JAIPUR: In the ever-rising toll from the Covid pandemic, Supriya, 16, and Bindiya, 13, find their parents only in pictures tucked in a corner of their living room in Rajasthan’s Sikar district.
Stunned into silence – their mom and dad died in a span of just three days — the sisters stare vacuously at the ceiling, their welled-up eyes struggling to defy the grief.
Life was as good as it could get for the Joshis just a month back. The sisters’ father Vijay, 45, was into property business in Fatehpur town along with his elder brother, Sri Krishna Joshi.
“Vijay had sent his daughters to an English-medium school, about 10 km from our home. He dreamed big for his daughters,” says Sri Krishna, 67.
On April 24, Vijay realised that his persistent fever was making him too tired to even walk. The family got a chest scan done, which revealed that Covid had infected half of his lungs.
His condition did not improve despite several medicines, and in a few days his wife, Ranjana, too caught the infection.
“I think Covid became fatal because they were on medication for the diabetes. They could not fight the killer virus,” says Sri Krishna.
Vijay was given four Remdesivir injections, but his condition kept deteriorating. By April 29, he developed serious breathing troubles and was shifted to a hospital in Jaipur.
He couldn’t recover and died on April 30. Ranjana’s condition too worsened; she succumbed three days later. Supriya and Bindiya have now turned totally silent.
But Sri Krishna, who suffered from Covid last year, is determined to take full care of his nieces.
“Supriya and Bindiya call me their ‘Badey Papa’ and my wife as ‘Badi Ma’. Once we are through with this crisis, I will educate these girls and fulfill all the dreams that my brother had for his daughters. I will do whatever I can… they aren’t orphans, after all,” says Sri Krishna.
“I don’t think these girls will ever forget how the pandemic devastated their lives.”
Supriya is in Class XII and Bindiya in Class IX. Sangeeta Beniwal, chairperson of the state Child Rights Commission, has promised all possible help for the girls.
“I will ensure that they are linked to the ‘Palanhaar Yojna’ under which we give `1,000 a month to all orphans,” says Beniwal.