India, Nov. 20 -- It's being called the boomerang phenomenon. Millions of young adults around the world are returning to the home of a parent or grandparent, their work or education hit by the turbulence of the pandemic.

The last time the world saw a return to the nest on this scale was in the US during the Great Depression of the 1930s. And those assuming this would largely be a big-city phenomenon in India are mistaken - over the past three decades, but especially over the past decade-and-half, there has been a steady stream of young people, leaving homes in non-metro, small-town, even rural India, to make a career in Delhi or Mumbai or Bengaluru or Chennai.

Buffeted first by the global financial crisis of the late 2000s (which did no...