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Hope in Isolation

* quar·an·tine — a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to the infectious or contagious disease are placed. It is not my intention to criticize quarantine in this article. Quarantine and isolation are necessary procedures to control the spread of Covid-19, and I respect this.

This couldn’t have been the worst time to quit a job and move to a new country. Covid-19 has hit the world economy badly, and a lot of people have lost their jobs. So, it was quite challenging to give up an established career and position in India to move to Canada. I mean, why would anyone give up a job in these troubled times when so many people around are losing jobs? I don’t have an answer to this now but hopefully, six months down the line if we connect then I should be able to give an affirmative reply. Anyways, when we went into quarantine, there was this whole emotional baggage of uncertainty which we carried into our hotel room. The stress of being confined into a hotel room for fourteen days should elevate the effects of this emotional baggage and combining it with an uncertain future in a new country should have really caused some emotional turmoil, but it hasn’t. Let’s face it being quarantined in a room for fourteen days can be difficult, and anybody who has been in quarantine will vouch for it. I mean the limited space of the room combined with the isolation can be unnerving but what I want to discuss through this article is about a ray of hope that we found while staying in our room.

And, this ray of hope, this beacon of light is none other than a little plant, a sapling which is growing on the Gravel covered roof next to our room. It is isolated and growing on a surface which possibly doesn’t support vegetation yet it has found a way to stand tall and shine as the sun rays hit the rooftop every day; hence I have named it ‘hope’. We, my wife and I have tried everything to kill time during quarantine; from chatting with family and friends (Thank Vint Cerf (not god) for the internet), binge-watching web series to playing games to writing (me) to painting (my wife) to imagine that the walk around the room (precise 14 steps) is actually a walk through a park to exercising but now and then monotony sets in, especially in the evenings and we sit next to the window staring at literally nothing. A little together-time in a room for fourteen days (Four days to go) can surely give you a perspective, and as I write this sitting next to the window looking at the plant with green and yellow leaves, I know my perspective has changed.

Here goes…

Away from our family in India, life has been confined in this room for the past ten days in Canada and now and then I stare out of the window, with a view that is as dead as life on Mars, craving to see life. So, as I peek out of the window of my room on the seventh floor of the Holiday Inn hotel in Toronto, for signs of life; all I see is traffic moving up and down the highway at a distance, a couple of flights landing and taking off in the horizon at the airport about fourteen kilometres away, a parking lot next to an under-construction building where cars seem to be in a virtual trance and not seem to move at all. We can’t even see any birds flying around. Craving to see what life is like outside, especially since we have been in quarantine ever since we landed in Toronto. There is virtually nothing visible from our window; the view is pathetic. But, amongst this ‘nothing’ is where we found something to cheer for. The one thing that stands out amongst this entire ‘nothing’ is a plant, a sapling growing in the middle of the rooftop next to our floor. This plant is literally growing on the rooftop amidst the Gravel that covers the concrete roof. It’s incredible how life finds a way to grow in the most unlikely of situations and places.

Every morning I wake up, uncover the curtains and make it a point to check on ‘hope’. I wish I could reach out and water, care and maybe take ‘hope’ away from the roof floor and plant it somewhere else. But I can’t reach it. I have named it ‘hope’, and I hope that ‘hope’ gets to live a fulfilling life that befits any other plant. You might think that I am going crazy due to quarantine, talking about a plant so emotionally but life has unlikeliest of ways of teaching us and I consider ‘Hope’ as my teacher. I mean, why not? Everything around us teaches us something all we need to do is look around carefully.

‘Hope’, for me, is the lighthouse, which stands tall come what may, which ships need to navigate safely in dangerous waters.

‘Hope’, for me, is the oasis in the middle of a desert.

‘Hope’, for me, is the never say never attitude of a winner.

‘Hope’, for me, is the Mohammad Ali of plants standing tall right in front of his competitors far bigger and stronger than him.

‘Hope’, for me, is the ‘sign’.

Often people say that they have lost hope in life and that they don’t see a way forward, that they are lost. ‘Hope’ here, taught me that we could never lose hope we stop looking for it. You see, hope exists in everything around us; living or inanimate. So, when we say that we have lost hope, we have, somehow, stopped seeking it. Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes concerning events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. Just like life finds a way to grow in the most unlikely of places; similarly, hope can also be found but only if we seek it. So, those claiming to have lost hope must open their mind, look around and find something or someone that gives them hope. Since hope is just a state of mind, you can change your state of mind anytime, but only if you want to. All we need to do is to look within (nothing better than some self-motivation) or for someone or something that gives us hope. You can also read my article about suicide-prevention and relate this article with the topic:

As ‘Hope’ stands tall on the Gravel filled rooftop, she has shown us the way to cope with the stress of the quarantine. Here are some of the practical things you can do to cope with the stress of quarantine:

- Keep yourself hydrated

- Eat well

- Keep stuff for munching (we love chips and biscuits)

- Find your passion and concentrate on it (for me its writing and for my wife it’s painting)

- Connect with people more often (use technology)

- Get adequate sleep (no point in losing sleep due to stress)

- Don’t sit at one place for too long, keep your body moving regularly (we have made it a point to talk over the phone while walking around the room)

- Don’t overreact if you have a mild fever, cough, cold, body ache etc. (it could be the weather)

- If in an unfortunate case you do contract the virus then don’t panic and take care of your health and that of others by keeping yourself isolated (Read my article Feardom:

- Exercise or practice Yoga

- Find someone or something that sends you positive vibes. It’s ‘hope’ here for us, see what can you find in your surroundings.

Next time anyone in your family or friend circle is quarantined because of any reason, be there to support them emotionally and technologically.

Ps that’s the real pic of ‘hope’.

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