Father's Day 2020: What the day means for Covid-19 frontline warriors

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NEW DELHI: Father's Day 2020, a day meant to celebrate fathers, would be quite different for many children whose fathers have been working on the frontline to combat coronavirus amid the pandemic.
The frontline COVID-19 responders, be it the police officials or the healthcare workers, are risking their lives while battling this lethal infection and leaving no stone unturned to keep the country safe.
In a conversation with ANI, a few corona fighters recounted their experiences of tackling the virus on their end, and how they manage to take out time for their loved ones on account of Father's Day.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Central Delhi Sanjay Bhatia, a father of two, 17-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son shared, "On the occasion of Father's Day, generally we used to play golf and have family dinner, and usually they make greeting cards, and bring bouquets, and prepare something special for me."
Speaking about the time he gets to spend with the family while managing the long working hours, DCP said, "My day starts at 7 am and by the time I reach home, I find them sleeping, and I feel I spend far less time with them than ever before. Although their mother is there, I feel they need a father too, and I'm missing on that which is a big loss."
Owing to the work, DCP usually keeps busy on Sunday as well. However, on the special occasion of Father's Day this Sunday, the officer plans to take some time out for his children "unless and until there is an emergency in the area" and he has to rush."I can't take them out. The restaurants are closed because of the pandemic. But I might play some indoor games, or maybe have a chat with them about their future and studies, and that will be the best thing to do," he added.
He also spoke about how COVID-19 has changed the dynamics of his role as a father, he said, "The biggest challenge is the fear of carrying the infection home, my role is to protect them and not to expose them to such infections when I visit containment zones, and hospitals. I fear going home. The moment I reach home I make sure to sanitize and meet my family only after making sure that I have cleaned myself thoroughly."
Dr. P Venkata Krishnan, a father of two, 12-year-old-son and 6-year-old daughter also struggles to set time aside for his family while treating people suffering from this deadly infection every day.
"In order to take out time for them, I have fixed my working hours, and I make it a point not to give too much of time to the mobile, once I get home, and I don't take too many calls and I prefer to be on SMS or WhatsApp if it is urgent," Dr. Krishnan said.
Sharing his plans for Father's Day, Dr. Krishnan shared, "Normally, on Father's Day we used to go out, and we plan lunch or dinner, but due to the ongoing health crisis, it will no longer be the same. This time around we will plan some family games, or maybe a movie that we can watch together."
Dr. Krishnan elaborates on how his role as a father has been impacted owing to his professional commitments."The way I used to spend time with them, that all is not existent anymore. As a doctor, I have to maintain a safe distance from them and while being on duty, I am getting exposed every day, I cannot expose them also," he said.
Being a healthcare professional, the challenges are multifold amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He explains, "The biggest problem is sanitization and I have to be careful all through the day that I shouldn't contaminate myself and expose my family to it, which is always a fear. Even if my kids want to sleep with me, I can't allow because I can't expose them unnecessarily, and so the difference has appeared between me and my kids, that is something I regret."
Besides, the ordeal has also taken an emotional toll on the family.
"As I am 90 per cent away from home, not only it is difficult for the kids but for the entire family. It has been three months that I haven't been able to give proper time to my little ones. Once I reach home at the end of the day, I have to take everything out and sanitize myself, it takes half an hour just to do that," he added.
Head constable Sanjay Kumar of Pahad Ganj Police Station, a father to a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter said that he has been working relentlessly from the last three months and haven't been able to see his kids, but is happy to serve the nation amid the pandemic.
"At this need of the hour, more than our family, our country needs us. So, this Father's Day is dedicated to our country, and we are not running away from our duties, and are committed to our duty and the pledge to serve the nation," Kumar said.
The constable shared how his kids have been waiting to see their father, as most of his time is spent on duty.
"When I return home and my kids see me at the door they get excited and want to run to me for a hug and I am the one who is pulling away, asking to stay away. I don't feel good doing this to my child," he added.
While all these frontline warriors relentlessly dedicate their service to the nation, it is the responsibility of every citizen to help them in battling it out on the frontline.

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