Name: Pankaj Yadav
Hometown: Bansa, Uttar Pradesh
Returned from: Thane, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Pankaj Yadav worked in Thane, Mumbai doing sewing work. His company was one of the few that was allowed by the government to run operations as they manufactured masks. The work lowered gradually, and the struggle for food increased. Pankaj then made the journey back to Uttar Pradesh through the assistance of his employer.
Interviewer: How did the Corona Virus affect your lifestyle? Share the shift in your lifestyle since the lockdown?
Pankaj Yadav: I have been working in Thane, Mumbai since the last two years with my brother. Initially, only my brother was earning for the family, but as we experienced a higher financial turmoil, I dropped out after my first year and contributed to my brother’s earnings. I earned Rs. 16,000 a month.
I use Facebook and WhatsApp on my smartphone to upload photos, socialize, view content, and end up using the applications for 2 – 3 hours a day. In February, I first read about the virus on Facebook. They shared appropriate precautions and the symptoms rigorously, but I did not perceive a spread then. The Indian government announced a three-day lockdown, although, our work of making masks continued due to state-mandated relaxations at 50% salary for only 100 workers. Although the living conditions were not bad, the only struggle was the availability of ration. Initially, volunteers were distributing but, once that stopped, our employer – Jitesh suggested we go back home. The number of cases also were rapidly increasing in Maharashtra.
Jitesh dropped the seven of us to our respective villages in his private vehicle with halting in Bhopal and Nasik. It was the seven of us who lived and worked together. Upon reaching back, I was tested and instructed to quarantine.
I am sure our employer will call us back as soon as the situation improves. He stopped paying salary since we worked on a contractual basis, so I forced to resort to farming for the time being.