What would you take with you if you had to abandon your house in a rickshaw in the midst of a pandemic?
The lockdown has left the streets empty. The bus stops and the train and metro stations look deserted. The police is on the streets and has barricaded the roads. Only emergency services provided by the government are allowed to move around. A few hours before the lockdown, there was some commotion.
This is the first time a total lockdown has been declared. It is difficult to survive and feed my children when we are in the village. If we want to earn money, we have to go to the cities. From our village, we migrated to Hyderabad to earn money. Just a week after, they declared a total lockdown.
We are street vendors and we go selling on our autorickshaw. If one day we don’t go out to sell, we have nothing to eat, and we go to sleep without food in our stomachs.
When we went to Hyderabad for work, suddenly a coronavirus lockdown was declared. We knew that if we stayed there, we would have many problems and we would suffer a lot.
So we decided to go back home.
We thought, why should we stay here? If we get infected, who will take care of our children? My husband drove in the front, and my children and I sat in the back. I felt very bad to see
that my husband couldn’t rest. We slept, but he did not. If he had been sleepy, we could have had an autorickshaw accident. I was feeling very tired while driving. I had to press the accelerator at all times, that’s why my hand hurt a lot.
The first night after leaving Hyderabad, we arrived in Kothakota. We wanted to cook there because the children were crying, they were hungry and we couldn’t buy food. Kothakota villagers
didn’t let us stay because we were coming from Hyderabad and they were scared that we could infect them with coronavirus. We left and stopped the autorickshaw outside that town. We had no wood there and I lit the fire with old clothes, so I could prepare rice and gojju sauce.
We ate and left. The journey was horrible on those two days.
On the way, our children asked us to buy food but I didn’t want to stop the autorickshaw at shops as I feared that vendors will ask us where we were coming from. Because I did not stop at the shops, my children cried more. The autorickshaw ride was very uncomfortable, the children couldn’t sleep because of the patchy road.
They were very tired and sore from the jolts of the autorickshaw. When we got home after travelling so many kilometres, we thought of everything we had suffered. We were so far away and worried a lot because in Hyderabad there was coronavirus. Here we have our house and we are at ease. When we arrived in our town from very far away, we felt so happy to have a big house.
I thought that here we can try to look for any job, it was not worth going that far if there is no possibility of work and we can´t feed our children. We have this house, thanks to the collaborators of RDT, and in this town, we can do any business, and be happy with our children.