Travel Diary: India’s 1st swine flu casualty puts a new spin …

Should I? Should I not?

What if I get quarantine? God! I don’t think I can survive the drama of being quarantined in one of Delhi’s public hospital. Yeah, my drama plus mom’s drama.


I can just visualise the scene playing out. The protests. The wails. Calls made to the embassy. And even calls and trips made by the ex-Governor of Delhi who happens to be living in the apartment below us.


So, I sat at Route 04 (American restaurant) in Khan Market, New Delhi for an additional 40 minutes contemplating over a yummy kiwi-honey-mint smoothie if I should visit the doctor since my first round of antibiotics obtained from a chemist in Manali has not kept the cold away.


News on Rida’s death and threats by the family to sue the hospitals in Pune (yes, plural) has been playing over and over again on the television screens. The Maharastha government has started a probe. Every news channel is covering the swine flu story – Rida’s death, the hospitals negligence, what’s swine flu?, is the Indian government ready for swine flu?, the Dos and Don’ts of swine flu

A few thoughts crosses my mind as I stare blankly at the tv scene.

  • God! The airport people are going to be more observant. I can still recall the screens of human shapes in psychedelic colours with temperatures tagged on them in the airport terminals.
  • God! Just as A and M had once said, I, Penelope G have a career prospect in Indian news casting purely from the drama stand point.
  • What if I really have H1N1? I did get my flu 7-days after boarding a plane. oh God! The number of phone calls I have to make if I am indeed infected by swine flu. The people who were in close contact with me over the last 7 days spread across the globe: from Malaysia through Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, England, USA, Canada …


“OK! Penelope! Stop being a selfish coward. Go get check,” yells my inner voice.


As it turns out, I have a regular persistent flu. The timing is horrendously bad. And never in my life have I been so discipline with my medicine. For one, it is a call of desperation. But also worth mentioning the costs involved: Doctor’s consultation Rs. 500, Medicine Rs. 649 – and now you know why Indians generally can’t afford to fall sick. It’s seriously expensive business.



5 thoughts on “Travel Diary: India’s 1st swine flu casualty puts a new spin …

  1. relax and stop this angst. you generously passed on your flu to me…and i got rid of it by ingesting lots of airborne (multi-vitamins) pills…so it's not swine flu. you could've asked me before spending so many rupees! :o)having now calmed you down, lots of thank yous for doing the title graphics for some of my guys…you're a genius. many hugs (although these got me flu trouble). -tewfic

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