Name: Mohammad Ayaz
Hometown: Bansa, Uttar Pradesh
Occupation: Embroidery Work
Returned from: Bhupalapalli, Hyderabad
Mohammad Ayaz spent his past six months in Bhupalapalli working as an embroiderer to a small business owner. He visited home in late February and returned to Hyderabad in March. The pandemic was declared almost a month later. Ayaz spent the last of his earnings on food and rent for a month as he waited for work to resume. The family back home contributed to supply essentials for their son. Mohammad received his pass on his smartphone with instructions from the Bhupalapalli police station to wait. Fifteen days later, the policemen were not too certain of the train tickets, instead, they agreed to issue a movement pass. It was then that he rented a vehicle with other locals and made the thirty-six-hour journey home.
Interviewer: How did you manage while stranded in Hyderabad? Share the details of your journey and any obstacles you experienced.
Mohammad Ayaz: The lockdown shut down the only source of income. I share a room with my friend from the village. During the month I was stranded, we continued paying Rs. 1,000 each for rent and Rs. 3,000 on food. When I heard the government is arranging a solution for the migrants across the country, I used my smartphone to register for a train ticket. I waited for fifteen-days before arriving at the Bhupalapalli police station to request the status of my train ticket. The policemen informed us that if the arrangement is not forthcoming from the government, then they will provide us with a movement pass. With others from Barabanki, I received a certificate from the hospital, hired a vehicle for Rs. 15 a kilometre. The three drivers split the driving task, stopping for a total of thirty minutes twice.
I reached home and quarantined for twenty-one days in a separate room. The locals labelled us the virus carriers. I was aware of the facts; I took all the necessary precautions, I stayed inside after my twenty-one-day quarantine to avoid further enhancing the fear; I was not letting what people circulated bother me.
Interviewer: How has the virus affected your lifestyle?
Mohammad Ayaz: At the moment, I am doing nothing. The lockdown has now been partially lifted, yet I await the fall of active cases to make the journey. I do not want to resume my work to go through the same crisis two months later. My situation is not critical right now, I can farm or perform odd labour tasks for Rs. 200 a day. Although, I will regret not being able to socialize as much.
I would like the government to do their jobs. The Prime Minister should end the lockdown and stabilize the country post-pandemic. Famine will occur regardless.