Meghana Sastry is a photojournalist from Bangalore, the silicon valley of India . She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication. With a passion for storytelling, she is a well known for her tenacity and photo stories coupled with...
Every year artists from West Bengal make Bengaluru their home for 4 months. However, 2020 has been different. Due to the ongoing pandemic most sheds are shut and very few artists have been flown into the city. As instructed by the local authorities, idols could not exceed 4 feet in height and all of these factors together hit the livelihood of these artists.
Malliga (56) says that the family has been in the pottery business for generations and they don't know any other kind of work. Every year, they start making fresh idols soon after the month of dassara by taking loans and are now stuck in a terrible situation not knowing their way out. She said - "how do we repay our loans? We can't even pay the interest amount.We have made 4,000 idols of Ganeshas in total and have taken up spaces in 3 houses. We haven't even or any of our bills for the last 4 months. and wonder when the government will snap the electricity and water supply to our homes. We have nothing to eat and have been surviving on what volunteers have been distributing."
Artists eagerly wait for the festival season each year to bear fruits of an entire year's hard work. But 2020 has been cruel. When the unexpected COVID-19 hit the country and lock-down was imposed, they just like everyone else thought it wouldn't last more than a few months and life will return to normal. However, on learning that this pandemic is here to stay for a long time they are left to wonder what the future holds for them as they have seen no sales. They have taken loans just like every year to help them procure materials and keep them going until this period and now are choked. The unexpected Corona has left them hanging. With pending bills and leans to clear, they wonder when the electricity connection and water supply will be snapped. They have been living off the ration distributed to them by volunteers and other organisations.