Quarantiny – Chapter 5 – Day 2

Quarantiny – Chapter 5 – Day 2

Saturday 18 April 2020

“Quarantine being colour blind,
constantly reminding how colourful the world is”

There was a knock on the door that woke me up. It was 7:00am. I realised this was knock for the breakfast delivery. I walked towards the door and opened to collect my ‘brown bag’. There was a security guards sitting on the corridor probably to make sure people do not come out or travel between rooms! I collected my breakfast.

It was a pack of rice bubble, milk, yoghurt, one croissant, two packs of orange juice and a bowl to have the serial. Healthy and well-planned breakfast. But I went back to bed as I worked until 2:00am last night. I slept until 9:30am. I was awake with call from Architect Samik (Melbourne friend) and realised that there were few missed calls, one from Kabir (Canberra friend) and one from Raju (Sydney friend). Raju is a doctor (Emergency Specialist) and he probably will never realise how comforting was his assurance before I flew out of Dhaka. His words, I still remember that gave me the courage and strength to take this intercontinental travel. His lists of, to do and not to do, while in the plane and at the airport was like a blueprint for my travel. He said, “just get on to the plane and maintain the instructions, you will reach here healthy and once you are here, we will look after you”. The other words were, “We all work, and it is important but at the moment, the most important agenda is to be with our family, priority number one”. What else do you need from a friend who is not only a professional doctor but fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as a front-line fighter. To me, they are the real superheroes of this 21st century!

By the way, I usually skip heavy breakfast, so just had the croissant, and made myself a cup of tea. Took a shower, turned on my laptop as if I am at my office. Finished talking to the missed callers. Looked through my only source to view the outside world, my large floor to ceiling window towards the Yara river and South Bank. Australia may have to redesign or cancel the T20 world cup in few months, but the Australian Seagulls were freely playing a never ending ‘test match’ on the river Yara due to the absence of human around. This was true probably for the sky as well, many birds across the sky playing against the free roaming clouds. All the high-rise buildings were just standing there as sculpture, a lifeless Crown Casino, people free South Bank – can’t believe that I am witnessing this Melbourne’, unbelievable site, unacceptable ‘best liveable city’.

Lunch time. Hot pumpkin soup with freshly baked bread with chips, a pear and an orange juice. What else can you expect! I was happy. Back to work again.

Trying to write few things. Firstly, the Role of Impact Investment in post COVID-19 Bangladesh, secondly an effective email to convince/influence the global community to provide financial support to Bangladeshi young entrepreneurs. Contacted few Australian potential partners and organised few zoom meetings this week. Made my second cup of tea and enjoyed it while the sun was setting down to pull the curtain for my second day in quarantine.

Dinner time. Knock on the door. Opened the door, the brown bag has been delivered with dinner. The security guard is still sitting on the corridor (may be a different one) watching all guests restricted movements. Dinner menu was good, baked fish with pumpkin puree and green beans with bread and coke.

The phone rang. It was the lovely voice on the other side of the phone asked, “Vaia, how are you?” Yes, it is who else but Nazia from Canberra. She shared all her excitement about working with the people at the hardship. She was mentally very satisfied as she was contributing to the fight against the negative impacts of COVID-19 among the people in need as well. I agreed and requested her to record all these feelings as historic documents to share with her grand children in years to come.

The next call was from Rafat, the young energetic ANU official from Canberra called and we had a very constructive and positive discussion about what we can do to support the International students including the Bangladeshi students to ease their life during this very critical time. Majority of them are in a very vulnerable position and need immediate support to survive! We discussed few positive actions and decided to pursue them once I am back in Canberra. Let us see how far we can take this outcome focused agenda.

Alan vai (the great Alan Khan, a proud Bangladeshi icon from Sydney) called and discussed the positive impacts of COVID-19 on his wedding photography business, I was genuinely impressed to hear positivity from someone. And his idea was possible impact to flourish his business once situation becomes normal. I always enjoy talking to him as he is always positive about life and living. It was a great break for me to boost my thought process. Gave me the confidence that I am not alone, few other people are also seeing this through positive pair of glasses rather than only a threat.

I did call Reaz (my work partner and childhood friend from Bangladesh) to congratulate on his 34th wedding anniversary today. Earlier I send a message for Sheerin (our friend and his wife) and him. This is a couple who I probably love a lot, respect a lot, admire a lot. Thirty-Four years together is a strong demonstration of love and passion shared between them. Reaz was a bit upset as his children will not be able to join them to celebrate such a big milestone, as Sheerin has warned them not to travel from Dhak to Manikganj, where Reaz and Sheerin were living in isolation at that moment. But I think, inside he was happy for them to stay safe in Dhaka. We just shared some nostalgic moments form our old memories. It was a video chat by the way. Reaz loves WhatsApp video chats.

Finally, communicated with Meghna (my niece and a Doctor specialised in Community Health) to update her about the quarantine situation, as she is very keen to know the latest activities. Meghna is always the lovely daughter who cares for ‘Baba’ (that is me) and genuinely interested to know my wellbeing. Her recommendation as a Doctor was to keep myself within a routine and to engage myself within a busy day (mentally at least). I loved and respected her recommendations and tried to do that all day.

Times up. It is 8:00pm. Packed all the rubbish in a garbage bag and left it outside the door. The security guards are still there on the corridor watching our movements! Day one is almost finished. Completed my daily ritual of prayers and watched a movie on Netflix – Sergio. Liked it very much. Eventually fall into sleep around 2:30am.

Looking forward to Day Three.

Good night.

“Even though technology promised to unite us,
electronically connected to each other,
and yet we feel utterly on an empty bus.”

Farhadur Reza Probal

Farhadur Reza Probal

Architect Farhadur Reza FIAB MPIA

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