We all imagine taking to the slow life, living and working in a home with a lawn and a garden that overlooks the hills. The idea of escape is extraordinarily appealing right now—as calls, messages and timelines bring news of friends and acquaintances hunting desperately for beds or oxygen, or of the deaths of former colleagues. At the start of the pandemic, a fair number of working professionals from cities headed home to wait out the pandemic. It has been a year, and as our cover story finds, some have learnt that they may not leave because they have found everything they have been searching for in the place they once left. They have found comfort and a new sense of belonging in towns that they swore they would never return to, much less “settle down” in. For some, the discovery has been of a slower way of life and simpler pleasures; for others, it’s a realisation that their hometowns aren’t as insular as they seemed a decade ago.
One of our style stories also explores the promise of escape that knitting, sewing and quilting offered through the past year. For many, working with needle and thread has been calming and restorative. The repetitive motions and the need to focus on small details, like patterns, colours and counts, has helped them feel centred while experiencing the joy of creating something unique.
The harsh reality that we are also trying to escape is also the fact that this more devastating wave of covid-19 might have been less so if we had been more disciplined about distancing and wearing masks. One of our stories also puts a finger on the negligent and immature behaviours of affluent India that probably contributed to this spike.
Most cities are now enforcing night and weekend lockdowns or curfews, but even if these aren’t in force, it’s ideal to stay home right now, as far as possible. Or as one of our food writers advises in his column this week, “take every precaution—including paya”.
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