Mumbai: Daily conversations during the lockdown

Garima from Mumbai shares daily conversations she has with different people across India regarding the pandemic, the lockdown, and how this has affected them. Her stories take you from three brothers who work as garbage collectors in Mumbai to a farmer who has a crop ready to be harvested but can’t find machines or labourers to get the job done.


When India went into lockdown, I spent the first week reading, cooking my favourite food, taking it easy. I loved my lockdown routine.

Only a month before the crisis hit home in India, I had decided to change tracks in life. With the lockdown it felt like the world had hit pause and whatever plans I had were now on pause as well. I would just have to pick them up again after we emerged from this crisis.

When I shared these thoughts with my husband, he disagreed. If I wanted to, it was perfectly fine to read, cook, and relax. But if I was doing this because I thought I didn’t have any other option, that was definitely not true. So, I set about thinking.

This is what I decided to do:

While we face the ongoing pandemic by remaining in lockdown and largely at home, I started a series where I share one summary a day of conversations I have with different people across the country regarding the pandemic, the lockdown, and how it has affected them. These conversations are helping me to remain grounded and aware. I also hope they will contribute to the widespread effort of bringing to each other stories and perspectives beyond our own, which, when taken together, give us a sense of what is going on outside the confines of where we are quarantined.

'I also hope the stories will contribute to the widespread effort of bringing to each other stories and perspectives beyond our own, which, when taken together, give us a sense of what is going on outside the confines of where we are quarantined'

Photo collage by Garima.

As part of this project I spoke to a folk artist from the dessert state of Rajasthan, he is the sole remaining custodian of his ancestral tradition and his only source of income, his performances, cannot take place until circumstances change. I spoke to three brothers who work as garbage collectors in a residential complex in Mumbai, they continue to work during the lockdown but every day it becomes a little more difficult. I spoke to a young man who got stuck in Morocco when the lockdown started and isn’t sure when he will be able to get back home to his family in India. I spoke to the headmaster of a school in a very underprivileged area. Some of his students are facing starvation. Using school data and a social media campaign, he has set about getting food to those who need it the most. I spoke to a mother of two who is exhausted because she is working from home, managing family, kids, and the house at the same time. I spoke to a farmer who has a crop ready to be harvested but can’t find machines or labourers to get the job done.

These conversations have been full of surprises, full of reiterations of what I know, and some have raised questions which I will continue to think about after the pandemic and lockdown are over.

My days during the lockdown have become very hectic now, but I am happy with the work. I get the feeling it’s a worthwhile project to have started, and I’m sure, a worthwhile project to complete.

This story was shared by Garima Raghuvanshy from Mumbai. Read her stories on her blog 'Daily conversations during the lockdown'. She loves reading and cooking, and is currently growing an indoor garden.


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