A new journey

I have been in our apartment at Kottayam for about a month now. Its only today that I got access to a computer screen for the first time in two months, I should say. Our adventure that started on the 21st of May, 2020 has brought us thus far. Much has happened in the in-between.

One of the latest things that happened is that I got bitten by our cat. Sunshine was transported by QA about three weeks back to India where he was held for about a week in Bangalore, the only place in South India that still receives imported animals during the lockdown. Bangalore is in the neighbouring state to Kerala, where I am.

He has had some issues with adjusted to a new place, a new country, afterall, he is 8 years old and one does get set in one’s ways with age. So with him. For the first two days, he walked around restlessly and then got settled down, till last Monday, when the constant mewing started. He was always at the door wanting to be let out. We live in a 15-storey apartment and it is possible that many of the residents in the apartment are not cat lovers.

I let him out a couple of times into the lobby in front of our apartment when he cried and he walked sniffing at neighbouring apartment doors( fortunately, they had no residents) – and then he wanted to go up and down the stairs. I am big and obese, so climbing up and down stairs is rather painstaking for me, and keeping pace with a strong cat is even more difficult. Yet, I did it to the best of my ability.

Last Saturday, I let him out when he mewed and he went up one floor and found out there was a garden there on a balcony- with plants. And also the grills were not cat proofed- Freedom !!. He explored for some time, sniffing the plants and enjoying the fresh early morning air. I tried to persuade him to return to our apartment and lifted him, when he attacked me viciously.

I have so many scratches, there is no more skin left and I can’t move my right hand for the pain- plus one cat bite. Bleeding, I managed to keep my head and pull him into our apartment, when he calmed down. But I bled onto my clothes- I waited for an hour to show my husband, who as expected exploded and wanted to get me vaccinated for rabies immediately. We both knew there was no need for this as Sunshine is an indoor cat and has been fully vaccinated for rabies as per international regulations or he wouldn’t have been allowed to travel. Yet, we felt we had to do something.

It is COVID time and there are strange protocols in hospitals. The hospital we went to refused to give us the vaccination saying we needed to go to the government hospital, which had the vaccination and the immunoglobulin which had to be injected locally on my palm. The palm is very dense in blood and nerve supply and is a direct opening for the rabies virus into the human nervous system. We couldn’t go to the government facility as it has reported a large number of COVID cases. So we went home. The next day, we went to another private facility where I had my Rabies vaccination and a dressing done. So I am now resting at home, watching Youtube on TV, which is something I just learnt can be done quite easily.

So that is what has been happening to me recently.

In quarantine

We got to Indian soil on Thursday the 21st.

We have been quarantined since- first in a government facility and now in a paid facility (a hotel).

Angels were helping us all the way from the Emigration to the government paperwork.

To all friends

We Are safe and made it after a two month ordeal where every moment we spent in anxiety and fear_ of the virus and travel restrictions and of being never allowed to go.

By the grace of God we are safe and sound.

Will blog only infrequently until my computers reach me which may be upto three months.

One more night

Last night, we got our last box packed. We got almost all that we would want into the boxes. And we threw the rest. The kitchen is essentially left the same and anyone can cook a quick meal there for there are provisions and water and the refrigerator and the stove still connected.

The rooms look empty but not quite as the furniture still remains exactly as before, for we leave everything behind. In better times, we might have been able to find some young couple or some people from the furniture market take them but now, since the lockdown rules are stricter with the festival just round the corner, it is a no go. Having the furniture around is nice as the house doesn’t look or feel empty still and we can still use the bedrooms as everything is intact.

The cat is boarded at the veterinary until he can be shipped to our country and we cat-proof our house back home. It was sad taking him to the vets wrapped in a blanket so he wouldn’t get scared until we had to put him in his crate at the vets, where he is boarded. We don’t want to think of the cramped spaces he is in. It is a grim reminder of our life for the past two months after the lockdown has been declared and all travel restricted.

A cyclone rages back home and flooding occurs on the Eastern coast of India. We go down South, so perhaps it is not much more severe than the monsoons that thump our coasts of a mid summer. We hope the rain will bring the COVID numbers down, but who knows ?

It is 4 am now and the muezzin has given the morning call for prayer. The birds sing sweetly on my moringa tree- perhaps it is the last time I will hear them. I need to remember to feed them and put the water out for them. Of all the stray cats, only one remains- his timidity to venture out of the compound kept him safe from the man who catches cats. He will hopefully find someone else to feed him.

My plants have been donated to the Filipina families who live near mine as they are plant lovers. But the trees we planted over the 15 years we were here, will remain and will hopefully survive the very harsh summer that is yet to come just as we hope to survive the tough hours ahead.

Graduation

After a long, and hard term, they sent us messages congratulating us on our graduation- batch of 2020 and so on. I was skeptical as I hadn’t heard back from the SAS professor yet as to the marks of the final exam. Nonetheless, we all seem to have made the mark.

So it is here to believe- I passed !! Amid the corona and the Spring Break and the lockdown and assignments and uncertainty, I have a second graduate degree- at 50.