Books on Shivaji Maharaj, VD Savarkar's memoir about his prison days and yoga helped a Pune couple, the first coronavirus patients in Maharashtra, as they spent a fortnight in a hospital's isolation ward.
On March 25, the couple also became the first patients in the state to fully recover from the infection and get discharged from the civic-run Naidu Hospital here.
Their 23-year-old daughter, who had also contracted the infection, also recovered and returned home.
Recounting his experience of isolation cell, the 51-year-old man said their first reaction after learning that they had the dreaded infection was shock and denial.
"I, my wife and daughter reached Pune on March 1 from Dubai trip. On the same night I had a mild fever so I took some tablets. Next day, I visited my family physician who prescribed me another dose of tablets for fever and cough for three days," said the man.
But he was still feeling under the weather after three days, so the family was advised to visit Naidu Hospital.
On March 9, his and his wife's swab reports came.
"The report was not directly shared with us but I got the hint after they started inquiring about our trip, the people we had met. When I insisted, they told us that our samples had come out positive.
"We were utterly shaken. My wife was in tears. She was in denial mode," he added.
But the doctors assured them that they had no reason to worry as their symptoms were not severe.
"Our daughter and son were summoned to the hospital and we were sent to isolation ward. As we were coming to terms with this, the next day we got news that my daughter, the driver who had brought us to Pune and one more person had also tested positive," he said.
By the second day, the name of the family was circulating on social media, accompanied by uncharitable comments, he said.
"While we were in isolation, we heard people were blaming us for bringing the disease here. But we decided to approach the situation in a calm and positive manner and gave each other emotional support," he said.
Couple of days later they were shifted to the general ward. "It was bigger in size and had better sunlight. We started doing physical exercise and yoga and engaged in positive discussion with other patients while maintaining proper distance. The younger among us kept themselves busy with video streaming apps," he said.
"We listened to music. Some family friends brought us books. During isolation, I read Savarkar's Majhi Janmathep (My Life Imprisonment, Savarkar's account of his incarceration in Andaman), a book on Shivaji Maharaj, Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad and Wise & Otherwise by Sudha Murty," he said.
The couple's daughter, who works in an IT firm, said the family is essentially 'extrovert' and fond of traveling.
"This changed our life 360 degrees but we as a family confronted the situation with a positive approach," she said.
"My office, friends, family supported me in this testing time and stood by me. I would like to appeal people to follow social distancing religiously as it is the only way to contain the spread of the virus," she said.
The couple received a 'warm welcome' when they returned to their housing society, with neighbours clapping and beating utensils.