Diary of an Isolate

14 Days in Quarantine

Day 0

Tonight, when I arrive in Mauritius, I will not head to Quatre Bornes where I have resided for two decades and where street dogs can recognize me from a distance.

Instead, I will be driven to Preskil to start my 14 day tryst with self-isolation in a hotel room.

Several thoughts have captured my mind since last week, when I decided to undergo the compulsory quarantine, to be able to enter the country that I left seven months back.

How does it feel to be alone in a room without the remote possibility of stepping out? I am not claustrophobic but the idea of being surrounded by empty walls; day in and day out for two weeks can be daunting. Even prisoners are allowed some time outside every day!!.

What about the daily walks that I have been undertaking unbroken for the last 35 years or so — as a morning ritual? What about the dogs I see and admire and the trees and flowers and people sleeping on the road and the chirping of the birds and the brewing of the tea and the women and the men and the old and the young strolling around and reminding me that I am alive and I can experience the joy of sunrise.

One way to deal with such a state of mind it to think of the various ways that one can keep oneself occupied. Watching television is not for me. Even reading can be tiring after a 3–4 hour session. I am growing old — eyes refuse to obey after some time. Yes, remote work will gobble up part of the day. And some hours could be devoted to thinking. Another few to exercises — I have packed a resistance band in my luggage. Yoga and Meditation is essential to keep your emotional and psychological health in good state. Perhaps an hour or so could be worthwhile investment. Obviously, the customary calls to family and friends will be of immense help.

When I was small I often thought what a great privilege India’s independence fighters enjoyed. Every time they were lodged in the jail by the British they could pour their frustration — their ideas, in the form of books and pamphlets. In contrast, we are borne of a generation when there is no worthy fight to fight. It is as if the very possibility of greatness has been snatched from us.

And our incarceration is such a detestable waste. We can only fill our days with the mundane and the unimportant and the trite. To wake up, to pretend to work and to sleep and to do so again and again, all our life.



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