What if we lose 3 out of 5 senses temporarily?
It was on Christmas day at 7 PM that I had my first chill. I told my wife and mother and we all dismissed it as a minor fever. The next day I was lazing around and I mustered some effort to see the latest OTT release Minnal Murali. It was around 7 PM on this day when I decided to put myself to the test. My sister had got an antigen self-test kit and I was getting ready. It was at our dining table that we had done the setting. I had decided to have a light dinner but the test results when it came out it silenced everyone who saw the two lines appearing. My sister and wife scrambled to again look at the instructions and see what exactly the two lines indicate. My niece was very clear. If the lines appear you are Covid Positive. Finally, the test and control lines that appeared were so prominent on the test sample it didn’t leave a trace of doubt. There were that 5 seconds of silence around me. I was trying to get my control back. There I had that stultifying realisation, ” I thought we are done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with us”.
I had taken a course on ” Lead Self” based on principles of Gita and I had proclaimed that I am going to lead a GOAL ( Gita onto Actualising living) life. It was easier said than done. For the next one hour, I reached out to my close friend with whom I had spent my time and he was advocating for me to do the RTPCR test and get the double confirmation. I told him that I will be doing that in the next few days. I told him one more thing, ” There are all symptoms I possess to confirm that I am infected with the Virus”. If it was only a couple of them, I could have started doubting. In fact I jokingly ( yes I was still ) told my friend, ” Even my eyelashes are giving me pain which was a superior reference to my body ache in general.”. So it is only a question of time for me to do the check and get the official confirmation. I realised that I could trace up to 9 people with whom I have come in contact and unfortunately by the time I am writing this piece, 5 of them other than my family had tested positive. I kept it a point to check with them what they are going through and also recommended some of the things that had worked for me.
I isolated myself immediately and it was only after one day that I started realising that I have lost my sense of smell and taste. Imagine getting up in the morning and not being able to smell my favourite coffee. Not able to taste that bun with the jam.
In the next few days, one of the major challenges which I had to overcome was a headache and a sore throat. Like never before this headache was very agonising and I tried my usual pill Saridon which used to help me in the early 2000 period when I had a migraine issue. Since then I had not used Saridon and this time my headache had the better of Saridon. However, with Betadine, I could get over the sore throat in a couple of days. Thanks to coconut water, rice gruel (kanji) and fruits my recovery was faster. I realised two things during this period. How little we need in a day. I used to have two cups of coffee, two buns with Jam, Rice Khichri, Parle g biscuits and in the night my grandfather’s favourite items: Kanji and payaru (boiled moong beans seasoned with mustard and coconut). I used to get a good sleep as well.
This coming during the fag end of the year threw all my plans of year-end blogging out of the gear.
I was travelling for the last two years ever since the first wave and I was in a way convinced that I will not get Covid as I was double vaccinated. I picked up a book for reading during this period. On page 23 of the book ” Psychology of Money” Stanford professor Scott Sagan once said something everyone who follows the economy or investment markets should hang on their wall: ” Things that have never happened before will happen all the time.” I also read a little bit of philosophy during these times. As our apartment door donned the stickers of quarantine and caution tapes acted as a Lakshman Rekha not just for us but for neighbours we felt bad about the inconvenience we gave to our immediate and top and bottom floor neighbours.
The day I wore the T-Shirt ” Keep getting better”
The day I started listening to my favourite playlist on Spotify
The day I started coming back with some humour lines and one-liners
I knew that I am getting my senses back
That is what happened to me for the last 2 weeks. So today when I was having my shower and getting signs of some smell coming back, while I was having my coffee with dry ginger powder I was trying to inhale the smell of that strain of dry ginger which I am getting a sense of. In the next few days, I should be back with my full senses.
A few days back I had a variation of Orange that is Kino fruit and I enjoyed it. After all, when you are sick you will enjoy all the minimal things in life like Bun and Jam, rice khichri, coconut water, water and finally in the night once more round of rice kanji and payaru. Not even once did I comment on the food as I was happy and satisfied with what I was getting at regular intervals.
I have been off WhatsApp for quite some time. So it was a pattern that was appearing in my life. My wife will come across a nice post and she will show it on her phone and I will then ask her to share it with me. In the case of this post, it was the gladdest thing and I embraced this poem. for its relevance and meaning at this point in time.
At lunchtime, I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
— Wendy Cope
Being quarantined with the virus I had a few realisations other than living a minimalist life and having a sense of wonder. I understood how much we owe to the scientific community for developing the vaccine and all the other constituent parties that made it possible to move it from the Lab to the syringe. I felt proud of those front line workers who dedicated their lives to the welfare of others. It was also during this time you realised how much support your family and friends give to you for overcoming this illness. Apart from them, I was also happy to have received calls from my office colleagues who got to know and they kept checking with me on my progress at regular intervals.
Today my wife received her saree which was ordered from the Myntra site. She came running to me and donned that flashy pink saree. My instant reaction was ” Are you out of your senses?”. I asked her if this was the one she really saw and ordered, hoping her seeing sense was ok. She said yes. I then told her, ” Looks like you are coming out of this Covid period in flying colours“.
This period of being infected with the virus made me take a different perspective of life with the senses I have and I have not. Next time when I am preparing to do something silly I would like to hear somebody blurting out these 6 words, ” Are you out of your senses?” loud and I will then feel all my senses.
Vinod another masterstroke from real life experiences which is what makes your writing so readable.
Thank you Nila for your constant encouragement from the beginning