All of us are at home only. No earnings at all. It has been a tough, very tough 2 ½ months. We have never faced such difficulties in our lives. If we had not received any support from this organisation, it would have been very, very tough. They gave us one month’s provisions, and then we got some from the public distribution system (‘ration shop’) which helped us maintain our lives.
If we have a lockdown, poor people like us will suffer a lot. Although others who have to move around outside are somewhat similar to us in that sense, we [the poor] cannot survive a lockdown. If a lockdown is imposed, about half the people like us will die because we won’t have anything, that’s a guarantee.
Whatever he [husband] used to earn in a day, 400-500 rupees, he would drink right there and then. He would spend all the money. Not just that, whatever we would earn, he would take that away, hit me, and use the money to buy alcohol. He is not drinking anymore. Nobody has any money either. It has become very difficult at home.
No one came, no one enquired what is going on, how we are… how are people in the slums. There are snakes, and a lot of other problems here, but somehow we used to manage to earn at least 10 rupees. Now, even that is not possible. We have to leave our children and go. We are worried about what will happen to the children if we leave them at home and go.
Some of us are wearing masks. When we go outside, we go out wearing masks. But if we’re near our house itself, we don’t wear masks. We stay inside our hut itself. If we’re near the house, nobody wears, Madam. Small children don’t wash hands…some people’s children. But while going outside, people definitely wear masks.
Some people consider the lockdown as a holiday, like for those in the office it is a holiday. For us waste pickers it is a matter of worry, we get anxious. We are worried because…. See, we can understand but how will our children understand?