How a doctor couple used the 'Lakshman Rekha' to keep their family safe during lockdown

Updated: Jul 11, 2020, 07:28 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

The Pitales, a doctor couple, decided on the 'Lakshman Rekha' to protect their daughter and her grandmother, as they resumed practice during the lockdown

Dr Anita and Dr Amol Pitale stay in one part of the house while their daughter and his mother stay in the other
Dr Anita and Dr Amol Pitale stay in one part of the house while their daughter and his mother stay in the other

Since the lockdown was implemented, the residence of the Pitales, both doctors, has been 'virtually' divided, with them occupying one part, and their daughter and her grandmother, the other. Amol and Anita, who live in Vile Parle, decided on the 'Lakshman Rekha' which they don't cross, to protect his mother Shaila, 75, and their daughter, Nishtha, 10.

In the initial days of the lockdown, the doctor couple decided to stay indoors and the family went about their usual routine, but as the COVID-19 cases swelled in their neighbourhood, they took a conscious decision to step out and start medical consultation. But this was not before they explained to Nishtha that they would have to keep distant while staying in the same house.

According to Dr Amol, who is also a consulting medic for few corporate houses, "My mother and I are both asthma patients, which puts both of us in the high-risk category and is a cause of big worry for her, especially when I step out of the house."

'Too young to understand'

The other challenge for the family is that their daughter is very attached to her parents and especially needs her 'Baba' (father) by her bedside to tuck her in, and share stories before nap time.

"These are testing times for all. How do I expect a child to fully understand that Baba cannot hug his darling daughter, because he loves her too much and wants her to be safe?" said Dr Amol.

"She is too young to understand the severity of the situation and had to be explained why she is not allowed to come close to her parents, though we stay in the same house. We as parents can see that she has actually matured in the past couple of months and now understands our responsibilities as medical professionals, and why we keep our distance from her. But at the end of the day she is a child who misses the personal bond with us," said Dr Anita, who is also attached to a mediclaim agency.

Mom-in-law to the rescue

Shaila Pitale has taken charge of the kitchen. Granddaughter Nishtha, by her parents admission, has matured in the experience

Dr Anita shared the other challenge of food preparation in the absence of domestic helps. " My mother-in-law, at her age, stepped up to take charge of the kitchen. The food is individually collected by us in disposable plates and eaten in our room."

Like many other parents, the Pitales too have gone from telling their child not to use the mobile phone for long, to convince her that it's a necessity under the circumstances, especially to communicate with them.

"There was a time when we used to discourage our child to be on her mobile for long periods of time, but in the given circumstances it has become a necessity for us to communicate. She and her friends have become tech-savvy and have mirrored their mobiles on television, so after their online classes the kids chat and even play antakshari, which is a new innovation," Dr Anita said.

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