Skip to main content

Good, bad and ugly: Covid management in Ahmedabad, a veteran journalist's experience

Nachiketa playing mouth organ
By Rajiv Shah 
Living in Covid times in Ahmedabad has made me curious as to how the health establishment, which is under the joint control of the municipal corporation and the Gujarat government, is managing the pandemic. As I don’t go out much or meet people, the information that I get is from individuals who have had Covid treatment. One such person is Nachiketa Desai, a veteran journalist who also happens to be grandson of Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary Mahadev Desai. 
Nachiketa is a pretty well known name, especially among Gujarat activists and journalists. He, apparently, contracted the disease following a visit to a hospital for some treatment. On a second visit, the doctor told him that he perhaps had contracted Covid, as he had fever and was coughing. After waiting for a couple of days, both he and his wife got themselves tested in a private lab, and they found on the next day that they had tested positive.
“As the labs have to obligatorily inform the municipal authorities about positive cases, I found a municipal ambulance on my doorsteps on the very same day. They took me away to the new Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hospital, controlled by the authorities, adjacent to the old VS Hospital”, he told me. “I was put a senior citizens’ ward, where most of the staff consisted of third or fourth year MBBS students or trainee nurses... They appeared to be on contract”, he said.
Complaining, Desai said, “It seemed to be a harrowing experience. It appeared that to be that I was a high profile jail’s seventh floor. Their behaviour wasn’t what it should be while talking with senior citizens. Often they were too rude. As initially I was on intravenous, nobody would come to disconnect though I wanted go to toilet. I had to shout, only then they would responsive.”
Desai had other complaints, too, including that the clothes he was given to wear weren’t changed for three daysas he was told that the ‘dhobi’ turned up, that the food wasn’t tasty enough, that the senior doctor would come but wouldn’t talk to anyone, only look at each patient and go away – usual complaints we hear from patients in any hospital, private or government.
As he is a very senior journalist, some colleagues phoned up municipal authorities in Ahmedabad to put Desai in a special room. He was promptly shifted. “However, I found it to as if I was an isolation cell. I requested to shift me back in the general ward, where I could talk to others. I made friends, would talk with other senior citizens. Some of them were found to be unhappy about the way their family had treated them. I would listen to them.”
“For the first three days, I was coughing heavily. I often had vague thoughts that I would die. But despite my comorbidities, as I had bypass, and I suffer from several diseases, including blood pressure and high sugar, my lungs appeared to respond pretty well”, he said, suggesting one reason could be he has been regularly playing mouth organ, almost daily. He was freed from the municipal hospital on the 10th day. “A friend sent me a car, and I reached home”, he said.
“What about your wife?”, I asked him. “She was home quarantined in a room with a separate toilet which others in my house didn’t use. She would given food from safe distance. Municipal staff would come to deliver medicine daily and check how she was progressing.”
That was good, no? I asked him. This suggested the municipal authorities took care of him and his wife, and despite all the “difficulties” that they faced, both of them have recovered from a dreaded disease. He appeared to smile (we were on phone), commenting, “It was all class three or four staff that would come to our house.”
Now that he is well, what does he propose to do? He has been a regular traveller across India. “Well... I haven’t yet recovered fully. But I have started doing work from home, as I am attached with a TV channel, editing text of their stories, putting them in news form. I do it for two-three hours. But I want to travel, especially to Odisha, from where my mother hailed. I have been telling my relatives I want to come... Let me see how it works out!”

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Meaningful? Punjab govt's debt waiver offer for agricultural workers, landless farmers

By Dr Gian Singh*    On July 14, 2021, the Punjab government announced that it would hold a state level function on August 20 to waive the debt of agricultural labourers and landless farmers(pure tenants) of Punjab to the tune of Rs 590 crore. Prior to the 2017 elections, the Congress party had promised in its election manifesto and public speeches that the Punjab government would waive all the institutional and non-institutional debt of farmers and agricultural labourers of Punjab.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Pro-corporate? New GoI circular 'blatant attempt' to control Adivasi lives, livelihoods

By Hemant Das*  The Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN) condemns the anti-forest dwellers circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the (Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India (GoI) on July 6. 

Covid impact on menstrual cycles? Young girls 'relapsing' back to unhygienic old-cloth rags

By Dr Sudeshna Roy*  Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world in health and economic shock. Combating this public health crisis has diverted development resources earmarked for adolescents and the youth. India; having world’s second largest population; 1.38 crores as per UN mid-year 2020 estimation, also shelters the largest adolescents and young adult population, which at 243 million constitute 20% of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent population.