It's been over a month since his mother died, but Vishal Meghwal can still hear her struggling to breathe as he desperately messaged friends to lend him money for the drugs she needed.

The coronavirus pandemic had already cost the 24-year-old his savings and his income from painting houses in Ajmer, a city of tombs and shrines in northwest India. Losing his mother was the biggest blow of all.

"I have never been in a situation like this," Meghwal said by phone from Ajmer. "I have loans to repay now. There is no work. And my mother is no longer by my side."