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Hrishikesh Kuite

I had just returned from a vacation, it was March 2020, which usually used to be the busiest time for us but not that year. With the pandemic taking the world by storm, I was fortunate that I was already in my hometown with my entire family and childhood friends. I was confident that I would be okay and the vacation mode was still on.

When the lockdown came into force in 2020, I was ecstatic. After all, how hard could staying at home possibly be?  But, the gravity of the situation started to sink in soon after.

The novelty of being at home wore off and I started to struggle. Most nights I struggled to sleep. It was as if I was stuck, trapped in my house and my head. I didn’t know how to cope. However, over time, because of our weekly team calls, where we discussed what we all are doing to cope with the extreme boredom, I got ideas to start doing things that were long lost. I started reading and playing computer games, making me nostalgic about my college days. Binge-watching movies and series and spending more time with my family helped reduce my anxiety. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them.

But still being an extrovert, that feeling of going out and witnessing the world when it’s at a halt was overwhelming. So, I volunteered to start getting essentials like milk, medicines etc. I am sure my mother must have been astounded to see her idler happily accepting chores. But that was not enough, I used to be on a clock, a delay of 5 minutes led to a frenzy of calls from everyone.  I needed something more, and this was the time when one of my friends contacted me for a noble cause. He suggested doing something for migrant workers who are travelling and the daily wagers who are left high and dry in this situation. He had a plan and wanted a helping hand which I was more than happy to provide. Of course, we took all the necessary precautions and permission.

As I started volunteering, I had a lot on my plate.  It was like a new project/ event or for a client visit where I was in charge of logistics. Slowly the work also grew on me. Initially, we were able to raise donations and provide only 50 Packets of food and water to people. But the satisfaction that we were able to help the needy was unparalleled.

Soon after, the feeling of being fortunate dawned upon us when we saw the migrants travelling in sand & goods filled trucks. Some walked barefoot in the blazing heat, with no water, shade or any destination in mind. Here, we were, returning to our homes at the end of the day. The plight of migrant workers made me realize the importance of a lot of things that we usually take for granted.

Well, the learning didn’t end there. The lockdown restrictions were relaxed, and it seemed everything was getting back to normal. Even travel restrictions were lifted, which got most of us at ease, and for me, I became a bit carefree. I started travelling and shopping, thinking that COVID-19 is behind us now and, it sure caught up to me. My wife and I tested positive on February 21 2021, after we returned from Mumbai.

I am sharing this with all of you because the learning here for me and everyone is the same. It’s the same kind of situation that we all are in now. Many restrictions are being relaxed, everything is opening up and going back to normal, which gives a false sense of security. It will be a festive time soon but stand your ground. We all want to travel, go to Goa, but the risk is just not worth it.

If you ask me, it’s not just the Covid-19 but also the post-recovery effects, that are troublesome. Fortunately, me and my wife being young, we did not face much of a challenge. Battling with COVID-19 is tough but coping up post-COVID-19 is tougher. My Stamina to run, walk, or do yoga went down. I was able to do 108 Suryanamaskar before COVID-19, which had become a usual practice. Post my recovery, I could not do even 12.

Well yes, I gained 6 Kgs because I never lost the sense of taste and doctors gave me a license to eat. So I was just feasting for the 14 Days of quarantine. But after almost 2 months of recovery, I started experiencing a sudden feeling of unease in my left hand & back, making me think if the symptoms signalled heart-related problems. On conducting so many tests, it was found that I have contracted liver and kidney damages due to heavy antibiotics taken during COVID-19, causing pressure on my heart and lungs.

So all that feasting was replaced by restricted diets. Going through so much at the age of 27, I felt like I have grown 20 years older in just 2 months. So many healthy and recovered people I know could not make out of these post COVID symptoms and faced severe issues. So, the myth that the old are more vulnerable stands broken as COVID-19 makes people of age groups vulnerable.

This was my story on how I recovered from the virus. I hope, I could pass on some learnings from my experience. I request everyone reading this to stay home. Better days are coming.

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