It was supposed to be a landmark year for Akshay Sirsalewala: Graduation from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)- Kozhikode in April, marriage in May and a new job in June. But the pandemic struck, resulting in his wedding—which was supposed to be attended by 800-odd guests—reducing to a low-key, 20-people affair. His joining date with the PwC US Advisory in Bengaluru was deferred to January 2021. “I understand that my employer’s intention was good—like many companies they could have fired me, which they did not. But when such things hit you, positive thoughts are not the first things that come to your mind,” says the 27-year-old Mumbai resident.

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