How are families in India managing housework amid the lockdown, with the middle-class losing jobs and the price of supplies are at an all-time high?
In the Covid-19 situation, nothing seems to be working in favour of the middle income group. With hardly any help from the government, the the middle class and upper-middle class have been hit the worst. In a lot of these households, men earn the majority of the household income, while women manage the budget of the kitchen. Now, as India lifts lockdown restrictions and gradually restarts its economy, here’s a look at how the pandemic has affected the middle and upper-middle classes and how they are coping.
When the lockdown was announced in March 2020, many people started hoarding food, dairy and water supplies, which made it difficult for many others. Did you also face this situation? What were the real struggles involved with it?
“Yes, when the stock from ration shops started disappearing in minutes, the middle-class people had to buy all that had been left, and that too, at double rate. We had to somehow feed a family of four on such limited stock,” said Madhur Lata, a middle-class homemaker on hoarding of food stock in the market. Agreeing on the same, Sunila Devi added, “What else were we expected to do? We brought whatever was available in the market, at whatever price.”
How did you manage gas supply?
Sunila Devi, a homemaker, believes that the lockdown has taught us many things. She said “There was a fear of running out of gas. We used to cook lentils enough for 2-3 days at once, then store them in the refrigerator. We’d then heat them right before eating in order to save gas.” When asked about how Madhur Lata managed the shortage of gas supplies, she said,“During the lockdown, I was using gas very sensibly. I’d soak rice and lentils in water for hours before cooking, which would help me cook it faster.”
As the rate of supplies increased, did you deduct any of your kitchen stuff or food stuff from your kitchen? What cheaper alternatives did you use?
“Due to the lockdown, inflation increased so much that vegetables were being sold at double or triple rate. That’s why, we avoided buying vegetables and used to eat more lentils as they are healthy and rich in protein,” Sangeeta Kalse, another homemaker shared.
Talking about cheaper alternatives for green and healthy vegetables, Madhur Lata said that soya chunks, black grams, chickpeas and moong lentils are great alternatives as they are healthy and once brought, can be stored for long term.
Do you have any suggestions or tips for other people to help them cope up with the current situation?
Sunila Karn shared that she has a small child, and like every other child, he wants fast food and junk snacks. The best way to handle such a situation is to try making those meals at home. This saves money as well as ensures safety and distancing. On the other hand, Madhur Lata suggested that since it’s difficult to avoid celebrating festivals or special days due to Covid-19, we can cook cake or sweets at home rather than ordering or buying from outside.
The way families have been managing their household under budget constraints is impressive. Each and every family has its own way of handling the situation bravely and sensibly, but the goal is only one: to keep the family happy and healthy.