SOCIAL DISTANCING gets a new meaning in the case of Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar who has not met his father for more than a month. Only a room seperates the two, but Brar is not taking any chances. When the distancing, both physical and emotional becomes too hard, the two meet up on a video call.
It has been exactly 32 days that Brar met his father, 80, despite being in the same house. But there is no other choice because the officer has to remain out in the field throughout the day.
From being in the high-risk zone where migrant labourers are housed to attending office, he has been juggling various duties.
“I know it is tough but that is how it is. I can’t take any chance since I am out the whole day and my father has some health issues as well. When it really gets difficult, we both do video call just across the room. He too understands,” Brar said.
Being the District Magistrate, right from arranging food for the needy in the city to arranging movement pass for those who lose their loved ones, from issuing all important orders during the times of pandemic to ensuring the implementation, he has been doing it all.
Around 200 calls a day, to be the least, is what he attends throughout the day while carrying out other multifarious tasks.
“We make sure that the genuine needy get the movement pass like there have been cases where someone loses a family member and they contact me for it,” he said.
It just doesn’t end here. There is another battle waiting for Brar at home since the fear of bringing the virus home looms large. His wife, Ashima Brar, IAS officer who is Deputy Principal Secretary to Haryana Chief Minister and Hafed MD, also remains out the whole day. But the couple are still managing. It becomes difficult when they come home and children aged 10 and 5 are waiting to see them.
“We both enter through the side room. In fact, I first change there, take a shower and make sure that I am not wearing anything I wore out in the field. Only then I enter the living room. Still, we try and maintain distance,” he said.
There are times when the couple have to deal with questions wherein the two children ask as to why they don’t stay at home and play with them these days even as their friends’ parents are home. But for them, they say duty comes first. And there are no Sundays too.
“I don’t feel I am doing anythng special because every official out there is doing his best. Even the citizens are making great sacrifices. We are all collective warriors in this fight against COVID. I am very sure we will all come out of this situation very soon,” Brar said.
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