Phurpa Lhamo

The room’s well furnished, spick-and-span. A queen-size bed in the centre, there is also a table by the side with a water boiler, tea bags, instant coffee packets and sugar arranged neatly by expert hands. This is my room at Tsherim Resort in Paro.

We got home on the morning of March 19. Thirty-eight of us, mostly students studying in India, were taken straight away to the resort. A nurse met us at the door to give us quarantine advice. Everything happened very quickly.

This is my day 13 in the quarantine centre. There is everything here, meals on time, free Wi-Fi, and health check-up from time to time. I can even do some physical exercises. I have just seven days to complete mandatory quarantine but passing time becomes harder by the day.

I read books. I watch the news on TV. And I sleep. All day long.  Suddenly I have to distract myself. Am I thinking too much? Am I worried? Is that good? I wonder what my friends are doing next door. 

I have begun to feel irritated by the doorbells. And about how everyone outside tends to think, it’s a luxury staying in a confined room for 21 days. 

Often I find myself trying to find out what scientists and researchers have to say about loneliness, hallucination and things like that. Am I going crazy? No. I may be a little bothered by all the time I have to myself. 

At night when I am trying to sleep, I can hear my neighbour opening the bathroom door. The noises are heightened with the silence in my room. 

Unable to sleep I put the lights on and begin to read.

During the day, I explore my room. There are two houseflies. They come to bother during meal times. There is a small bug that crawls on the windowsill all day long. And a fruit fly which I haven’t seen in a while. I watch them go about their ways; for a moment I have forgotten all the worries in my head.

On the eighth day in quarantine, I realised that the government has spent Nu 8,000 for my care and there are over 2,000 people like me. Nu 16 million has been spent on us already. When I heard that some who can afford paid their hotel bills as a service to the country, guilt tore me. 

But getting the best out quarantine seems to be the best I can do. So, on the tenth day, I challenged myself to at least read 100 pages and do 10 knee push-ups a day. 

Quarantine is very important at this time. I am already very appreciative of my government for such arrangements for the safety of the people.

If 21 days of boredom and loneliness means going home with surety that I wouldn’t be the one to bring harm to my family and friends, it is worth it.  Bonus point, I will walk out wiser (I will have read so many books!) and proud.