Andhra Pradesh

No melody in lives of the visually impaired

A blind couple singing songs to eke out their livelihood in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

They may not be able to see the impact of partial curfew being implemented in view of COVID-19, but could definitely feel it.

Philanthropists’ “generous donations” to the visually impaired artists has come down. They sing songs at roadside shows in the city to eke out a living. Nowadays they find it difficult to make both ends meet, as people, of late, hardly stop at the roadside events.

“Even if I sing 10 songs at a stretch, we are unable to pool enough money to pay for a square meal a day,” says Yohan, a singer. He is one of the many visually impaired artists, who are dependent on roadside music shows.

They visit the city from various places across the State. They team up with different voluntary organisations or associations which help them in making necessary arrangements to organise the shows. Yohan, a native of Vissannapeta, takes help of the Dreams Foundation for the Blind.

There are about 18 members in the group, including graduates, pre-university and high-school educated. Nageswara Rao, a native of Macherla, is one among them. “I am a graduate, but could not find a job. It did not dishearten me. I don’t want to depend on others and be a burden on them. Now, singing songs is a way of life for us,” he says.

“Before the lockdown, we used to connect with society by our songs. The visually impaired singers used to get decent donations. The lockdown choked our lives and earnings. The happiness that the situation was returning to normalcy was short-lived. Now, the singers neither can return home with a pittance nor stay back here,” he says.

Helping hands

Whenever these blind artists visit Vijayawada, Guru Satyam, who owns an auto, extends them cooperation by taking them in his autorickshaw and helps in making arrangements for mike by contacting locals. These singers don’t sit quietly after a performance. They keep practising new songs at the accommodation. “Based on their request, I download karaoke from the Internet. It helps them in singing new songs,” he says.

According to information, the singers invest around ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 on the sound system and auto. The earnings used to be decent. Though, the expenditure hasn’t come down, the income isn’t enough.

Before the lockdown, they used to organise the shows in the evening near Rythu Bazaars, Bandar Road and Eluru Road, near KS Vyas Traffic Complex, Autonagar, Pinnamaneni Polyclinic Road and other areas. Now, the number of roadside orchestras have come down. There are 3 to 4 teams that are actively organising the road shows, say the singers.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 12:07:15 AM |

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