As a result of the rapidly growing positive coronavirus cases in the country, the Andhra Pradesh State Government has announced that the entire state will be under lockdown until 31 March, 2020. With Vizag reporting its second COVID-19 case on Sunday, the district authorities are taking measures to curb the spreading virus. The residents of the city too, are following the suit by observing social distancing norms. While most of the individuals have the option of working from home, it isn’t the same in the case of the blue-collar workers. However, a considerable number of households, in the city, are sanctioning paid leaves for their housemaids. It certainly is a welcome move during this time of crisis.
Speaking her mind on the need to allow the domestic helpers to take time off, Dr Radha Chintala, the founder of Life Transformation at Akkayyapalem, feels that their safety is equally important. “My husband and I started working from home last week. We thought that our maid should also get the option to limit social interactions. So, we have paid her this month’s salary and asked her to stay at home,” she shares. Regarding spending her time during the lockdown, Dr Radha says that she’s now involving her four-year-old son in the daily chores. “I’m reading books, cleaning up my place and cooking for my family”, she adds.
Another resident of Vizag, Sree Karuna, believes that in every adversity, there is an opportunity. Sharing how she’s managing kids at home, she says, “We Indian women are so used to having housemaids that we seldom assign any tasks to our kids. This self-isolation period, in a way, is helping my kids to be more responsible, self-reliant and practice basic life skills of cooking and cleaning. Now, with the househelp on leave, my elder one helps me with cleaning the home and the younger one fills water and cleans plates. A sense of responsibility has definitely been instilled in them now”.
Balancing the work and household chores isn’t an easy task, especially during chaotic times like these. Asserting the same, M Tanuja, a resident of Kirlampudi Layout, says, “My maid stopped coming from 18th of March. I won’t deny it gets quite taxing at times. But the brighter side of the story is that now we are helping each other and working as a team. This is indeed a reminder of how important our domestic helpers are in our lives”.
Pointing out that cooking for family round-the-clock ain’t a cakewalk, T Jhansi, from Siripuram, Vizag, says, “Staying at home and dedicating your entire time to your family is a good sign. But, it’s equally tough to suddenly adjust to the new scenario of not having housemaids. Cooking three meals, cleaning, mopping, washing clothes, and other household chores can sometimes take a toll on our physical and mental health. Even if we have partners and family members assisting in everything,” she opines.
Anjali Dange, a resident of Shriram Panorama Hills at Madhurawada, says the housing society has advised the members to sanction leaves to the housemaids amid the coronavirus pandemic. Being the founder of Starlite Nutrition and Wellness Center, she’s currently offering phone consultations. “We are helping clients plan their meals with the essentials they have. Family wise, I have brought some activity books for the kids to do, so that they don’t have to go out. Our vegetable garden has started yielding some veggies now, so it helps us stay in without visiting vegetable markets often”, she adds.