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Sulata Hosadu

Circle of Solidarity

A story of strength and optimism by Sulata Hosadu, Director, ICRES – WPS Head, Capgemini India

“Strong people define themselves.”

– Ken Poirot

My Story

I am Sulata Hosadu and I am a part of the India Corporate Real Estate Services (‘ICRES’) team heading the Workplace Services portfolio. Our team is at the forefront of managing offices and all facilities-related services for our colleagues. Good times or COVID times, our team always keeps the lights on in our India offices.

Speaking of COVID, this word instantly kicks in the feeling of fear, irritation, anxiety, uncertainty and it suddenly brings down a happy spirit. While I am used to walking all around the office all day, working from home just brought down my energy levels, and you all know who the culprit is – that’s right, it’s COVID-19. It made all of us adopt the things that we would have refrained from.

I am pretty sure no one has forgotten the month it all started – March 2020. For us at ICRES, there was a huge task of maintaining our offices, electrical- AC installations, asset delivery to colleagues to enable them to work from home, connecting with colleagues who were affected with COVID and needed support.

Our challenge started with Asset delivery amid lockdown as our team members being stopped at various places by authorities with stringent movement guidelines. Due to the unavailability of transport, we had to have our support teams stay in offices, in cities like Mumbai and Pune we had our Guest House open, but in other cities, the ICRES team members had to stay in the office with some basic provisions.  It was difficult for them considering they were away from their family for a long duration at the hour of need.

To ensure our colleagues get all the support required during these unprecedented times, team ICRES supported various organizational initiatives like home care support, food support programme, oxygen support, providing chairs through our IAP programme, a helpline for colleagues, teleconsultation services. Now when the vaccination is out, all our offices are organizing the vaccination drives for ease of our Capgemini colleagues.

Most of our ICRES team members had to come to the office regularly to ensure business continuity, sanitization, and upkeep of all the assets with stringent physical security protocols.

On the personal front, my apartment was sealed in April 2020 due to a rise in cases. It was a lot asked from an active personality like me to sit at home and not step out of my apartment.  The line of control went beyond my limitations, and I started working from the office in May 2020. Of course, with full precautions and measures. Those 2-3 days out of the week for the next four months and then a regular visit to the office felt like my spirit is back. My mind ran on autopilot with all the steps and protocols to be followed for safety. As if it was a part of my living.

Just when I thought things are coming back to ‘normal’, March 2021 arrived with wave 2.  It seems that COVID-19 was following the financial calendar to redeem itself and come again with more power to affect humans. In no time, I found my neighbours tested positive. On April 6, when we were thinking of a small celebration within the four walls of our home, my sister started to feel unwell. The very next day I found myself and my mother experiencing fever. We called for four testing kits, but we could only get three tests done.

My father was far from any symptoms and hence preferred to back out for the test. It was because of the shortage of testing kits during the peak of COVID, we could not get him tested. We all were scared to not have the news, which we somewhere knew from within. And two days later, it was confirmed. Three of us were tested positive. On one hand, I was worried about the three of us and on the other hand, it sunk my heart when I thought about my father.

He is 80 years old. Keeping him in quarantine to prevent the COVID-19 infection but was not an easy solution considering his age and his health condition. We all were scared and tensed to the core. During that moment, I realized what is more important at this time is to not lose our calm. This approach helped us a lot in managing the situation. We attached ourselves to our family physician and followed each of his instructions as a line carved on stone. Our friends residing in the same building came to the rescue by providing us with all supplies and necessities. My sister, though unwell cooked meals for the family.

When I felt the situation is under control, a few days later my mother started to become weak and could not get up from her bed. That’s when we realized it’s the need for her to get hospitalized for better treatment. The shortage of beds and transport scared us. What if she needs to be hospitalized during the nighttime and we are unable to gather resources?

I always say – help is everywhere, you just need to ask. And that’s what I did. I called my cousin for help and through his connections, he got a hospital bed and took my mom and admitted her.  We would keep in touch with mom over the phone and four days later she was back home.  We were happy to have her back. She was looking and sounding much better than before.

As soon as we could get the COVID test kits, we got my dad to do the test. We were sure that he will come out negative but to our shock, he came out positive. Thankfully he was asymptomatic and recovered soon.

Today, by god’s grace, we all are healthy and strong and taking all necessary precautions. My happiness grows multi folds when I see my family happy and healthy.

Looking back and while telling my experience, I could only say that it was our positive mindset that helped us through this difficult situation. That’s what kept me going through these unprecedented times and that’s what I would like to share with all of you in this session.

Stay optimistic, stay safe by following all precautions, eat healthy and be happy.