I try to pen it all down, my Covid Diary for posterity. The mind forges ahead, the pen lags behind but I am happy for that, can’t lose that- the mind- in addition to everything else.Meanwhile, their list is complete and signed on the bottom right corner. The conversation has drifted to the E-commerce that has been thrown open. The object of interest is a UV Disinfection Box for disinfecting your phone and watch, from some DailyObjects (another potential sponsor) and the hot deals from a popular site for buying make-up items. For goodness sake girls! (Oh, we are ladies by our bone age but what the heck, we are girls at heart) Make-up?? Now?“The eyes are the windows to your soul….and you eyes are visible! All the protective eyewear and the shield will not hide these eyes, thus spake Shakespeare from our midst.” Never miss a business opportunity, the business of looking good! “We will bake you a cake, to take inside,” making it sound more like the Big Boss house and less like quarantine.“I had this marvellous Mango Cake…” and the conversation goes on to banana cakes and carrot cakes and other such cakes, diverging onto some male of the Gynae species who in addition to being great at the craft, also bakes a mean cake. I don’t know whether the approving noises were for the cake…. “Hey, I heard you have to share your quarantine quarters with someone as there aren’t enough rooms available,” someone chips in. And that other person may be more exposed than you are-or less.Then do we keep the N95 on throughout?One mask for 8 hours, 3 per day, for two weeks. We rushed to do the math, but we didn’t pause to think what would it be like to be gagged 24×7. The irony of it all!. We are so accepting of whatever comes our way, we do it without a whimper. It’s not just a mask, we have been bandaged shut. This is how we forget our travails, we lose them in these inane exchanges, we learn to laugh off the blues. We don’t give ourselves time to think about the Coronas and Ebola, the SARS and MERS, the HIVs and HBSAgs ! We don’t afford ourselves the silence to hear the fear creep onto us and we don’t allow ourselves solitude for our demons to catch us unaware!These are our vents, together. With our families and friends, we upend the disease, physical or mental. We don’t hold our lives very dear, only our work. We march on regardless, in the line of duty.Silently, I add another item to A’s Covid list, modified for me. I have to carry some paper-to write my last will and testament, I am not as young as them…or maybe I can get clever with the virus and let him see the young heart and not the old bones! “I can relax now,” declares A, relief writ large on her face.“Are you going on leave ?” asks S, knowing full well that it is a rhetorical question. There is no leave for doctors through this Corona pandemic.“Have you tested IgG positive ?” (signifying that you have developed protective antibodies against the Covid-19 virus and therefore are not vulnerable to it), that’s the only news that can give some joy.“Are you permitted to work from home ?” That is nasty coming from one Gynaecologist to the other who can work from home only as well as a pilot can!The questions flow, fast and furious (too much Netflix) as we sit around in our demarcated chairs, six feet apart in the waiting area of our now deserted OPD on the fourth floor of our hospital, the OPDs having been shifted to the first floor for the duration of the pandemic.I have packed my ‘Covid Bag’ and kept it in the car and am ready to walk into Quarantine as and when required without having to go home to collect my things so that I don’t pass on the infection to the family once I am exposed to it.“Great thought, but sixty days of getting into and out of the hospital and home, you may already be a trifle late for that,” came a wry remark.“Packing for it isn’t the most important thing about Quarantine..” I remind gently.“There is this little thing about where you go from there….” thankfully my barely audible comment misses its mark altogether as the checklist is being formulated. It’s all about Checklists these days.She gets ticks in the boxes-Clothing -day/night/gym wear/essentials/towelsToiletriesSlippersPhone/chargerLaptop/chargerBooksPack an electric kettle and some tea things. There is nothing like a hot cuppa even though there is no one to give you that pat you on the back and say ‘there there’ as would Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory). Waghbakri has these amazing sachets to which you just need to add hot water and you have a great ginger or cardamom tea ready. (This article is not sponsored by Waghbakri, though I could try)How many tea bags, 3 per day for 14 days of quarantine?We are so smug in the knowledge of our own invincibility! How easily we assume that by Day 14 we will fly out of the coop.On Day 5 to Day 7, RT PCR testing is done….One may have to move into the COVID ward if one tests positive. This is not the time to remind them of this little detail. The devil sure is in the detail!The list is unending-Salt for gargling (a new Covid activity) and mouthwashZolpidem (no affiliations here too) for the days sleep is kept at bay by the fear“Just remember to pack your God, you’ll need him!” My dark humour is lost on them. The lists are the same, Covid holiday or any other, as is the purpose. You are running away from your family- for their good, and you are running away from a virus, for a while till you feel fit to face it all over again.I don’t know about others but for us, doctors, even a trip to Singapore is not so much about soaking in the sights and sounds of the place as it is about running away- from your incessant work, your patients, and from your phone. This last advantage overrides everything else- the extra cost of the trip abroad, the paperwork, the visa, the expired passport, and going against Mr Modi’s nationalist sentiment exhorting us to do the domestic circuit. Whatsapp, though, has made running away very difficult, given its vast reach- you can still be chased to the ends of the world which have taken away a lot from this comfort of masquerading around without being afraid of being pulled back into reality like a puppet on a chain.