Lockdown forces many to change professionUpdated: May 25, 2020 01:30 IST
For the past 14 years, Kalyan Harale, a resident of Ulhasnagar, used to leave his home around 7am to reach his office in Santacruz. The lockdown announced on March 22 changed it all. The real estate firm shut, leaving Harale, who worked in the administration section, jobless.
Faced with the responsibility of his wife, 22-year-old engineering student son and elderly parents, the 48-year-old decided to start selling vegetables on a cart in Siddharth Nagar in Ulhasnagar.
“It has been two months now. As I saw residents struggle to get vegetables in the initial phase of the lockdown, I decided to do the job,” said Harale.
“I got in touch with local vegetable traders and started to sell vegetables on a hand cart. I earn around ₹300 a day and make half of my monthly salary, but we are managing.”
Harale is one of the many who had to change their means of livelihood to sustain the lockdown.
Another case in point: Raju Bausakar, 52, a resident of Dombivli, who has a photocopy shop near Brahman Sabha hall in Dombivli (East), now sells biscuits and bread outside it. “Since I opened my shop 30 years ago, I have never shut it for such a long period. I used to earn at least ₹15,000 a month. One of my daughters work, but I don’t like sitting idle. I go out and earn whatever little I can. I set up the stall at least thrice a week,” said Bausakar, who lives with his wife and two daughters.
For Smita Palsekar, 47, a Kalyan resident, whose husband is bed-ridden after an accident, and who has two school-going children, not earning was not an option.
“I have a fabric shop in Khadakpada in Kalyan (West), which has been shut for two months now. I used to earn around ₹60,000 a month. I now sell vegetables at housing societies, which give me permission to enter,” said Palsekar.
She hired a pick-up for ₹15,000 a month to transport and sell vegetables. She earns around ₹1,500 a day. “I have got several regular customers in housing societies. I also take orders in advance,” she said.
Santosh Gupta, 36, who has a laundry shop at Adharwadi in Kalyan, now goes out on a bicycle every morning to sell bananas. His family of three is in Madhya Pradesh.
“I came to Kalyan as a construction worker and later opened a laundry shop. After the lockdown was announced, my friends gave me the idea of selling bananas. I get ₹40 for a dozen and manage to earn ₹800 a day,” said Gupta.
“I have to send at least ₹10,000 to my family. I used to earn around ₹40,000 from the laundry shop, but I have to adapt to the changing circumstances. It is better than not earning at all.”