How ace photographer, associated with The Correspondent, fought a tough battle with Covid 19 with little help from Delhi Government
Subhash Barolia, The Correspondent freelance photographer, fought a tough battle with Covid 19 and emerged victorious with the help of Ayurveda medicines, yoga and simple diet even as the Delhi government response remained apathetic in its fight against corona virus.
As the country went into an extended lockdown from March 24, Subhash, not to shy away in his duty, went on an overdrive, clicking pictures in Delhi. From India Gate to Jahangir Puri, Subhash went to every nook and corner of the capital trying to get the best possible frames.
Though taking adequate precautions, Covid 19 struck Subhash. By the first week of April, the scribe could feel that he could be down by the virus.
From April 10, Subhash could feel weakness and getting mild cough. Two days later, Subhash first took cough medicine. And another two days later, he started sleeping alone. Subhash’s eldest daughter (Ritiksha) is studying in second year, son Vignesh has just taken 12th exam and youngest boy (Hanush) is studying in class 4th.
The daring photographer got an inkling that something was amiss. Subhash got into self-quarantine mode and started maintaining distance with his children. However, there was no way to get a test done. Subhash indirectly approached Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through friends. But to no avail. “Meanwhile, I started reading a lot and doing basic things like yoga and eating proper food and getting my immunity strong,” Subhash recalls.
Nevertheless, a week later (April 22-24), the Delhi Government organized a test mela Subhash got his test done on April 23. On April 25 evening, feeling weak, Subhash took paracetamol for fever and telling his children that he was going to sleep, Subhash locked himself in. The next morning when he got up, there were around a dozen missed calls from doctors, police and friends. A friend informed Subhash that he had tested Covid positive.
The next threatening call was from the cops who wanted to know the details of the family members and their numbers and who all he had been in touch with. Subhash next got in touch with doctors. An ambulance was arranged, which came at 12 on April 26. The entire locality looked out of their windows to see Subhash go.
“Everyone was looking at me as if I had done something very wrong. I was feeling as if they are looking at a criminal. As I sat in the ambulance, one neighbour aunty waved at me. This gave me strength,” recalls Subhash who was starting on a long solitary battle with the virus. However, a phone call to a friend went viral on social media and friends kept calling him to give support.
The ambulance took the photographer Ch Brahm Prakash Ayurvedic Charak Sansthan in Najafargh. “After two hours, when we reached the Ayurveda institute, nobody was ready to talk properly. We were told to go upstairs in the building and look for a bed. I reached the second floor and occupied bed number 74. Later, a ward boy came, leaving a bucket at the door. It had the things I was going to use for the next 18 days,” Subhash says.
The bucket contained a mug, digital thermo meter, a towel, slippers, soap and sanitizer. And from here on started self-healing process. “There was no treatment as such. We were given Ayurveda medicines. And for food, we were given normal rice and veggies,” he adds.
After initial one or two days of discomfort and mild fever and coughing, normal vegetarian food, Ayurveda medicine Sitopaladi choorna with honey and Vyoshadi Vati, Vasavaleha, Kantakaryavaleha, karda, gargling, warm water and yoga started showing positive results. Subhash was feeling better.
“I realized I could have done this at home. You don’t require to be in a threatening environment where everyone is treating you as a social outcast. Only the other patients were talking to each other,” Subhash recalls his harrowing experience.
By May 7 and 8, the patients were requesting the doctors for tests. But they wouldn’t agree. On May 9, the government of India said mild or intermediate symptoms cases could be discharged. The doctors got into a discharging spree. A subsequent test on May 10 result was positive for Subhash.
On May 12, they virtually removed 60 patients out of the hospital without giving any discharge slip or documentation. When the patients objected and created a ruckus, the staff let the patients back. Initially, they were even refusing dinner but by 10 pm gave in and organized food for the patients. The patients who had private vehicles left.
On May 13, staff handed a discharge slip and asked Subhash to leave even though the test was Covid positive. “Without transport how was anyone to leave. So, I requested a friend, who sent a taxi. The driver was scared but somehow I tricked him into believing I was a staff member and he took me home,” he said.
“But upon reaching home, I was not comfortable with a positive report.” It took Subhash all journalistic push and pull to get a result done because by then the Karol Bagh area had been declared a containment zone. On May 27, Subhash went to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and got a test done. The result is negative. Subhash had won a long lone battle, nothing less than a miracle.