Quarantiny – Chapter 5 – Day 3

Quarantiny – Chapter 5 – Day 3

Day 3
Sunday 19 April 2020

“I wish I could fly on the Northern Cloud
Once it reaches Canberra,
I would like to come down as rain
Drop onto my backyard and stay there for ever!”

The regular 7:00am knock on the door woke me up, confirming the arrival of my breakfast. Got off the bed, opened the door, collected the brown bag delivered with my breakfast. Similar menu with a croissant, orange juice. Serial, milk, yogurt and a fruit. Just ate the croissant and put the other stuffs in the fridge. Make myself a nice and hot cup of tea.

The room phone rang. Margaret, on the other side calling from the nursing station downstairs. She wanted to check my health condition, questions about any symptom for the corona virus such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties, body pain etc. etc. I responded all negative, so I passed. I thanked Margaret for her nice service.

Today the only official commitment I have is a zoom meeting with the Light Castle Consultant about the Landscape Study of the Impact Investment Ecosystem in Bangladesh around 4:00pm. Otherwise I am free. I planned the whole day ahead of me into different segments.

I sat along the window. Beautiful weather with full of sunshine. The Eastern morning sun was trying to penetrate the room and teasing me for sitting idle inside the room in such a nice outside environment. I remember one of the quotations from the great Nelson Mandela, when he was prisoned in isolation. His statement was about the mistake the jail authority did by putting a small window in his isolation prison cell. The prison cell did control his physical movement, but his soul was travelling across South Africa through the small ‘sky’ view he had via the window. My quarantine authority did the same ‘mistake’ by providing a window and I also saw that as an opportunity to go out! They can certainly quarantine my body but can not stop my mind and soul to roam around the outside world!

My soul took the opportunity and got out through the window. I travelled along with the beautiful floating clouds on the sky. In no time I was walking in front of our first house in Templestow (photo 1), walking along the famous South Bank (photo 2), even took the lift to the 27th floor of the then Victorian Government Department of Infrastructure building at Collins Street (my last work place in Melbourne, photo 3). I could see 1990, Nigar and I with Kishoree on a pram, at the Bourke Street Mall (photo 4) and seven years later with Auditya’s pram on a tram. I could clearly identify myself sitting on the grand steps of the Victorian Parliament House (photo 5, did not miss the Fitzroy Park with Captain Cook’s Cottage (photo 6) and finally a game of cricket at the famous MCG along with the Australian Open at the Rod Lever Arena Tennis Stadium (photo 7). On my way back, I had to stop at the Melbourne City Councils grand Town Hall building (photo 8), Victorian Arts Centre and the Art Gallery (photo 9) as few of my first workplace as a planner. The invisible me, got out of the room and got back in the room with huge sense of satisfaction without violating the quarantine rules!

I probably would travel up to the bay, but a phone ring brought me back to reality. It is a call from Shahed Vai (Melbourne friend). He knew from Architect Samik that I am quarantined in Melbourne. Shared his views about the COVID-19, his experience of working from home, wellbeing of his family both here and in Bangladesh. It was a good catchup after a long time. The next phone call was from Saifur (Canberra friend). Always refreshing to talk to this young but wise Doctor. Shared my updates and his concerns about the world and particularly for Bangladesh. The telephone call went for around 25 minutes.

Now, as per my plan I walked within the room to support an active lifestyle in quarantine. I put my phone in my pocket to have a clear idea about the length I walked. Commenced walking from the window end of the room to the door end of the room. I walked continuously for about 40 minutes – 1000 steps. My phone told me that I have walked 2.1km. I felt immensely proud of myself and decided to continue the walk every day!

By the way, the ‘immortal’ and ‘inspirational’ musical voice of Lata Mangeshkar is always an integral part of my day inside the room as a background tune.

Talked to Nigar for a while as there was lot to share about everything. About our life, children, the family we left in Dhaka, the world and obviously impact of COVID-19 in our lives. Had to finish the call due to a loud knock on the door, announcing delivery of my lunch. Opened the door and collected the usual big brown bag with my lunch. The security guard is still there! Lunch menu: A 6-inch chicken subway, a fruit and nut bar, a green apple and a Fanta. I was hungry by now and finished the sub-way immediately. Make myself the second cup of tea while solving the lunch time Sudoku provided with the luch! Decided to watch the FOX Crime Channel – NCIS. While watching the TV show and got involved in solving the crime along with the detectives, the phone rang.

It was an unknown number. I picked the phone up. It was lovely Mona (Melbourne friend), a person always happy and demand a place in your heart as your younger sister. She was overwhelmed as I was in her town but sad that they cannot do anything to make my stay more comfortable. She was inquiring about the end date and time of the quarantine to understand my reunion date with my family. She expressed her excitement of working from home and the wonderful support she has received from her work – National Australia Bank.

I took some time to get ready for my Zoom meeting at 4:00pm. The meeting with Light Castle regarding the Landscape Study of the Impact Investment Ecosystem went for one and half hours. Meanwhile, I saw few missed calls from Kishoree, Mrinal (Dhaka ‘Tech’ Friend) and Arastoo vai (Chairman of the advisory Board for Build Bangladesh – my work).

While planning to call back everyone, knock on the door – arrival of my dinner. Opened the door and collected the brown bag. It seems a little bit heavier than last night. I was anxious, opened the bag and it was food for two people – one vegetarian and one halal meal. I checked the room number. Yes, it belongs to 2601 but the delivery boy dropped the bag in front of my room – 2603. I called the hotel reception, but they confirmed that there was no way I can return those and ask for my bag, as once it is inside a room, no one will take it back to their room! It reminded me of the ‘untouchable’ scenarios during the plague in Europe or in our sub-continents with what ‘we’ practice with the lower casts. However, I was rather happy with the extra meal. Ate it all!

Returned call to Kishoree. Discussed few things with her about her plan to way forward with few prospective opportunities. Conversed with Mrinal about his new IR 4.0 venture. I was genuinely excited to be part of this venture as I strongly believe this is where our future is. Called Arastoo vai and talked to him and vabi. Updated them about my daily life, food, recreation etc etc. Discussed few work issues with Arastoo vai but nothing important.

Reaz called. This was an expected call that I really wanted to receive. Interestingly he shared the news that he has commenced writing about his father and grandfather as they exist in his memory. He was a bit nervous that he was probably making his father someone so great that people may think as super statements. I strongly recommended to continue his own views/memories rather than considering of what other people may think. He agreed. Reaz and Sheerin just celebrated their anniversary. His cousin Anjum Vai and Vabi as their neighbour, cooked special meal for them to celebrate the special occasion. The menu had Chicken Polao, Egg Korma and many other attractive and delicious items. After all, it was a celebration in isolation!

Updated Meghna about my day 2. She also thanked me for leaving the ‘tempura mix’ for Rafat (our son-in-law, a doctor and a passionate chef) to cook and feed her prawn tempura! Later, I also updated her about the breaking news on Corona Virus attack in Scotland, where Mohona (my other niece) is doing her PhD. Texted Mohona to inquire about her well being and requested her to take care and stay safe.

Now it is my regular prayer time followed by movie time and eventually bedtime. Looking forward to Day Four.

Good night.

“Love can isolate us from everything around us,
but in its absence,
we can be filled with the fear that
something comparable exists”

Farhadur Reza Probal

Farhadur Reza Probal

Architect Farhadur Reza FIAB MPIA

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