Dev is a KHEL Scholarship Recipient. He’s been living and working in Mumbai since graduating from a Hotel Management course in Dehradun. He had some down time while in mandatory quarantine and wrote this. This isn’t a translation; Dev speaks 3 languages – Malayalam, Hindi, and English.

Stranded in a City: Lockdown 2020

By Dev Kumar

The world tried just social distancing as a way to fight Coronavirus, but it wasn’t enough so many places implemented lockdowns. Some places only had suggestions for ‘social distancing’ by staying home to keep yourself and others safe, and other places had (and still have) very strict lockdowns.

India’s lockdown began on 23rd March 2020 and went into effect immediately. Transportation was shut down and only essential businesses were allowed to stay open. Hundreds of thousands of people were suddenly stuck wherever they were.

The feeling of being stranded

For many people the situation became critical immediately. People dependent on daily wages and even people with full time jobs suddenly had no income. The economy started to crash, and people worried that the jobs they had before the pandemic wouldn’t be there even if they were allowed to return to work. The hundreds of thousands of migrant workers which India depends on to do so much work were stranded wherever they worked, with no jobs, no money, and very little or no access to healthcare or safety supplies. They just wanted to go home but they couldn’t. And it wasn’t only migrant workers; many professional workers were stranded, too. India is a large country, and people go where the opportunities are, moving from one corner to another for work. And now, all of them were stranded, cut off from their loved ones.

Lack of resources

When a person decides to move from one place to another, they bring with them the essentials they will need, and they plan to purchase other items once they start working and have an income. This is how we plan our lives. But with the lockdown being administered without warning, and with the loss of income due to loss of jobs many people don’t have the resources to plan for weeks and weeks locked down. With no income, people were surviving on so little due to a lack of financial resources. People were stranded, barely getting by with what little they had, surviving on the bare minimum.

Spirit to support

Everyone was affected by the lockdowns, but the hardest hit were the daily wage earners who lost their jobs and were stuck far from home. This socio-economically challenged group is struggling to get the basics like food, clean water, medicines, and money so that they can survive long enough to go home. Still, the country stands strong to fight this pandemic. Everyone knows we’re in this together. The people have united to fight against this pandemic and some are trying to give support to those who don’t have a lot, either by helping them with basic necessities or, now that the lockdown has been lifted a little, helping them get home.

Stay home stay safe.

With this lockdown was implemented suddenly, I was still in Mumbai where I was working before the lockdown. Before the lockdown I used to go out to eat but when the lockdown started, we (my roommate and I) began to cook our own meals. We have a small kitchen area in our apartment. Also, we have an induction cooker. I’m glad that I know how to cook, having learned from my mother and also having learned a lot from being in hotel management. The service industry, of which I’m a part, has been severely hit, and there is barely any work for us. Many hotels are closing due to a lack of business. Senior management at my hotel has said to us that there may be a better situation next year. Currently my hotel is open and is serving the guests staying since lockdown with all the necessary precautions for staff and guests. I’m now at my hotel again, relieving the staff who have been working 2 months nonstop.

We’re all hoping for the best.

We can all contribute to the public good by staying home,

practicing social distancing and obeying the lockdown rules.

If you can contribute to someone who is struggling financially, please help them.

What seems like a small amount to you might be a life saver for someone else.