Gradually, the breathing got heavier and more difficult as I felt a swarm of grey, wraithlike creatures, (like the “Dementors” from Harry Potter) draw near. As they glided by, I felt my life being sucked out of me. I woke up with a start, my throat felt so dry that it hurt. The nightmare seemed to translate into real life, my head felt like a heavy boulder with thousands of creatures kick-boxing against the surface within. Well, I watched “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary -- Return to Hogwarts” the previous night. May be the Dementor-like creatures came into my dreams as an offshoot of the nostalgia the show stimulated in my ‘muggle’ soul? I couldn’t stand up, the body felt extremely weak, a fever was brewing too.
Early next morning I got myself tested for Covid and I couldn’t have begun the year on a more positive note. I tested positive! The laboratory staff broke the news in a dramatic manner, “Attack of the dangerous Omicron, madam!”
The description of the magical creatures called Dementors came back to me, “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them ... Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.” For me Omicron is just like another distant and fiercer cousin of the Dementors, ruthlessly contagious!
I vouch for the fact that it hits different people differently. Most people have been saying that it is less severe, but it snuffed the living breath out of me. I spoke to my friend Mrs. Kohli today, as I got a frail semblance of my voice back, “Kohli, so avenging the Coronavirus didn’t prove to be sweet or sour, you know how it tastes? Bitter. Everything seems bitter, even gajar ka halwa!” I could hear the shock followed by the melancholy in her otherwise jovial voice. “You are so careful Nav, you are the only one I have seen wearing a mask under an N95, sanitising everything around you so frequently! If you can get infected then it’s bad! OK, so do you know how you got it?” Then she went on to list all her conspiracy theories and I politely told her that I needed to hang up as fatigue began to seep into my bones.
Well, this has also brought to the fore a species whom I have named ‘Covid-criminals’. They don’t reveal that they have tested positive for Coronavirus lest the housing society where I live, should stop the house-help from working for them during the quarantine period. In doing so, the poor house maids get infected and in turn further spread the virus. That’s how I contracted the infection.
My experience of the solitary confinement as of today can be said to be of the contemplative, soul-awakening kind. There’s solace in knowing that I won’t be expected to do any chores, my husband is acing it in the kitchen, the relatives have been sending delectable breakfast for us and I even have time to unravel that hidden word on the trending, mindless game called-Wordle inspite of watering eyes. However, I crave the hugs and the high fives, the hikes and those occasional bingeing sessions with my friends and I so want to recover from this persistent feeling of exhaustion.
Recently, the word “agathism” caught my attention. Not only because Agatha Christie was supposedly named after it but because “agathism” is a doctrine that believes- in the end everything will just be fine … have faith. Today I eagerly embrace this word, in it I see a flicker of hope, a different flavour of positivity altogether. As I progress towards recovery, I know that tomorrow will be a better day, for sure!
Navanita Varadpande is a writer based in Gurgaon, India Twitter: @VpNavanita