For the want of fresh vegetables & air

'When will the lockdown end?' A small boy from the NE watches the outside world from a balcony as his mother, a medical frontline worker, leaves for work in a suburb in Delhi. The locality in which the boy’s parents reside fall under COVID-19 ‘Red Zone.’
'When will the lockdown end?' A small boy from the NE watches the outside world from a balcony as his mother, a medical frontline worker, leaves for work in a suburb in Delhi. The locality in which the boy’s parents reside fall under COVID-19 ‘Red Zone.’

Homesick North East people in Delhi share their experiences

 

Ashikho Pfuzhe
Dimapur | May 21

 
As thousands of people from the North East seek to find their way back home from different cities in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also thousands who are obligated to stay back due to various reasons, chiefly work.


They include frontline health workers, central government employees and those working in organized private sectors. The Morung Express contacted some of the NE citizens residing and serving in the national capital to listen to their experiences during this trying time. 


Dr Chakheni, specialist (Obstetrics & Gynaecologist), at ESIC hospital, Gurgaon, hailing from Senapati district stays with her husband and two children in Gurgaon Sector 14, which falls under Green Zone. Six days a week (Monday to Saturday), she drives to the hospital to attend to her patients. 


Sometimes she gets nostalgic thinking about her home, particularly since her younger son has not been there. She not only misses her aged parents, in-laws and siblings but also her favourite dish - banana stem/shoot with freshly harvested potatoes and wild mushrooms. 


Chakheni said people in her neighbourhood are quite composed since the locality falls under Green Zone. However, she has hardly come across anyone who is optimistic about the pandemic being tackled in the next few years. 


“We are all at the frontline battling with the virus. This is the only way to keep the virus at bay. Otherwise, once the virus penetrates to our villages we are all doomed,” Chakeni said. 


Sanjay Das Chowdhury, a 40-year-old executive in a private organization, lives with his family at Mahavir Enclave South, West Delhi. Chowdhury who hails from Assam said since he works from home, he does not have much time for hobbies but watches movies during his free time and takes regular walks around the terrace. 


“Usually, once a week I go out to buy groceries in the departmental store. Other food items we buy from vegetable vendors from the balcony by dropping a bucket tied to a rope,” he said. 


On whether they miss home, he replied, “Yes, very much. We miss the fresh air and evenings when everyone is around. Metro life is so mechanical. Now under lockdown, I feel like a caged animal.” 


On the brighter side, he said after the lockdown everyone is learning how to do household chores. “In Delhi most of us keep maids as people don't have time. After lockdown everyone learnt to wash their own plates and sweeping floors etc,” he added. 


L Eloni, a nursing officer at Lal Bahadur Shashtri Hospital, Delhi, resides at Noida, NCR, which falls under the Red Zone. “Our residential sector is not only under lockdown but is also sealed. No entry or exit is allowed for pedestrians and vehicles except for essential services,” she said. 


A mother of two children, Eloni said commuting daily to her workplace poses a big problem. “There is no public transport. My spouse who currently works from home does the dropping and picking. We reside in UP but the hospital being in Delhi, the to and fro crossing of the interstate UP-Delhi border takes a long time due to strict scrutiny of vehicles,” she said.


During her free time, she attends online class interactions with her son who is in nursery besides tending to her terrace-top garden. 


“The virus will affect our lifestyles for a long time. End of lockdown should be the beginning of outmost precaution by us since things outside one’s home are not under our control,” she added. 


Pouriangthanliu is an assistant professor in a government college and lives with her family at DDA Flats Munirka (Red Zone). With all educational institutions closed down she currently works from home. For essential commodities, her family depends on delivery service and local vendors. The extended lockdown has given her more leisure to indulge in her hobbies-reading and gardening. 
Pouriangthanliu said the lockdown has made her miss home state Nagaland all the more, especially the “smoked meat” and exotic green vegetables.


“We are praying for this difficult time to pass. Stay at home, stay safe,” is her message of solidarity to her dear ones back home.