On 24th March 2020, our Honourable Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight for the next 21 days. Each one of us is struggling in our own ways during this lockdown, but some struggles are much more heartbreaking.
While everyone has their personal stories to tell, I have also got a few lockdown stories to share.
"I worked for ten years without any fail. I started with a salary of Rs.8000 per month, and a year back, my salary was Rs.100000 per month. I saved 15% of my salary since the time I started my first job.
One year back, I left my job and invested my total savings of ten years in my dream startup. The time the startup finally started picking up, the lockdown was announced.
Now here I am sitting under the dark cloudy sky wondering how I would manage to take care of a family of 4 members without any savings in hand and no work." ~ An entrepreneur.
"Got campus placement and was working with a company in Bengaluru for the past two years. I planned to switch my job and cleared an interview with a Gurugram based company. My family and I were very excited about the new job opportunity and my flight back to Delhi was on the 28th of March. On 25th March, the nationwide lockdown was announced. On 30th March, I received a call from my new company that they had to cancel my offer letter, and I could look for any other job.
Here I am, alone in Bengaluru, again, with no job in hand and a considerable amount of rent and loan installments to pay." ~ A salaried employee.
"My husband and I were working in the USA. I had my sister's wedding on 30th March. We were all super excited about the marriage. We were preparing for the past two months for the 'Sangeet' performance. My father withdrew his provident fund to take care of the wedding expenses. Everything was booked and appropriately planned. My husband, my 3-year-old son, and I came to India to attend the wedding on 10th March. We took leave for a month from the office. Today, It has been two months, neither the marriage has taken place nor could we go back to the USA." ~ Sister of a would-be bride.
"My family and I shifted to Mumbai six months back because of my job transfer. My wife and I have always been a part of a joint family, and my one-year-old son is also used to staying with my parents. Shifting to Mumbai and staying as a nuclear family was a bit difficult in the initial days. I go to the office every day with a fear of taking infection back home and infect the kid. Being the manager of a branch, I cannot take leave in this hour of need. The only fear in my mind is that who would take care of my kid if something happens to my wife or me." ~ A Bank Manager.
"I am a proud daughter of working parents. I love them both a lot. I visited my grandparents on 10th March. It has been more than two months; I am staying with my grandparents. When I ask them that I wish to go back home as I am missing my parents, they say that they can't come to pick me up because of the lockdown. Although my mother calls me up daily, I feel bad that she is not close to me. I have never lived away from my parents for so long. Sometimes I cry during the night because I am used to sleeping with my mother since the time I was born. I miss them badly." ~ A 7-year-old daughter of Doctor Parents.
"I am the mother of a 5-year-old kid. My husband and I got separated about a year back. After our separation, I moved to a rented apartment with my son. We were happy in the small little world of ours. Being a single mother is tough, but I was pleased that I was no more living the life of a slave with someone. After a week of the announcement of the lockdown, the HR of my company called up, stating that the process I was working for was winding up. The company paid me the salary for a month and asked me to resign. Now I wonder how am I going to bear the expenses of the school fees of my son, the rent of the house, the loan installments, and much more to mention." ~ A single, jobless mother who worked for a multinational company.
"My work requires me to travel a lot. My wife, my daughter, and I live in Gurgaon. My daughter is six months old. I went to Chennai for a week for a project assignment. I was supposed to travel back to Delhi on 27th March. When the lockdown was announced, I was not very upset. I thought that things would be managed here as my company will take care of my living expenses. I called up my wife to inform her about the same. Speaking with her made me realize something that felt like a nightmare. My wife does not know how to drive. The market from my residence is quite far away. She can't take my daughter along with her to buy any groceries. Managing the household with a small kid without any help is very difficult. The problem arose when my daughter got sick, and no cabs were running. My wife had to call neighbors for help, and then she managed to visit a hospital. And here I am, stuck in Chennai from the past one and a half months." ~ A helpless father stuck in lockdown.
I am sure in a country of over 135 crores people, everybody is suffering because of the lockdown. These are not even a decimal percentage of the struggle stories. But it is a little effort of my end to make people understand that they are not in this alone.