There was a time when the health workers were trying to stop a community spread within the state, and I was privileged to film doctors, psychiatrists and nurses on the frontline to tackle exponentially increasing COVID cases and its many affects on the mental health of the community.
I was most impressed by the generosity of some individuals and organisations who rose up at this difficult time, taking charge of things that the government couldn’t execute on its own. The lockdown highlighted the dark reality of how we treat the country’s displaced migrant population. With factories and construction work being shut, migrants were stranded with no pay, mounting bills and an urge to return to a safe place where they would be taken care of in case they contracted the disease. Their plea was to go home.
At the Palampur bus stop in Himachal Pradesh, I met Aditi Vajpeyi, as she facilitated the last group of stranded migrants return to their hometowns in government-initiated Shramik trains leaving for Jharkhand. An environmentalist with Himdhara collective on any non-pandemic year, Aditi volunteered with the Himachal Pradesh Workers Solidarity group to make sure that migrants were reached out to, and that they faced no confusion on this arduous journey back to their villages.