I live in a home for Senior Women Citizens aged 70 years and above. I feel excited and energized when I go to work each day and return with a sense of fulfilment.  When the Government declared a lockdown I experienced a sense of disorientation. Weekends to relax and catch up with friends were fine, but now faced with an extended weekend of 21 days and no stepping out…. that prospect was truly challenging.

I hadn’t even carried my laptop home believing that I would return to work soon! My first task was to engage with clients that support Impact India Foundation, to ask after them and to say I was available on the phone should they need anything.

India has one of the largest railway networks in the world. The lockdown has resulted in no movement of passenger trains. The Government of India is considering deploying the several empty coaches as isolation wards. Impact India’s Lifeline Express Hospital Train, which is primarily a surgical facility with two Operation Theatres, has very few beds for the recovery of patients. Typically, patients post surgeries are moved to local District hospitals.

I am also a student of psychotherapy. This is a good time to practice developing my skills as a Therapist. I have started to spend time with my 12 co-residents getting to know them better, appreciating them and generally helping to build morale. Reading Psychotherapist Amy Mindell’s book “Your Unique Facilitator Style” is a delight!

I am a member of a Book Club.  Our current book “Remnants of a Separation” by Aanchal Malhotra, recounts interviews with refugees affected by the Great Partition that created India and Pakistan in August 1947. “This movement of population – arguably one of the largest in the history of the twentieth century and packed within a very short period of time – was accompanied by a movement of memories and possessions, sometimes those about which the affected people were unable and unwilling to speak.” The book is evocative and moving.

My parents migrated to India from Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh, which is now in Pakistan. Reading the book helps to recall my inheritance, puts into perspective the danger of religious jingoism and also to understand the plight of refugees today.

My immediate family is in the USA.. and have been sending photographs (at my insistence). I worry about them and they are concerned about not causing me to worry. After all – we the seniors aged 70 and more – are particularly at risk. I do remember to walk for about 30 minutes a day, do a little bit of yoga and pranayama, connect with friends on WhatsApp, the telephone and eat in moderation.

As of March 28, 2020, there are about 900 positive cases; deaths reported 19 and the cured number 78. The Government in India has acted in time. It is important to look at the lockdown as an opportunity to place Health as a National priority.

Thank you, Jean Francois and Ahimsa Fund for inviting us to write and reflect. We must remember in these trying times that Good Health IS Contagious!