Quarantiny – 14 Days in Isolation – Chapter 1

14 Days in Isolation 2020 due to COVID-19 (Dedicated to the front-line fighters helping us to win our COVID-19 war)

Who could have predicted that in our generation, we will face a pandemic! Who knew that some of us may have to take an intercontinental flight in the midst of this pandemic! Who knew that our loved ones could be so far away from us that we cannot reach them even if we wish to! Who knew that commercial flights will a thing of the past! Who knew Airports will be just a ‘zombie land’! Who knew, you must sacrifice your own freedom for the betterment of the society! But at the end, you get a satisfaction for doing the right thing.

It seems universal, all around us – this pervading mood of despair, hopelessness, interrupted with bickering, wanting leadership and disbelief. But it is only as recently as ‘yesterday’ that the power of the people has made monumental differences to outcomes for people and planet. Our thoughts to do good and to do well at the same time, such a beautiful reminder of the human condition, and how we, even in great challenge, are still travelling, we are still on the way, and the destination is never fixed but rather a forever moveable horizon.

The mood of despair and hopelessness grips us, apparently slipping the whole world, including ourselves, into a fathomless abyss of darkness. The advancement of science and technology of the 21st Century that we were so proud of, seems to have decimated to nothingness before our own eyes. People are hiding in quarantine at their homes on a global scale, as the deadly virus keeps taking toll in thousands. No news is good news is the order of the day.

Just three weeks ago from today, Thursday 16 April, I left Dhaka Bangladesh for my way to Canberra, Australia to be back with my family. Yes, it is due to the COVID-19 spread across the world and we wanted to be together as soon as possible. The Australian High Commission in Bangladesh organised a chartered flight for all Australian Citizens to leave Dhaka for Melbourne on that day. I was on that life changing flight. The adventure journey began at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and ended in Canberra. In between, air travel like never before, surprise at Melbourne airport and finally, a 14 days mandatory quarantine! I want to share all these experiences with you all as part of my own personal journey during this critical period. Hope to present, day by day diary from the quarantine period between 17 and 30 April 2020 as an historic document for generations to come.

As the first and initial taste of my quarantine days, I would like to share a poem written by me (which was very daring of me) expressing my feelings at that time. The shape of the poem is designed like a flower vase to celebrate my ‘freedom’ as it was completed on the last day of my quarantine, Thursday 30 April 2020!

Architect Farhadur Reza FIAB MPIA

Quarantine in a tiny room, with a tiny sky, with a tiny view,
can only be called Quarantiny!

The feeling of loneliness, feeling of isolation is only a theory,
unless you taste it, unless you feel it first-hand without fury.

It is a feeling, you walk on hot sand in a beach,
without having the waves in your reach.
It is certainly not enjoying your favourite band,
and forget, whatever you considered grand.

Adaptability is to be happy with what you have,
this is when you can come out of the cave.
Quarantiny is to know yourself and to plan your dream,
once released, can travel with full self-esteem.

Quarantiny being so colour blind,
remind us colour of the world, playful birds,
happy people travelling free of mind.

Even though technology promised to unite us,
electronically connected to each other,
and yet we feel utterly on an empty bus.

Quarantiny exposes how happy you are,
as the only choice you have is to be happy.
Happiness is when you are thankful to God
with what you have now, not what you left sappy.

To reach lovely rainbow, you got to put up with the rain,
to be strong and resilience you must break out the fear of chain.

Life imposes challenges, we cannot control,
thanks God, we still have the choice, to live through this.
We all die sometime, but all it matters,
how we live, who we live for, who we miss.
Important is to enjoy our life, to be happy—all that matters,
does not matter how tiny your quarantine is.

A dreamer, who never gave up, never gives up and never will,
Quarantiny brings out a new person in a world with new skill.

The best part about tough time, it is not static, it moves on,
we will get through it, we will come out strong.