HYDERABAD: A year after Covid-19 lockdown, we look back at what all it has left us with. We survived it, but we also learned a lot. We talk to a few Hyderabadis who tell us where they were when the lockdown was announced, what they did to get back on to their feet and what life has finally taught them.
Learned making DIY homemade PPE kit for my dental patients
I I see patients every day as a dentist, some are emergency cases and then the lockdown meant we could not follow-up on patients as always. We had to modify our clinics to be able to treat them. Initially, we could not even buy PPE units. I looked up YouTube to make a DIY protection kit with the plastic sheets. I punched holes into it and used a ribbon to tie it around. Then, of course, the clinic had to pay the rentals and salaries of the staff despite revenues getting severely affected. The financial setback was huge and we also had to give huge discounts to patients who told us about their own job losses. I have two children. The nanny and the maid stopped coming and there were online classes. My husband, also a dentist, and I took turns to cook and baby-sit while I went to the clinic or had to spend a few hours counseling patients via video calling. But we all survived!
Dr Shefali Wagray, dentist, Secunderabad
Appreciated abundance in minimalism
At the time of lockdown, I was in Hyderabad. I am an entrepreneur, an actor and a tarot reader. Lockdown has been a blessing for me because it brought me to a place where I had always wanted to be but never knew how to get there. The way our lives slowed down gave me a feel of the life I had wanted for myself and it also gave me an opportunity not just to live it realtime but also to bring it into reality for good. Along with spending more time with family, I also got a lot of time to introspect. Lockdown was very challenging for many people but it also has given a new perspective towards life in more ways than one. For me, life has become more simple, more meaningful and I have learned to find abundance in minimalism. Above all, lockdown has taught me to be grateful for everything that I have every single day.
- Tarusha Saxena, entrepreneur and tarot card reader, Masab Tank
Had ‘I-cant-pay-you-but-talk-to-me’ counselling calls
The lockdown meant more work as I had random little kids expressing fear about the death of their parents. These were kids who were missing out on playing with friends and cousins. As we could not run our clinic, we opened a free Whatsapp chatline for patients. I ended up working 15 hours a day as phone calls were longer due to poor connectivity and call drops. We were also part of the police campaigns and used counsel Hyderabadis, taking 20 calls a day besides regular work. I also had calls that started off saying, “Doctor I can’t pay you, but talk to me please.” But overall, I felt that humans are the most resilient of the species and we should be proud of this ability to bounce back.
- Dr Purnima Nagaraja, Mental health professional, Dhrithi Wellness clinic
Problem-solving at the grassroots level
During my visits to slum colonies for a milk distribution drive, the local labourers who were out of work would ask me, “Madam, koi kaam hai toh batao”. It was also the time we found irrigation well in Kondapur and as our regular labourers could not be tapped, I decided to train these unskilled labourers as it would help them get some work in these tough times. In fact, we paid them `800 instead of Rs 600. This was also the time when the slums opened up to me about how the lake bed had become a party adda for rich kids who would drive there, set up chairs and start consuming alcohol. All that it took was to simply get the GHMC to give two bright street lights and automatically, the kids stopped coming and the girls/women there could walk around feeling safe. I learned to look for practical solutions to grassroots problems.
-Kalpana Ramesh, water champion and environmentalist
Rediscovered myself and my mission in life
When the lockdown was announced, I was in Hyderabad at my office along with my team planning for an upcoming event of single-women crafts exhibition. This pandemic has made me realise how resilient I am and my ability to be creative in uncertain times. Being grateful for what I have. I am grateful for my family, friends and well-wishers, who kept a constant check about my health since I was working at the grassroots level. This pandemic has allowed me to rediscover myself and appreciate small things in life. The Covid-19 pandemic has helped me find a deeper meaning in my life.
Shravya Mandadi, Founder, WE & SHE, Hyderabad