A shanty, expectant mother, doting husband and Coronavirus lockdown in Delhi

By Ankur Sharma

New Delhi [India], Mar 26 (ANI): She would become a mother in about a month from now. But the country-wide lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19 has swept away the joys of Sapna, a daily wager in the heart of Delhi.

"I am clueless about how we will survive in future. The situation is worse as I am pregnant," Sapna told ANI.

Sapna and husband Sanjay make their ends meet doing odd jobs for about Rs 200 to Rs 400 a day. They live in a tent and call it home, at Jantar Mantar- a place that galvanised some of the country's biggest movements including anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's hunger strike in 2011 and protest against Nirbhaya gang-rape in 2012.

In one of the toughest measures worldwide against covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday ordered a stringent countrywide lockdown for 21 days to cut the chain of coronavirus. And that snapped the daily earnings of Sapna and Sanjay at such a crucial time of their life.

"We are daily wagers and used to get money after working daily. But due to this lockdown, we have no money. I had got about 100 rupees by picking up garbage," Sanjay said.

Delhi has reported 36 positive Covid-19 cases so far. On Thursday, as many as 800 people had to be quarantined after they came into contact with a mohalla clinic doctor, who was found positive for the virus.

Health experts say tough measures, such as la ockdown, are must to escape a tidal wave of infections in a billion plus strong population.

"To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family... every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown," Prime Minister Modi said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.

The Central and state governments have assured uninterrupted supplies of food and essential items to the public. Emergency services are exemp from the lockout.

Several private sector companies, religious bodies and NGOs are coming forward to help the distress on the road.

Yet, the plight of Sapna and Sanjay seem to be dodging the sight of some good samaritans. The couple haven't had a proper meal for the last four days.

"We had just 1 kg of rice for us, which is now finished," the expectant mother told ANI.

As shops, showrooms, restaurants, business establishments, offices and metro trains remain shut, there is very little Sanjay can do to labour and bring home the money. Yet, amidst this gloom, the bond between the couple only seems to have got strengthened.

"I eat only after my wife finishes eating. What she leaves, I eat," Sanjay said.

As the adage goes, this too shall pass off, the crisis would get over- gradually, the couple would find work too.

And Sapna, like her name, dreams that they would soon have a happy and a healthy baby bouncing on their laps. (ANI)