ALAPPUZHA: With the vicious second wave of Covid-19 rapidly spreading its tentacles across the country, stories of unscrupulous profit-making are making headlines everyday. Governments increasing the price of the vaccine and medicines, pharma companies hoarding drugs to create artificial shortage, black marketeering of oxygen and even cases of hospitals illegally harvesting organs of those who lost their lives to Covid are some of these.
Even crematoriums and funeral undertakers in many states have reportedly been trying to make a quick buck, as the toll from the pandemic kept on rising, resulting in bodies piling up.
However, a 60-year-old man from Vallikunnam in Alappuzha, who runs a funeral service firm, is an exeption to this. Despite the fact that funerals bring him business, K R Ramachandran of Mangattupadeetathil campaigns on the streets of his native panchayat to create awareness about the deadly disease.
A theatre artist, Ramachandran had been rendered unemployed in the pandemic’s wake. Since May last, he has been in the funeral service business which was started using loan from private money lenders.
“I pray to God all the time not to take the life of anybody. I had dedicated 45 years of my life to art, appeared on the stage numerous times across the state. But the Covid pandemic robbed me of my livelihood and I am running a funeral service at Vallikunnam to eke out a living for my four-member family. Though I have to repay the loan taken for setting up the business, I never think of the death of anyone,” he says.
Ramachandran is a representative of artists who have lost their means of livelihood due to the pandemic. He created the costume of ‘corona’ spending around `1,500 despite the bankruptcy and wandered across Vallikunnam panchayat on Friday to save, “at least a life”. He visited every nook and corner of the panchayat to spread the message of social distancing and Covid prevention. “I will continue my mission to educate people,” Ramachandran said.