As COVID-19 started raising its fang in early 2020, a 21-day lockdown was imposed in the nation to restrict the spread of infection in the country. With the businesses shut and markets closed, millions of migrant workers lost their jobs. With limited access to cash and digital banking services, they struggled to send money back home, which in usual days was done mostly through informal personal networks. Due to the staggered movement of people from cities to villages, the households of migrant workers suffered as they did not have money even to buy the essentials.
If we have to drive from one place to another, we first think about the major route we will undertake and then while driving on the same route we worry about the small turns we need to take, the speed limit we need to follow etc. These two levels of thinking, i.e. high-level planning and low-level execution is hierarchical thinking. As humans we think in a hierarchical manner- we first figure out the major outlines and then work on the nitty-gritty of a task or process.
Some of us like hills and others are fond of beaches. Microbes are no different! Some love fresh air and so stay outside, the more shy ones feel comfier inside, some don’t mind any location as long as their favourite pals are with them and others don’t thrive close to their enemies. This affinity of different microbes for different positions and locations can be seen in any environment they choose to inhabit—be it the human gut, soil aggregates or waste.