Quarantiny – Chapter 6 – Day 5

Quarantiny – Chapter 6 – Day 5

Day 5 – Tuesday 21 April 2020

“What I most like about this quarantine
is who I share it with”

Day 5. Door knock at 7:00 am, woke me up again. The breakfast call. After breakfast the normal call from the nurse desk about my health and wellbeing. Martha called this time and while talking to her, I asked about the possibility of me having an opportunity to spend some time under the open sky to enjoy the fresh air. My rationale was, they had an option for the smoker’s to request for some time to have a smoke at the designated areas outside their room but being a non-smoker I am in a disadvantaged position from that perspective. She understood my logic and called me back in half an hour after discussing the issue with her supervisor. I was granted to spend 15-20 minutes under the open sky, outside the room. I was genuinely happy to have that offer and accepted the opportunity. It is 11:30, when the security guards will escort me from my room to the designated open area and I was reminded again and again that I am still under the quarantine rules. So, I must be in my total protective gear with mask and gloves.

As soon as I left the phone call with the nurse, Parul (Canberra friend) called. She updated me on their boring life at home, not going to work anymore, the glomour of working for David Jones is not part of her daily life, kids are at home, only her Doctor husband is still fighting as the ‘superhero’ as the front-line fighters. I can understand the tough challenges Parul is facing, being one of the most cheerful, happy and social person in our Canberra friend circle, spending time in isolation, can be very frustrating for her. I shared my story and my quarantined one room life. At that point she was probably more appreciative of her current situation. At least she can go to her backyard, swimming pool, grocery shopping etc. Discussed the prospects of using this in-house time to plan for the future – something to do with the spirit of cooperatives etc etc. While taking to her the room phone rang again and I had to leave Parul’s call. It was the nurse again, reconfirming my visit to the outside world at 11:30am and my intention to observe the Ramadan from this week. I confirmed her on both the points.

11:25am, knock on the door. I am ready with all my protective gear – mask, hand gloves. I was overly excited to go outside after 4 days! Opened the door. Three security guards standing outside my door to walk me up to the designated open area.

Followed them and one of them came down with me via the lift. Level 5, we passed the hotel reception to reach the level 5 open air parking lot for the hotel.

Yes, this is it. I was allowed to walk around for 15-20 minutes. It seems like the concrete parking was like a big playground without any cars on it. The sky was much wider, bigger and bluer than what I see from my ‘beautiful’ room window. It seems, you can touch the clouds, you can actually feel the freshness of the air, the sun was so gentle, as if it was a warm blanket around you to protect from all the germs in the air.

For few moments, I was probably totally in a different world, where there was no COVID-19, no stress, no complain, no demand – just calmness, happiness, and dream of a bright future ahead. I was walking and thinking about the nice time for now. Suddenly, the voice of one of the security guards broke my ‘meditation’. Times up and I must go back to my room. Yes, the guards were there always, sitting at the corner of the parking lot and watching over me.

Oh well, I was happy to have this opportunity at least to walk in the open air. Followed the security guard and reached floor 26 and in front of my room. When I was brining the door security card out to open the door, the security guard smiled at me and said that it won’t work as the hotel has designed it only to work once, to restrict our movement! I was again impressed with the thinking process behind the quarantine planning. He used his card to open the door and let me go inside. Back to my ‘lovely’ abode for another 9 days.

Turned the television on. It was the Prime Minister’s update. Watched ABC as the Prime Minister was sharing the latest policy direction and the health minister was updating the precautionary measures undertaken by the Government. It gave peace of mind knowing that Australia now has 7,500 ventilators as required to face the COVID-19 challenges and ordered 100 million masks, out of which 60,000 are already here. These are extremely critical information at this point of time. The PM also mentioned that the social distancing or any other rules to cope with the COVID-19 challenges will not be relaxed until the infected case number goes under one. He also announced the gradual opening of elective surgery as soon as after the ANZAC holiday. All of which gave more confidence to me as an Australian, to be in safer hands!

The lunch was already delivered in front of my room when I came back from the outside walk. Collected the brown bag and took it with me inside to the room. I was hungry after watching the Television update and had my lunch – caesar salad and drinks. It was my regular walk time inside the room. Walked for 45 minutes and covered 3 kms followed by the one-minute plank.

Took shower and sat in front of the computer to do some work. Attended the missing calls from Dr Shaheen and Dr Bulbul, both are our Canberra friends. Shared the open-air experience with few people through WhatsApp and I message. Checked my emails and did some secondary research to get ready for a Zoom meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30am with our prospective Australian partner for the affordable housing project across Bangladesh. Sorted some issues with the Dhaka Build Bangladesh office.

After finising my work around 5:00pm, started to watch some nostalgic Television – the very old crime serials – Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS, Bones etc. Still enjoying and was getting involved with the investigations. Reaz called and talked for about half an hour. He thought, he was also stuck with me in this quarantined room and he needed to have an update every day! I was happy to have someone as caring as Reaz as my friend – particularly in a critical time like this! I was happy to know that he is continuing writing his biography while self-quarantined in Manikganj. This writing will probably become an excellent work for him.

It is almost evening, I can see the darkness was covering Melbourne and the buildings were becoming sculpture again, while the car movements down on the highway had reduced. Can not see the clouds anymore – the hotel phone rings, broke my concentration.

On the other side, it was Yuhan, who is from the Department of Health Services, Victorian Government wanted to collect some data on my well being and the quarantine condition. He started to ask my name, date of birth, origin etc etc but when he asked my contact phone number, I was a bit nervous to give him all my details and requested him to collect it from the Department’s data base as we have provided all the information during check in. He was trying to justify that he works for a different Department, that is why he needed all the information from scratch. For the first time over last few days, I was a bit disappointment. I asked Yuhan to collect all my details from the other section/s of either the Victorian Government or the Federal Government as applicable. He was a little bit embarrassed. Continued with his rest of the original questions about the quality of the service, service by the nurses, food, hotels etc. The questionnaire survey took around 20 minutes.

Knock on the door. Arrival of dinner. By now, I was again very hungry and ate all the dinner. It was Sicilian Cannoli, garlic bread and a Fanta.

Talked to Nigar and Auditya to have updates on their day. It seems like they had a terribly busy day, Nigar had to visit her office to fix some of the computer issue and Auditya was extremely busy with her office work. Called Erad (Build Bangladesh colleague from Dhaka who manages our Australian project in partnership with yGap Australia) and talked for about 50 minutes. Got update from him and shared some common thoughts to keep the team spirit and moral high in this critical period. Talked about few deliverables and requested him to give me some more ‘homework’.

It is now time to write my daily activities. Completed the writing in two hours for day five. Time to say my prayers and decided not to watch any movie tonight as I have an early morning meeting tomorrow. So, it is bedtime now.

Good night.

“The more powerful and original a mind,
the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude”

Farhadur Reza Probal

Farhadur Reza Probal

Architect Farhadur Reza FIAB MPIA

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