Only black coffee and pazhaya soru. Jewels pawned. Life in Dooming kuppam

Some families residing in the sea-facing Dooming Kuppam are having only black coffee at home. Because they don’t have the money to buy milk.

It is a hand-to-mouth existence.

L. Sindumati, a resident works at Amma Unavagam near Light House. She lives in a small kutcha house with her husband and son.

Says Sindumati, “My husband works as a painter. But since the lockdown, he is not getting any work.¬† He used to earn some Rs.2,500 a week. With that money and my salary, we managed to run the family. My son works as a helper at an old age home. But he too has not received salary this month.”

Sindumati says they pawned her jewels to buy essentials. “Now we cannot afford milk. We don’t have any jewels to pawn.¬†Hence, we drink only black coffee every day. I buy a local coffee powder for one rupee and borrow some sugar from neighbours to make it. We drink just that three to four times a day. I get to have one meal a day as I work at Amma Unavagam.”

This life is replicated in many a home in this sprawling kuppam, on the seaside of San Thome High Road. Not all are fisher-folks; most are daily wage earners of have small steady jobs.

They are all waiting for the state government dole of Rs.1000 and essentials at ration shops.

40-year-old Usha, also a Dooming Kuppam resident now uses less oil for cooking as her family cannot afford to buy oil. Her husband is also a painter who has become jobless following lockdown. Usha has two sons. One is studying at a Chennai Corporation school and the other at a local college.

Says Usha, who is a homemaker, “On the day of lockdown, we stocked some veggies, rice and dhal with the money my husband gave. However, all that has got over now. Ration shops give only 1 kilo each of rice, dhal which is not sufficient for the entire month. So now I use less oil to cook veggies, and sometimes boil them in water, add salt and serve. We have leftover rice soaked in water ( pazhya sadham). ”

“I don’t know how we will manage to have food in the coming days. We are just praying to god and hope that the crisis will end soon,” she says.

  • File photo used here was shot when a fire broke out in Dooming kuppam some months ago

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