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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

A Covid-19 survivor finds solace in art, has new life lessons for all

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Sanjul was admitted to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on March 22 and was discharged on April 7 following his recovery.

Written by Shanil J S | Kozhikode | Updated: April 16, 2020 7:40:48 pm
Kerala: A Covid-19 survivor finds solace in art, has new life lessons for all U.K Sanjul, who hails from Kerala’s Kozhikode district, has recovered from COVID-19 and is in self -quarantine for 14 days.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): People across the world are dabbling in a wide range of home activities in the midst of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. But what about those who are staying alone, away from their own family members? U.K Sanjul, a 27-year-old who has recovered from COVID-19, tried something new while in self-quarantine.

If it had not been for the coronavirus lockdown, the artistic side of Sanjul, a native of Kozhikode’s Narikkuni, would not have come out so prominently. Halfway into the 14-day quarantine following his recovery, the art aficionado has already produced several striking paintings. Unable to step outside, Sanjul says he uses this time to learn more about painting and drawing from YouTube.

“I have never learned painting. My interest towards it sprouted after I completed my bachelor’s degree, although I never painted actively. I used to paint occasionally when I went home for the holidays. That was just for killing the time. This is the first time that I have dedicated my time towards producing these many pictures,” says Sanjul who uses acrylic as his medium. Read in Malayalam

One of the acrylic paintings Sanjul made while being in quarantine.

Sanjul was admitted to Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on March 22 and was discharged on April 7 following his recovery from the novel coronavirus. He is at present in quarantine in his ancestral house, just a few blocks away from his own home where his parents and wife are staying. His family makes sure that he has enough food with him.

A B.Sc hotel management degree holder, Sanjul has been working as a pastry chef in an Italian luxury ship for the last five years.

When Sanju’s crew arrived at the Port of Santos in Brazil as part of the Brazil-Argentina voyage, the world was already in the grip of the virus. Realising the gravity of the situation, Sanjul flew back home quickly on March 20 via Dubai. He showed no signs of fever when he landed in Delhi on the March 21 morning.

It was a hectic day at the airport as India had decided to ban international flights from the next day in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. It took almost a day for him to complete the medical check-up and arrive at the domestic airport. By the time he reached Kozhikode’s Karripur, he had contracted the fever. Subsequently, he was picked by the ambulance straight from the airport and admitted to the medical college hospital.

Sanjul initially thought his illness could be due to the long-haul flight and that necessary precautions, including wearing a mask, had been taken on board the ship.

After he left, Sanjul says, some people on board the same ship were diagnosed with the disease. They have recovered now, he adds.

Aside from fever, he experienced symptoms like dry cough, nasal congestion, clogged ears in the first phase. His fever subsided in three days. Sanjul, however, says he was depressed after learning that he was a COVID-19 positive.

Halfway into the 14-day quarantine following his recovery, the art aficionado has already produced several striking paintings like this.

“I started fearing since I did not know how this disease was going to affect my body and also with the fact that I would not be able to see my family. However, I received excellent treatment and care from the hospital. Doctors used to check on me frequently. Nurses used to boost my confidence. I used to call my family to boost their morale. Psychiatric counselling received as part of the treatment was also beneficial,” he says.

“In the meantime, I learned a lot about the disease on the internet. I also utilised the 17-day treatment period to brush up my reading habits. Despite being in home quarantine, the corona-cell keeps a regular tab on my health condition,” Sanjul says.

Sanjul says he uses this time to learn more about painting and drawing from YouTube.

Having survived the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanjul is now motivating others in fighting the menace. “Many of my friends and others who are staying in quarantine after being diagnosed with the virus call me to understand my experience of dealing with it. Many people call out of fear. I try to boost their morale. I tell them that it can be defeated and also advice them to eat healthy food,” he says.

For Sanjul, the coronavirus phase did not just unravel his artistic side, but also fostered new friendships. “This is a new life. It made us recognise those who truly love us. Many friends who had not been in contact for 10-15 years called and enquired about me. Their support in a crisis like this means a lot to me,” he says.

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