Reflections from a Hotelier as a COVID-19 Survivor!

The year 2020 continues to intrigue and conspire against humanity as we grapple with the ever-changing dynamics of surviving and trying to re-invent/re-design our way of life and living.

I was getting confident and cockier that I had a grip of sorts on this pandemic, and I developed a personal code of conduct to tackle it by following it as I went about in the changed work environment.

Occasionally, secretly patting myself for cracking the code and cynical about some of them who walked around perpetually with fear and concern. Working from home though productive, had cramped my style considerably, and it took a while getting used to it.

Then I tested positive! When the symptoms kick in-, the mind goes through intense emotional upheavals- from fierce denial, pain, fear, panic, despair, hopelessness, helplessness, agony, anger, victimized, unjustified, then slowly resignation and acceptance.

A Brave new world – the Hospital:

Two important aspects stood out during this whole experience at the Hospital which to me was critical in ensuring that I regained my health at the shortest possible time – Trust and Competence.

It was demonstrated repeatedly during my stay at this hospital that if Trust precedes all other attributes then the effectiveness of the treatment multiplies exponentially. When the Hospital reassures the patient in a manner which builds on its ‘Trust’ then even ‘Competence’ will never be a serious concern for the patient.

When Trust and Competence collaborate then we have a powerful and potent antidote capable of tackling the most complex situation. This was demonstrated repeatedly during my stay and I admired at the way this bundling had such a positive impact on their patients.

Role of my Care-giver – my Doctor & his team:

Fascinated by the way a Hospital functions in a synchronized collaborative approach to tackle this virus. In the hospital, I studied the efficiency of the professionals and the processes involved.

Listen to every single word the Doctor says. You are not his first patient, nor will you be his last. He genuinely wants to fight this virus within you and vanquish it, but it will always need your complete 200% commitment. Listening to every big or small instruction as it literally is the life and death instructions for you. He has been fighting this battle close to a year now. He has lost many wars, learned lessons, and has a fierce determination to improve his personal score. You make no mistake - this is not some customary medical advice given, but war strategies, nor some tactical game plans. The goals and targets are set, and precise instructions are given to the team leaders and members. You are an essential part of their attempt of being successful, so your commitment is always critical. Lock your egos permanently, forget your medical knowledge, listen to each instruction carefully, follow it, and obey it unconditionally- from a nurse, an endocrinologist, a physiotherapist, a dietician, or a doctor.

Empathized with their tough working conditions and showed concern and understanding. You can have very insightful conversations with them and will become more appreciative of their role in this ecosystem. The title of 'real warriors' is richly deserved. Their personality hidden behind layers of PPE yet unflinching giving total commitment in ensuring I got the right medication at the right time every single day.  They were constant and generous cheer by the nursing team at my small gains, encouraging me always during setbacks. Sharing tips on tackling challenging moments gracefully but always by my side.

The team continues to work long hours under very trying conditions, isolated from family, and loved ones. Suppressing their emotions constantly can cause havoc. But they are cheerful, receptive, and there is a sense of urgency to help and assist always at any time of the day or night!

Mind rules – the new environs

  • I could choose to be depressed and miserable during uncertainty or focus on my present status and stay positive. I chose the latter.

  • Always exude positivity. It is highly contagious, and you will never be cursed for spreading it.

  • Visualize and dramatize the most traumatic moments. It positively distracts you and lessens the pain and anxiety.

  • Focus on solutions not problems.

  • Humor helps. I always believed in its subtle power.

  • Consciously seek out happiness in every act and activity.

  • Listen, listen, really listen actively, and stay connected during conversations.

  • Help anyone without expectations -friends, colleagues, neighbors, strangers - anyone... Do not be choosy!

Big lesson learned.

There must be reason that the 'Pause button' was pressed when everything was going on so well professionally and personally. Somewhere, unknowingly inside of me I had changed- become less empathetic, less caring, getting   disconnected with reality and creating my own virtual reality. Less acceptance of my mistakes, less tolerant to other mistakes. Fourteen days of reflection clears your mind and thoughts.


A word which is oft forgotten and rarely acknowledged or used! This incident showed me it is existence in its truest essence. The phone calls & messages from across seven seas, from school mates, college friends, families, colleagues, even guests and my own organization was spontaneous, generous, and sincere. The human link is intact but buried deep underneath our commitments and obligations towards our society and daily grind. But sometimes, deep within us something pulls our heart strings and emotions revive.

I am overwhelmed by this generous pouring of assistance offered mentally, physically, and emotionally to me from all my well-wishers. Made me realize that I am not an island that I often believed-but an integral part in this sea of humanity with as much obligation to give back- even more than what I am now receiving!

The will to succeed is still extraordinarily strong but the will to succeed together has become critical and important! 

Manoj Mathew

Immediate Past President

Skål International Bangalore