MUMBAI: Uddhav Pardeshi, a resident of Savada in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, was not able to see his parents because of his mid-education commitment. And when he did, it was for the last time: his father and mother died of Covid in Jalgaon.
Uddhav is pursuing MBA second-year in marketing from Pune while his younger sister Shivani Pardeshi is doing her MCA in Jalgaon.
“We are in a hopeless situation now,” says Uddhav, his voice choking.
“I had never imagined I would be orphaned like this. The pandemic first took away my father, Kailash, on March 25 and a month later my mother Pratima died on April 27,” Uddhav said.
Kailash Pardeshi was working with the regional daily newspaper Saamana, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece. His mother was a homemaker.
“My father was a very honest man. He was committed to his ideology. He was unable to meet our expenses, so he also ran a motorcycle spare parts shop. He would often tell us to complete our education and get good jobs. He struggled a lot, but it never showed up on his face. He sent us our education expenses well on time,” says Uddhav.
The lockdown forced closure of his father’s spare parts shop.
“We had no agricultural land, so our livelihood depended on his salary from Saamana. Due to the pandemic, there was a delay in salary, so we struggled a lot to meet our daily expenses. I am devastated, but I would not lose hope… I have to take care of my younger sister. We want to complete my education,” he says, adding he has started looking for a job.
Since Uddhav was studying in Pune, he couldn’t afford to visit his parents regularly. “I had not seen my parents in the last two years”.
His father had told him over the phone that he should complete his studies, get a job and then meet him with some achievement in life.
“After I heard about my father’s condition and others in the family getting infected, I rushed to Jalgaon. When I reached home, my father lay dead,” recalls Uddhav.
“My mother too succumbed to the virus in a month.” The virus has killed seven people in his family, including his grandmother, uncle, aunt and parents.
“I have applied for a job at several places, but no one wants to hire in these tough times. I don’t have the luxury now of only studying. I want to pursue my education and do some job together,” says Uddhav.
Is he expecting any help from the government? Uddhav says the government itself is struggling to supply medicines and treatment to people.
“How many people will they help? If they help, I’d welcome it, if they don’t, I wouldn’t hold any grudge”. He is being helped by his relatives. “But I want work.. I can’t depend on my relatives for long,” says Uddhav.