Dear fellow humans.
My name is Dara Prasad, born in what used to be one state (it is now two states), Andhra Pradesh, India. My age is 54. I have no family. I am working in a restaurant. From 24th of March onwards, all restaurants and most other places were shut but our restaurant could still offer take aways and delivery service so I was very lucky that I did not lose my job as it happened to millions of people in India and also elsewhere.
Just before the lockdown, I had an accident. To get my wounds treated, I needed to go to the hospital but it was difficult to get there and to come back because all traffic was stopped, so there was no public transport and no autorikshaws. Although it was strictly forbidden to leave the house I did take the chance to go without authorisation. Luckily the police did not stop me.
During the time of the lockdown, I had, originally, planned to go to south India to continue searching for my family. I had run away 39 years ago, at the age of 15, because of the poverty we were living in and because of all the pressures that came along. Also, my father was very abusive. From then on I don’t know what happened to my family. I don’t know where they are today and even whether they are still alive. My family was from a Dalit community so we lived on the outskirts of the village. As migrant labourers my parents used to work at various places. Last year, after years of searching, I eventually found the hamlet where I grew up but no one seems to know where my family had moved on to. So all the time, be it lockdown or not, my mind and heart would be busy with that.
It is very difficult to put in words what I experience with regard to the pandemic people all over this planet are going through (which differs very much, depending on the surrounding one lives in). It feels more like survival than life. And it is sad to see why, during the lockdown, people are responding so differently to the lockdown and to the social distancing orders. Where people have a certain level of financial security both measures may work but for so many others – those millions and millions who lost their jobs, their income, often also their accommodation, and who are either being stranded on the streets of the places they had worked in before or are trying to make their way back home on foot, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away – it means to make a choice between fighting for their daily survival and protecting themselves from the virus. Others, living in crowded conditions, don’t even have that choice. Within a few hours, they have been left without any means for survival and are stuck in surroundings in which distancing is no option.
What I wish is that we, as responsible humans, should not think about countries, continents or races. We all should take individual responsibility to protect the person next to us and we should respect all people on this earth and also care about future generations.