It isn’t easy to be a barber during pandemic and lockdown times
For barber P.K. Kunhimohammed, the lockdown has compounded his miseries. He lost his unborn child during the peak of COVID-19 after his pregnant wife developed complications.
Forced to remain at home without work for over a month, Mr. Kunhimohammed’s family is surviving with the cash borrowed from his friends. His shop at Alachully, near Kottakkal, has remained closed for over six weeks. “We faced the worst of helplessness and misery during the days I spent at Government Medical College, Manjeri, with my pregnant wife. With hardly any cash in hand and no work, we tested positive for COVID. And soon my wife lost our child in premature labour. It was traumatic,” said Mr. Kunhimohammed.
Barbers are skilled class of people who hardly get any relaxation during the lockdown. “It’s because of our nature of work. As we deal with the hair and beard, we work in close proximity to people. So chances are more for the spread of the virus,” said Abdul Salam T.T., a barber at Chappanangadi.
For Mr. Salam, the lockdown has brought in added worries about repaying the cash he borrowed for his house work. “I have a few loans. The repayment worries apart, life has almost ground to a halt,” said Mr. Salam, narrating his situation.
Many barbers across the State are going through hardships. “Ours is not an isolated case. Everybody is suffering. So let’s adjust to the woes, and there’s no point complaining,” Mr. Salam said. Although jobless, he was in the forefront to help a couple of carpenters who moved in from Palakkad.
Siddeek T.T., a barber at Villur near Kottakkal, too shared the same experience. “Most of us are going through debts. It is the biggest problem,” he said. A section of barbers, however, are managing to gain their daily bread by going to houses for work. In villages, some people are going to their barbers’ houses. But many have paid a price by contracting COVID in the mean.
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