Narrated by Mr Lokesh Punj (PGDM-SPA 1979)
Mid Feb, 2020 onwards, the powers that like to be seen to be protective, started building up the pressures for precautions, isolation, social distancing and information rained thru all modes of media to educate us on the grave risks, health hazards and highly contagious COVID-19 with alarming data becoming available on the number of infected and number of deaths. Risks taken by me in travelling by Delhi Metro during the last few days of active working in Feb,2020 started haunting as I knew that Chinese ladies/ tourists had also sat next to me during brief journeys. TV News, Graphs and Bar Charts on the build up and angry as well as unreasonable reactions of many on social media, TV, etc., created too much of pressure and I was told to be highly cautious for next 14 days. My whole family was anxious and looked at me as the culprit who might have brought Novel Corona home.
So much of good advice, on boosting personal immunity and on senior citizens, specially males being in very high-risk category (more so the oldies with stent/ history of heart attack, diabetes, obesity, smoking, asthma, etc.) was no less than a band of active demons finding chinks to invite Novel Corona. My family had relieved maid servants and my wife and daughter, both were under work stress while I was busy, caught in the web of interesting information and developments of Pandemic. On April 1st, not that I was fooled but I had voluntarily undertook cleaning the windows, doors and high places of the dust and dirt and by the afternoon, I was like a batsman who had scored a century without hitting boundaries and remaining not out. Worries started when I suddenly developed back pain, cough and thick mucus. So, I started with gargles and steam for quick relief but the flash backs of laces of clotted blood from my throat, a few days back, started haunting me. That fateful day, the car was driven by an experienced driver with three of us travelling, had the balloon acid trick applied to our car and I was lucky to have come out of car to avoid acidic fumes, from front taking my laptop bag with me while my two associates had come out from back seat to check the front of car when driver was opening the bonnet, only to realise that their bag was stolen in less than a minute on a busy two way road with traffic police men some twenty metres away. My muscles in both, arms and shoulders, were stiff and slight movement caused high pain sensation as if I had a slip disc.
The day next, again I observed that in two to two and a half hours after dinner, there was interesting sensation in my arteries in the legs and I self-checked temperature …slightly above normal. Same sensation started two hours after B.F., Lunch and Dinner, the body temperature shall move up and then come down. The situation was getting worse and on the third day, I was assessing on what to do as it seemed that my spinal cord itself was disturbed at first and the next few vertebra around shoulders that I could neither breathe in or out or turn and had to freeze my chest and then go for any action in a very slow motion to make the level of pain bearable. I shared my typical situation in very brief with a post on our batch’s WhatApp group and quick came a phone call from a batchmate with an experienced advice to go for a Muscle Relaxant Pill as ointment and pain killers shall not help. I told my wife that I will face the problem and going to hospital shall be the last option. That night, a resolve in mind and the Muscle Relaxant Pill and Ointment made me sleep well and I took bed-rest and on the next day, did not even move to the room with TV and it was the first day that I ducked the news on TV. The third day, I was back to normal wondering what had happened. I am not too sure but it seems I had broken free from the vice like grip of COVID-19. It also struck me that too much of bad news, helplessness in not being in a position to make much difference the way Pandemic was being tackled and slow build up of pressure on mind had alerted the immune system that responded. If there was slight infection, it overkilled it or it was just a muscular pain that got cured by rest and relaxation or was it my correct self-analysis that it is one’s own mind that is the first mask or shield of one’s body to keep it protected and in the working order and responsive condition. If mind is occupied for too much time and for too much of its attention remains on any issue such as COVID-19, it can get overloaded with stress and get chinks that invite the attack of negativity on the body, kicking up the immune system. Good outcome is that I almost stopped listening to the news, looking at the bar charts and exponential curves and smiled only at useful information on how to keep the body’s immune system in top form besides letting my mind, mind its own business! Another twin positive advantage I forced upon my body is that not only I stopped smoking since that night onwards but also had realised that a lot of repair and maintenance requirements of the body were ignored and I have slowly restarted the yoga that I had given a miss after my school days ! Last of all, it is also an acknowledged fact that unsolicited friendly advice coming from a selfless batchmate build trust and confidence to strengthen mind. So, be reminded to rewind the mind in proximity of your friendly batchmates. You get your mind re-energised to take control and it acts as your first mask against any adversity in life.