Bengaluru: “This is such a terrible feeling. I felt like being spun in a washing machine. I lost seven kilograms thanks to coronavirus. What I was unable to do with diet and exercise, this virus did in a week. No need for slimming classes!” said Dr Neeraj Patil, who is currently recovering from COVID-19 in Britain.
Dr Patil is a qualified medical practitioner and a prominent member of the Indian community in England. A member of UK's Labour Party, he was the Mayor of Lambeth in London and lost the 2017 UK Parliament elections by a small margin of 1,500 votes from Putney.
He is also an Emergency Medicines doctor at St. Georges Hospital in London. A native of Gulbarga in north Karnataka, Patil tested positive a week ago and was hospitalised.
Speaking to News18 from London, he said he had discharged himself from the hospital and now recovering from the deadly virus at his home. Sharing his traumatic experience at an isolation ward in a London hospital, he said, “Self-discharged from hospital. I will die quickly, if I am at hospital. The mental agony of a hospital is enough to even feel like committing suicide for some. Dead people, diseased people in pain and agony…London hospitals have become like graveyards. It is very sad and I don’t have any words to explain this.”
Talking about the fear of coronavirus which has gripped the entire world, Patil said, “Everywhere it is COVID-19 and it really depresses even a healthy fellow. Doctors, nurses, cleaners and all other staffers irrespective of hierarchy are also human beings and they are all risking their lives. I am not sure how many will die while trying to save others.”
Turning a bit philosophical, Dr Patil said the time spent in isolation had given him enough space to reflect on himself and the fragility of human race. “I feel a strange feeling inside me since I got infected. It was a strange kind of emptiness and I understood what Buddha said many years ago. ‘Life is a death and death is a real life’. We live like futile human beings trying to boost our ego. The real self is something that we can neither see nor experience. It was always beyond human comprehension and will remain so forever. Thank you, coronavirus, you have taught me something which I really enjoyed.”
Dr Patil also warned that if not contained quickly, the virus could wreak havoc across India in no time. “If this happens in India, people will understand the pain of 1947 partition and the plague epidemic in old times. Sometimes I feel Mother Nature punishes us so that we experience it. Virus is a tiny RNA molecule and it is teaching us so many lessons. People’s lives have changed forever! The world is a different planet now. There will be a pre- and post-coronavirus world like AD and BC,” he said.
Dr Patil is a prominent Lingayat community leader back home in Karnataka and has played a key role in installing a statue of Basavanna, the founder of Lingayat “religion” in the 12th century, near the British Parliament on the banks of river Thames in London. The statue was funded by Government of Karnataka and unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.