Story by Nandita Basu | Art by Anjora Noronha
The story of ‘Lockdown Fugue’ is set during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, when a strict, nationwide lockdown brought a nation of 1.38 billion people to a standstill. In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, schools and shops were shut, most public services were halted and people were asked to stay at home. These swift and drastic measures left many migrant and daily wage workers, who depended on their daily earnings to pay for food and shelter without a home. With public transport disbanded, millions of migrant workers were left stranded in cities.
To deal with this huge crisis, centres began popping up in urban areas for migrant workers to stay at until they could find their way back to their hometowns. Many of these were volunteer-run and sponsored. At a time when government resources were either stretched thin or inadequate to deal with the multiple issues that were popping up either because of the spread of the Covid-19 virus or as a result of the harsh lockdowns, mutual aid, initiated by ordinary citizens, helped millions of people from all walks of life get through a very difficult time.
With people around the world stuck at home, particularly during the first year of the pandemic, public venues shut and live events prohibited, several musicians and performing artists took to social media to spread some cheer and entertainment. From live streaming concerts from their living rooms (many of them with the hashtag #TogetherAtHome), or platforms like NPR launching an “at-home” version of their famous Tiny Desk concerts, the internet helped the world stay connected.
This comic is an ode to the ways in which music provided small but deeply meaningful pockets of comfort and care to so many of us during that time.