#Bengaluru

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A sleepy city and the masked heroes

On 25th March 2020, the world’s largest democracy went into lockdown. 1.3 billion people tried to internalize the “stay home” message. The busiest cities have been since devoid of the reason for their existence, humans. The common sense driven decision has been to take two steps back, so that we can eventually take one step forward. That it comes with a price too high to bear, is clear. The most vulnerable in urban society, the daily wage labourers are bereft of home, safety and now of work which signals financial viability for the day. And yet, life, fragile as ever, goes on. Bangalore awaits something resembling normalcy with bated breath.
Photograph – @Sagar Raj

#Bengaluru

Kiran Lightpainter

Bengaluru

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The home of the law, the home to Cricket, the home to upmarket capitalism - all stand quiet witness to the effects of a virus that does't recognize borders, religions or class. One will have to roll back the years to find photos of landmark Bangalore structures looking so deserted.

Photograph - Kiran S.

#Bengaluru

The Tudor style building established in 1912, the Bible Society, is seeing its second pandemic.The building has borne witness to what we've forgotten - an earlier pandemic that took an estimated 15 million Indian lives, a 102 years back - the 1918 Spanish flu. At that time the building was one of the fancy new establishments of the cantonment town of Bangalore, the Blighty Tea Room. 

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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The daytime shadows loom long at the Cubbon Park Metro Station. Meanwhile, indoors, attending to zoom calls and home-schooled children, hope for a bright future peaks out of countless windows.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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The police force congregates to get their daily briefings before heading out to their outposts, to serve and to protect. The words "Government Work Is God's Work" are inscribed at the entrance to the Vidhana Saudha. These heroes in uniform seem to be shouldering both.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Karnataka Commando Force guarding Cubbon Park metro station.

Commando forces have been deployed at all the important spots to ensure that the lockdown is peaceful, lawful and inconvenience to the civilians is at a minimum. 

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Patrolling outside the seat of the state legislature.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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True frontline workers: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is functioning full force forward. The pourakarmikas are the masked crusaders we need at this time. They're leaving the safety of their homes to provide this public service. Here's hoping that post lockdown, their service is remembered by us with respect and gratitude.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Work from home? These heroic women finish their shift, then go home and work some more, for the welfare of their families. On stepping out, you will find that the streets are been cleaned, and the garbage is being disposed of, without missing a beat. If work ethic could be personified, this would be it.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Government offices, public service systems, hospitals, essential commodities retailers and Banks are functioning with skeletal staffing. These folks need to make it to their workplace. Those depending on public transport are finding that the BMTC has stepped up to enable them to do their best work in the worst of circumstances. Specific routings, specific timings of buses are helping people to work and back home safe.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Medical professionals being ferried to work by BMTC buses on special duty.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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Bangaloreans have always peacefully coexisted with flora and fauna, and given thanks for them. While we're appreciating the all day birdsong we are enjoying, there are those who are stepping out to feed streeties (what we fondly call the dogs that don't yet have a forever home), filling up birdbaths and taking them to the vet if needed.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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The credo seems to be, "No one should be left without care" and with that in mind, these two young men are feeding birds in the morning at Cubbon Park.

Photograph - Swearing Pirate

#Bengaluru

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April 2020 will be etched in the collective Indian consciousness as the month that pushed aside differences and disagreements to open our eyes to the problems of our fellow citizens. Many of us shed tears over the plight of the migrant labour population walking home through porous borders; many of us got together to buy food for and get masks for folks working in our neighbourhoods. We taught our building watchmen to get used to a new cleanliness regime, we paid the maids and cooks for not coming to work and inquired about their well-being. Through all this, we also became evident of our own many privileges. Giving thanks to these privileges was what April asked of us. May will ask that we add to this, a layer of further responsibility, that with rising cases of Covid-19, we be humane, concerned, and not just careful. Here's hoping that the citizenry of Bangalore, when returning to what might be shorter days of work, carry in their hearts the memory of the noontime birdsong, and go into the new normal with care towards others, gentle understanding and acceptance.

Photograph - Kiran S

#bangalore#corona#covid-19#India#indiafightscorona#Police
Written by - Monica Pillai

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