’t miss the opportunity of taking credit of being the saviour of one who is now a Bank Employee, but all that Col DPK Pillay does is maybe post one odd update about those children and those villagers.

Col DPK Pillay is no God (although he has a documentary on his name called ‘God of Longdipabram), so he obviously could be as flawed as any other human being. Only those who see him closely would be able to say whether he is a person who loves everything to be spick and span or wouldn’t mind being in the midst of chaos, whether he just mutters under his breath when angry or would use cuss words as liberally as any of us, whether he is rigid in his religious views or believes that all God is one. No matter what his beliefs or even flaws are, the one simple reason for me to idolise him or be inspired by him is his ability to move on, without any bitterness, to be forgiving and put the past behind him. It is such forgiveness and letting go of grudges which has the power to make the world a better place.
If I am able to emulate even an iota of what he does for the benefit of others, I would consider myself a decent human being whose life has been well lived.

A much larger canvas apropos

The life of such a person cannot be summed up in a thousand words’ article. This is just a humble effort to highlight certain virtues.

It is only apt that I end my piece with a poem presented to Col Pillay by the people of Longdipabram.

THE WORLD LIVES BECAUSE…

Some men do not eat alone
For others they atone;

They know how to wield bows
And ward off countless arrows

They do not harbor anger
Even if evil brings them danger

And will not touch gift or good’s
If it is tainted with blood ,

They live their lives with honour
And know no fear in their manner

Thank our god’s for such women
& men
The world lives because of them!

 

More power to you Col DPK Pillay. May your tribe grow. Keep inspiring.

Our tryst with the ‘Dreaded Corona’

While we moved into the 4th month of the lockdown, our society gates closed for outsiders and our home open only for ourselves, the Corona Virus had made a silent entry into our home.

The chosen one was my husband. So here he was, going out within the surrounding areas, with due precautions for purchase of essential supplies. During one of those days, when the weather was making its mind whether to be sunny or rainy, he developed low grade fever, which started at  just about 99.5 degrees F.

How it all began

Contrary to the most common symptoms of Covid 19 viz a viz sore throat, cold, cough, tiredness, lack of taste and lack of smell, upset stomach, the only symptom that he had initially was mild fever which gradually started fluctuating between 99.5 deg F to 100.5 deg F. Since the fever persisted for more than 5 days,  the next step was to get a CBC test, a complete profile test of the blood. A day of waiting and the results showed that there was a  bacterial infection and also urine infection. And all this while, the trouble maker virus was getting more comfortable in the body. It had shown its presence in the form of an increased level of CRP (35 as against a normal level of 6) which somehow wasn’t taken seriously by the general physician treating my husband as the Spo2 levels were at 96/97 (and mind you there was  second opinion sought too). For the uninitiated, SPO2 Level is the oxygen saturation level that can be monitored by a small device that has to be placed on your index finger and just like a BP / Blood Sugar monitor, this shows the result within a few seconds. The ideal saturation level is  between 95 to 100 .

Oxi

So now the efforts began to deal with the infection  in the body while the most popular virus of 2020 continued to take up more space in the body. Since there were newer antibiotics that were introduced, there was persistent fever and it hardly went beyond 100.5  degrees temperature. To add on, as mentioned earlier, there were absolutely no other symptoms; it seemed like just an extended viral fever.

The realization

However, once the dosage of the antibiotics were over, the virus finally showed its existence in the form of high fever in the range of 102 and 103 plus that lasted through the night  refusing to go down even with the help of a paracetamol. By then, obviously the warning bells had begun to ring. A third physician was called and briefed about the reports and the medications and she was almost certain of it being Covid.

Finally, we headed for a personal visit to the our regular Doctor and  a Covid swab test was recommended. A chest X-ray was done immediately, along with a blood test again. The Covid test too was done, at a Government certified lab, by taking a nasal swab and a throat swab. It just took a minute to get that done, the results of which would take around 24-72 hrs. The Chest X-ray confirmed some patches in the lungs. Considering that the results of a Covid swab test would take time , a CT scan of the lungs was recommended so as to measure the extent of the virus. The CT scan tests revealed that the situation was a bit alarming and could get worse. There were several patches on the lungs, which indicated a classic case of Covid. To top it, his SPO2 levels (checked with the help of an oxymeter) was fluctuating between 94 and 95. This was confirmed to us by our physician during our personal visit (while we were under the impression that anything above 90 is good enough). In effect, this meant that he needed to be hospitalized.

Course of action

I must add here, that for the past few years, I have turned into an eternal optimist, who swears by the Law of attraction and yet I too didn’t want to give into this option of hospitalization. The only reason being he would be in isolation and none of us would be around. Two things; one our inability to monitor anything that is related to him in those crucial days and two, our lack of trust . The next 2 hours were spent in trying to avoid the hospitalization. I got in touch with a friend working at a senior role in a Fortis hospital. She suggested that I get in touch with a doctor from their Covid Team who would assist the patient with Home Quarantine do’s and don’ts and also help in monitoring his progress for a nominal fee. So at 2300 hrs at night, I was on a call with this doctor who happily guided me on what we needed to do. He asked my husband to do a 6 minute walk test and check his SPO2 levels at the start, mid and end of the walk and to revert to him with the result. But since the SPO2 level dropped to 91 at the end of the walk, combined with the many patches on his chest, this doctor too suggested a hospitalization. Next day, this friend could arrange a bed for us and there we were getting him admitted to the hospital.

After about 3 hours, he was finally admitted and placed at a suspect Corona ward. Next day morning, he got calls from the local municipal ward about the results of the Covid test done and inquiring for details of other family members. In the next 30 mins, the report was sent on email which as expected was positive.

The hospital staff shifted him from suspect Corona ward to Corona isolation ward, which was a twin sharing room. He was administered with Steroids (IV form)  Anti-Viral, Blood thinner injections, at times Insulin ( as sugar levels would spike because of steroids), Vitamins and Zinc capsules. A spirometer was given for inhaling which would assist in improving the lung function. Blood tests were carried out daily in early morning schedule . They also administered Nasal Oxygen as the SPO2 levels were at 93/94. All instructions were followed especially the most important one which was to lie on the prone position i.e lie on the stomach or on sides BUT NOT to lie on the back. Prone position would get more oxygen to lungs which would improve breathing and oxygen levels.  Normal breathing exercise – Pranayam was also a factor which helped healing.

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After 3 days, the Nasal Oxygen was taken out as the blood samples were all coming back to normal. By the 5th day, they asked him to take the 3-6 min walk test and measured the SPO2 levels which was at 97/98 and he was all set to be discharged . They asked him to be in precautionary isolation for 8 more days . Steroids were given in oral tablet form which were to be tapered down over the next 10-12 days along with Vitamin C and Zinc tabs. All through this during the stint in the hospital, he was able to stay in touch with the family through phone and video calls. He was mobile and attending to his needs independently.

Takeaways

It was a battle fought and won because of early detection, taking preventive measures and ensuring that the virus was not allowed to replicate and cause further damage. It’s not only the Corona virus that damages, there are bacteria, parasites and other elements which arise because of Corona and all of which needs to be attacked at the same time inside our body. Yes, it also depends on how healthy a person is and if he or she has any co-morbidities which If present would further cause complications. But even in such cases, early detection helps in fighting this battle successfully. Also, not all patients who test positive need hospitalization. It depends on various factors like fever, SPO2, other co-morbidities and so on.

Though of late, the word POSITIVE has become a fearful word….BUT if one is tested positive, what matters most is being POSITIVE in mind  and reassuring yourself that it’s just another virus and that you will come out successfully. Although being anxious is understandable, being in a state of panic is avoidable. The support of family and friends is what helps you maintain your peace of mind, even in times of such anxiety. I was pleasantly surprised when acquaintances on Social media, who are actually strangers lent their pieces of advice and support to me during this period.

It was also extremely heartening that the neighbours and the society members (including the security and housekeeping staff)  were ever willing to help us and provided all necessary support for us during our home quarantine period (2 weeks). However, it was a bit disappointing to see that the  insensitivity of the Municipal Corporation. This pertains to the banner that they put up outside our home, as a notice to the others  that we have a Covid patient in our house. The banner was a huge one, covering ¾ of my door and  maybe a bit depressing and some may find it demeaning to see something like this put up outside the door which kind of ostracizes the family. It could simply be a small board or a poster  placed at a wall near the door rather than something that covers the entire entrance of the house. But nevertheless, during such a Pandemic, such slips may be unavoidable and to give due credit to them, from a situation where they used to seal the entire building ,now they seal only the house ( provided the building has elevators ) . They too  are learning as well on how to handle this pandemic

Last but not the least, to all the Covid warriors out there be it  the Doctors, Nurses, staff at the hospitals, the police and other state machinery who are risking their lives daily to ensure all safety norms, the various volunteers and  NGO’s – A BIG THANK YOU for all your efforts . May we all stay healthy and happy.

Making the days of our lives count

There is a saying that ‘ A man is known by the company he keeps’ and I like to take it further by saying that my writing is often influenced by what I read. So in my case, the influence of the author that I read reflects in my work.

To explain this further, I just finished reading a novel by one of my most favorite authors Nicholas Sparks. For those, who don’t know about him, he writes in the genre of romance. But he is a master at expression of human emotions. Every time while reading his books, I have gone back into my life, reviewed my actions / reactions to the relationships / friendships of my life.

His latest novel had such moments too. The main protagonist of this story is diagnosed with a disease, the same that her father had died of. Having been with her father during his last days, she knew how her health would deteriorate and what would be the maximum that she would live.

Made me wonder as to what one would do if they got to know that they had a definite period of life left. Maybe regret about the missed moments, try to seek forgiveness for wrong done, if any, be more forgiving of those who may have wronged or one perceived it to be wrong, try & have more fun, spend more time with loved ones, spread love and a couple of more things too maybe.

But then, do we really need to know the date of our death to be able to do all this? What is stopping us from doing all this right now? Our busy schedule? Our rigid mindset? Our procrastination? Our ego?

Can we just not try to and keep work aside and try and spend more time with loved ones? Do we have to hold grudges against others? Can we not be more forgiving for the wrongs done? After all, Karma always settles scores, isn’t it? It doesn’t always take too much to love. Sometimes, just a bit of empathy and care, with the boundaries of our own well-being in place. Can we be a bit more caring and a little less judgmental about the people around us?

When we make our days count or matter, the length of our life becomes irrelevant. Isn’t it about how well we lived rather than how long we lived?

What then are we waiting for? Not for the information on the date of our death or about our life that is remaining on this planet? Are we? What if we never get the time or intimation just like the many before us who didn’t?

The time is NOW, to love, to have fun, to forgive and be kind, without waiting, without regretting.