“2020 with its lockdowns has truly been a test of reality. Especially for us wage workers, it has reinstated yet again that in times of a crisis, we are the first ones to be heavily affected as a minority group.
I work at a small roadside shop in a rather quiet corner of the city. I joined here over 10 years ago, with my brother, helping him serve the customers, who pay us a visit during their breaks. You see, a large chunk of our sales happen in the 15-minute window that employees get. They come in to unwind, with a smoke and plate of snacks. Now, talking about the eatables, I get a lot of compliments for the omelettes and chickpea masala I make. They are our best sellers and customers often help themselves to more than one plate. They also tell me that my smile and love for serving is what gets them to come back over and over again.
But little do they know that this smile also masks a lot of pain that stems from my reality. I was born here 40 years ago, with little to no education and into a family that grazes cows for a living. Learning wasn’t given much importance, and time just flew by delivering milk to the depots. And like many women, I was married off too, very young with two kids to take care of soon after. Yet despite the increased responsibility, all I’ve wanted from life since then, is for them to get settled. As a mother, I toil everyday to ensure they get an education and do not fall into the clutches of daily wages, for I know the disadvantages it comes with, particularly in times of an emergency. Even during this pandemic, they’ve seen me go store after store, requesting for work when our shop couldn’t open. A minor weather fluctuation in terms of rain, also means we have to close. Nevertheless, despite our circumstances I’ve decided to take life by the day, with the hope of a better tomorrow! I’m sure education will take my kin up the ladder!”
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