Pankaj Ghatate (name changed on request), a 42-year-old engineer, on beating the quarantine blues.
Photo for representation: (Image: Bandeep Singh)
Pankaj Ghatate, a Mumbai-based mechanical engineer with a South Korean firm, had been sent by his company on a six-month deputation to Seoul. He cut his assignment short and returned on February 25 after the virus outbreak spread across the East Asian country. He tested negative at a screening at Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport but was instructed to quarantine himself for a fortnight.
Ghatate locked himself in one of the three bedrooms of his house. He also changed his WhatsApp setting to hide his presence in the city. Social distancing was tough and the fear that his wife and two sons might get the infection weighed heavily on him.
His wife sent food to his room three times a day. He washed the dishes and his clothes and cleaned the room daily. Ghatate interacted with his family over WhatsApp. I didn’t inform anyone, including close friends about my return, he says. I spent time mostly watching television, checking my phone and sleeping. I didn’t respond to any messages either, he says. On March 10, Ghatate emerged from isolation and went to a close friend’s house where everyone had gathered to celebrate Holi. That was the moment I beat the virus, he says.