Hope amidst Virus, Vaccines, Quarantine and Quaintness

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The reality of Covid doesn’t really hit you till it hits you. March of 2020 through Sep Oct while Covid ravaged thru the planet, India seemingly remained unscathed – more so when the same was analysed in relation to the large population base.

As early as May 2020 the street vendors were back in business selling paani poori and the food appreciating Indian population thronged back to restaurants and bars and pubs by October and large part of Indian population took refuge of the Pent-up desires and most of the service providers thought that just wearing a glove (all day without changing those) solved for the situation at hand. The powers that be were quick to take credit of flattening the proverbial curve and at one instance the RBI governor even derived an analogy of flattening the virus curve by bending it like Beckham and almost took credit for it.

The abject neglect of virus lessons from around the world can be interpreted as the amazing power of human resilience and the ability of homo-sapiens to move on from one crisis to another and survive and thrive OR sheer plain stupidity of ignoring expert advice by subject matter experts, thereby putting themselves and fellow humans in peril.

The Second Wave has hit our country in a manner that no one had anticipated and the shock and awe as a result is unfathomable. The horrific stories, loss of lives, unavailability of resources (medicines, oxygen, hospital beds and even cremation slots) has traumatized the entire nation.

If you read a lot you become hypochondriac, and if you don’t you catch the virus and if you are unlucky you get it nevertheless to one’s surprise.

My experiences of going  through the virus curve

Till April 2021 my family and I managed to exercise all restraint, follow protocols, wear a mask and avoided all unnecessary travel.

Zealously we ensured that all elders were vaccinated  at the first available opportunity and I took my first vaccine shot the day I became eligible on the 1 April. Maybe to be slyly fooled by the vaccine itself on the April Fools Day.

Of Vaccines..

I took the vaccine (COVAXIN) as directed – (first day first show) and by the end of the day my energy levels started dropping and within 24 hrs of it, I was devoid of any energy – not even able to get up from the bed. Doctors advised that the body’s immune response was developing and a few Sr. Dr. classmates from school advised me against popping paracetamols as suppression of inflammation and pain through consumption of prophylactics blunts the immune response.

Take a paracetamol only if you must (when temp crosses 102F). Human body is a complex eco system where it repairs itself, fights and does everything to survive.

During the time I was bedridden and worried, I followed the basic common-sense to keep myself hydrated with lots of coconut water, usual vitamins.

Zinc, Vit C and Vit D are known to create some sort of a protective shield and boosts the body’s immune response. There is a theory that derides the use of external vitamins as body has this immense ability to assimilate and process everything consumed to everything it needs. And that explains how 2 different saplings of different fruits or vegetables can turn out to be big fruit and vegetable bearing trees with just water poured during their lifecycle. But we must still take external vitamins to supplement the deficiency.

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8 days after the vaccine when I was still not feeling perfect, I started sensing a loss of smell and got a RTPCR test done to be declared positive on April 9th – 9th day of the first vaccine shot.

Of Virus..

When you hear stories on social media you empathise, but when you get hit you get damn scared esp when you have a 3 Yr old daughter and a 70 Yr old mother at home.

So while blaming the vaccine was an obvious response, Covaxin is a dead virus that is supposed to mimic the live one – when it enters Your body and activates body’s immune response and creates antibodies. I actually thought naughtily that since I wasn’t chanting jai Shree Ram or Har Har Modiji , the dead virus became alive to attack me. Perhaps that was the message to be taken from Mr. Modi s foto on the vaccine certificate.

But jokes apart, vaccines comprise of dead, non infectious disease that’s injected, or mRNA (synthetic mutated RiboNucleic Acid) used by JnJ and Moderna, that mimic the disease and allows the body’s immune response to develop the virus fighting antibodies.

We immediately got tests done for the rest of the family and the responsibility of 3 girls (daughter mom and wifey) was a worry. All came positive with viral CT values around 30 while I was the only one with 21.

Higher the CT value lower the Viral load – remember below 24 you need to be worried and above 24 you need to know the protocols that are available for immediate intervention.

Apollo247.com seems to have their act in place. Doctors all over the country are available online within minutes. The consultation fees is less than Rs.800 on average and most of these Docs are seemingly nice and patient and are available for 3 days on chat after the initial consultation even though I didn’t get a response when I tried to chat on the 3rd day.

Don’t panic at all. It’s a naughty and a deadly virus but still a virus and behaves like a viral fever with difficult symptoms. Eventually it will weaken and remain amongst us like so many other viral flus. Its a collective fight against a common enemy. If we follow protocols and advice, we will win else we will only make the enemy stronger (allow it to mutate to become more virulent and infectious)

Children have a very different and believably stronger immune profile and are generally recommended Zincovit syrup 5-10 mg and advice to monitor their temperature and oxygen saturation. Again – Human body knows how to fight and to survive. Don’t blunt its response by getting worried if fever is mildly high. In most cases children will recover and will fight this devilish virus in no time.

Adults need to keep an eye on fever and oxygen saturation levels. The state of the country at present demands that we remain cautious and stay at home.

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Oxymeters just like masks were an almost unknown underappreciated resource. Every home must now have compressed oxygen can, oxymeter, sanitizing sprays and quarantine protocols in mind (incase the need arises)

Of Quarantine..

My wife wakes up daily at 0530 and in the last 10 years of our marriage, I haven’t been able to figure out what she does till 0730. She uses a nomenclature “Me-Time”. Google search does throw a definion. And it took Covid and Quarantine to understand how therapeutic Me-Time is how every individual must find ones Mojo in a bit of it everyday.

My heart is full of gratitude that the severity of my situation was manageable at home that allowed me to write this note but quarantine was perhaps the most zen time I have had in the last 45 years. Almost 2 weeks of solitude, abundance of Me-Time, importance of being self reliant (washing, cleaning, working in a confined space) while being on the edge of a health situation that could have been potentially fatal.

If you have more than a bedroom, try and make the sunniest room as the quarantine room. It allows you to  recharge your batteries with sun and removes the gloom. Sun is worshipped as a God – not without a reason.

Ensure that You have adequate supplies of your clothes, detergents of various kinds and a spray sanitiser (that allows you to exchange goods / supplies with family, when required using this sanitiser).

Move a small desk and chair to enable you to take calls, use laptop and create some sort of a workstation.

Besides access to internet, kindle and your fav books, ensure you have your fav Bluetooth speaker or Alexa to indulge in a bit of pleasant music as and when required. I never got a chance to appreciate symphonies but developed an addiction of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and Bach in these 2 weeks. Believe You me – its really de-stressing

Due to lack of movement, mild muscle atrophy can set in without you knowing at all. Ensure you do some basic exercises each day. A few Situps, pushups, cruches and surya namaskar is all that’s required to keep the blood flow going and the body in shape.

Ensure that you follow a routine of sleeping and waking up in time. Don’t allow an iota of gloom creep in. And irrespective of whether you are working or not, follow a routine to dress up like on a usual day (shoes et all). Wear your daily perfume even if your sense of smell has gone for a toss. This really helps in giving a sense of purpose esp when there is gloom and doom all around.

Watch as little covid data and news as possible. You are already in a situation and you cant do a damn about anything. Keep your spirits up and if you are active on social media try and help people in need by connecting the needy to the resources. Altruism produces all the 4 most vital hormones at the same time that in-itself heals and motivates you even more.

We are all a product of our thoughts that lead to action and that leads to character. Good thoughts are like cocaine. These give you a high. Think and remain positive.

Connect with all lost friends whom who have always wanted to be in touch. Connect with memories that bring a smile on your face and twinkle in your eyes. Remember that we are all creatures of our memories. No one knows what the future holds and stop fretting about it. You are just a spec in the scheme of things of 4 billion years of life, 4 million years of humanity and 8 billion of us floating around at this time – All of us thinking that we will make a difference. No one gives a damn.

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Moral compass is a vague concept that isn’t empirically defined. Make an effort to calibrate that. Calibration of ambitions, ethics, morality, right-wrong, relationships can only be done when you have time to think, be quiet and seek answers to questions that you have never sought before. And you don’t need a Britannica for that. All you need is an acceptance that you are seeking and you shall find.

If possible set a target of learning something (the lowest hanging fruit) that you always wanted but never found time. I learnt a skill that I have been meaning to learn for 20 years but couldn’t. I read every article and many books on the subject and ensured that I reached a level of conversational competence in that subject. This was hugely gratifying.

Allow your mind to acknowledge and accept that This too shall pass or You will pass away. No one cares, nothing matters. Ikigainess and lightness if sought is always almost granted.

Of Quaintness..

The modern day life is all about continuously driveling and this has reduced our ability to stop and pause and achieve a state of shunyata. Ability to empty ones mind of all thoughts, desires even if momentarily – is an amazing feeling. Most of us living today might not get this opportunity and I pray – should not!. But if you do encounter an opportunity to stare at quaintness, make the most of it. Explore the virtues of Maun Vrat and its benefits.

Fearlessness is an almost impossible virtue to achieve. FOMO, Peer Pressure, Social Obligations are the drags and headwinds that no one wants yet we get sucked into these. Jot down on a piece of paper that you can stick on your desk that really defines all your needs. And You’ll be surprised at the outcome esp. when you are in a forced quarantine. One really needs far lesser than what we imagine or anticipate.

Life is very very short and very beautiful don’t waste it with the boundaries and shackles of the deadly sins.

And lastly start appreciating your wife’s Me-Time for she is in a state of Nirvana that you are seeking and still struggling to find. Gratitude allows you to free up of your mental shackle of deprivation and external unfairness.

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Manu Rishi Guptha

Manu Rishi Guptha

Manu is an Investor, Blogger, and a Professor of Fearlessness & Minimalism.
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