Dubai - Once, she lived happily with her family in an independent accommodation in Dubai, while her husband worked in the telecom sector.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Some of us are mourning the loss of a loved one, while others are trying to make ends meet after losing their jobs or taking a pay cut. The UAE is gradually restoring normalcy even as it reminds residents that the threat is far from over. Through this two-week series, Khaleej Times will feature residents who have endured a loss due to the virus, to remind you that the alarming surge in daily cases is more than just a number. #NextStopZero is a rallying call to get the community to adopt safe practices so as to bring down the infection rate.
Until a few months ago, Kameshwar Jaykumar was a salon manager who simultaneously ran a restaurant in the city and now the woman who once fed many, can barely manage two square meals a day for herself.
Once, she lived happily with her family in an independent accommodation in Dubai, while her husband worked in the telecom sector.
But when the pandemic hit, both of them lost their jobs and the restaurant business declined sharply. "I lost our savings with the restaurant business going down. It is also now caught up in a rental dispute," said Kameshwar.
She is making extraordinary efforts to make ends meet for her family who now live in Andhra Pradesh, India.
Kameshwar is now one among several expats exploring multiple job options before she takes the leap to return to her home country. But even that may not be an easy choice for her.
"We had taken loans in India and now I have completely dried up. I have to stay here for as long as I can, to repay that loan. My son is in class 4 (in India). I don't even have enough to pay for his online classes. He is sitting at home, deprived of education. It breaks my heart," said Kameshwari who was choking on the phone.
"Supporting your child's education with no income and lost savings can be daunting in this city. Besides, rents are high. My husband was unable to find a job and was forced to return to India. Covid-19 has destabilised our lives. It's come down to survival now and we are open to any job," said the woman whose struggle is far from over.
Compelled by the changed circumstances, her husband who at one point of time worked as a manager, in the back office of a telecommunications company has been forced to take up a job as a driver in India. "We need to feed our child and no job is small. That's the least we should do. Due to a rental dispute in my restaurant, people are apprehensive of offering a job and sponsoring my visa. I am stuck and feel like I am in the middle of nowhere," added the native of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
While she spent a month with a relative, Kameshwari didn't want to be a burden on anyone for long. "I am bankrupt and my visa has expired and I have fines to pay but you don't want inconvenience others. So, a friend of mine helped me get in touch with the Telangana Association in Dubai who have been assisting me with finding a bed space at a dormitory in Bur Dubai. I am totally dependent on people's acts of kindness.
"I yearn to be with my family again to see my son and husband. I am hopeful that someday I'll bring them here again," she added.