COVID-19 Second Wave: Narratives from the Ground
Despite the government easing lockdown restrictions, many residents in housing societies have refused to allow domestic workers to enter their premises. Babita, who was born and brought up in Mumbai and stays near Ruia College, was a domestic worker before the pandemic struck. The family she used to work for paid her for a month and asked her to stop coming to work.
Babita lives with her husband, and her 3 children. Her family currently has no source of income, since her husband also lost his job. His work consisted of catering for events and weddings, and he earned Rs. 200–300 per event. Event related jobs were among the first to be lost during the pandemic. He has had no work for a year and a half now. He suffers from a heart condition. In addition to these challenges, they are also harassed by the police, who drive them off the roads. ‘But where will we go?’, says Babita.
Their living conditions have been getting more dire, and at a time when they are struggling to eat two complete meals a day, buying a smartphone for their children’s online education is a luxury which cannot be considered. One of her children is in the 2nd grade, and another in the 5th grade, the third child does not go to school. They have also been unable to access medication necessary for common ailments. ‘Sometimes we loan Rs. 50–100 from someone to pay for a medicine. It is a strain’, she says.
Babita also shares her grievances on ration supplies. ‘Rice and wheat are not enough to sustain us, ration shops cut down on the quantity allotted to individuals’. On vaccination, Babita says she has received no information on it yet.
This is the sixth story in a series of interviews we are conducting with community members, to bring to light the onground situation during the second wave of COVID-19. You can also catch up on the first five stories here: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Contributed by Aaditya Chavan, Amrutlal Betwala and Niyoshi Parekh