Akansha Pandey took private lessons every night.
Jayanta Ghosh woke up early in the morning so he could get to the office on time.
Mundane chores are a regular feature of every household, but a major difference for these families is that their current addresses are small rooms in various hotels in central Kolkata, where they try to pick up the pieces after a subsidence of the ground, caused by work on the subway, rendered them homeless. The approximately 150 residents left their homes on Durga Pithuri Lane about 14 days ago and have heard nothing from authorities about returning to their homes.
Hotel rooms are too cramped for three or four members to share their space, but they don’t have much of an alternative. Even during chores, doctors come by to check on the sick and students try to concentrate on their studies. “There’s hardly any room but I can’t miss my studies,” said Akansha, a Class X student.
“My father is diabetic and he also suffers from other ailments. We have to take him frequently for tests and checks. We are continuing his treatment from the hotel room,” said Sau, who left his home on Durga Pithuri Lane. “It is very difficult to lead a normal life in two cramped rooms but we have no other choice.”
During the first few days after leaving their homes, which had developed cracks, most of the evacuated families continued to return to their homes, collecting their essential items and also, hoping to hear from the administration on when they can go home. “But how long can we wait? Life must continue. My employer gave me a week off for the emergency, but how long can I be off work? I resumed my duties last week. I get ready in the hotel room and go to the office. After I return in the evening, I complete the pending office work in the hotel room,” said Jayanta Ghosh, another displaced resident.
Most families brought their idols and religious paraphernalia so they could continue their pujas from their hotel room. “Divinity is the only hope in these times of uncertainty. I spend most of my time praying in the hotel room,” said an elderly resident.