Raji Muthukrishnan and Prof. Muthukrishnan are longtime residents of Dr. C. V. Raman Road, Alwarpet. Like many, they spend much time with their children and their families living abroad. This couple flew back to Chennai when the corona virus was raging. Below is a short account of their life at home, as penned by Raji.
My husband and I landed in India at Mumbai airport, after spending time with our children in the USA, on March 14.
Even as we alighted, we were taken straight to a medical screening area where they checked us for fever and other symptoms of COVID 19 before we went to the transit lounge to wait for our Chennai flight.
At Chennai airport, we were screened again and informed that we would have to quarantine ourselves for two weeks.
And so began our two weeks of cut off from the world.
It wasn’t too bad. Though Sec.144 was enforced in Tamilnadu from March 17th, the national lockdown hadn’t been announced yet, and I had no problem getting the house going with groceries delivered from my regular shop. Milk was delivered as usual by our regular supplier. And so was food from our usual caterers for the first two days, before the kitchen could start functioning.
Everyone left everything outside our door on the first floor.
Since no one else lives with us, we did not have to restrict our movements in the house, and were free to move about. And even go down to the compound.
In a week, lockdown was announced, and from then it was a little difficult to get groceries and vegetables, since free movement on the roads was stopped. But we managed. What with our jetlag, the two weeks seemed like a recovery period. We slept at all hours undisturbed, and stayed awake at nights. We read, and I also watched TV.
With the lockdown from March 23, overnight the streets became empty. With no traffic there was no pollution, noise or dust. And the air seemed clearer, the sky bluer and the birds sang sweeter.
Towards the end of two weeks, when we were beginning to chafe a bit, having recovered from jet lag, two men from Chennai Corporation came with a notice which they posted on our front door, saying we were quarantined for four weeks, not two.
Another two weeks!
We were both beginning to feel stifled. My husband, a regular walker was beginning to miss his daily evening walks. We missed catching up with our friends and relatives whom we hadn’t seen in six months. Our phones remained busy, compensating for face to face meets.
We decided to take one day at a time. And deal with our daily requirements. Whatever we couldn’t get delivered after ordering on the phone, my sister-in-law and nephew who live close by bought when they went to the shops.
By now we had arranged a basket tied to a rope to be suspended from the balcony to collect what was procured for us. Volunteers from Bhoomika Trust also helped in getting us with essentials.
We now seemed to have a lot of time on our hands. My husband used it well to read, introspect, write his thoughts and revisit his previous notes.
I had my hands full with housework and cooking, since our domestic assistant didn’t come, and caught up with friends and family on the phone. Internet was a good source of information and quite a life saver, allowing us to keep in touch with our family, both abroad and here.
Our four weeks quarantine was over yesterday – on April 11. But do you know what, it makes no difference to us, since the country is on lockdown. And we are still isolated.
- Photo: Raji Muthukrishnan/ of Dr C V Raman Road.