Sitting on a bed with a pillow in her lap, a girl, who looks about five or six years old, is keenly reading a paper she holds in her hand. Though her mother and grandmother, who are in the same room, talk about her, even fondly mocking her on how she is busy arranging the room for her father who is coming from abroad, the young girl continues to ignore the duo. Taking her eyes off the paper, she ponders over something for a few seconds and then goes on to mark something diligently on the paper.
These are the opening scenes of Arikil, a Malayalam short film made by the Ernakulam District Administration in Kerala, explaining the guidelines to be followed by expats while returning and when undergoing home quarantine. The heartwarming short film is widely being circulated and appreciated on social media.
A little later into the film, viewers learn that the child is carrying around a checklist of guidelines to be followed when her father comes home and has to undergo home quarantine.
From how the home quarantine mechanism works in Kerala to the nuances of guidelines that have to be followed, in just about four minutes, the short film explains it all.
After a volunteerās inspection on whether the house is fit for home quarantine, the little girlās father ā played by actor Sunny Wayne ā comes home in a taxi. As the family welcomes the man with sweet smiles and nods from a distance, standing at the entrance of their house, the man takes off his shoes keeping them inside a plastic bag, and washes his hands with soap and water kept at the gate. After taking permission from the volunteer who is with him, Sunny Wayne ā named Ashraf in the film ā then walks home after making sure the family members have gone back inside the house and are not near him while he walks in.
As he steps in and takes a momentās pause to look around the house, the little girl, who can be seen still closely reading the quarantine checklist, looks straight at him and says, āGo straight to your room,ā pointing in the direction of his room. As he mocks her, everyone breaks into laughter, and he walks away to the room.
Kerala is one of the states with the highest number of expats flying in from foreign countries as part of the expatriation mission called āVande Bharat Missionā. A total of 5,815 expats have returned to Kerala through this mission and also through the evacuation of Indian Navy, till May 18. All the returning expats should undergo an institutional quarantine at the state government facilitated centre for seven days, following this, they will also have to undergo home quarantine for another week.
In addition to this, all the asymptomatic interstate travellers coming to Kerala, should also mandatorily undergo 14 day home quarantine.
Arikil has beautifully portrayed how families can still maintain the warmth and bond with their dear ones while they are under home quarantine. For instance, in one of the scenes in the film, the family members ā the child, her mother and grandparents ā can be seen enjoying a jovial meal while chit chatting with her father on a video call from the adjacent room, as they all have the meal simultaneously.
It has also to be noted that not everyone enjoys the privilege of having facilities in their houses for home quarantine, which will require a room with an attached bathroom in the house to be used solely by that person. To tackle such cases, the state government has arranged separate quarantine facilities for such people.