Within days, millions of displaced migrant workers were coursing out of major Indian cities — thousands trudging right past my front door. Most were young men, released from construction jobs and evicted by nervous landlords. They planned to live on the kindness of strangers, which is not necessarily a losing bet in India, and to keep walking home to villages hundreds of miles away.
After three weeks the government began replacing lockdown 1.0 with slightly looser versions, but instead of relaxing, many upper-class Indians were still confining themselves more strictly than the rules require — and learning to love it. They posted odes to recipe sharing, Netflix, Zoom cocktail parties, the clear view of the sky and moon as the smog lifted over an idle nation. They gasped over images of leopards venturing into shuttered cities like Chandigarh, 150 miles from Delhi. Ah, nature!
Next time someone says to you, “money is not important” remember this story.