Balaram, an Animator Content Writer to a Counsellor

It was May 2, Friday. A time of strict lockdown. Balaram had just finished his routine animation work for the day. He suddenly experienced a
Severe body pain followed by vomiting, sweat, red-eye, cough, and high temperature. He decided to get his testing done from a nearby lab. To his shock, Balaram, Animation content writer, found he was COVID-19 positive.

Balaram went to the allocated COVID quarantine center at Laxmi Industrial Estate. Meanwhile, things quickly changed in his home surroundings. Following the quarantine rule, while his family was not allowed to get out of their house, they were also not allowed to throw the piling stack of garbage and use the elevator. Their neighbor used to send stuff on his door and called his sister to collect.
As the tension piled up at both the sides, Balaram’s journey to recovery was just like any other young individual. Fear, thoughts of uncertainty, stress and the dilemma; whether he would return back home? Will his life be back to normal?
“It takes a heavy mental toll on your family and your mental health,” adds Balram.

The fearful thoughts overpowered his mind to an extent that the young ambitious boy started writing his will.
“My sister can keep my laptop, I noted down details of my savings, investments, etc.. Today when I think about it, it sounds like a top-level cringe.” (laughs)

Even after spending five days at the quarantine center, his situation deteriorated. He was then shifted to Cooper hospital from May 11 to May 14 and finally, Balram recovered from the novel coronavirus infection.
But Balram’s journey from a fearful patient to a champion starts post his recovery.

One day, Balram at his home, got a call from Dr. Kusum Gupta, Head of CCC2 facility at Laxmi Industrial Estate. “She said they found it difficult to counsel some of their patients since no one wants to come to the ward. She asked if I could help them to clear their paranoia,” he said.
Now, this was something new for Balram. He immediately agreed to assist the doctor.

The center provided Balaram with their PPE, “I was handling six patients at a time. I went to the wards and introduced myself and made them comfortable to talk, eventually trying to make them feel safe. I reassured the whole treatment procedure and would ask them to keep hope.”

“While I was speaking with patients, I realised that they were in a state of panic due to WhatsApp forward which claimed that there is an order from the higher authority to kill COVID-19 patients by injecting a drug in their body!
In the time of the pandemic, WhatsApp forwards has done more harm than helping people.”

Balaram grouped people according to their age, comprising children, teenagers, and senior citizens. It provides them to have the same competent zones to discuss their problems. He nearly spoke to 110 patients and aimed to encourage willpower in them. They were treated as unwanted. “You need to stand up. The general public is paranoid about positive COVID-19 patients.

“It is upon us to decide whether we want to have a feeling of guilt or pride when we look back to our role during this pandemic. People who discriminate against COVID-19 positives will have a terrible time. Be an example to future generations,” Balram says.

Balaram also counseled patients in Cooper hospital. He helps patients to understand the protocol. Notably, the senior citizens were seen crying in the hospital, nervous about their lives. He made sure they don’t get scared when they were asked to get shifted into a hospital.

There are rare citizens like Balaram, who voluntarily go out of their way to help others with their learnings and experiences and motivate them to cope up with the testing time. Balram has truly been a Corona Champion who continues to spread hope in the time of fear.

-By,
Miss. Rakhi Vishwakarma

Quotes:
“In the time of the pandemic, WhatsApp forwards has done more harm than helping people.”

“It is upon us to decide whether we want to have a feeling of guilt or a pride when we look back to our role during this pandemic. People who discriminate with COVID-19 positives will have a terrible time. Be an example to future generations.”