When I was in Kolkata recently, I observed my niece walking around with a paranoid expression plastered on her face. I put it down to teenage angst, so did not invade her privacy by asking her why she looked that way. But then my father set the record straight by announcing loudly that she had a slew of mid-term tests — or was it monthly tests? (she really has an awful lot of exams) — and that her test “results” would be out the following week, and, therefore, she was on the edge.
The update on that is: her results came out a few days ago, and her fears seem to have been unfounded. She’s passed with flying colours, even that dreaded Chemistry exam she was unsure of has seen the light of positive marking.
I also had a test result to contend with last week. I flew back in from India, and upon entering my residential portals felt there was something wrong with me. I felt distinctly feverish, and there was an accompanying body ache — both Covid symptoms. Since I had been in and out of airports, and jostling with crowds, the probability of having contracted the Omicron variant was high.
I spoke to someone who had been to an exotic locale to attend a destination wedding a few weeks earlier. When she returned, she too had felt feverish and achy, got a test done, and tested positive. “I also had a sore throat, which you don’t have… but you should definitely get tested, looks like you have it.”
I called for a home collection the next day, and the swab team came at 3pm in the afternoon. The report with the result would be with me by midnight — maybe even before that — the nice swab lady promised me before leaving.
From that time onwards till the time I received I my test results I felt like I was part of an Alfred Hitchcock retrospective. Edge-of-the-seat. Cliffhanger. Drowning suspense. These were the adjectives and adverbs that played out in my mind as I tried to work from home with my jaws tightly clenched.
In those rolling hours, I was suddenly sure I had Covid. Someone from my bank called to ask if I could meet him for some portfolio management stuff. I told him I probably have Covid, I’m waiting for the report. “Oh no,” he backed off immediately. “Take care then, let’s meet when you get better.”
Then I had to mull over if I should inform my cleaner he better not step inside my apartment for the next 10 days. “Should I tell him right away?” I called a friend to ask.
“Wait for the result!” he snapped back.
Then I had to worry about food. Contactless delivery is an option on most food apps, but is there a particular diet I needed in order to get back on my feet faster? Another friend sent me the contact of a “home-style” cooking restaurant. “Healthy food,” she said.
She also insisted I get a home test done, and even arranged for a few kits to be sent to my place. I administered a test on myself — which came negative. “But it’s most likely a false negative,” the friend said when I duly informed her about the ‘result’. “When I got Covid, even my home test was negative. Wait till the PCR result.”
At 9.30pm, as I was transcribing an interview, I suddenly saw a missed notification. The result was in. It had come half-an-hour earlier. With bated breath and a pounding heart, I opened the PDF that had my ‘result’.
Negative, it said. My Alhosn app — that I opened next — had me in various shades of green.
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