10th Aug, 9:30 AM – I sat with my 2nd cup of morning tea. It’s already 4 days and since no call or SMS as yet, things are not bad. As usual, Baba was completely oblivious of the tension I was keeping to me. He looked up at me and said, “I am still there. We two will go through all this together.” The phone rang all at once. The number was unknown and I thought I would let the true caller show me the caller details, but it was taking the time and so after the 7th ring, I picked up the call.
“Is it Mr. Banerjee’s number?”
“Yes, I am his daughter. Please tell me.”
“Did you submit his COVID test sample 3 days back?”
“Mr. Banerjee has been detected with COVID +.”
My head had started spinning. I don’t even remember who between us disconnected the call. This was too much to handle all at once. Maa had left us just 8 weeks back, and at this point, I simply cannot lose Baba. No way. I tried to reach the number that had called us. But the number remained unreachable even after multiple tries.
11th Aug, 4:30 PM – Yesterday and today had been very hectic. I have got calls from so many departments, that I have lost count. I have tried to get Baba and I admitted to some COVID care centre, but his 80 years of age were what made us ineligible. So, finally, it was home quarantine for us. But what was most surprising was how he got it. Between 15th May 2019 and 7th Aug 2020, Baba was only out 4 times. And only once he was out in the open unprotected when he sat and cried for hours on our balcony after saying goodbye to Maa for the last time. But that was 8 weeks back. Then how? From whom? The only good thing was that he is asymptotic.
15th Aug, 6:30 PM – “How many days are left?” I must have answered this question 100 times by now since we are in quarantine. And I told him one more time,
“Till 27th Aug.”
“You are working so hard. We need people to clean and for daily household chores”
“We cannot hire people right now”
“No, we need. How many days are left?”
Baba likes to have people around. But I found out that people in Kolkata are very strict about home quarantine. They don’t even call in case infection spreads. I have a different issue. I am running low on rice, milk and have no vegetables at all. Maa always knew someone who could have helped us. But I did not know anybody.
16th Aug, 1:00 PM – Maa did come to rescue. At 5:30 AM, one of our neighbours had come and checked on us. She said she tried Maa’s number, but since it is switched off, so she thought she will come by and ask if we needed anything. She said Maa always helped her when she needed it. This was the least she could do. And by 7:30 AM she had brought us fruits, vegetables and milk. Baba is excited after so many days we are going to have a normal Bengali meal.
22nd Aug, 10:30 AM – I have been trying to arrange a daily help for us who can start from the 10th of next month. But the fear is so extensive that people refuse to join as soon as they learn that Baba has COVID. I have been managing all alone since March, but now it is taking a toll. With a fulltime job that I am managing working from home and doing everything by myself, it’s getting harder by the passing minute. Ultimately, thought of finding a different solution. And started looking for someone who has lost his job after being detected with COVID-19 and voila…I got a house help.
“Robbibar giye aekta bauro ilish niye aaye. Poisa ami dichhi.”
27th Aug, 1:30 PM – We had a final call with our doctor. She gave baba a fit certificate. I told my Baba that we finally are out of quarantine and he was truly happy and just as any other Bengali would have celebrated, he said, “Robbibar giye aekta bauro ilish niye aaye. Poisa ami dichhi.” (Get a big hilsa on Sunday. I will pay for it.) We both have reasons to celebrate. He is celebrating getting out of quarantine and resuming a normal life. I am celebrating being able to manage it all, alone.
COVID Positive to Living Positive, in just 14 days.
Shared by Baishakhi Banerjee
Have a story to share? Write to us at BollywoodShollywood2020@gmail.com