Actually Theo does not love you, infact he barely knows you. Its a good thing because he is a bad dog, and behaves very shabbily with people he knows. I only made up the title of this article to get your attention.

This article is actually about this massive tragedy, COVID wave 2. Most of us have our family and close friends infected, and there is little one can do about it. Specially for people whose near ones are in a different city or country, the anxiety and helplessness is never ending. I want to share my anxieties and how Theo helped me get over them. 

– My Jijaji, based in Delhi, contracted COVID on 22nd April. Didi had already been diagnosed a couple of weeks back and was recovering at home only. Post Tele-consults from Doctors, medication was started at home, however the fever did not subside. By 29th April the oxygen situation had started to worsen and the mad scramble for oxygen concentrator, cylinder, steroids, CT scans started.

– Didi had turned into a warrior queen who would be doing everything from speaking to doctors, friends, relatives, well wishers, but at the same time mending to Jijaji day and night. I was feeling very selfish sitting cozy in my apartment in Mumbai, while she was out at war. I could only make phone calls – “Let me setup appointment with Dr so-and-so !  how is he now ? oxygen level ab kitna hai ? kal raat kaise the ? ”. 

– The fateful day came on 1st May when Didi decided that he had to be hospitalised, as situation was critical. Hospital bed in Delhi was not available, and the only place where we had decent chances of a hospital bed, with access to oxygen and other ICU facilities, was Moradabad (160 km from Delhi and our hometown). We had our ecosystem of childhood friends and close family who still valued that relationship in these dire times. 

– My anxiety knew no bounds, I wanted to immediately travel to Moradabad to be there. There were however too many questions 

  • Travel is risky, what if I got infected. I would become more of a liability then a solution provider.
  • National lockdown is likely any day, what if I am not able to travel back. What about my wife and daughters in Mumbai ?
  • What will I actually do there, its not that I can meet Jijaji. Also now that he has got a hospital, how can I even help ?

– In comes Theo.

1st May evening, I am sitting on the sofa, lost in my thoughts and worrying about the situation. Theo comes and just sits by my feet, he is not his usual jumpy self. Some time passes and I realise it is not normal, he is not biting the sofa under-cloth, not even looking for a tummy rub, he is just there. This is unusual because evenings are special time for him, he is busy running around the living room, chasing some imaginary enemy or destroying some precious furniture.

Anyway after a few more minutes I give him a questioning look, but he was not even demanding my attention, just sitting there looking down, with his body slightly pushing into my legs. I finally relent and give him a smile… he acknowledges and starts to lick my feet now. I caress him a bit and now his tail is wagging at furious speed, looks like mission accomplished for him. Soon he is gone back to being jumpy and climbing the book shelf (maybe looking for the latest bestseller to eat). 

This confirmed to me that Mr. Theo Sharma was on a special mission to provide me his platinum care package. While he doesn’t have any resources that we humans have – Money, Contacts, Infrastructure but he can still share my worries by being with me. I actually felt a lot better by he sitting by my side and showing me that he cared. I felt overwhelmed by the timeliness of the message. 

I knew that I needed to travel to Moradabad just to be with Didi, kids and Papa. Ofcourse I couldn’t take that decision just by myself as it involved risking my immediate family. After a rather emotional discussion with my wife, she agreed to my travel. The scene was very much like a wife sending a husband to war, knowing grave consequences are possible. I book the flight and next day afternoon I am in Moradabad.

What did I do in Moradabad, Not much. I was mostly at home with my nephews playing TT, sometimes helping in the kitchen with Omlette or even Chilly Paneer, driving Didi to hospital to deliver food for Jijaji, just sitting in lobby and reading a book. But I could see that it helped everybody in the house, Didi was now coming out of her room once in a while, infact we also had a good discussion about our childhood friends. Even Papa could find time to lecture me on health and a occasional discussion on national politics.

I know for sure that I was more relaxed now, but also that I should have come earlier. I should have been around when Didi was struggling to find the hospital bed, I should have been there when the cylinder had to be attached, I should have been there when some medication had to be picked from the shop, I should have been there when he was in Ambulance on way to the Hospital.  Anyway I was there now and this mattered. Thank you Theo in helping me take this decision.

p.s. I actually lied in the beginning that Theo doesn’t love you, he does. He loves you because he wanted me to share this story with you, Theo loves you. Do let me know in case you want to pass on a message to him, using remarks.

p.p.s. I came back from Moradabad on 8th, I am fine and do not have any symptoms. Jijaji got discharged from hospital on 11th and currently recovering in our family home at Moradabad.

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Gaurav Sharma

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