Arjun Kapoor was keen to contribute towards restarting the industry and was one of the first actors to step out to shoot despite the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, he tested positive to COVID-19 and had to self-quarantine at home. However, as soon as he tested negative, he resumed work with full steam. Arjun opens up about his victory over coronavirus, his state of mind when he had to sit at home despite raring to go to work, and his word of advice to young people who might think that they are invincible to the deadly virus that has crippled the world in 2020.
1) What was your reaction when you found out that you had tested positive? Did you feel devastated because you had just started shooting?
2) Tell us about your road to recovery. How was that process because it took a while for the virus to leave your system? How did you stay motivated and positive during the course of this?
I was very fortunate to have Anshula at home who literally organised my isolation, in the sense, I was living in my own room, I was cleaning my utensils and my washroom eating in disposable plates, and just resting and recovering. Also, I have to give the credit to H N Reliance; they have a video app through which I could speak to the doctor. The video app was amazing every day the doctor, psychologist, nurse, nutritionist, dietician, they all spoke to me on regular basis to keep me on track vis-a-vis the recovery. The doctors explained to me that after 10 to 14 days it becomes difficult to pass on the virus but we still took precautions only because of the fact that I had to resume shooting again and God forbid I didn't want to be the reason that someone gets it because the science is still evolving in understanding how it passes to people. Having the luxury of video calls with the doctor and having home support made the recovery smooth. But yes I had to be careful so that I test negative to go back on set. On the 14th day, the doctor had allowed me to get out of my room, walk on the terrace but I was still very careful as I guess that is the right thing to do. The immunity level was a bit low. I had to recover some strength so I started walking slowly. I started around the 20th of September- today we have almost reached the end of October, now I feel I am back to 100 percent. To anybody who is reading or believes that there aren't any side effects long term I can assure you that the repercussions will be felt by you and your body because the fatigue and the lack of fitness, strength don't go away overnight. It’s not like just a flu, the symptoms are like a flu but you definitely have to work harder and be more careful and make sure it is a little more long term oriented you can’t just get out of bed and start running.
For me to stay motivated was most importantly looking forward to being back on set, my sister and the support system I have at home and knowing in a very strange sort of way that once I get it the odds are that I won't so rather than looking at the negative of it that I have it and I have lost an entire month perhaps. I lost around 21 days before I tested negative and before I could meet people but the only thing that kept me going is that after this perhaps I will be done with it to some degree and I won't have to lose sleep each time I have to step out. Having said that now that I get out I am still extra careful because I don't want to be in that zero point zero one percent that maybe gets it again. At that point, I was motivated that I will beat this and I will be done. Even today when I step out I follow all the protocols of wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.
3) Your key learnings from this process – you are young and it did impact you. What is your advice for youngsters to stay safe?
It is most important for the youth to take coronavirus seriously. I had very mild symptoms and I took a while to recover. If you are young and you believe that you will not get harmed and there won't be any damage you are wrong. It can happen to you, it can happen to anybody. You can pass it on to your parents your family members. We all stay in big joint families. Our Indian community celebrates festivals, get-togethers. We are a social bunch of people, social distancing, therefore, is important so you don't mingle unnecessarily unless necessary. I would maintain that people who go to work should maintain social distance; like when I was going to work even I didn't meet my friends and family. Even now when I go to shoot I try and make sure I do not indulge in social activity. I think it's the least you can do for the relatives that you have within your confines, within your friend circle, within your community to not be a person that spreads the virus. That's the most important lesson. You might feel you are young and nothing will happen to you but through you – your mother/father or a relative that has an underlying condition might get it. You will never be able to forgive yourself for the rest of your life. It's perhaps worse than hurting somebody that is close to you as you may be putting that person's life at risk.
4) Now that you have fully recuperated would you say you are feeling 100 percent fit?
100 percent is a state of mind. I feel positive, happy, relaxed, calm and I am looking forward to getting back and working on set and putting in 200 percent of my energy into it. But at the same time, I am somebody who is cautious because the doctors have advised me to take it one day at a time rather than pushing the envelope too much. I feel 100 percent mentally however physically I might get 84 to 92 but I am on the road to recovery. This Diwali I feel will be the time where I will be able to maybe put this chapter behind and that could be a fresh start.
5) You have a super busy schedule till the end of the year with back to back film and ad shoots. You must be looking forward to it?
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