Building in these Covid times

Building in these Covid times

I know I’ve started previous blog posts this exact same way, thanking all of you who have got in touch, enquiring how we are here in Delhi. Clearly you are seeing our horrific state of affairs on your screens and in your newspapers.

The fact that people from my past, friends I haven’t really been in touch with for years, are messaging, emailing, and calling is truly heart-warming.
And I thank every lovely one of you.

And that is about the only good thing I can say about what we are living through right now.

Once again, let me reassure you that we are fine. We are behaving ourselves. Our staff are all fine.

I monitor everyone’s O2 levels every day.

Everyone is masked when they go out, and the Bahadurs actually avoid going out. Instead of the usual regular trips to the local market, which is only 300m from the house, they wait and club everything into one trip.

And so we sit at home, day after day.

And every day we hear of someone new who is unwell, or in hospital.

The fear now, over and above getting the virus, is that of needing to be hospitalised, because there is such a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen and medicines.

There are so many issues right now swirling around this dreadful pandemic, and I am not a news portal, so cannot possibly tackle everything…

…who said what.

…who has said nothing at all in public.

…who has died.

…who is looking for help on Twitter.

…who is looking for help in my WhatsApp running group.

It is relentless, numbing, soul-destroying – and we are healthy and safe at home.

We are not running from pillar to post, trying to source oxygen for a loved one.

I am not pleading on Twitter for a lead on a hospital bed.

I cannot even begin to imagine the terror people must be living through.

But all is not doom and gloom, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Let me share with you a news item from this morning.

In a country ravaged by Coronavirus, in a city on its knees, we had some good news today: namely that construction work is going on, unhampered & unaffected by lockdown restrictions, on a huge building project of Mr. Modi, our Prime Minister.

We are going to get a shiny new Parliament building.

And the PM is going to get a lovely new house.

And there are a host of other buildings coming up too.

All this in the already beautiful, elegant Lutyens-designed heart of Delhi. (I put that in to bait a few trolls 😛 :P).

The cost of Mr. Modi’s Central Vista project is estimated to be US$2.8 billion.

US$2.8 billion.

Now I have absolutely no idea how much it would cost to build a hospital, so I can’t really put this figure in context.

Nor do I know how many oxygen cylinders, nor oxygen concentrators, it would buy.

No idea.

But what is clear is that the powers that be appear are facilitating the PM’s wishes, and so he has clearance to go ahead.

The work on this project has even been deemed to be “essential” and so can continue, despite lockdown.

I’m sure this “essential” project will be lovely when it’s completed.

US$2.8 billion’s worth of loveliness.


  1. Kiran Tandon

    Just impossible to understand how this can be called a productive use of money or even a necessary thing. The PM already has a 4 bungalow unit. Manmohan Singh had a 2 bungalow unit … because he had a family and Modi has none. Surely there is some logic in this but it escapes me for now.

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