That’s how long the family of six—a day labourer, his ailing, widowed mother, his homemaker wife, and three children—in Khajuri Khas, northeast Delhi, had gone without food. The man, his livelihood lost to the lockdown imposed in Delhi since 19 April to fight the second wave of COVID-19, had tried his best to put two square meals on the table, but this wiped out his meagre savings. His small pantry had run out of staples.
By the end of day four, hunger and the sunken eyes of his children forced his self-respect and shame into submission. He picked up the phone and dialled a number.
“Can you help me? My family hasn’t eaten anything in four days,” is all he could manage before breaking down.
Praveen Kumar Verma remembers the call vividly. Verma and his small team of volunteers have been distributing cooked food to homeless and COVID-affected people across the city. They receive dozens of such calls daily. But each of these