It was 11.30 pm when my wife’s mobile phone rang. Before she could pick it up, it went silent. Soon it was ringing again. The caller was a close relative. ‘Calling me at this hour in the night. Is everything all right?’ she enquired. ‘Baji, I am very disturbed. I want to go to the hospital where he (her husband, my wife’s younger brother) had gone alone on his scooter. He had fever and had been consulting a neighbourhood physician. There was no improvement in his health. Therefore, all of a sudden he decided to go to the emergency ward at this hour. I have received no call from him. I am worried,’ she sobbed.
When my wife told me about it, I suspected it might be a case of Covid-19. But one cannot be sure unless the person concerned has been tested. Initially, I was a little hesitant. Looking at my face, my wife got furious, ‘She is our close relative and needs help. What are you thinking? Take the car keys and take her to the hospital!’
I decided I should behave like a lion-hearted person, instead of a chicken heart, in this hour of crisis. I got overpowered by powerful emotions and forgot that only the lion-hearted lose during these pandemic times if they commit even the slightest mistake.
Ultimately, we went to the hospital and came back happily after having helped a relative in need.
However, the next morning, my happiness was replaced by acute worries when we were informed that the person admitted to the hospital was a Covid-19 case and all his family members, including wife and three daughters, too, had been found to be infected.
When I checked my temperature, it was not normal. I avoided getting tested for Covid initially, but was found to be a positive case after three-four days. Luckily, my wife’s test turned out to be negative.
So, I, too, landed up in the same hospital. My family members had no hope that I would be back home alive as my age was against me — being in the over-65 age group. But somehow I was sure after reaching the Covid ward that I would return home as a cured case, as I had helped someone in need.
The environment inside the ward was — surprisingly — not depressing. Patients would come in and go home cured after a few days. I did not come across a single person losing his or her life. Perhaps, the doctors have learnt with experience how to handle a Covid-19 patient successfully.
During the eight days I spent in the ward, I would also get strength from these moving words of the great Hindi poet, Maithili Sharan Gupt: ‘Mara nahin wahi ke jo jiya na aapke liye/ Yehi pashu-pravritti hai ke aap, aap hi chare/Wahi manushya hai ke jo manushya ke liye mare’ (A person actually never dies if he does not live for himself/It is animal-like behaviour to live for oneself; You are a human being only if you die for other humans).
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