Two months have gone past us as the country battles the coronavirus; During moments of despair and frustration, people have even called it the #Chinavirus , #Chinesevirus. Even though the world does not conclusive evidence regarding its origins, the fact that the pandemic had its origins in wuhan was enough to get people to attribute the virus and its origins to China. The world will hopefully hear more about its origins, spread, mistakes along the way and finally lessons to be taken home.

The central government in India has displayed the right intent by announcing commencement of domestic flight services on the 25th of May 2020. In one go, this will bring out many sectors from their morass; Airlines, ground services, catering, hotels, cab services will begin the journey towards normalcy. However, this proactive push by the central government should be backed by various states showing the willingness and creativity in handling the travellers coming in to their states. A great awakening among people is required to ensure compliance to rules and therefore breaking the chain of transmission. The Hon’ble Prime Minister spoke about saving lives and livelihoods. The lives are being taken care of and return to livelihoods is being ensured, however slow.

Turtle moving slowly towards the sea but not stopping
India should continue moving and not stop

Another positive step is the introduction of over 200 trains to commence their services from the 1st of June 2020. Apart from online bookings, the railways have started operating reservaton counters and empowered agents to accept bookings. The overwhelming response indicates the willingess of people to move (implicitly accepting the conditions) plus ultimately paves the way for return of labour who have moved back to their hometowns. With these twin boosts i.e kickstarting domestic air travel and increasing rail services, the central government has shown positive intent in getting the country back on track. The onus is now on states to clearly align and show the resolve in getting their local economies back on track. Leadership in each of these states will be keenly watched and judged based on what and how they prioritize.

While the states battled COVID-19, West Bengal and Odisha on the east coast were struck by a ferocious #cycloneamphan(Twitter feed). West Bengal was more in the news due to extensive damages to villages, towns and the city of Kolkata. Burst transformers, ruptured water connections, roofings lifted off by heavy winds and strewn on streets, fallen trees, electricity cables etc., have littered the landscape of Kolkata. The Prime Minister was prompt in travelling to both the states and standing shoulder to shoulder in this time of crisis. The vibes between the leaders were extremely positive in the state of Odisha. As committed, the Government of India was prompt in asking the RBI to credit the respective state governments with the promised relief money.

Prof Shamika Ravi continues her masterful briefing tweets on the COVID-19 situation in the country and world over. Appreciate her commitment to bring this information to the public along with her colleague Mudit Kapoor.

The best place to get your daily updates on India and the world’s position in the fight

When the whole world was busy fighting its battles with coronavirus, one man made news with global PE and technology companies bringing in big money to invest in his telecom + data company – Reliance JIO. Starting with Facebook, the list of investors now include Vista equity partners, Silverlake, General Atlantic and the more recent one, KKR. The investments continue to prove the potent power of the telecom sector and how it has enabled life changing moments in India with superior reach. It is only because of telecom that many sectors are able to reach the customer with ease. While many may argue that there is no product being backed, the money is clearly backing the venture based on the vast demographics that it supports.

Nepal’s concerns on India laying a road right up to the Lipulekh pass on the trekking route to Kailash Mansarovar has stirred the pot. The new map released by Nepal shows Lipulekh, the crossover point in to Tibet and Kalapani as parts of its territory. Having done the yatra in 2015, the guides point out the territory and have been witness to free movement of people between territories on either side. Kalapani has a quaint temple dedicated to goddess Kali and is said to straddle both the countries. Security of the area is guaranteed by the Indo Tibetan border police.

Workplace continues to adapt to the rigours of working from home. Executives have probably spent the longest time confined their homes than at airports. The Aarogya setu app is a good tool that, if used in the right way, can inform the user about the number of cases in their vicinity, risks thereof and the prevention to be taken. People have been putting up their achievements on the company portal – a senior leader is said to have run 100 kms on his terrace and raised a lakh of rupees towards charity. Eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping well – all of this will hopefully continue even after the lockdown ends and people get back to their normal lives. School for the Miss ends on the 25th and they go on a break for two weeks. Mrs. finally sported a smile when she heard about resumption of domestic flights.

Food this week was simple home cooked fare starting with a bunch of Gujarati dishes on Sunday

Dahiwala moong sabzi, Dudhi (bottlegourd) with chana subzi, Pakodi kadi and Gujarati dal with Rotis
Dahiwala moong sabzi, Dudhi (bottlegourd) with chana subzi, Pakodi kadi and Gujarati dal with Rotis. THe meal for three costs about 730 Rs (10 USD) including delivery charges

Rice attack continued through the week and that is the best option available to cook once and get done with.

Dal rice and ghee with Cauliflower and potato subzi
MONDAY – Dal rice and ghee with Cauliflower and potato subzi
Lemon rasam with brinjal (eggplant) curry and some mixture
TUESDAY – Lemon rasam with brinjal (eggplant) curry and some mixture
Paruppu sadam with vathakuzhambhu and vadam
WEDNESDAY – Paruppu sadam with vathakuzhambhu and vadam
Paruppu (pulses) thogayal rice with keerai (spinach) masiyal
FRIDAY – Paruppu (pulses) thogayal rice with keerai (spinach) masiyal
Vegetable pulav with boondi raita and potato chips
Vegetable pulav with boondi raita and potato chips

On a couple of days, we had the privilege of some great evening tiffin as well.

We head in to the last week of lockdown 4.0 and headed in to it with a lot of positivity. Just waiting for reciprocation from governments across the country so that India can get back in to business in style!

Jai Shriram!

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