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14 days of quarantine: Love in the time of Corona
#extendlockdown #COVIDー19 #Covid_19 #mentalhealth #loveinthetimeofcorona
I have come back. into chaos. Just returned from the Holi holidays. First day into work after seven days. And they put me in quarantine. I hang my white coat.

It doesn’t feel the same

#lockdowneffect #Quarantine #spreadloveinthetimeofcorona
2/When I went home there was only one suspected case.

The Pandemic was mostly in Italy and US.

We were laughing how HOD have the most to fear before the holiday

Older age group.

#covid19nfld #LoveInTheTimeOfCorona
Now we have 85 positive cases. A new covid Unit is under construction and proper hazmat suits have been ordered.

A stamp on my wrist

Quarantine 14 days.


Testing was limited and they didn’t want to waste kits.
#covid19 #HealthcareHeroes
4/ Feeling surreal

I looked at my apartment

I only started my residency two months ago.

I have hardly seen the inside of my flat. I moved here two weeks back.

Just empty space. My room mate had gone home also and hadn’t comeback. Not that I knew her well.
5/Two weeks alone in an empty apartment,

I slump back into my sofa.
What should I do.

Make tea. Of course.

No maid was gonna come.

Home was far away.

I drained my tea and went to the balcony..
It looked right into the balcony of the opposite house.
6/ What should I do. The sudden stop in life. I didn’t expect this. No one did I guess. Didn’t think this is how residency would start.

After staring into space I ended up binge watching some sappy serial.

Should I call someone. Who?
I already talked to my mum.
7/Not a person who likes talking on the phone a lot. I am the kind of person who misses call from people. Waits half an hour and then messages to ask what happened.

Ended up messaging my fellow friends in different medical colleges to see if they were okay.

8/I walked up to the balcony. The apartment in front of me. Was very close.
Their balcony was just like 5 feet apart from ours. I could get covid from my neighbours, it is not even six feet, I laughed in my head
I never had time to see who lived beside me
9/After loitering in the balcony I saw movement. I saw an arm.

An old man came out.

A- namaste uncle. How are you?

He didn't seem to want to converse. And hurried away opening the windows, removing sheets and looking at me like I might have been the virus itself.

10/Oh that's who lives beside me.

So much for my romantic fantasies. Such bad luck

Today was the third day of my quarantine. And yesterday seemed blacked out.

I was on official holiday and unlike those working from home, I did not have any assigned task.

I had just joined, so studying my course was also not a major concern.

#Covid_19 #lockdown4 #PMModi
I have never been so totally free. Time was already non existent.

I remember watching some webinars.

Aarjay was calling me morning, evening. He really seemed to have a lot of time on his hands. He was with me in the medicine department. Currently he was off duty for the week.
I didn’t have much to say but it was nice to have another person jabber about their life.

I had already binged watch Netflix. I missed my dog. I danced a bit. Dancing feels good. Makes sense anytime.

Hardly an extrovert I was content to lay in the bed and relax.
13/I didn’t have much to say but it was nice to have another person jabber about their life.

I have already binged watch Netflix. I missed my dog. I danced a bit. Dancing feels good. Makes sense anytime.

Hardly an extrovert I was content to lay in the bed and relax.
All I could see was toned ripped arms.

Little butterflies in my stomach

Slinking out of my bed to see closer. To see more.

Fluffy hair.. earnest but tired eyes. Wearing lowers and a vest lay one of the most attractive man I had seen in person.

I could feel myself gulping.
15/He was looking at his phone.

He turned.

Omg he looked directly at me.

Lunge in my stomach.
He raised his eyebrows. I tried to breathe.

I sat straight up, so he couldn’t see me.

Breathe Aanya Breathe

#lockdownextension #loveinthetimeofcorona
16/Though an introvert I was good at initiating conversation. And talking. The only problem I had was with people who I had a crush on. Too much anxiety.

But even that problem was fixed with my broken heart three years ago.


17/Cute boys are sometimes just that... cute. One should never give them the power to make you embarrassed.

Wise words spoken from experience.😁

18/But this guy was making piquing my interest. So exciting and nerve wracking.

Feeling like myself again, I fluffed my hair and went to the balcony.

A- Hi. I am Dr Aanya. Right now under quarantine.

Relief. ( I didn’t give my reaction away)

He smiled

H- Hi. I know.
A- Huh. How??

H- I am also a first year resident in Pediatrics. I have seen you once or twice leavin the hospital

[woah, all these two month this gorgeous person was roaming in the same hospital as me. I didn't even know]

I haven’t seen you in this locality though.
A- Oh, yeah I moved here just two weeks ago.

Should have moved here sooner huh (what are you saying? dumbo)

He raised his eyebrows a little.

As we talked I got to know that his smile was dangerous and that he didn't look so dangerous which was even more entrapping.
A- Who was the old man.
H- Oh just my landlord.

I tried not to talk too much. And make him talk more
He can't find out how weird I am on the first day.

He was still working. Smaller shifts to lessen exposure.

One week work, one week off.

22/We all had the six hour shifts, mostly. Someplace they had 8 hours or even 12 especially our US counter parts.

Which was actually very less than a what a first year resident normally spends working.

I was happy, this meant he would spend more time in his apartment.
H-sorry I have to leave for hospital.
My duty is about to start

And in a jiffy. That was it. He was gone.

Damn I didn't take his number.

He didn't take my number.
Didn't he wanna do this balcony meet again?


 #PMModi #mentalhealth #shortstory
I was a Wednesday. That means he needs to work four days and then he will be as free as me.

It will give ample time for us to get to know each other…

I did what any sensible person with a crush does.

I sat down and opened my facebook and instagram.
25/Shit. I was so busy looking at his eyes. I didn’t realize that I don’t know his name. He didn’t tell.
I fell my heart fall. He didn’t even tell his name.

I shouldn’t think so much.
Be cool. Aanya. Be cool.

I replayed the conversation in my head.
26/I replayed the conversation in my head.

Was he a player? He must be. Must have girls falling on him.


I didn't like the thought of that.

Does gym probably. Those ripped muscles don’t come from thin air. Oh was he one of those weird gym junkie
27/No no it cant be. He had kind eyes. I laughed. Let's see.

At 25, love felt too much like a fairytale.

Listening to romantic songs.

I swayed in my room and then fell asleep watching netflix
28/It is morning!!!!

I have exercised and shampooed my hair.
Smelling of roses and jasmine.

Does fragrance travel that far??

I should wear something sexy yet comfortable. I threw on a dress. Na which indian roams in their house wearing floral dresses

#lockdown #Covid_19
29/I put on olive shorts and tucked in my t shirt. I thought I looked cute. Tried my hair in an updo then let it fall naturally

I stood in the balcony in what was my attempt at looking like a serene beauty.


The bait was useless. The fish was not even there. Blah.
30/I went back and started painting a mural. Something I have been planning since I shifted here.

The whole time glancing at the balcony to see any signs of him

Ugh. Why did I get up at 6.

Does he like animals. Gotta ask him that.
Might be a deal breaker.
31/How silly u r behaving i told myself.
I am just having fun

To relax. I have been single for enough time now.

He is just another guy.

One thing that kept me calm was he was just a guy. Not the end of the world.

It was 10 now. No sign of him

32/Apparently he hadn't been as smitten as I was. And was doing better things than waiting on the balcony to fulfill his romantic fantasy.

I went inside. Reading a novel , slight sun on my face.

Next time I opened my eyes it was 12. I could hear some tak tak , tak tak. 
33/Like someone was knocking. Alarmed. Are there monkeys here? Unable to find a stick, I took the wiper from the bathroom and went

I stood

To see that the noise was coming

From this beautiful man

Standing on the balcony.

#spreadlovenotwar #tuesdayvibes
34/Aware that I was now standing with a wiper, paint on my face and sticky hair.

Hastily I put the wiper down

I went to the balcony

A -Hey ( in a non chalant tone)

H- Hey there sleepy head.
( Is he gonna be so directly sweet???? )

I have been waiting for quite some time.
35/[Dip in my stomach. ]

A -You have ?

This was only the second day

We talked as we had lunch, laughing, he told about his undergraduate years. Showing some pics of how skinny he had been.

He was funny, polite and earnest. Not trying to be cool . he was making me comfortable.
36/ We talked about the pandemic, he became serious.

H- Around 80 positive patients are admitted right now. its doubling very fast.
More ventilators should reach in four days.

I wasn’t aware of these updates. I had been happy being lost in my mind.
37/Day before yesterday there was this 56 yr old man. Same age as my father. Jolly guy. he was a wrestler in his young age. He didn’t seem so perturbed about the whole situation, was maintaining 90 above oxygen. Even without supplementation . Had mild cough and 101°F temperature
38/Yesterday I went and he was on ventilator. Even with that, the oxygen was not touching 90. I was shocked.

I could hear crackles in the lung base. By the end of my shift he was confused. Altered mental status. My shifted ended. And I am bit sacred to see how he is now.
39/Well I will get going.

A- (only 2:10) why?? ?You will reach within five minutes.

he smiled.

H-Haan but with the handwashing, hazmat suit, face shield. It takes aorund half an hour to get ready. And plus Vineet will have to prep me about the details of the previous shift.
40/A:Whats your name.

H: you don’t know my name!! He looked at me incredulously You didn’t even ask!

A: you didn’t tell

H: It is Dhruv

A: Dhruv.
Dhruv: what
Aanya: nothing. Chalo see you.
41/A: Uh, wait. Can we have dinner together.

H: Is that a date. ?

A with a smirk:What . no…

Do you want it to be?  (I flirted back yes!)

He laughed
D: I am just teasing. Sure. I will come by 10 max.

He smiled

I smiled.
( atleast I thought I did)
Then I melted
42/I thanked God for these Indian balcony and over population.

That his balcony and mine were only 5 feet apart.

The tak tak noise on the window sounded better than birds chirping

Laughing. at my own thoughts

Do u have a girlfriend. I had almost blurted out before he left.
43/ I was dying to know. But I wanted to things to progress naturally if they ever did.

If adulthood had taught to me brave. It had also taught me to have caution. To take things with a pinch of salt and to remain calm however trying the situation maybe.
44/it was night, now.

D: the old guy died.

He was very quiet.

[I didn’t know if he needed space. Or wanted to talk. ]

A: Um.. shall I leave you alone. You can rest if you want to.

D: I don’t want to sleep alone .

(sleep, what does he mean sleep)

A: I can sing for you.
45/D: Huh? You sing?

A: well, not really I just hum to myself. I find it soothing. you can find out for yourself

I sang, tell me pretty lies, somewhere only we know, linkin park songs, in a slow melancholy voice.

The slight wind, the night sky
added to the tranquility.
46/ He listened to me. Eyes closed.

I stopped.

D: Why did you stop,

A:Shall I continue.


{ If we were in the same room things would have been awkward.
The balcony gave us like a safety net. To get close but not too close}

D: thank you.

I nodded.
47/ I was attached but detached at the same time.

I have always felt I could feel the emotions and then distance them like I was watching someone else's life.
I wonder if other people did that too.
48/We talked about our life till now.

He had one younger sister in 1st year of medical. He liked football. Barca fan.
I said I have never watched football. He visited Spain after his MBBS. Which I felt was very cool. He went alone.

He had girlfriend of 4 years. They broke up.
49/It wasn’t one thing actually

We met in first year. She was one of the first girls I had talked soo much to. We were on the same dissection table. Just a roll number ahead of me. I was a shy kid at that time. I was honored that she would like me. I fell for her very quickly
50/We went for movies.we went for dinners.

But we were too different. I am surprised it lasted as long as it did. I think she wanted the boyfriend security tag more than she wanted me. Someone to go out with.
Someone to study with.

Someone, so she didn't have to be alone.
51/She would get possessive and angry at every little thing. And I had to spend hours making her feel better.

She wasn’t the worst. But everything became a hassle. I started to get irritated looking at her.

By the end of second year the puppy love I felt, was pretty much gone.
52/u know this song? He proceeded to sing in a high pitched voice , complete with arms actions.

There is nothing left to prove
No use to deny this simple truth
Can't find the reason to keep holding on
Now that the love is gone, love is gone.

I laughed

53/But when all your friends are common. And you see each other everyday. It becomes more of a habit.
Something that is easy to get along to.
Something that is very hard to break.

We ended as MBBS ended.
I only wish I had the guts to end it sooner.
I am happy being single now.
54/Aanya: Pretty real life. it feels absurd that one who is 18 and hasn’t figured themselves out, what they like, what kind of life they want. And pumping full of hormones are expected to get attracted to one person and commit to that guy and that is it. Happily ever after.
55/ if it happens. good.
It it doesn't. Let us move on. Indian society doesn't really support that.

Though one thing I feel with ending things, is like you both invested those four years in each other. Was it a waste?

56/Sure you have memories. But now every time you remember your college. She will be there. And it will be bittersweet.

H: haha. U r right, I guess. I don't regret anything though.

We ended up talking till nearly 6 in the morning. The sun was up when we went to sleep.
57/Next morning.
Quarantine is going good. Actually.

I seem to work out more, and since nobody is taking me out. I even made banana bread. So insta chic. :D

I have been dancing more.
Video called my family. Talked to some friends. No where mentioning the guy.

58/ He was a precious little secret that I didn’t want to ruin.

The five years really flew by I pondered. Just some days ago. I was a school girl, day dreaming and thinking.

And now I was a fully functional earning member of the society.
59/We slept so late that I woke up after he left.

I went into a deep clean mode today. Which accomplished nothing except that now all the stuff that were disorganized inside my drawer are now lying in piles on the floor.

Well not nothing

Actually, I was looking for ... ahem

Ahem ahem
I found them. hehe

Now I can watch him come inside the home.

don’t judge me. I needed a new hobby. What better for the mental health of single beautiful young female then to feast her eyes on the eye candy that my neighbour turned out to be.

61/I am normally not like this. But doesn’t everyone say that?

At 24. I have stripped away a lot of my indian society taught niceties and embraced that it was okay to live my life on my own terms.

I was ready for the consequences of my actions but I wasn’t ready for regrets
62/he made my stomach go into a dip. That hasn’t happened in three long years. so what If logic has left the window.
Let logic go.

With my hair done and skin all fresh. I slipped into my favourite floral dress.

It was not new. I can wear what I want.
#COVIDー19 #lockdown
63/I looked in the mirror and gave myself a high five.

He must be coming home. It was 10:00 pm.

With my tea and binoculars I sat on my balcony chair.

Sure enough. there was a car. He looks so good in his formal shirt. Damn these binoculars are good.

#lockdown #COVIDー19
64/. I can even see his chiseled jawline. I watch as he removes his shoes, leaves them out.

I can see him, taking out his wallet and keys and sanitizing them.
Removes his white coat.

Ugh. View blockage. Oh he must be coming up.

He shouldn't see the binoculars…

65/ I go inside my room and continue watching from the window.

I can see half of him from the balcony. How did god make someone so cute. He is mumbling to himself too


He is taking his shirt off. Should I go? This is too much. I need to give him that privacy.

66/I turn and hit my night stand. it falls.


No no no.

I sheepishly turn around to see him without a shirt.

Oh no.

Now we are looking at each other. He through his window.

I see the outlines of his clavicles. Then his eyes go down to my hand holding the binocular.
I was becoming beet red. Ears hot. Something was stuck in my throat.

I tried to say sorry, but all I did was run inside my house.
Uh, he is gonna think I am such a perv.

Should I not see him for another ten days? Not see him ever again? I know his schedule.
68/How can I act like such a teenager! I am a grown adult woman!!

I hid in my room

Knock , thunk.

He was hitting my balcony again.

I go out reluctantly and see him standing there wearing nike shorts.

I haven’t seen him wearing shorts for two days, was he teasing me?
69/A: I am sorry.
I was just looking out. You came at the same time. I didn’t see anything.

D: Give me your number. I don’t want to throw pellets everytime I have to call you.

A: What??
(we are ignoring it???)

D: Your number and we will be even.

70/(mini yay! Though it took him literally so much conversation to happen before he decided to ask for my number. He was slow. But did this mean he was interested too??)

As we exchanged phone numbers. I felt happy.

Fourth day going well.

71/We both sat in the balcony

Trying to sit very attractively. I don’t know if it was working.. he was so far.
Crossing my legs like model on a magazine cover

H: Is there something wrong with your leg?.


So much for my sexy posture.

Smiling politely

A: no no

72/You can't even give him the gentle touch to his arms when you laugh.

Or stare too long in his eyes.

How do you flirt.

I didn’t do words.

He talked about how he does not come from a medical background. First in the family. That his family is worried to death.

73/they want him to come home. Leave the job if needed.

He felt lucky to be able to contribute.

Also, it was so difficult to get a seat in the first place. Apart from the course, the tedious studying, all the reservation and now EWS. He was lucky he felt.

#loveislove #lockdown
74/though the lack of PPE in some places was worrying him too.

Kgmu resident, who came positive was a friend of a friend.
It doesn’t get more real than that.

It felt like a war. Was he ready ? Was he aware of the consequences? He wasn’t sure but there was no looking back.
75/I responded how I felt the same.

A: I always had a lot of respect for my profession. But now I feel more humbled than ever.

I have cried once already. Reading about the problems people are facing.
76/[Talking about crying would have caused major cringe 5 years back but these days it felt normal

But 5 yrs back I wasn’t dealing with the stressors I had today.]

I ended up crying reading the article on New York times magazine.

I felt so helpless.

77/H:Hmm. I read it too. He said.

I told him about wanting to have my own animal shelter.

D: I will contribute with you on that.

A: Really ?

D: money is pretty limited right now. My father has taken a huge loan for business. But in some years. Sure. Why not?

78/D: I just want a good life. A sweet missus I can take care of and love. Already have a job I like, might start my own hospital. Watch football matches live, one each year atleast, go see beautiful places and do my job without burning out.

79/D: I don't want to live in a place too crowded.

The charm of metro cities is really destroyed by population and pollution. When I wake up and the air is fresh, the weather is good, I start my car and no horns are killing my ear. No traffic.
It feels so good.

A: Hmmm.
80/D: Do you wanna hear a song.

A: Huh?I laughed sure.

Destroying or adding to , I wasn’t sure, the magical ambience of starry lit night at 12. we heard jasmine sanders sing

Somehow it made him even more cute.

Pahadi log.

81/ next night.
I waited for his msg.

Beep beep.

open the door the message read . l saw a packet with a note- Date tonight?

Aah. I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear.
The note further read.
Place: The famous Balcony
See you in 15 minutes.
Also, fairy lights inside. ;)
82/Ding. Another message

[Washed with soap and water. The covers. :)]

I came into my balcony to see his was decorated.
He was wearing a crisp white shirt with dark blue jeans.
I had a weakness for white shirt.
Sleeves rolled up. He looked at me and smiled. Felt my heart flutter
I had worn the colour of dates. Red. And the dress was beautiful.
It hugged me in all the right places.
He was almost blushing. (Yay!!)

H: It has only been few days l know, but getting to know you has been my privilege.

[l thought we were being cool]

A: um..
83/H: You don't have to say anything

I just wanted to tell you that
even these pretty scary days are looking rosy...
Because of you.

[Is this how love is blind.]

84/ As we had dinner, he told about his day.

A 92 year old female

She already had diabetes, hypertension..
like most of our old people do .

But she was very chirpy . she said had seen her grand kids , she had played with them, she lived a good life)

Sometimes don't you think the simple pleasures of building a life together are enough.

Having a person to embrace, those little inside jokes, having good food, playing with your pets
Cooking Together.

These add happiness to every day life.

( the air had become sentimental)
85/A: hmm. But I feel it is equally important to find a job u like as much as a partner u like. most people spend a lot of their time working. One should be able to derive joy out of it even if they aren't 100% passionate.

( He listened intently)

Do you cook by the way?
86/A: I would never marry a man who isn't willing to cook.
D: I am willing.

He grinned and looked directly into my eyes

l diverted mine

[Danm this guy so obviously flirting]

D: By the way we are kind of like avengers now, right?

He did a superhero pose.
87/I laughed.
A:Are you showing off your biceps to me??

D: Well I didn’t do gym so diligently to show it to myself.

We both laughed.

A: Waise I am not a big fan of avengers or any other superhero for that matter

Except maybe batman.

D: What? get out of here.

88/I just feel so much hype is given to people dressing up to be cool and saving the world from hypothetical aliens while the real people who are out there doing real good work
are hardly ever given their dues.
89/it feels like an escape mechanism. Let's save the world but from a fake tangible villain.

What about plastic?
What about human trafficking?
What about animal cruelty?

Hard questions we avoid so easily.
People in general, don’t want to deal with real problems.
90/ I want a fan following over the guy who invented the washing machine, I want to celebrate the scientist who discovered insulin as much as people appreciate filmstars.

Not to destroy the mood. Just a thought
Another 6 days flew by.
The kits were limited.

Otherwise I would have been out of this quarantine earlier

They only wanted to test the symptomatic ones.

We even discussed cases and study material now. Listened to songs

Watched movies together using a projector.
91/It was 10.

Why hasn’t he come?

I peered through the window.

It was our second proper date.
Wearing my cute strapless dress, I was waiting eagerly.

I had started imagining running my hands through his hair. I shook my head.

It was 11:00 now.
What did something happen?
92/I called his number.

No one picked up. Shall I call my friend?  And ask her to go in the covid centre to check if the guy I like.. who is already in the hospital …to see if he is okay

Okay no. I put down my phone.

I tried to distract myself with memes

93/New here, I didn’t have the number of other medicine residents.

It was 12:30 now.

I still couldn’t sleep. If he would just message.

I called him again. Click.


Uh. Hi. I was wondering what happened. I was waiting ….

someone else spoke.
94/Who is this? He asked.

Feeling out of place. I said. I wanted to talk to Dhruv.

I am a resident in this hospital currently in quarantine living next door to him.

His voice warmed down considerably. He said oh, hello.

Then he said seriously.

95/Dhruv has developed fever and cough, he said had fatigue for two three days but attributed that to being emotionally worn down.

Two cases in ICU died today. And we have put Dhruv's team on quarantine and since Dhruv is showing symptoms he will be tested.

96/We will know in a few hours I will tell him to talk to you.

Next morning I was awake at 5,
Could barely sleep.
It could just be a flu.

I hurridly checked my phone

No messages.
97/he called at 8.

D: Hi.

A: Hi ( I nearly cried)

D: So I heard that you talked to Shreyansh. He led out a loud sigh. Umm. So I don’t know yaar

I am scared. I am feverish. And I am tired.

And I didn't even expect this.

But I am positive.
98/I was too out of it, yesterday. I couldn’t even call my family.

I want to tell you not to worry

I want to tell you to be safe

But my mom and dad are panicking and what do I tell them

I am scared myself.

I listened to him.

His voice was trembling.
99/D: It will be okay. I will recover. I think I hope. I am young.

(His voice didn't have the confidence he was trying to show.)

A: What do you mean hope? You will, You have to….

D: I will see you later now, my senior is calling.

 A: what. Wait.

Phone click.

Extending my arm for support
I kneeled down clutching my skirt.

It was a positive, not a death sentence.

But doctors tend to have this sense of being invincible.

When the Mumbai and kgmu resident became positive,
I felt a tear in that belief,
But now it was torn apart
Unable to gather up the courage to call someone and talk.

I sat alone and numb.

Hours passed by. I took a deep breath and started reading all I could about covid 19.
With moist eyes and a heavy heart.
If I gonna help. I will have to be prepared.

I don’t know if it will make a difference but better than just sitting.

I don’t know when I fell asleep

I woke up to see missed calls.
Still feeling lonely, bereft and surrounded by covid whether I am opened the news, facebook or whatsapp. I closed my eyes.

Closed my eyes
Today 9 pm modi ji had told us to light diyas.

I felt very political

In a politician voice I felt like shouting

When my People will have PPE
I will light diyas in the whole city.

Some said it was to keep the general public sane. To uplift morale and keep the hope alive.
But when the time came, I could hear the chatter of utensils and claps.

I picked up the match and lit a single diya.

All over the world
For all those
Who want to rest
But are working
Lab technician
Shop keepers
Delivery people
Stay Safe
This is for you
For all those
Who died too soon.
The grandma who gave up her ventilator
For the young
The doctor who was about to graduate and died

The doctor who was beaten during his duty
I hope you rest in peace.
This diya is for you

I resolved to do my best

Next day went fast.

I had already been called by my hospital

That my quarantine has ended and I should start working

They needed people

Especially since Dhruv tested positive and around 10 doctors working the floor had been quarantined.

As I put my washed my hands, put on my gown, gloves, mask and goggles. I wasn’t feeling particularly dismayed

Doctors in India are used to working under pressure

Every three months or so, one doctor gets beaten up. We protest. We go back to work. Life moves on.
I guess the horror is…. how easy it is to get used to...
to accept that things won't change.
Before you realise it, you start living with it.
109/But I was glad that we had proper protection. Patient overload was not there.

I wasn’t accustomed to wearing these N95 Masks. And within five minutes I was all sweaty inside.

I could feel beads of sweat around my nose and lips.
110/Unconsciously I raised my hands to wipe and hit the face shield.

Good that they make us wear this.

It was horribly uncomfortable inside the mask. And I was feeling slightly hot in the suit.

I didn't even realise this problem up till now.
I hurried to see Dhruv

I entered the covid unit. And straight went to his bed.

He smiled. He looked weak.

[How did get it so bad.]

Pit in my stomach.

I got called.
Giving him one last look
I started working.

Working with the whole gown and stuff was also a challenge.
Even I shouted for my fellow doctor, he couldn’t hear it.

I realized everyone had stuck their names and photos on the suit so it would be easier to recognize each other.

I went to get a marker.
Tomoro I also will stick a photo

113/think I saw a post. Doctors pinning a smiling pic of themselves so patients know who they are getting treated by and don’t lose human touch so much.

I needed help and shouting didn’t help. I finally went to Shoaib. How are you guys communicating?
He said oh. It is your first day back.
He smiled.
He pointed at the board.

They had put sign language for basic communication

And also for emergency like crash cart needed.

Different codes.

Wow. This was cool
I saw a checklist. Ventilators had come.

But right now we had enough. But predicting an impending shortage,
there was a guideline of people with good prognosis and poor prognosis.
116/I fell silent,

In an indian government setup. It is nothing new to not have enough ventilators or ICU beds. But it is a very hopeless place to be. To be the one who has to decide.

117/I liked being back at work. Seeing other nurses, ward boys, doctors working and smiling gave me energy.

By the end of four hours. The patient load had become less. I felt suffocated and wanted some nice cold fresh air.

But you had to save the PPE. Only two hours more.
118/Little bit free now.
I went and sat beside Dhruv.

I talked about other things. He was calm. What was the point of discussing it. It will cause more anxiety.

D: It is nice you know. Being taken care by you.

A (Solemnly): How can you joke about this. U look so weak.
119/ D: first of all, it is not a joke. Second , What is left in life if not humour?

I laughed.

A: ok.
[He seemed to be a really positive guy]

How about this, if you die I will immortalize you in a book.

D: You will write about our undying love na??

A: Huh?
( Stunned)
120/[ I looked into his eyes , they were twinkling mischievously but he looked sincere]

D: Obviously

Our unfulfilled love.
The epitome of unfulfillment.

The love that ended before it could start.

I might never hold your hand and feel it's softness.
121/He said quietly

He held my gloved hands.

[All those thoughts were making me sentimental.

Some ten eleven days ago

I didn’t even know he existed

I didn’t know who he was

My eyes swelled up
That there is a possibility I never will]
122/D: Hey hey. You don’t get to cry. I am the one dying.

A: The dead leave the alive in misery

[I smiled. Though my eyes didn't.
Dry humour going strong.]

(I playfully hit his head)

A: Enough death talk.
Get well soon and take me out.
As in a date, date.
123/D: so my lines worked. You have fallen for me, haven't you ?

[ He was teasing but I could see he was red a bit himself. ]

I gave a sarcastic look. (underneath wondering whether this was a wrong idea. He looked so cute blushing )

A: live and find out.
124/Only one intubation was needed.

The rest three were positive but asymptomatic.
As I took care of routine patients, took the history, examination, I felt peaceful.

The walls of hospital have always felt like home.
I do well in stress. Except maybe exam stress.
125/A nurse said airplane delivery of kits will be done, Soon; with more masks.

They were selling mast at 10 times the price.

Such atrocity.
I wasn’t against business but this was taking undue advantage.

Already production will increase, medicines were also costlier.
126/Should have started a pharma company i thought.

Probably be earning more now
127/All those cloth masks
that are being promoted so much.. do they even protect?

I can't tell.
Information on the net wasn't very supportive

128/ was there a point to helicopter shower of flowers?
The money could have been used for labourers . They could have not cut our wages.
129/I bought food for Dhruv today.

D: It tastes a little bland.

I gave him the look

A: What did you want chocolate cake?

His eyes shifted to my lips. A small blush I looked away.

D: Chocolates would do.

I ended up buying chocolates for him and every other patient.
An uncle said thank you. I love chocolates. After taking a bite he frowned,
it didn’t taste the same anymore.

He looked 45.

What? why?. I thought

A: Have another. Illness does make food taste strange.


It dawned on me.
Covid causes loss of taste

Has he lost his taste.

Surprised to actually see it in a patient.

So many things you read theoretically. Symptoms , signs.. When you actually see it. It hits you.

He looked frustrated and uncomfortable.

A: I will come to check on you soon
132/Did Dhruv also lose his taste.

It seems not so severe when compared to death but to be hungry and not be able to taste your favourite dishes

The butter gravy and naan

When half my day revolves around food. What will I eat.

How will he enjoy that?
Was it permanent?
133/A: Did you have the chocolates I brought?

D: No

A: Have it.

D: I will

A: Have one now.

D: Why are you nagging me
He took a bite.

D: it tastes good. Thank you. Happy?

A:You can taste it?

D: Yes. Why not

A: A man couldn’t.
134/I looked at him. He looked at me.

Both silent.

Such a little loss compared to losing his life. But we both felt it.
135/Next shift I came there were four five people on dhruv’s bed.

A crash cart

I asked Shreyansh what happened?

S: stay calm. He had asthma, the virus hit his lungs worse than other people, I think

A: he had asthma??
136/S: He started having further chills and fever in the night.

Respiratory distress.

I watched from the sidelines as they intubated him.

I felt myself quiver. Was this really happening.l?

Soon they were shifting him to the ICU.
137/Was this beautiful guy going to die right in front of my eyes?

No. don't think morbid thoughts
I didn’t want to be a crybaby but I could tell my eyes were moist.

Is there something I can do I asked my senior.

Go there. see the new patients,
don’t stay here.

Keep calm.
138/Sniffling I nodded.

Deep breaths. I said. Deep breaths.

Not thinking. Mechanically I started taking the history
Jotting down the vitals,
and apparently talking to patients.

Elderly lady : You are crying young girl.
139/Could they see through my goggles,
It was tricking down I had not noticed.

I smiled. A: just ignore that

Elderly lady-

You are doing great. God bless you know.

The old lady held my hands, trying to express gratitude.

A: thank you,

I tried to smile.
140/The shift was over.

I didn’t want to go home. But I had to change out of the ppe.

I couldn’t stay there. Without ppe

Sana came and looked at me

A: Can I stay??

I will just sit in a corner. I will shower here.

Sana: Go home.


You have work to do.
141/We don’t want more exposure of the virus than we are already getting. Staying here long is not good.

A: Please

I wont be able to sleep anyway.

Give me work right now

I am awake. I want to be useful.

I don’t want to be alone staring at his balcony. (mumbling)
142/Sana: Were you and Dhruv close??

I looked down.

A: We were neighbours.

Sana :Come early tomorrow. Go sleep now.

And eat something. You need your immunity.

I nodded

There weren’t a lot of girls in medicine. We had a 1:5 ratio of female to male. I was glad to have her.
143/I slept or I didn’t sleep. I don’t even know.

Tossing and turning. Crying softly.

Will he die? Was I thinking too much?

Is there nothing I can do.

I turned to the news

Every death reported hit differently.

The news was overbearing.

144/I woke up. Next day

Did I have a shower??? shit. How could I forget. I couldn’t remember at all if I had one.

don’t be reckless Aanya
don’t play with your life

I showered. Put my bedsheet and pillow case for wash just in case I hadn’t. wiped the floors and shelves.
145/Took my coat. And went in early to the hospital.

No improvement. Today . he was still in the ICU. Intubated and sedated

I felt numb.

I couldn’t see patient as a human right now or I would break down. This was my first year as a doctor and I felt thrown into the fire.
146/I stopped thinking. I took the charts. Listened to the doctor who was finishing duty about the works I had to do.

The patient info.

And started my rounds.
A young female was there. She must be in her 20s.

A: Hi, you came today?

Patient: Yes.
147/patient: I am a college student here.

And I was rushed to the hospital. Could you video call my family? I haven’t been able to talk to them properly since I was admitted.

I check her vitals. Read her history.
She seemed in good shape.
148/ I remembered all the patients who had deteriorated suddenly.

I felt the hair on my back stand up.
I video-called her mother.

As she reassured her mother, her mother looked angst and pale.

I realized a lot of patients and a lot of us will need counselling soon.
149/Regular zoom meeting about procedure guidelines were happening.
The guidelines were changing so fast.
It was tough to keep up.

One person was given the job to put additional and new instructions on the white board so every doctor, nurse, wardboy could see it while working.
150/The news had come the lockdown had extended. How long will this go on?

Now we are part of history.

The helicopters showered flowers on our roof.

Was it pretty? Yes.
People were moved?Yes.
Must be a good thing if people were touched right? Felt wrong though. Wasted money.
151/ they could have used the resources for patients who couldn't afford treatment. Who were unable to travel. Or helped all the essential workers...
152/I wonder how they survived. People before us. Things like the plague. You never know... how it will end.

Will it


will it not end.

Will you survive it?

It was foolish to think nothing will happen to you. I realised.
Whole nations and economy were bought down to their knees by something so small we can't even be seen.

How powerful is nature.

I felt like an expendable pawn in a war that had no sides.
154/It felt profound as to how little we know.

But that little was enough o create so much around us.

Like medical knowledge. It is too vast

It can never end.

But whatever little I know

Can still make a difference

For that one patient under me
Feeling quiet.

I frequently looked over at the window to see dhruv. How incredibly alone he must be feeling.


Mostly because the tube is uncomfortable, you are mostly sedated but some patients remember vague memories which somehow feels worse.

156/to be pricked and prodded and to not be able to breathe properly.. it wasn’t a surprise PTSD was seen post ventilator .

Was I too emotional to take care of dhruv. No

I am a doctor first

Calming myself. I convinced the head to shift my duty to ICU
For the next five days.
157/next day, I went into the ICU.
He was mostly sedated.

I played soft songs he mentioned he had liked.

I also held his hands through those gloves
Nothing like a human touch.

I hope he felt the comfort I was trying to give,
To him
Or to myself
I don’t know.

Playing songs I read decreased anxiety in ICU patients.

I checked the amount of breath going in, their consciousness level.

Whether pain medication was still continuing.

Some patients had been given muscle paralytics so that their body doesn't fight against the ventilator.
159/With the permission of the head, I started playing soft songs.

For all the patients in the ICU.

I think it helped the doctors and nurses too.
160/A lot of the staff had started video calling the patient’s family and though not in the guidelines, it felt like one of the most important part of treatment.
Some patients on ventilators were improving and were mostly awake.

A head nurse called me and four other students.
161/Nurse: How difficult it must be to not be able to talk. How uncomfortable it must be to have a pipe down your throat.

Be kind. Be attentive

She looked at us.

I gave a acknowledging smile.

A: Yes mam.
162/I felt the need to be attached and detached. At the same time

Taking frequent breaths usually calmed me

But the air that went in due to the mask was moist and warm

Unlike the fresh air that calms me.

Day… I don’t know which day it is anymore.
163/Dhruv had been on the ventilator for 3 days already.

But his ABG was normal. And he seems to be improving.
I have stopped thinking.

When I walked in the other day I found one nurse crying. It seems the norm now.
164/I smile. At everyone. The whole atmosphere is so Gothic.

That I need to smile. To feel sane.

People smile back

Our head is very good. He keeps us motivated


He gathers us at the end of the shift.

And gives a pep talk

Like soldiers in a war.
165/Today I had to go with a bunch of doctors and nurses to do, door to door screening in a nearby district

Two three suspected cases were doing the rounds.

Since they were not coming we had been told to test them.
166/I was in a van

It has been a month since I have been in a car of any sorts

The roads...Were empty

The air was fresh

I looked out

And tried to relax.

My friends were talking about the latest vaccine development.

I couldn’t think about that now
167/We started the door to door screening

Three of us at one door.

All wore hazmat suits

I opened the door . lot of children sprawled out.

I talked about how about their daily life to assess whether they were managing social distancing or not.

Washing their hands or not.
168/By noon we were midway through our search

I heard screeching and yelling.

We all three looked at each other and ran.

A crowd had collected.



This guy was being taken by senior

The seniors were shouting that we are just taking him to the hospital.
169/And people were yelling at him-

What you will do to him?

A lady was crying. Please don’t take him away

All through my undergraduate years we have had doctors being beaten by the patient.

Every year there was one major cases and a lot of of minors ones
170/Every time I had felt enraged and…helpless

One has to be prepared for this mentally.

Physically I didn’t know how.

Could you also learn martial arts while learning to be a doctor??

I don’t know
171/Yet I find myself with my fellow mates

Facing a crowd of 50 from what I could gauge.

Who were angry

And afraid.

And I had always wondered how I would react.

Would I be able to help??

I stood there. My instincts had kicked in when my mind had bailed.
172/I ran to the driver.

And we rushed to the car.

He started the car and honked loudly driving towards the crowd.

Drivng towards the batch mates.

My seniors were telling us girls to hide.

Honk louder, was all I said.

My senior had left the positive patient now.
173/One SR was trying to explain that they were helping . that they were the good people.

I turned to other SR And saw what he was looking at


My eyes widened.

He grabbed my one senior by his hand and kept walking toward us.
174/In slow motion I saw a stone flying.

All I could yell was bosss.

They all turned

One raised his hand

The stone hitting. Him.

A yelp.

We were near. Just few more seconds
175/Using our bags as a shield.

We ushered inside the other three bosses.

They were throwing small pellets,big stones, whatever they could find.

In the car I could see them slamming the window.

We sped away.

I looked at my fellow mates

You are bleeding. Rohan said
176/I touched my forehead

I am?

I turned around to see .

One had fainted. All the seniors were injured.

This could not get worse

I was trembling.

Sana hugged me. There were tears in here eyes.

I patted her

And closed my eyes.
177/Back at the hospital.

The head was horrified to see our condition.

The one who had collapsed was stable.

We were getting bandaged.

All the adrenaline was wearing down and all I felt was fatigue.
178/Shoaib brought us cold drinks

As I chugged down cold soda

I felt relaxed

One step at a time.

Then I remembered. Dhruv. In all this commotion I hadn’t checked on him today.

I looked at the Head.

Um. Asking respectfully

Sir, may I go see Dhruv?

He was quiet.
179/Yes, you may.
He is awake and has been extubated
I already video called his family.

Hurriedly washing my hands. Wearing my hazmat suit impatiently.
I went in.
180/All range of emotions went through me.

I sat down bedside him and cried. Like a dam, that I had built to keep all the water in,had broken. And now all the water was coming out.

He gingerly held my hand

As he tried to say something, he squirmed his face in pain.

181/Rest rest.. don’t say anything

I should comfort you.

I involuntarily stroked his hair.

The nurses and my batch mates were watching my emotional reaction.

My ears went red

Not that emotional reaction were uncommon in an hospital.

But not from a resident.
He was shifted to the normal ward within a day.
My senior commented that he still had hoarseness in his voice

He was swallowing properly, he could clear enough CO2 and was getting enough oxygen.

He is doing well.

He gave me a understanding look.

I had only gratitude
As I looked onto other patients in the ICU. I thought how most of the patients with longer ventilator use are weak.

They may not remember things, they may have psychosis or delirium.

Or be traumatized by the time when they were choking on tubes and we stuck IV lines into them.
That’s how they would remember it probably.
PTSD is quite often seen.

Covid wasn't also bereft of its own complications.

Residual lung damage was one thing we had to check for.
Our cases were still increasing. We were in the red zone now.

But seeing my professors and seniors working, I felt warm. I didn't feel alone in this thing.

Now previous patients were also recovering. Dhruv came out of the difficult phase.

I felt hopeful.
You can be discharged tomorrow.

What do you want to do?
Stay in the hospital till your weakness is gone ? We are under staffed but we can see what we can do.

You live alone right. You will need help for at least for four five days. Is there someone who can help?
187/I will take care of him

i blurted and turned red.

My professor looked at me . what.. and then started laughing.


I am going to get a break only. (my duty gap was coming soon)

And we are neighbours, I don’t mind.

188/Okay then.

Then Dr.Aanya Is more than capable of seeing to your discharge

I will leave you to her.

We checked for all the criterias for discharge.

He teased and left.

Still red.

Dhruv was smiling gleefully but very fondly.

Or that is what I felt.
189/A: don’t laugh

D: I am not laughing.
I like you.

A: Obviously, you do. I have agreed to take care of you. I am a nice person. why won't you like me.

I shrugged.
190/As my senior got his discharged ready.

He got up from the bed, for the first time in 5 days and his legs gave away.

Me and Shoaib rushed to help him stand.

He walked nimbly..

As Shoaib got him washed. Me , Sana and Akshay got his things ready.
191/ them: Tell us if you need any help.


 As I got out my hazmat suit and I saw him waiting for me

I realized that for the first time,
we were so close without the balcony, without the hazmat suit.

Just gloves and a mask.
192/Dhruv: Shall we go

Aanya :Yes

Dhruv: I am falling for you.

A: You just got out of ICU and the hospital. Relax.

D: I just faced death, how can you tell me to relax. Our undying love conquered death.

A: pretty sure. It was your immunity, the drugs, doctors and nurses.😁
193/Dhruv: Your thoughts helped me remain sane.

I kept walking ahead. He grabbed one of my wrist gently.

D: Do you feel the same? Please give me an answer.
Aanya:  Yes
194/He grabbed me and above the masks, give me a kiss.


He held my hands as we walked home.

Dhruv: Are we quarantined together.


Aanya: just walk.

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