Post from a Quarantine

Each sunrise brings this thought that how blatantly can a calamity result in exploitation. In every society of the globe, individuals are blaming each other or the system rather than trying to become responsible and eschewing blaming at this critical juncture at least. When a person dives deep into inner thoughts, it dawns upon them that the soul has a lot to contribute in surviving this inflicted condition, the remedy may be introspective that lies within us, within our behaviour or within our society. It is foolish to expect positivity from all ends, but some, like a handful of seeds sowing into our future will provide food to the whole community. We will all face something that will weigh us down and at the same time we may come across a multitude to laugh at us. So we should strive to strike a balance between positivity and negativity if we are to overcome this disaster. Our faith should not be shaken and we should strive right until the end of it. Let us not lose hope and let’s not panic, but instead love and support each other.

Some say that it’s empathy which makes us humans. There’s no better time to exhibit empathy when all of humanity has been afflicted by a pandemic. It is comprehensible for students coming into the valley internationally that quarantine is needed in these testing times even though it amounts to torture for parents and children alike. It is in fact a measure to protect oneself from a greater torture that could afflict the entire family. But the question arises that what does self isolation mean, in the real sense? Does it mean forcing people to share a single room? Like shepherding folks into corners like sheep with no heating system and where they are ruthlessly manhandled by security personnel? In these testing times, students are asked to stay away from family and then at the same time, asked to clean their rooms themselves. There is no rest and no respite for the weary. If quarantine is a necessity, then it should be taken care of as is directed by the guidelines of WHO. The administration should at least know the basic ethics of it. What is the point of getting quarantined if at the end of the day it’s only going to increase the possibility of catching diseases from one another? And then, the food served is stale and filthy.

One week has passed and here I am, languishing in a dark corner with friends and fellow students. We are counting days, second by second until we see the dawn of the fourteenth day. We are braving challenges and hardships here. They say “home is where the heart is” but it feels so different here in the quarantine facility because our hearts reside at home with our families. Although the distance is not too far, it does not matter if it were a meagre ten steps or a thousand kilometers away from home: the result of separation is the same to us. Two weeks ago, I was supposed to appear for my final examinations in which the main focus of the exam was the effect of Covid ’19 on humanity and ways to counter it, but the Lord’s plans direct our paths and little did I know that I would be quarantined!

On March 20th, Providence brought me back to my hometown after being away from it for the past one year. I expected to receive a warm embrace from my family but instead the authorities ordered to keep us in quarantine. I would have never imagined that I would be waving to my family through the window panes of a cold metal bus. It was heart wrenching. We were swiftly transported to designated housing, where they had prearranged 17 beds in a single hall due to space constraints. It dawned upon me that this is not what quarantine is supposed to be. After many protests our group managed to convince the leaders to assign us individual quarantine quarters. And as the days passed, we just waved our hands from the window panes to our families who came to visit us, bringing food that made us more eager to return to our family. But unfortunately this is an apparent punishment of God for our sins that we and the whole world is suffering.

The word pandemic was just something we had only read about in books. Never in a million years could we have imagined that this would be something we might face in our lifetime.

These are such melancholic moments we are living, but we must always remember that life presents different seasons and this difficult season will pass and a new season of life will blossom and we will be stronger on the other side of this as we stand together. Let us together make the world safe again by staying at home.

Baasit Mohammad is medical student in one of  the medical colleges in Bangladesh. At the time we recieved this piece from him he was  quarantined at Rajbagh.