Three years back, 60-year-old Ratheesh Kumar was picked up from a street by policemen, following a complaint that he was a public nuisance due to his constant drunk and disorderly behaviour.
On interrogation, Ratheesh told the police that he did have a family but no one cared for him and vice-versa. At the Government Old Age Home in Kannur, he was seemingly content. All he ever fought for was the occasional day-out. He would visit relatives, ask for money, spend it on alcohol and other needs, and return when penniless.
In March 2020, all that stopped. The Covid-19 pandemic defined the term ‘lockdown’ in its severest form and created a new normal. Inside these homes, it was a clampdown because the inmates, 60 years and above, became a ‘high-risk category’ overnight.
Ratheesh couldn’t deal with it. No more outings meant no loitering, and definitely no alcohol. He became wild, aggressive and violent. He refused to wear a mask. He had to be controlled physically and when pacified, he would stay calm for a few moments, then suddenly run towards the women’s ward, exhibiting himself and making lewd comments.
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