Name: Mohammad Fahim
Hometown: Rampur, Uttar Pradesh
Occupation: Daily Wage Labourer – Producing Slippers
Returned from: Mumbai, Maharashtra
Mohammad Fahim is a daily wage labourer making slippers in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was earning a fair amount when the lockdown was implemented. Uncertain of how long the next extension will last, he decided to make the journey to U.P. instead of being stranded in an alien land.
Interviewer: What was your reaction to the lockdown? How did you prepare for the Corona Virus in the following days?
Mohammad Fahim: I was sharing one room with my brother and his wife paying Rs. 4,500 a month. I earned Rs. 12,000 to 15,0000 a month by making slippers in Mumbai. Since I worked on a daily wage, there would be days without any work, and on the days with work – I’d earn Rs. 600 a day. The expenses would rely solely on the amount earned. Each day required Rs. 200 and Rs. 2,000 to 4,000 to be wired home at the end of every month.
At first, the ‘Janta Curfew’ was to last a day. However, it was extended for eleven days and then further on. I have a little bit of information of the Covid-19 virus: I understand the distress due to unemployment and flu symptoms are being considered Corona virus-positive, yet nobody has seen the virus. I have still to see a single patient affected by the virus. We waited for two and a half months for work to restart with a new worry each day. Life was going by the grace of Allah.
Since there were no earnings during our stay there and the lockdown was extended even further – we decided to head back to Uttar Pradesh. I organised a truck through my mobile phone by contacting a friend. I do not use a smartphone as I cannot read Hindi or English, only Arabic. While the drive usually lasts 24 hours, this drive took 48 hours since we stopped for thirty minutes every 5 hours, and there were unexpected challenges that I attended.
Upon reaching the village, we were tested and instructed to home quarantine for sixteen days.