The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps over more celebs in Tollywood. This time, it is Pujita Ponnada who contracted the virus upon her return to Hyderabad from Chennai last month.
“The day I returned to Hyderabad, I was in high spirits and was dancing and jumping around. But the next morning when I woke up, I knew I’d test positive for the virus. I had all the symptoms,” recollect Pujita.
After immediately messaging her family in Mumbai, Pujita rushed in for the COVID-19 test. While at first her parents panicked for her, they immediately swung into action, arranging for everything she’d need during her isolation at home —i.e., including food, medicines, medical advice, hospital bed if required, etc. “The first two days were terrible, remembers Pujita. “My condition was very bad and I was very weak.”
The confining illness
Her bad condition aside, there was something else that was getting to the actress. “I am very active and never like to stay indoors. With the viral attack and the isolation requirement, I suddenly felt like I was alone,” she says.
On the third day, however, her mother flew down from Mumbai so she could be there for her daughter and cook. Her mother’s arrival also brought Pujita the much-needed moral support during the tough time she was undergoing. “Things were haywire until my mother came. I realised that even though everything I needed was arranged for, the moral support was the key to my COVID-19 recovery, which made a big difference.”
But by then, Pujita’s symptoms were worsening. “On day five, I lost my sense of taste and smell,” she adds. But the home-cooked food made a major difference. “Ever since I began eating the food my mother had cooked, my appetite started developing.”
Despite the symptoms that fluctuated over the first week, her oxygen levels always remained good, which meant that her home quarantine was enough and she didn’t need to be hospitalised. She spent her days reading books and watching a few films.
The unending bad news
Now despite the recovery that was setting in, depressing news from around the world about COVID cases and the loss of lives were slowly getting to her. “I also kept receiving messages on my phone about friends contracting the virus,” remembers Pujita.
Added to it all, the physical agony she was going through because of the disease and being unable to sit or sleep properly, she began noticing all the bad thoughts that kept flashing in her mind.
But Pujita’s mother was still with her and her friends — including childhood friends she had lost contact with — began calling in to check on her. She was beginning to feel good about reconnecting with all of them. She began counting her blessings and knew then that she had to turn around the negativity creeping into her mind through self-love. For starters, she started to eat well so that she could strengthen her metabolism.
She has since been recovering well. But through her recovery, the biggest lesson she says she’s learnt from the experience is to never take anything for granted. “After I got infected, I realised that anything can happen and nothing is permanent,” she says.
“Those two weeks made for the toughest phase of my life. I wish no one goes through this ordeal, but I know many have experienced more severe symptoms and had it worse than I did.”
After coming out of isolation, the first thing I did was to go on a drive because I’d felt like I’d been imprisoned for two weeks. I am now almost recovered and getting back to normalcy. I have also started working out slowly. I’ve also been reading a few scripts and look forward to soon resuming shooting for my upcoming films.