Kolkatta, March 22, 2020: Bengali carpenter Ijarul had to flee Kerala because of the deadly Covid-19 outbreak. Loss of livelihood meant empty food plates for the family. On a whim, he had bought a lottery ticket. He won. What he anticipated as a period of no work and hard times, has now changed.
Bengali carpenter Ijarul had to flee Kerala because of the deadly Covid-19 outbreak. Loss of livelihood meant empty food plates for the family. On a whim, he had bought a lottery ticket. He won. What he anticipated as a period of no work and hard times, has now changed.
In the wake of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, Ijarul, was compelled to leave Kerala, where he worked as a carpenter. With his meager earnings, he could not afford the AC coach and came all the way back to Bengal in a packed train. He then took another passenger train to his home at Mirzapur, in Beldanga, Bengali newspaper Ei Samay reported.
On Saturday, Ijarul was the star of his area, with people visiting his unplastered two-room house, where he stays with his wife, three children and his parents. His wife, who until now could only serve tea and biscuits to visitors, is now serving lemonade.
The family is no longer worried about food on the table, instead, they are looking forward to happier times when Ijarul would not have to be away from them for work.
In his area, the wage for carpenters is between Rs 500 and Rs 600 per day, but in Kerala, it was Rs 1000 to Rs 1200 daily.
Ijarul said that he and his fellow carpenters often had to leave home for work in other states, where the daily pay is more.
Last year, Ijarul had somehow managed to flee Kerala during the floods that wreaked havoc in the state. This year he did the same, except, he did not know what the future had in store.
Ijaraul said, "There is a fear of the Coronavirus, but the fear of no work is even bigger."
He said, "I returned home seven days ago, I was worried about how to run the family once I run out of savings, and that is why I thought of buying the lottery. On Thursday, I became a millionaire."
His neighbour Sabir Sekh said, "They are not very well-off. Ijaraul was compelled to leave Kerala because of the virus outbreak. But now his life has changed."
Najrul Islam, Beldanga 1 Panchayat President said, "Several boys from here who work as carpenters have to go to places like Delhi, Mumbai Kerala in search of work. They will go back to Kerala after the situation becomes better."
But, Ijarul is not going back. His days of toil are over. He now plans to build a big house, start his own business and spend his days with family. He will now be able to pay for his children’s higher education.
"My son will not have to become a carpenter anymore," he said. Why? "He is a millionaire now," his neighbour said.