There are two subtle facets to this forced isolation due to lockdown which I would like elaborate on.


We all know there is a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. In the pre-COVID world, each doctor would interact with a hundred or more people on a daily basis – colleagues, nurses, patients and their relatives. All these interactions were based on relationships which were mutually beneficial. This is especially true of a doctor-patient association, a type of non-zero sum
game. If at any point in time, one of the party feels not benefitted, the unwritten agreement breaks down. These, are, therefore, very superficial connections. Hence, a doctor tends to feel lonely in the midst of plenty. Which doctor has not felt lonesome while driving back at eleven p.m. after seeing the last patient, worrying about some unstable patient?

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Till he reaches home. Here the relationships are deep, not based on mutual benefits only. Here his loneliness melts away. Here, he may be sitting alone in his room, reading, writing, but he will not feel lonesome. This lockdown has decreased people’s loneliness, their depersonalization, in a manner of speaking. Throughout this isolation, I have felt a number of unforgotten emotions, but never lonely.


Humans are social animals. Our society is based on the stories we tell each other and the lies contained within.

The moment you set foot outside your home, you start lying. Let me give you an example. You meet your neighbour in the elevator and ask each other, “How are you?” Either of you can start talking truthfully. The litany of lamentations would be limitless. But no. Both smile and say, “All is well”.

Amongst all professions, after politicians, doctors are probably the ones called upon to consciously lie maximally. All sessions of counselling with patients and their relatives are laced with half-truths, untruths and occasionally blatant lies. This is a professional requirement. Otherwise, how do you convince somebody to continue a treatment which “probably” will benefit him, knowing full well what this “probably” means?

This isolation has obviated the need for constant lying and storytelling.

Now, in the four walls of my home, I interact only with people with whom I have a deeper connection. The lies are less, the storytelling almost absent.

I believe, these two strands of sapiens society, the exhausting effort of maintaining scores of superficial relationships and the deception we practice in act and word, do take a toll on the human soul. This isolation will have some cleansing effect.

This is the view of an introvert. Extroverts may have a different take.

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About the author

Dr Shishir Shah is a renowned Physician and Pulmonologist in Mumbai.



  • Bharat Bachwani May 26, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Very well writen and elaborated on a doctor’s point of view. The frankness expressed is revealing to a non medical person

  • Charulata Bachwani May 26, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    It is rightly said 
    “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. Adversities or difficult times like these bring with it, its own pros and cons. Acceptance of the situation and doing what is best within our means can be of help in adjusting to any situation. 
    It is the same with any areas of our lives that get affected,
    be it for the office goer whose sustenance is dependent on going to work, or the house-wife, who needs to get her errands done and provide for her family.
    Similarly , school-going children, college attending Adolescents suffer a big jolt to their studies, during such catastrophic times.
    What does one do at such times?
    An important contribution of Technology and its easy access to it has helped tide over such circumstances.
    In this current situation in the world, where Covid19 has gripped the entire world in its clutches, Technology has brought a huge sigh of relief to children and parents in dealing with it.
    In fact, it is a welcome change from the classroom teaching straight into the comfort of our homes. 
    Learning , they say can happen under a Banyan tree, or under the street light or even in dim-lit houses of the poor.
    So, when we have the luxury of studying in our homes, then why complain?
    In fact, it becomes easier to learn, understand, and receive better and faster feedback
    There is no denial that class-room teaching has several advantages, But, in situations like these, that upset the entire schedule and bring Life to a Halt, if not managed properly.
    I end this thought with Gratitude for the Teachers who take pains to impart knowledge with utmost sincerity.

    A small verse to end this discussion-
    “Who says Knowledge is trapped in the classroom Or, Teaching happens only Conventionally,
    With Technology on our side who can stop our Stride,
    towards learning and Accomplishing our Goals.



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