(Kajal Singh intern journalist):
It has been more than 60 days since Corona arrived in America and India. While more than 97 thousand people have died in America, the death toll in India is still low. But how this disease in the two countries in 60 days can be seen.
Corona era first chapter- preparation and prior information
Returning home from the library on the evening of March 12, an email came that all the students of the university should return to their respective homes as all the hostels of the university would be closed in five days.
This was the beginning of the Corona-era in my small city of America, which nobody was talking about seriously until then. US President Trump had declared it a few days ago as the hoax of the Democrat Party. Now he was on the back foot. The graph of the affected people was increasing in New York.
Walking in the evening met the owner of the Indian restaurant, he said, “Store rice and pulse in the house. If there is a problem, I will take it. Everything will be closed for 8-9 weeks. ” I took his point seriously. Shops, museums, pubs, and cinemas were closed on the sixth day.
The restaurants were open for take away. Public transport ie buses, trains and airplane traffic continued to run and are still running. They never stopped. Grocery shops and medical shops were also not closed for a day.
A ban on international travel in India was announced a few days later. Due to this announcement, for the first time after two years, I started filtering the news of America and India. For a week, light-hearted numbers of Corona were coming from India.
There was a possibility of a big announcement. The clarity did not appear and then the lockdown was announced. One day suddenly. Everything stopped in four hours. No clarity. Whether something will be open or not. Pure chaos. And then the endless saga of workers’ exodus which continues even after almost two months.
So far 97 thousand people have died in America, but the chaos in India has never happened. People are hungry here too but there was no reason for migration. By the end of March in the US, the government sent a check of $ 1200 to every person whose annual income was less than 90 thousand dollars. Those who were on the list of unemployment got more money. The problem was those who were living illegally. Eating, drinking, and earning. Charity organizations came forward to help him.
Corona era chapter two – stress, depression, and insomnia
By the beginning of April, the news coming from India was disturbing and in the US too, there was an excess of such news that it seemed that now this earth will not be saved.
Everything terrible In New York, where more than 20 thousand people were dead, in India, people started moving from big cities to the village. When we went out of the house in the evening, some nearby people would be roaming the grounds. My child plays with a dog named Walter. We call Walter’s mistress as Walter’s mother. I saw him one day taking the tiffin to the grocery store.
When she returned, she said- My daughter works in the grocery store. She has not come home for the last 15 days. I am above 60 years and I have a type of medical problem due to which my chances of infection are high, so the daughter does not come home.
If a lot of people come to the grocery store, she is afraid that if she gets infected, I will also get infected.
I told them that thousands of people are going to their homes on foot in India and I am also very disappointed. I also want to go back to India but the airlines are closed. She smiled and said that if there is any problem then do not hesitate. The next day she brought a cake for us from her home.
While eating that cake, I kept seeing pictures of all the workers who were returning to their homes from Mumbai and Delhi. He was not complaining to anyone about the journalists. No government. After listening to the voice of many workers, one thing remained in my mind – now we have to reach home somehow. It was a journey to reach home and what was it to reach home? Was this the last trip? Or was it afraid that if he dies in the city, someone will throw the corpse somewhere?
Thinking that I did not sleep for several days.
When I could not sleep, I would often watch the press briefing of US President Trump. Hours and a half-hour briefing which was happening every day. Everyday questions were being asked to him.
There were stiff, awkward, and many times clashes in the press conference itself. I never thought why the supreme leader of India does not hold a press conference. We were used to not asking questions to the Supreme Leader. I felt like this
Corona era third chapter – masks, distances, allegations, counter-allegations, politics
It happens that a man gets stressed after reading a lot of bad news. Gradually, the tension becomes new normal, such as wearing masks, washing hands, standing six feet away from people was a normal part of life. Buses, trains, cars were all moving. Also grocery stores. Egg and Milk Limited was renamed in the city.
There was a shortage of food in India. There were constant messages from people that the situation was very bad. Many friends were helping the poor with money and body. I called my old parents. In Bihar’s village, it was found that there is no problem of rationing in the village.
But there was a problem in the cities. Of vegetables. Of milk and money. In the absence of which people were leaving home. A friend of mine works at Sulabh International. Talking to him, he said that I am thinking to go from Moradabad to Delhi on foot with my son. When we all refused, he said that there are hundreds of workers around him whose ration is over. There is no money for rent and gas. If the landlord does not remove them from the houses, but the rent is not waived, that is, the debt is increasing, so people are going to the village. The ration will be found there.
I used to listen to these things. Many churches in my city had asked people to message on their numbers that they can message if they need anything. On sending the message, the people of the church were going to keep the food and drink outside the house. The university was helping the needy students by collecting money from its alumni.
Corona era chapter four – poverty, black and white discrimination
By the end of April, the most tragic news came amid reports of vaccine, hydroxychloroquine, and the US’s exit from WHO, that black people are more at risk of corona infection and death than whites. This was said in the White House briefing itself.
The reasons were obvious. Poverty is in black people. They live in small houses and all the work related to manual labor was done by black people such as trains, bus drivers, grocery stores, or online shopping warehouses. Poverty means lack of medical insurance and the problem of not being able to afford the treatment was killing black people.
The government had accepted that this is happening. No remedies were given to fix it. America does not think of the poor. This is the first thought that came to my mind. This country is a country made by the rich for the rich. I was mumbling in anger, but in doing so, the face of the poor of India turned.
I felt that there is no difference between India and America. The poor are either being killed or will be killed. In the Corona period, there may have been reports of discrimination on the basis of religion in India, but at least it did not show any discrimination on the basis of caste because it was decided that the migrants are not of anyone caste. Or maybe they had a caste – poverty. And he had a dream – to die on his own land.
Corona era chapter five – hope, reopening, politics
After about 60-70 days, America is now trying to stand on the back of sticks like a lame man. In the last three weeks, Trump has supported the demonstrations in several states to open the economy.
Experts say that Trump is doing wrong, but if the President of the world’s most powerful country is making a mistake, then who can deny him. Nobody has the courage to tie a bell around their neck. Because like India, politics is also in America. If the economy does not open, unemployment will increase and if this happens, Trump will suffer in the elections to be held in October. Two plus two four politics.
But elections in India are far away. The question of whether to hold elections for at least four years, perhaps to reopen the economy, to help the poor or to bring them to their homes, has become non-political. Anyway, the worker lives in Mumbai at the time of voting or who will decide this in Bihar. And anyway, what to do by voting for the worker. The vote is given by the middle class who, seeing the Ramayana, is telling that the workers are doing wrong.
In such a situation, politics is happening right in India. Half-hearted measures for laborers are an example of this, and along with this laughable argument that there are many people in India. But no one asks those who give such arguments that if there are too many laborers, then should a lot of people die.