City Life – Vinti’s Upset Routine, Pataudi Chowk, Gurgaon
Life with corona.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Life has turned upside down for Vinti. Her three children are confined inside the home. So is her husband, auto rickshaw driver Raju.
It’s late morning and this is feeling bizarre.
“I’m usually all alone at home during this time of the day,” she says, talking on WhatsApp video from the isolation of her one-room home in Gurgaon’s Pataudi Chowk in the Greater Delhi Region— the pictures are taken through the screen that connects her to The Delhi Walla.
The coronavirus epidemic has prompted the closure of the children’s school. As for the husband, he is obliged to be at home because of the “janta curfew”, following Prime Minister’s appeal to stay indoors this Sunday. Otherwise Raju is still venturing out on the road with his auto rickshaw, despite his wife urging him not to risk catching the infection. “I’m scared for him,” she says in a complaining tone. He assures her that he uses his “gamcha” as a mask each time a customer boards his auto. Just then the couple’s daughter Neelu pops up in front of the phone screen and starts to smoothen Vinti’s freshly oiled hair.
This display of impromptu affection makes the woman break into a smile.
Turning somber, she looks towards her husband as he talks about his compulsion to continue working. “It will be difficult for our household if I don’t earn at least some money daily.” Yesterday, he spent 12 hours on the road and “I made only 200 rupees.”
Anyways, a strict quarantine is tough for the family to practice. Their room doesn’t even have a window. “Children want to feel the khuli hawa (open air), they like playing under the open sky… but that’s not possible in our house if you remain within,” Vinti says matter-of-factly. She confesses she let her kids go out into the street some time back.
There really isn’t much to do within the walls. The household’s only piece of furniture is a small TV. Now Vinti’s husband will watch the news, while she will start preparing the lunch. Today’s menu — aloo tamatar, shimla mirch subzi and rotis — seems as normal as any other.
A family under an epidemic