Nagpur: Jaya ( name changed for her protection) lives somewhere in North East Nagpur with her aged parents. Mother is 70 and father just turned 80. For his 80th birthday, he wanted to execute a long cherished dream. Take his wife on a short trip of Vrindavan, near Mathura. He had booked Railway tickets for 14th March weeks ahead.
If one recalls, local, state and Central governments became more pro active about Covid 19 control only towards 3rd week of March.
Trains were running, domestic and international flights were still on…
So Jaya’s parents left for Mathura on 14th. From Mathura, they traveled to Vrindavan by road, where they stayed for few days.
Their return train journey was from Delhi to Nagpur on 18th. So they reached Delhi few hours earlier by train, waited at Delhi Railway station for 2 hours and boarded Nagpur train. They were back home on 19th.
Meanwhile, Jaya, who is an Engg diploma holder and works as an Executive in the private sector, was working from home due to State lockdown. Awareness of Covid had gone up exponentially and naturally Jaya was worried that her parents had returned from a journey of North India.
” I was fully prepared to drive them in my car to Mayo hospital myself in case they showed any symptoms. But I was relieved that they both were fine…” Little did she realize her troubles were about to begin!!
Because exactly 14 days later, on 2nd April, her father got a call on his cell from Panchpaoli police station.
” According to our records, the owner of this phone Miss __, has traveled to Delhi recently. She has to report to MNC clinic immediately today.”
Her father was first confused; then he realized his daughter had bought the sim and phone for him EIGHT YEARS ago, and technically it was in her name…though she has her own sim too. A small oversight, since she is the only working member of the family and pays all bills.
Her father explained all this to the Police officer and informed him that not his daughter, but he and his wife had traveled and they were more than willing to visit the Doctors for testing.
” No! We have your daughter’s name in our list SHE has to go”.
Jaya smelled trouble. She planned that all three would go to the Clinic together. But her father was so eager to clear the misunderstanding that he left by foot to the clinic called Sutika.
Once there, he explained the whole situation to the Doctor and Health officials again. But they too insisted on seeing the daughter. So she drove to Sutika post haste.
There she was told to go to Ravi Bhawan where the matter would be sorted out. She may have to wait for few hours she was warned.
So she dropped her father home, picked up her lap top – so she could continue working- and drove to Ravi Bhawan.
Once they understood the situation, even the Doctors were in a quandry.. the girl obviously hasn’t left Nagpur in a long time, is completely unsymptomatic, so what are they to do?
After 3 hours discussion, it was decided List is Final. List is Sacroscant! So against all logic, SHE will have to be detained at Ravi Bhawan for Corona testing!
Jaya had come unprepared, she was worried about her parents left alone at home, she had no clothes. Finally, a Doctor relative was allowed to carry her suitcase to Ravi Bhawan.
Interned, waiting to be cleared to go home, Jaya and many others at Ravi Bhawan, were tested only on 5th. Results may take 3 – 4 days to come, they have learnt.
” Be prepared to stay here for 14 days of quarantine” Jaya was told.
So there she remains, quarantined with about 70 others who were ” on the list of suspects”.
Meanwhile, the old couple who has really traveled are at home, frantically worried for their daughter, their only support system.
Just consider the facts here: father has been using the sim for 8 years, they have tickets and other documents to show they traveled, not their daughter. The ironies are too many!
” We are educated, responsible citizens” says Jaya speaking to NT Editor Sunita Mudaliar on phone. ” We want to co operate with our Doctors, our Government to bring this thing under control. It’s been almost 20 days since my parents returned. Thank God they are both fine. But what if one of them had really been infected?”
Her final question is – who is gaining by this farce?? If this is how our system works, I really fear for our country, our people.
God help us all!”
As told to NT