Mounika’s Story No 2
Mounika (as she would like to be known) arrived in Wales from India in Christmas 2021 with her husband and son. In this, her second story, she writes about her experience of COVID and lockdowns in India. In her previous story Mounika wrote about her life in her hometown of Krishnanagar and in Chenai and Calcutta after she got married and had her son. In her next story she writes about her life after she arrived in Cardiff and her hopes for the future. Her stories are filled with experiences of arrivals and departures and running through them her desire to belong and connect.
Chapter 2: Lockdown in Krishnanagar
In March 2020 lockdown started. Everyone was staying at home, all offices were closed and everyone had to work from home. At first in India everyone was very much afraid. We were watching the news. If someone was dying in the house no-one came to take them out. If anyone tried to help, they would be infected. Neighbours couldn’t come. Everyone was very much afraid. I saw in the news three members of the family with Covid. A taxi driver took his car and decided to take them to the hospital. The next day he died. So much horrible news. My husband said, “don’t look at the news or you will be depressed.” We couldn’t go out. Everything was closed. In India no home-helps could come into the house. We paid our help six months fees because otherwise how was she going to live?
Then six months was over, and lockdown is a little bit less. Cars were moving but trains were not running. We had a car, so we all went back to Krishnanagar. My husband could work from home.
Then in October 2020 my in-laws were affected by Covid. They tested positive and we tested negative. My mother-in-law was very much affected. In India if anyone is affected by Covid they close the door. You can’t go out and you are totally locked in the house. My family, my brothers my neighbours supplied food and medicines outside. That lasted 14 days.
My in-laws have a big garden and then my son was feeling good actually. All the time he was playing with grandfather. My husband felt happy because for one and a half years he stayed with his family. Before we left my son was all the time gardening. Birds, fish. He took care of them. And he planted trees. He was three years old at that time. My parent’s house was also nearby.
My son only had two months at playschool when lockdown started. Then after six months we found out that online classes will be started. This type of playschool – lots of activity. Collecting things. At that time, I was busy with my son. We were dancing, singing, making food, making bubbles – lots of activity they were doing.
When my son was three and a half we decided to put him into another school – one of the good schools in Calcutta. It was an English medium school. Me and my husband were interviewed and we were selected. It is one of the best schools in Calcutta. There are still online classes, but we are in Krishnanagar. They started in April 2021 and my son said, “Oh no, online classes, what is this?” But study time was playing only so my son was interested, and he joined the online classes every day.
In August 2021, my brother got married and were feeling very happy. My brother’s wife is very good, very pretty and a very lovely girl. My son also very much liked her. Then my husband got a chance to join this company in the UK and visa process started. We don’t know this country. It is my first time out of India. I was a little bit afraid.