Overcoming fear and growing stronger during quarantine

For 14 days I locked myself inside my room. Now, my quarantine days are over and I’m spending lockdown with my parents.

A view of Ukhrul town

Hello, how is the lockdown in Ukhrul? … I am coming home from Bangalore because the college has shut down and there will be no graduation. I will be landing at Imphal on March 23, 2020 by flight number 6E874,” I texted a phone message to a friend in my hometown Ukhrul.

My friend in Ukhrul advised me to inform the control room at Ukhrul District Hospital. I was one among the many who returned home from outside the state in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Taking precaution as advised, I headed straight to my native village, Somdal, from the airport for home quarantine.

 “See you after the quarantine,” I texted him.

For 14 days I locked myself inside my room. Now, my quarantine days are over and I’m spending lockdown with my parents.

But the 14-day home quarantine was a short journey which story I want to share with you and the world. What began as a lonely and unpleasant journey helped me to a great extent. I would like to share my story with the hope of helping many overcome the fear of the fatal disease, Coronavirus or COVID-19.

Here goes my quarantine story…

The moment I reached my house in the village, I stepped inside my room and closed the door. I knew locking the door was just the beginning of my quarantine. The first thing that I did as I settled down was to make a chart of the 14 days, count and mark each passing day. I set the room comfortable and homely with whatever I had.

Initial days were stressful and lonely

Growing up surrounded by people and being an extroverted person, those 14 days were rather unpleasant. Though, I came mentally prepared and determined to stay for 14 days, I was stressed in the process. Despite the fact that my mother was always there praying for me, providing food and whatever I needed, it was a lonely journey.

During the initial days, many people called and asked if I was safe and some were even suspicious if I was infected. My mother served me home food with love. However, the body struggled to digest without any activity so we decided to have something lighter as it might cause another problem.

Making the best of the time

Everyday within those 24 hours: I had devotion time, called up my friends, checked news on social media, slept, watched lots of movies (happy ones), read books, made plans for ministry, doodled, cleaned the room, and listened to music to kill the boredom.

Fear of the coronavirus infection was a symptom I suffered

Although I did not have any symptoms, infection fear was there and I did the breathing exercise every morning. I was anxious to think of the worst possibilities. I made sure that I communicate whatever information my mother needed to know and do. Considering the facts and danger of the virus, my mother kept her distance, yet affirmed her love in her tireless service and prayers through phone.

The stigma on coming home from outside

There are many incidents of racial discriminations happening in the metropolitan cities because we look different. But even in my own village, I went through the stigma of coming from outside and being treated as an outsider. I have friends and family who are still in the cities, waiting for a journey home. I did not have to go through that but I can imagine how it would feel to be away from home and being looked upon as a threat by our own community.

The need to love and care for each other

The government and the higher authorities are doing whatever they can but each individual plays a role whether infected or not. I am comforted to join the prayers initiated by our pastors through mic, but it is time to do more than just a prayer. Each family and members of our community need to care and love more because we are facing a phase that we are not prepared.

Social stigma may kill us before the virus get us

We all need to stand up together as responsible citizens and think of sustenance because famine or social stigma may kill us before the virus. At times like this, LOVE can no longer be just a feeling or a word, it should be an action of giving and of self-discipline with maximum cooperation to the experts. And, as the world celebrates Easter season, let’s learn to love better and care better.

First Published:May 22, 2020, 1:05 a.m.

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