Apr
22

What lockdown has been like in India

April 22, 2020
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Komal Darira

Komal here. I manage Urban Adventures in both Delhi and Kochi in India. Delhi has always been my home — I was born here, raised here, and I’m still living here. ⠀

I started my career as a tour guide with Urban Adventures and now I get to manage a whole team. I immediately fell in love with the job. I love interacting with people, showing them around my city and sharing the love I have for my country’s rich culture. It’s rewarding when I’m able to change people’s perceptions of India, a beautiful but often misunderstood country.⠀ ⠀

As the world deals with this pandemic, so does India. On the 24th March the government ordered a nationwide lockdown to limit the movement of 1.3 billion people – the largest of its kind in the world. It has been effective. Citizens are pulling together to respect the advice and stay indoors. We’re supporting our community by donating money, distributing essentials to those in need and shopping for our elderly neighbors.

women rolling out naan bread
"The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane." - Mahatma Gandhi

Here in India, we believe that being kind to others and showing compassion is what makes us human. In a time fraught with uncertainty, people from all walks of life have come together to support each other and pursue a common goal for a healthy, peaceful world.

Communities from local temples, churches, mosques, gurudwaras and many other places of worship are working side-by-side in ways that we have never seen before. Together they are providing free meals for those in need, providing donations to relief efforts and using their voice to educate the public. They’re manufacturing masks, protective equipment and sanitizer for those on the frontline. I’m incredibly proud of my community’s efforts in this crisis. They embody our “unity in diversity” spirit and showcase our cultural values to the world.

An ancient Sanskrit saying, “Vasudhev Kutumbakam,” has resonated deeply with me during these times. It means “the world is one big family.” The current situation is affecting us all but we are working together towards a better future for one another.

two tour guides cooking
The team cooking up a feast pre-pandemic | Delhi & Kochi Urban Adventures

Amidst the challenges we currently face, we see hope in those around us. People are spending more time with loved ones. Others are spending time doing activities they love — hobbies like cooking, art or music. You can see it in their faces, they are happy despite the challenges we are facing. It is beautiful.

We are also reflecting on how we can be better as a society. In India, initiatives to support local businesses are gaining momentum. People are using hashtags like #godomestic and #golocal to encourage people to support the local economy. As we look toward the future, people are already making plans to visit local shops, restaurants and hotels so we can help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible. People are also pledging to visit cities they have never been to before as they realize the importance of tourism for our country, our people, and their own happiness.

My personal hope for the future is that we all have a greater appreciation for mother nature after the lockdown ends, taking action to better protect our environment and respect all forms of life. I also hope that we’ll continue to be kinder to each other and retain the heartwarming sense of community we’ve built during this crisis. If we do that, the world will be a better place.

An ancient Sanskrit saying, “Vasudhev Kutumbakam,” has resonated deeply with me during these times. It means “the world is one big family.” The current situation is affecting us all but we are working together towards a better future for one another.