THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Many self-employed people had to keep away from work due to the lockdown and out of fear of contracting Covid. Plumber Sunil Kumar J has such a story to tell.Sunil’s normal life came to a standstill after the pandemic outbreak “Since last year, people like me who earn daily wages doing odd jobs have lost all hopes.
I used to get work through people I know or have worked with before. But due to the pandemic, many are reluctant to call us to their house, even if their pipes are leaking. We can’t blame them for doubting us, it is a pandemic after all,” he says. Sunil could have taken up a construction job, but with many works halted, even that is not an option.
Sunil’s wife, a tailor, has been helping the family out but even she finds it hard to get customers during the lockdown period. “We had taken a bank loan of `2 lakh to build our house. Now, we don’t know how to pay it back. We still need to pay our daughter’s school fees. We want to keep her in school because we don’t want her to have a life like ours. Earlier I used to get month-long work at construction sites or used to have daily plumbing works where I get `1,000 per assignment. Now, I get work once a month if I am lucky,” he says.
Our state has been reeling under lockdown for weeks now. The government and police department may have their reasons for closing doors on many people’s lives and livelihoods, but that doesn’t make the trouble go away. Everyday, in this space, TNIE zooms into the life of one of us, beaten down by the pandemic-induced restrictions. Want us to tell a story? Write to the editor on firstname.lastname@example.org