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May 24, 2021 Monday 07:51:25 PM IST

Are You Insured Against Covid?

Confined to home during pandemic can be distressing for many especially when you hear distressing news of friends, neighbours or relatives admitted to hospital or tested positive for the virus. One afternoon after a late lunch, my wife's friend called to inform about a person who was charged Rs 4.5 lakh for Covid treatment for two weeks in a hospital. Without ventilation and or special medications, how was the patient billed such a big amount? No wonder the government had come up with charges for various services that hospitals can levy.  My wife said it is doutbful whether the medical insurance we have taken covers Covid! 

Just then someone knocked on our gate and the three dogs started barking. We thought it might be some delivery person. But he wore a saffron kurta, with a cream cloth hung on his shoulder and had a salt-'n'-pepper beard. He began to laugh at me even as I couldn't easily recognise him. 

"First, you open the open the gate , I am not a thief.."

Only when he entered the house I could recall it was Paramjit, my school mate. I was indeed surprised to see him in this attire. He had gone for higher studies in USA and had become a successful entrepreneur having business in Middle East, Singapore and UK. 

How come a businessman can wear such an attire, I wondered. Meanwhile, my phone rang and it was from my bank. They wanted to know if I required any insurance support for Covid-19. After the call ended, my friend was curious to know what the call was about. 

I said people are really worried seeing the whatsapp and the social media. A 'test positive' can literally make one bankrupt. 

"It is all our creation," he said rather philosophically. All the while I was surprised how he had shed his lucrative business and decided to become a monk!

Then my friend Paramjit asked what was there to drink. My wife brought him cold pudina juice and he was indeed thrilled. "But why you have to put ice cubes in it," he asked.   He took out a manuscript with out a cover with the title, It is Our Creation. I just glanced through and was surprised to find stories of his trip to Himalayas, Tibet and Agasthyar Hills in Trivandrum. 

"You get worried when you hear your friends or family members falling sick. Or when the banker asks you whether you need Covid protection with a high premium," he again  turned philosophical. 

He asked three questions : Are you in good physical health?  Are you in good mental health? Are you having a good social quotient? To the first question, I said 'Yes', I am doing workouts and eating balanced food. But ofcourse, mental health wavers from time to time. And more than social quotient, social media quotient was high, I said much to his amusement. 

"If you have said yes to all the three questions, you are fully insured from Covid or any other epidemic!" This seems to be the crux of your book, I said. 

Meanwhile, his mobile rang and the vehicle to pick him up was arriving. Even as he bid bye promising to call me later before returning to Trivandrum, I still wondered how he found my house and it was only later I came to know that he had divested his stakes in business, got separated from his wife and travelling across Asia visiting ashrams and lecturing and writing books. 

 Again my phone started beeping, this time it was the reminder for credit card payment. I remembered Paramjit words. Get rid of things that destroy mental peace and I quickly made some payment to stop the calls and reminders coming. Some messages popped up on FB and Whatsapp. I logged out of all that for the evening. And thought of calling an old friend after 3 years but he didn't pick up the call. I went to the terrace garden and then the phone rang. My daughter said it was my friend calling back. I felt relieved. As the my monk friend said, "It is all our creation, whether good or bad." And no one can insure us against any crisis or pandemic but ourselves!

Sreekumar Raghavan

Sreekumar Raghavan is an award-winning business journalist with over two and a half decades of experience in print, magazine and online journalism. A Google-certified Digital Marketing Professional, he specialises in content development for web, digital marketing and training, media relations and related areas. He is the recipient of MP Narayana Pillai Award for Journalism in 2001 and holds a bachelors degree in Economics and Masters Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kerala University.





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