The entire nation is facing difficulties of the lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While many are left jobless, there a few who have become homeless as well. One such story is of a Mumbai woman, who, for the last three months, is left jobless and homeless far from her family in Jamshedpur.
Sonia Das, despite all the grievances, did not give up as she rode 1,800 km on a scooter with her friend Sabia Bano from Pune via Mumbai to her family in Jamshedpur.
After seeing her family from distance, Das and her friend were shifted to a quarantine centre.
“I saw my son and other family members standing on the balcony upstairs from the road outside our house in Kadma Bhatiya Basti in Friday evening before being shifted to Telco quarantine centre along with my friend Sabia Bano who accompanied me all the way from Pune on the Scooty. The administration here got my son here and arranged my meeting with him after I tested negative for coronavirus today,” Sonia told Hindustan Times on Saturday afternoon.
Bano felt feverish while Das developed cough and cold due to which the Jharkhand health department took the duo's samples for COVID-19 tests.
Bano, a Pune resident, sheltered Das at her place after she had to vacate her PG accomodation in Mumbai for failing to pay the rent amid the lockdown.
“I had no money, food, no job and now no room to stay. I had shifted to Sabia’s place in Pune. I tweeted to Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, called helplines of Maharashtra and Jharkhand governments but none was working. I tweeted to (actor) Sonu Sood Sir too but to no avail. Finally, I decided to return to Jamshedpur on my own and left on the night of July 20,” said Das.
Das revealed her husband Abhishek Ghosh is a heart patient and is fitted with implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) machine. “He is not in a position to work anymore and for the past two years, I have been doing jobs in production houses in Mumbai on a freelance basis. I had gone to Mumbai in February for such a job and was supposed to return on March 20 but got stuck there as lockdown came into effect,” said Das.
During their 1,800 km journey, the pair had stopped at ten petrol pumps and three dhabas. During the four days on the highway, Das and Bano faced no safety and security threats.
“We mostly survived on vada-pav and water. Most people took us for boys as our faces were covered with helmets and we were wearing shirts and pants. At some places people did stare at us but we left those places immediately. On the other hand, some locals also came forward to help us and gave food and water. One such person whom we met at the Maharashtra border kept calling Sabia enquiring about our wellbeing and safety,” recalled Das.
It was Das' husband whose repeated requests made Jamshedpur deputy commissioner Suraj Kumar to grant permission to Das and Bano to enter the city.