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Ashoka Book Tower: A Living Record of the Global Pandemic

Ashoka alumnae Divita Aggarwal and Surabhi Sundaram have painstakingly put together “A World on Hold” that provides an unsparing 360-degree view of the pandemic and the lessons it has to offer

No one who has lived through this era will ever get over the overwhelming emotions the pandemic has engendered—the trauma and helplessness of lives upended, felt by the entirety of the world’s population.

For the first time in modern history, humans—rich or poor, black or white, religious or non-religious—have been unsparingly affected by the exact same situation, at the exact same time. This book is a chronicle of this historic period. It is a documentation of compelling experiences of individuals living through an unprecedented global pandemic, to display how the human race as a whole struggled with a similar situation with each of us creating our very own coping mechanisms.

The motivation to write this book came from an earnest need to contribute and be active participants in the fight against Covid-19. Watching frontline workers risking their lives tirelessly and people everywhere stepping up to do everything in their capacity made us ask ourselves: how could we do our bit during this difficult time?

By documenting stories of innovation and coping, we aimed to give the readers the feeling that if the twenty people whose stories have been documented here could get through it, so can they. We wanted to bring to people, all of whom are dealing with the pandemic in their own ways, a wide range of emotional and physical struggles, documented in real time.

About the Book: Expertly put together by young intrepid authors Divita Aggarwal and Surabhi Sundaram, from their first-hand experiences at hospitals, crematoriums, migrant worker camps and vaccination centres, this is also a thorough, well-researched analysis of the impact the pandemic had on several industries ranging from education, aviation, business and cinema. Through its multiple stories of heroism and helplessness, fear and forbearance, hope and despair, A World on Hold provides an unsparing 360-degree view of the pandemic and the lessons it has to offer.

About the Authors: Surabhi Sundaram is a writer and video producer with an appetite for non-fiction. Her work predominantly includes reportage of human-interest stories and current affairs through the visual as well as the written form.

Divita Aggarwal is a published author and essayist. She started her writing career at the age of 16, with her debut novel, It Was Always You, published by Rupa Publications. 

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka