Most of the perspectives taken from India have been from individuals hailing from small to moderately sized locations. This time, I had the pleasure of interviewing Avipsa Chakravarty, from Kolkata, India, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, as well as a booming metropolitan area in India, being the domain for almost 15 million people.
Avipsa, who recently began working in hotel management has seen a massive change in her life, especially living in the packed city of Kolkata. “At first, me and my friends were making fun of the coronavirus, and no one knew about how devastating it could be. No one was keeping up with the news, and when you live in such a busy city, it's hard to just get accustomed to a life of distancing so easily,” said Avipsa.
Though her work is now stalled, Avipsa has managed to see the positives through this pandemic. “I honestly take it as a great chance to see my family more, and relax more, especially with the stress of work now gone.”
Moreover, Avipsa has noticed a massive change in the environment. There has been less noise pollution, as well as general pollution, and according to Avipsa, “the water drainage has never been better.” However, while one may expect clearer skies, the number of cars on the road hasn’t decreased, which raises some alarm.
When commenting on the response from the citizens of Kolkata, Avipsa displayed no hesitation in criticizing the public attitude towards the pandemic, stating that “no one cares.” This is quite a contrast from other smaller Indian cities and towns, and Avipsa describes it as “a lack of concern,” for the safety of others. In Kolkata, people are not afraid to use public transport, or regularly go out with friends, which is not reassuring for the older population.
Additionally, Avipsa has stated that from the beginning of quarantine, social distancing protocol hasn’t been strictly enforced, which impacts the younger population adversely. Compared to other areas, where children growing up are learning the dangers of infection, young individuals in Kolkata, through the eyes of Avipsa, have not conveyed this sense of awareness.
Hopefully, Kolkata and other big cities in India can demonstrate awareness to the issue of COVID-19, and be cognizant of the health and safety of the entire population.
Amit Krishna Kallakuri is an honors student at Holmdel High School and an intern for TAPinto Holmdel. Among other topics of reporting, Kallakuri brings to TAPinto readers a series of articles providing a perspective from India, regarding the impact of the pandemic.