Eventually the family got involved and bought a car. His sister learned to drive, and a year later she also taught S. After S moved out, she bought her own car on loan. Her mother helped with the down payment. “It’s been one of the most empowering feelings to be the person who hugs everyone or the person who goes out at night without continually looking over their shoulder,” she says. “It’s the most fantastic thing that has happened to me at 34.”
Vaishnavi Suresh is still recovering from the trauma of the second wave of Covid. She lost family members and her father was hospitalized for a month at a time when hospitals had no beds or oxygen cylinders. She was among those who had to get expensive drugs on Twitter. “It was then that I realized that I had no money to buy medicine,” she says. All the while, the freelance journalist continued to work but had no guarantees as to when she would be paid. “I couldn’t plan my finances and realized that this career wasn’t sustainable.” She continues to be a freelance journalist, but now works in a communications role for an environmental non-profit organization. “I caught Covid a few months ago and had to take two weeks off. Unlike my life as a freelancer, I still have a salary,” she says. “It was amazing.”
Suresh says his past and after lives are drastically different. “In my early twenties, I was living out of my suitcase, traveling the country, working on projects. I could afford it because there were no serious medical issues,” she says. “Now I I’m tired all the time. I have cats, I pay rent. I feel like I’ve lost part of my 20s to the pandemic. This is a time you’re supposed to understand this what you love to do. Instead, I spent it staying alive and keeping my family alive.