Says Indians can win the war against COVID-19 by ‘staying indoors’ with discipline

Imagine being cooped up in a constrained space with around 70-100 people, having only a rationed quantity of food, very few showers are allowed, there is a very small bunk to sleep in, no communication can be had with relatives and friends, and hours and hours of silence pass without connecting with the people even within the limited space. Now contrast this with some people wantonly breaking curfew and others jumping quarantine as India enters the end of the first week of the 21-day lockdown, the largest such effort in the world.

The constrained space is a submarine, where one cannot move freely, and personnel have to stay at one place for a long amount of time, hundreds of feet under water. As arguments abound about the lack of space in Indian households, the need to rush out to buy groceries, while some step out without reason just to check what is happening in these times, a former Indian submariner says every Indian needs to “fight this war against COVID-19 by staying indoors”.

‘Rather Easily’

While the day-to-day lifestyle of a common citizen cannot be compared with that of a trained soldier, Captain Murthy, who had served in different classes of submarines of the Indian Navy for 25 years, believes that citizens can get through the curfew period rather easily.

Capt. Murthy said that while people are not used to this kind of a situation, it resembles a certain level of life in a submarine, though without benefits that the world above the deep, cold waters that submarines patrol, offers.

For example, Capt. Murthy said, “When a submarine enters an ultra-quiet stage, everyone on board is expected to maintain absolute silence and not talk to each other because when you talk, you generate more carbon-dioxide and carbon monoxide is formed, which is dangerous. Everybody has to keep quiet. Oxygen is less, because you are shut inside and you have to consume whatever oxygen there is for the next few days.”

Food, Sunlight

On the kind of food available on board, Capt. Murthy said whatever fresh food is available would be used on the first few days of patrolling. Sometimes, patrols extend beyond a month, which means those on board would not even have had a glimpse of sunlight during this period.

Capt. Murthy believes Indians can get through the COVID-19 crisis by being disciplined. “These are difficult times for each and every one of us across the world. But at the same time, think of the people who are in submarines, who are patrolling the streets [the police]. Today, at our homes, we are having proper food. We are able to watch TV, entertain ourselves with music, able to communicate with friends, families and relatives, read books, learn new skills. We should feel lucky about this,” he said.

The former Navy officer also requested everyone to stay put at home and not move around arguing with police officers and doctors who are on the frontlines of this battle against the spread of the virus. “When such authorities are putting their lives on the line for you, why should we not do this little sacrifice of staying indoors?” he asked.

After all, “This is a war against a virus that has affected the world and this is fight each one of us must fight — by staying indoors. Ultimately, we are all helping each other in this war,” he said.