While one group is exclaiming ”I am on Cloud 9 after hearing the news”/ ”We are raring to go now”/ ”This feels like getting a second life and taking my baby steps again”/ ”This is the best news we have heard in a long time’/”I am feeling cheerful pleased and totally grateful to hear the news”; another group of people are spending Rs.25000/- to reach Kolkata from Malda by hiring car, making overnight journey from South Dinajpur to Kolkata by traversing 400 km in public bus! Father-son duo cycling more than 100 km and then 20 km bus ride to reach Kolkata from Gosaba! Then return journey in same way till dead of night!
People of these two groups do not reside in separate planets! Rather both group reside in same planet Earth, same country India! The picture in Bengal is getting replicated all across the country. And reaction of the first group and action of the second group are due to the same development as well :— UNLOCK 4 !
While the first group is in ”Best of times” as ”at last” Bars Night Clubs and Pubs are opening; second group is at their wit’s end financially logistically physically to attend exam (JEE) by risking viral infection following such mass contact with hardly any space of maintaining physical distance!
While Lockdown 1(with much lesser infection and death) had seen people getting beaten up for venturing to neighbourhood chemist to purchase medicines; Unlock 4(with situation turning infinite times graver with deaths approaching 70000) is compelling vulnerable students to visit exam centre traversing hundreds(often thousands also) of km in ”come as you like” mode! Some have to part with half month’s pay to reach the venue!
While Lockdown 1 had seen stranded jobless hungry migrants getting beaten up for daring to walk home out of desperation; Unlock 4 bears witness to the scenario where urban rich are being invited to dance and drink in pubs bars and nightclubs and enjoy life to the full !
Indeed what a tale of India — a wonderland of stark contrast!
Kajal Chatterjee, Kolkata-114.