Karnataka: PT instructor to mango plucker within a month due to lockdown | Bengaluru News – Times of India


KOLAR: Plucking mangoes in groves near his village, Narasimha says he has several thoughts running through his mind. Any honest work done to earn money is honourable, feels the former PT teacher. Then again, having lost two jobs in quick succession, he has thought of ending his life, apprehensive about how he will feed the dozen-odd family members dependent on him.
It has been a rough ride for the 37-year-old, who until recently was PT teacher cum coordinator at Vardhi Public School at Mallanayakanahalli village, about 110km from Bengaluru on Mulbagal-V Kota Road. A graduate who received an honorary doctorate for his achievements in folk arts, Narasimha is currently out of work as the school is closed for the lockdown, and receives only part of his salary.
Narasimha says he worked with various art troupes to pursue his passion but it paid little so he joined the school. He became a mason soon after the school shut, and made about Rs 450 a day, working with a contractor in his village, Dommasandra village in Mulbagal taluk. After a fortnight, though, the construction work was stopped and that earning dried up too. He now plucks mangoes for a daily wage of Rs 300.
“My aged parents and some 14 family members are dependent on me. All the valuables in the house have been pledged and my earnings are barely enough to keep the household going,” says the father of two. “I have dark thoughts of ending my life but with so many people depending on me, especially my sister and her ailing husband, there’s no option but to pull on.”
Till the lockdown, Narasimha was paid a decent salary, but over the past two months, the school has paid him Rs 10,000. “The school management was kind enough to pay salary even during the previous lockdown, but owing to a resource crunch, they cannot pay in full,” Narasimha says. His wife Srilatha, who worked as an attendant in a private school, has not been paid for two years. The government’s relief package, he says, will not benefit non-subject teachers. “Many teachers I know are working in fields or as loaders in godowns.”
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Sagar Biswas

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