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Inside Maximum City’s mysterious surge

Some of Mumbai’s spiffiest addresses such as Pedder Road, Nepean Sea Road, Altamount Road and Breach Candy are in D ward. It has a higher growth rate of cases than the city’s average and the second-highest number of sealed buildings or floors.pti

The form and velocity of this wave is unlike anything Mumbai had seen last year. Is a new variant to blame?

Gudhi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year which coincides with harvest festivals of other communities, was hastily observed on 13 April this year. The festive Gudhis—flag poles with garlands, mango and neem leaves, and a special thread of sweets, all topped by an upturned copper or silver kalash—raised outside homes at dawn to signify auspiciousness and abundance were muted, tokenistic and devoid of festive cheer.

“We simply observed Gudhi Padwa; we didn’t celebrate it. How to invite abundance and wealth when illness and death are playing a macabre dance?" asked Dr Meena Vaishampayan, author and former vice president of The Asiatic Society of Mumbai. In the cities most ravaged by the second wave of covid-19—Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, and Nagpur—WhatsApp groups buzzed not with celebratory wishes but requests for help for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medicines like remdesivir that are in acute short supply.

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