Meet R. Satish Babu, the photojournalist who recounts memories from the lens of his experiences, fighting CoronaVirus.
Satish Babu, from Coimbatore, Chennai works with a reputed news media company. He got tested positive when he took a precautionary test before bringing his wife and son back to his house from the in-laws. He received the news on a Tuesday afternoon and was soon shrouded with worries that this news brought along. He says, “I didn’t tell anyone, I just stopped my bike on the roadside close to a tree. Didn’t even got off but just sat there thinking for an hour.” Satish was still able to see a silver lining through all the thoughts that crossed his mind. He knew there were going to be some challenges along the way, he wouldn’t be paid for 14 or more days because he will not be reporting for work, his mother would have to stay quarantined in the house and he wouldn’t be able to meet his wife and 3-year-old son but he said to himself, “I will get through this, it’s just 14 days! I will have to stay positive and maintain my mental composure before breaking the news to my family.”
He went home, packed his bags and tiffin, and while leaving he told his mother that he has been tested positive. Her initial reaction was that she started crying; “She is a mother after all, ” adds Satish.
Satish drove himself to the hospital on his own bike, there were separate wards for symptomatic patients and asymptomatic; he was admitted to an asymptomatic ward. Contrary to his perception of government hospitals, things were pretty clean and tidy. The doctor in charge of the ward told the patients that got admitted the same day as Satish to stay positive and that the people in the symptomatic ward are also recovering and they had a pretty good chance of recovery. These words of comfort coming from a professional at a time when we are away from family is something that Satish still appreciates. He informed his wife about the whole situation after being admitted to the hospital. Satish was in the hospital for only a short while once the new test results came out. He was offered a choice to either stay in the hospital and quarantine for 14 days or do home quarantine for 2 weeks. Satish took the choice to do home quarantine as he lives in a 2BHK apartment and can have a separate personal space.
His wife had already called the building authorities to inform that Satish was coming home. After being discharged from the hospital Satish thought of calling up the authorities again and informing that he would be arriving soon but to his dismay; he had to spend an entire hour speaking with the president of the flat association to convince that it was safe for him to come back and do home quarantine. He says it was discouraging to hear that my neighbours were concerned and anxious about his return. He was surprised that the man opposite his house who was being quarantined as he had come back from Dubai was concerned about Satish coming back home! “I got discharged around 4:15 in the evening but spent around an hour speaking on the phone before I left for my house around 5:20 on my bike”, Satish was frustrated for the first 30 mins on the phone call that he was being opposed from entering his own house but he reminded himself to stay positive and somehow convinced the president of the flat association that it was safe for him to come home. Satish chooses to do the home quarantine in his bedroom, he confined himself to those 4 walls. He would wash his own clothes and utensils and tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. The difficult thing for him to do was answer the questions his toddler would ask him every time he video called his wife. When are you coming to meet us? When can we come back to our house? Are some of the questions Satish had to answer. He says video calling is good but not as satisfying as direct contact with someone, it has been around 2 months that he wasn’t able to meet his wife and son. His friends and colleagues supported him and to his surprise he got his salary credited 10 days in advance and was really happy about it.
When asked, ‘ What message would you like to give to the normal people about the stigma they have for COVID 19?’. He says, “Keep an open mind and do not segregate someone who has recovered from COVID- 19.” He also had a message for those who are affected by this pandemic, to stay positive and take every possible precaution so that it doesn’t cause panic within the people that reside close to our houses. Satish has voluntarily chosen to extend his home quarantine for an additional week before stepping out. Satish, the Corona Champion, has not only conquered the virus physically but also mentally by staying positive and maintaining a calm mind which led him to make smart decisions to ensure his safety along with everyone around.
Our brave #CoronaChampions continues to spread awareness and break the stigma through their real-life stories and experiences. Please join this movement by sharing this story and helping people who are seeking support and motivation during this pandemic.
Written by Kartik Shetty
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