This is because the 30-year-old is now able to financially support her family during the lockdown.
Located off Loop Road in Marina, Srinivasapuram is a dense colony of over 1200 families. It is home to daily wage earners, fishermen, auto drivers among other odd job workers. They reside at tiny houses across different housing blocks here.
Since long, the B.Com graduate has been on the lookout for a job to augment her family’s income. However, she was unable to find a suitable one as she had to take care of two small children. (Deepa has a four-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter)
Says Deepa, “My husband is working as Corporation’s malaria worker. But his salary of Rs 10,000 is not enough. Following lockdown, we were finding it very difficult to make ends meet as we had additional expenses. So when I knew there was an opening for Covid surveyor here, I instantly took it up as it would fetch us an additional Rs.15,000 per month.”
As the job is around my neighbourhood and does not require much time, it is very comfortable, she says.
Deepa started working as a fever surveyor in early April when the virus had just started spreading in Srinivasapuram. For close to two months since then, Deepa found the work very hard.
“I had to be away from my children for half a day and after reaching home too, it would take another hour before meeting them as I had to take a bath and sanitise. Although my neighbour was there to take care of kids in my absence, the inability to interact with them immediately after reaching home, took a toll on my mental health.”
However, with time, Deepa got used to it and has also learnt to complete her duties quickly.
Now, a typical day for Deepa starts at 7.30 am. Soon after reporting at the ward office at Kamarajar Salai, in R.A.Puram, she starts her survey in the narrow lanes of Srinivasapuram donning mask, gloves and shoes.
Every day, she visits 120 houses that are allotted to her and checks the residents for virus symptoms (fever, cold and breathlessness) till about 1.30 pm. “I have been provided with a thermometer to check people’s temperature. If anyone is found symptomatic, I report it to the Corporation immediately.”
Deepa says that being a resident of the area has helped in identifying several virus cases. “People easily open up to me about their symptoms,” And this Deepa says has helped her identify 7 virus cases at an early stage.
However, she says there is also a downside to it. “Some virus-positive patients and their family members think I’m the reason for the social stigma they face and get angry on me.”
But despite all this, Deepa continues as she has a family to take care. “Also, I have got deeply involved in this social service work now.”