Tamil Nadu

Family takes precedence for these Mumbai returnees who tested positive

Back in Madurai they hope to recover soon and support their loved one

For 40-year-old Monish* it was a daunting experience to stay indoors for around 50 days at Malad in Mumbai. Hailing from Kottampatti block in Madurai, Mr. Monish works for an employer in Malad and sells electrical appliances, vessels and household items and collects instalments from the customers to be paid to his employer.

However, in the absence of income since the imposition of the lockdown, Mr. Monish says that it was disheartening for him to listen to his wife and children in Madurai struggling to feed themselves during the period. Also, with increasing positive cases reported in Mumbai, the fear of contracting COVID-19 infection was growing bigger for Mr. Monish and around 10 of his colleagues. Hence, they all procured e-passes and travelled in a bus with other persons to reach Madurai on May 11.

However, tests conducted upon their arrival indicated that Mr. Monish tested positive for COVID-19 and he was one among the nine positive persons from the district which was reflected in the bulletin on Thursday.

“After being anxious for weeks in Mumbai during the lockdown, we travelled in the bus for two days with the hope that we would take up some odd job in Madurai and earn a decent income to make sure that our families can have three meals a day,” he says.

Gowtham*, 44, from Kottampatti block, who also works with Mr. Monish, tested positive. He says that it has been around 11 months since he met his family. “Since I could not get a job in Madurai, I left for Mumbai last year to take up this job. Even though I had to struggle to learn a new language and get accustomed to a new city, I worked hard as this was the only means of livelihood for our family,” he says.

“But, even after returning from Mumbai, I was quarantined and was unable to meet my family. I wonder how tall my son and two daughters are now,” he adds.

These men say that they toil throughout the day to earn ₹10,000 as income every month. “We spend around ₹2,000 and send the rest of the income to our families. Sometimes, our expenditure is higher as we need to buy new clothes to look presentable,” says Harish*,32, another colleague who tested positive.

But, the lockdown had robbed them their income, leaving their families to the brink of starvation, he adds.

“But, now at least we are sure about our health status after the testing. We are hoping that we will recover soon and support our families during these testing times,” says Mr. Monish.

(*All names have been changed based on request)

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:04:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/family-takes-precedence-for-these-covid-19-returnees-from-mumbai/article31593473.ece

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