New Thermometer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

What a new thermometer has done during covid time

I had been driving for about an hour and suddenly realized that I am in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the out skirts of the city. Being Covid days, the traffic is almost nil on the road. I started at about 10 30 AM in the office and now it is 11.40 AM. Yes. I started in the office. I reached the office as usual at around 10 in the morning. What’s new today is, a new Infrared thermometer was bought by the office as they are planning to screen every person entering the office for the symptoms of Covid 19 and it was placed on the security guard’s table unopened. Being inquisitive in nature, I took that new thermometer from the box and tested it on myself. To my surprise it read 100o F which is above the normal range. Even before I exclaimed, the security guard stepped back and from a convenient distance he said that it may be because I drove all the way in the hot sun of May. Though he was hesitant, I used that new thermometer on him and it read normal. The guard asked me to wait for sometime to recheck. I followed his advice and stood there. I checked 4 times in that span of 30 minutes and none of the readings were normal. 5 of my colleagues arrived while I stood there waiting for the reading to come down and each of them got themselves checked. 3 were not having any high temperature. Two of them showed high temperature like me but they turned normal in 5 minutes and they went into the office. As I was checking my temperature for the 4th time, the security guard received a call from my boss who told him to send me back home immediately.

Though I was initially happy to go home, my superego reprimanded me scaring me with all the consequences as I have a 9 month old kid back at home. She’s Viaana, our only child. They have come to stay with me from my in-law’s house only a month before the Covid Lockdown started. My dad, a sexagenarian doctor working as a part time professor in a town far away, got struck there because of this covid. Now my wife is alone in the house with the tot.

As I started the car and began to drive, many thoughts started crossing my mind. Will I be infecting my wife and kid by going home. Is it wise to go directly to a Covid centre and enter into quarantine like a responsible citizen. How will my family survive in my absence. I didn’t even leave my debit card at home for them. Will the neighbors and the shopkeepers nearby allow them as they were in contact with me. Wait… I haven’t met anyone since I bade my family with a good bye kiss in the morning. So, there are chances of me being infected days before and I was in contact with my family and met many of my colleagues since then. Though I maintained social distance with everyone other than my family members, I might have infected them unintentionally. If this situation arises, I have to take my family along with me to the quarantine centre. Do I have to tell the doctors there about all the people I met or keep quiet as they are all asymptomatic now. What will my colleagues think about me when they come to know that I am the reason for their plight in the quarantine center. With all these questions lingering, I drove without any destination in mind for about an hour and reached here.

I got down and looked around to get a clue about the place I reached. Far at a distance I figured one thatched stall and I drove upto the place. That’s a tea stall with a man without any business. I asked him for a cup of tea. He told me to wait for few minutes and ignited his stove. I didn’t get down the car as I didn’t want to infect more persons. I sat in the car engrossed in thought when  he came with a cup of tea. I asked him to place in on the dashboard. As I was sipping the tea, something sparked in my mind. I don’t have any symptom of covid-19 like high fever or dry cough. These days everyone became expert in determining the case with symptoms. Thanks to Whatsapp. Except the thermometer reading, I don’t have any reason to believe that I am covid positive. With the cheer that the new hope brought, I finished the tea and cleaned the cup with my own hands and placed it in sun. The shop keeper came to me running to stop me from cleaning as it is his duty. I kept a note of Rs. 50 in the sun and instructed him to take it after some time and keep the change. Immediately, I drove towards the city and at the first medical shop I came across, I got down, bought a mercury thermometer and checked my temperature. I looked at the thermometer reading tensed. Thank god… it is absolutely normal. I happily drove back home by lunch time and had a nap after a sumptuous lunch.

In the evening I woke up to the call from my boss who asked about my well being. I told him that I checked with a mercury thermometer and it showed normal. He greeted with a smile and the next 30 minutes I had spent replying to the messages sent by my colleagues. My wife came with coffee in her hand and sipping that coffee sitting in the balcony enjoying the summer’s evening breeze, I mused about all the things that happened today. The mere thought of being outcasted for few days made me feel dejected that I didn’t even know where I was heading to, for about an hour or so. What would have been the situation of those untouchables back then who faced this for generations together. 


Submitted: May 29, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Nitin Presto. All rights reserved.

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LE. Berry

In this time of Covid-19, everyone has the opportunity to experience and understand the plight of untouchables...

Fri, May 29th, 2020 8:55pm



Sat, May 30th, 2020 9:14am

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