Kottayam (Kerala) May 9 : For Aneela Mathew, after almost 75 days of hectic work in the IT department at a bank in Bahrain, it was a keenly awaited trip back home. But to reach her home in the district of Kottayam, it will take many more days, as she is now put up at a state managed quarantine centre, near here.
She landed at Kochi around 1120 p.m. on Friday night and by about 4.15 a.m. she along with eight others are now been quarantined at a retreat centre of a Church organisation about 25 km from her home, near here.
For the 25-year-old techie lady, working with a leading IT firm at the Technopark campus in the state capital, it was a happy moment when she boarded her flight on her maiden foreign trip in the third week of February.
But she never thought it would be a short lived happiness, as after 10 days things started to turn bumpy, as by then Covid-19 was spreading its tentacles across countries and was soon declared a pandemic.
“Since we were very much immersed in our work, we did not have much time to think of other things concerning Covid-19. But soon things became tough as lockdown norms in Bahrain became stringent. Again it did not affect us, as we had a task to commission the project we had on our hand,” said Mathew.
Weeks passed for her and even though the project that she was assigned got over, and with India closing its airspace, their team of 5 was put into another project and again it was a busy schedule.
“By the time we finished our second assigned work, we had got the news, that all those whose visa has expired will get a preference and three of us got the call from Indian Embassy to get ready to reach the airport, yesterday around noon,” said Mathew.
They reached the airport at the appointed time and boarded the aircraft around 4 a.m.
“Once inside the aircraft, we were told to manage ourselves and it was not the normal way things happen inside the aircraft. A small bottle of sanitizer, a small packet of snacks and a bottle of water was kept on the seat. By 11.20 p.m. we reached Kochi,” said Mathew.
“Once outside the airport, we had to carry our bags and when we sought help from the policemen who were standing there, to place our bag inside the bus, they said – help yourselves. That came as a shock. For the first time we felt we were looked down upon. Inside the bus was just the driver and we were nine as passengers,” said Mathew.
The bus had a police jeep in the front and back and after a two hour drive it reached the retreat centre.
“Here also there were three staffers who were standing and giving us directions from a distance. We were told to go to the third floor. When we said it would be difficult to carry our luggage to the third floor, they said then you can take any room in the ground floor. We were given a room, which has three beds. My colleague and I are now sitting in the room. We were given a good breakfast also,” added Mathew.
“The journey and the experiences I have had, will surely make me a strong person, as these will all go as memorable moments, which one has to really experience to understand the emotions,” said Mathew.