I am living in a quarantine center from the past three days and I don't really know when I will be able to get out of here. If you have any experience of living in a quarantine center, you will know how hard it is to be here. The authorities keep saying that they will provide every facility to the people under quarantine but you know the reality only when you see what actually happens in a quarantine center.
So, it was the 18th of May when I started my journey from New Delhi to Kashmir. We booked a cab from and reached New Delhi Railway Station only to find it blocked and we had to walk almost half a mile to reach the station. At first, I thought that this is actually good as they are taking precautions and it is for the benefit of all. But when we reached the station, people were walking like flocks of sheep with no social distancing and there were no security personnel to ensure social distancing.
The station was as clean as a pure glass of water and they were constantly cleaning it but there was no one to monitor the movement of people which lead to the violation of social distancing. I somehow, managed to reach my train seat and thankfully I avoided social contact. I had thought that there will be fewer people than usual but I was wrong, the train was full of passengers, again, violating social distancing. I had no other option and I took all the necessary precautions and slept on my seat and woke up in the morning when we were about to reach Jammu.
It was for the first time when I felt that someone is taking this pandemic seriously. We were made to wait for about an hour as all the passengers were tested for COVID-19 at the platform. When my turn came, they asked my name and where I came from. They also told me to show my ID which I did and told me to move. Security escorted me to one of the testing camps. Again, they asked my name, address, and mobile number and handed me a container. They took a sample from my nose and put that in the container I was given.
A few security personnel showed me the way to outside and also made sure that people maintained distance. I was taken to a tent set up by my district administration. They handed us a few bottles of water and a box that contained a sandwich and a Patti. I was very hungry as I had not eaten for the whole night, so, I took breakfast as soon as possible. I then thought that I will no longer have to suffer as everything seemed to be good at that moment.
But that good feeling didn't last long as the buses in which we had to travel were very uncomfortable. We had five language bags and we were made to climb on the rooftop and take the bags there ourselves. No one came to help us and the drivers said that they were not paid to do this. That's when things started getting ugly. We left the railway station at 8 am in the morning and the driver never stopped till 12 am and that stoppage was forceful. There had been a landslide which had broken the road into two and it needed some repair.
We waited and waited and waited for hours. The worst part is that we were stuck in a place with no water and no trees. It was very hot and we were sweating a lot. We waited for 6 hours for the road to be repaired and we had nothing to drink and eat except for a few biscuits.
You can see from the picture, the number of vehicles that were stranded. There were more but I could only capture the ones you see in the picture. The white buses in the picture were for us. They may look better from outside but they are very uncomfortable from inside especially when you have travel for 18 hours.
As there was no water, we climbed up the hill looking for something to drink. We were very fortunate to have found this small source of water. It took some time but we were able to get rid of our thirst.
I may be smiling in the picture but trust me that was just to make the receiver of the picture feel that I am fine. You can see the condition of the bus from inside, it was horrible. I tried sleeping while traveling but the space was so little that I couldn't.
Finally, the road was repaired and we started moving again. When we reached the border of Kashmir, they checked our body temperatures and made us wait again for two hours. You know that the weather in Kashmir is very cold and we were coming from a hot area and that transition from hot to cold wasn't easy, besides I had no warm clothes with me.
After waiting for almost two hours, we were given security and they escorted us to our respective districts. Thankfully my district comes first after entering Kashmir and we reached here at 2:30 am. Again, we were made to wait for almost an hour before we could enter the transit camp of suspected COVID-19 people.
This was my journey from my flat to the quarantine center. I will be posting about life in a quarantine center soon. Stay tuned!