Covid taught us to be happy, celebrate life: UAE residents


Dubai - A Dubai-based psychologist who was hospitalised for over a month after testing positive for Covid-19 found ways to spread optimism and hope from her very ward.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sun 21 Mar 2021, 12:22 AM

Can we be happy during these unprecedented times? Can optimism solve all problems? While with the pandemic is still raging, there is little escape from negativity but those who have survived the deadly Covid-19 disease say their whole perception of life has changed. The disease has done wonders for them and upped their happiness factor as they celebrate the gift of life each day with more vigour and gratitude.

A Dubai-based psychologist who was hospitalised for over a month after testing positive for Covid-19 found ways to spread optimism and hope from her very ward. Dr Alka Kalra, who is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is director of EduScan Institute, said it was a big blow for her when she contracted the disease along with all her family members. But after spending a month in the hospital, she says her definition of happiness has changed.

“Happiness now holds first place in my life because I have realised we do not know how long we will live. So, why waste time stressing out —just be happy for however long you are here. For me, things that were important earlier are no longer the same. Family took the centre stage and we spent more time at home now. I have learnt to connect with people than I used to earlier. I talk to my parents and in-laws more via video conferencing after Covid as we’ve now got used to connecting this way. Covid has taught us how to be positive and find different ways of creating happiness with whatever means we have.”

Dubai-based chef Sanal Kumar is happy to celebrate his 34th birthday on Friday, exactly one year after he contracted severe covid that left him battling for life for almost three months. “This is a second life for me and I will ensure I live it to the fullest and also, touch as many lives as possible. I was one of the lucky few who came back from an extreme stage of Covid-19 infection. I was on the brink of death and stayed in coma for over two months before bouncing back. I have felt death, therefore, I am so grateful to God and to the UAE and doctors at Medeor Hospital for helping me come back to life, to my family and loved ones. I have realised that happiness is not what we think it is, and cannot be measured by just money, family and lifestyle.”

He added that his definition of happiness had changed. “Happiness is now dedicating a part your life and earnings to helping those in need. Kindness, generosity and empathy have become my gateway to success and happiness. I used to live for myself and my family, but now, I feel God has given me a responsibility to serve the needy. I now try and contribute some part of what I earn for charity.”

Another Covid survivor, Rajesh Philips Kanthaian, a radiographer at Prime Hospital, says he has emerged as a stronger and happier individual after surviving a terrible Covid attack last year. “I was admitted in the very hospital I worked in and if not for the care and support of the doctors and nurses, I wouldn’t have survived this terrible infection. I have learnt to value relationships and people around me and now I aim to spread this happiness by advising and helping people around me on how to handle this disease. One thing I want to tell Covid patients is do not fear or be afraid of this disease, stay positive and keep your hopes and happiness factor up and you will overcome this disease in no time.”

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