This is Siam A. from Dhaka, Bangladesh sharing my experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. I came to know about the virus from international media when no one knows in my locality what’s going on in Wuhan. I was counting the deaths on my notebook and aware of the fact that eventually, this virus would hit Bangladesh. I went to the pharmacy to collect masks.

In the middle of March, the government announced the presence of COVID-19 in the country. I collected the necessary foods for my family to survive and got prepared for lockdown.

During the lockdown, I saw the misery of poor people. Many rickshaw-pullers who used to stay in front of our house were unable to go out. Most of them went back to their village; I saw one becoming a tea seller with a big flask. My wife is a doctor. I was always worried about her health because she had a very big possibility of getting infected from the hospital. Eventually, all of my family members including me got infected. As we live in a small flat we do not have enough space to do quarantine in the home.

I remember one day, my wife and I went to collect some PPE. That was the first time we got out during lockdown. We took a taxi to reach our destination. I saw Dhaka, a city where you usually cannot walk without obstacles, all of a sudden became a ghost city. Every shop was closed, none in the street. The taxi driver did not have to push the break until a red-eyed policeman came. Local people blocked almost every road to maintain the lockdown situation. Sometimes we heard the news that someone died in our locality. Our local cemetery which is the largest in the country was declared as a dedicated cemetery for the COVID-19 deceased. We had always felt the presence of fear in our apartment building. I surrendered everything on the FATE!

After the lockdown, I went to a hospital to donate blood to a woman who gave birth to twin girls. My blood group is not rare, thus I asked the reception’s husband why he had to call someone from another side of the city. He answered, “everyone is scared to come to the hospital for virus infection. My friends and family did not pick up the cell after knowing they have to come to the hospital to donate blood.”

Eid came, the greatest celebration in our country. But the situation was not like the other years. The streets became full of beggars. You can not stand even for a little while, they would quickly surround you begging for help.

Then the situation got better. My family was not affected by COVID-19 at its very worst. I now have a better appreciation of the people who are really contributing to society. Last year, I was about to fly to the Middle East to join my brother’s business but got stuck here for over a year. But that really didn’t bother me when I compare other people’s lives with mine.

We survived in the pandemic and held each other’s hands when our local cemetery was getting packed with the COVID-19 deceased.