Name: Mohammad Mushiq
Hometown: Saidanpur, Barabanki District, Uttar Pradesh
Occupation: Vegetable Vendor
Returned from: Lalpur, Nepal
Mohammad Mushiq found work in Nepal earlier this year as a vegetable vendor. It was through his mobile phone he first of the Covid-19 virus and faced the fear of his mortality. He was afraid he would not see his family again and be confined to his house till the virus has eradicated. Since the earnings were higher in Nepal, he used Rs. 12,000 from his savings for the 200k.m. journey back to Uttar Pradesh.
Interviewer: Why did you leave and not consider waiting for work to resume? Share the details of your journey.
Mohammad Mushiq: I worked with my parents in Lalpur – a small town in Nepal. I went there four months ago as there was no work here. While I was earning a sufficient amount, I learned of the Covid-19 virus in March 2020. In the subsequent days, I received information on my smartphone, in the following days, all local businesses were shut. I would die if I were to get infected, so, I continued isolating with my relative. As the lockdown eased, he suggested I leave for home because there is a possibility of the lockdown extending further.
To be with my family, I began walking towards the Nepal-India border. It was a 36k.m. walk to Rupaidiha, along with others making the same journey to their village in India. The Nepal police inquired only once and allowed me to continue with my journey, and the next stop was by the Indian Border authorities. I was issued a pass; the temperature was checked, the Aadhar Card was verified, and given a bus-ride till Lucknow. The Pradhan greeted me upon arrival in the village, and I quarantined for the next fourteen days.
Interviewer: How has the Covid-19 virus affected your livelihood?
Mohammad Mushiq: The days I spent at home before the lockdown, I was not doing well; neither I am now. Life was going then, and it is still going today. Once the lockdown is lifted, I will go back to Lalpur. The demand of the workers has reduced at the moment. While some labour work has resumed in full capacity, mine has not.