For Daisy Kohli, life right now is like being in the middle of a war zone, with the enemy all around, neighbours falling dead, and little to defend with.
Communities are holding mass cremations, dead bodies are seen lying on suburban pavements and the streets are filled with stress.
India, a country of 1.4 billion people, is in the trenches of the world’s worst coronavirus wave. In the past 24 hours, the country has reported more than 360,000 new infections, the largest single-day increase in any country since the pandemic. It’s the sixth time they’ve broken the world record in the past week.
Daisy Kohli is living in Ludhiana - a district about 300km from New Delhi - which is one of the cities experiencing a particularly high surge of new infections.
She is one of the 9,000 Australians stuck in India, trying to come home.
Daisy and her husband have paid $8,000 for a repatriation flight via Japan set to fly on May 5. When I spoke to her, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had just announced that all flights to Australia from India would be suspended until at least May 15. She was informed of the government’s decision via a phone call from her brother-in-law and says she is yet to hear any information from the government themselves, despite being registered with DFAT.
“I’m confused,” she tells me. “And desperate.”
Daisy arrived in India on December 31, 2019, with the intention of looking after her elderly father for one year. Before then, she had lived in Canberra since 2007, working as an Assistant Teacher while her husband was a taxi driver.