In-house self-isolation  

Effects of the Coronavirus…

By Santram Bajaj

I hate dogs!

Not all, but the ones owned by my neighbours.

I have three in my immediate neighbourhood. They bark and bark. They never shut up.

I was on the verge of killing at least one and set an example for the other two to behave.

Animal-lovers will perhaps take out their guns to shoot me or hang me ”¦but please wait till you hear the full story.

My three neighbours own dogs of different pedigrees and the fourth has a cat. Better not talk about that stupid cat in these days of ”˜toilet paper crisis. My backyard is her ”˜dunny’.

These dogs had made my life miserable. Their owners go to work and leave them behind not to protect their homes, but to make my life miserable.

They, I mean dogs, had a tacit agreement of some kind. One of them will suddenly start one bark at a time, pause and bark, as if he was cleaning his throat like a musician. He will then go on the high pitch and will be joined by the other two and then will start in a chorus or   ”˜community’ singing. After a few minutes, the bitch (yes, one of them is a bitch!) will lead – and keep on barking thus giving rest to the others.

Anybody will go mad under the circumstances!

I tried all kind of threats, tricks and pleaded to their good sense. “Come on Tommy! Be a good boy, please stop”, or “Hey, Jane! Give me a break. I am concentrating on my reading of Gita. Show good behaviour. Good deeds may make you human in the next birth.” But to no avail.

Friends suggested some drastic action of reporting to the Council Animal protection   squad and police.

But I couldn’t go any further in the name of civilised behaviour. I ”˜complained’ to the neighbours sheepishly but got nothing but sympathy.

And then”¦

This Coronavirus struck.

There is panic all over the world! I have never seen or heard any epidemic or pandemic create so much fear. Factories shut, schools, offices closed, and lockdowns of cities imposed. People are advised to stay indoors, wash hands ”¦. And PRAY.

No cure or antidote has been found so far.

One of the most effective steps is self-isolation. As I am a person of ”˜particular age’, who are more vulnerable to this pandemic I am self-isolating.

First two days of isolation passed peacefully; watched TV, did a bit of reading and had a drink.

Good feeling.

On the third day, felt a bit of restlessness. Used laptop, watched TV, had a drink, rang a couple of friends.

Then on fourth and fifth day, uneasiness increased, and boredom started setting in. I rang some more friends to kill time. All seemed in the same boat.

Disturbing quietness and more restlessness continued the sixth day. I was becoming anxious.

I was losing interest in TV, Computer, Books and the Telephone. Not interested in ringing anymore friends. Getting angry for nothing. I tried a stronger dose of whisky. Is it depression setting in?

On day seven, it became quite unbearable. The silence around the house and in the street could be compared to the ”˜silence of the graveyard’ and it was killing me.

Then I realised, that the dogs were barking no more. In fact, I did not hear them for the whole week. Why, what happened?

Strangely I started missing them and their barking. Shouldn’t I be happy that they were not bothering me anymore?   Good riddance! They had been making my life miserable.

But no, I was curious and concerned and peeped through my upstairs windows to investigate my neighbours’ backyards.

I saw them sitting or lying down peacefully in their own homes. I felt relieved.

I came down and went next to the fence and called out,” “Hey, Tommy! Are you alright?” But Tommy didn’t raise his head.

I went to the other neighbour’s side of the fence and asked Jane to give me a ”˜bark’ or two. “I really miss your sweet voice darling!” I almost shouted.

She didn’t oblige, but just stared at me. The third one was also keeping the ”˜social distancing’ and didn’t move from his place-complying with the latest Government rules!

Why this sudden change of mood among these dogs? Their aloofness is bothering me. I feel ignored and hurt.

Why was I getting worried about them? What’s happening? I am having strange feeling and sympathy for them. Hope they are alright.

Do I now love dogs? Not sure!

May be, they are afraid of Coronavirus too and are in ”˜self-isolation’. Animals have a sixth sense to know about the calamities like this. But human diseases cannot cross over to the animals and vice versa. But Coronavirus has come from the bats to the humans, so possibly it has affected these dogs’.

And then I learnt that their owners are at home in self-isolation too. They have company.   The dogs are happy and contented. No need to bark and show their frustration. It was the loneliness and isolation that used to drive them crazy and led to too much of barking.

I never understood that. Now I appreciate their position because I am in self -isolation, and I feel lonely.

Perhaps I love dogs now!   Or..Or… perhaps I need attention the way they do.

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