Struck by grief and loss, teen’s life a daily struggle

Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouth while for others, life is a daily struggle.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down for Mettu Navaneetha, dashing her dreams and hopes to the ground. Her father Sailoo, a rickshaw puller, passed away three years ago, leaving her mother Lakshmi, a labourer, to shoulder the responsibility of the family.

Staying in a modest single-room house, Lakshmi developed COVID-like symptoms of fever and running nose on May 25. Due to financial crunch, Navaneetha could not admit her mother in a hospital. Finally, with the suggestion as well as financial assistance of a few relatives, the teenager decided to take her mother to a government hospital. But as luck would have it, Lakshmi died on the way, lying on the seat of an autorickshaw.

Navaneetha brought the body back home in the same auto, but was shocked to realise that none of her neighbours even cared to look out of their window, let alone helping her with the funeral.

“The body was wrapped in a cloth and sent to the graveyard. Everyone left Navaneetha to her fate. Being a relative, I am taking care of her. She is staying with us, but for how long is the question,” Gouri, a relative, says.

Unsure about her future, a hapless Navaneetha says, “I am pursuing my second year intermediate studies at a government junior college. My mother used to work as a labourer at a high school and the authorities were kind enough to employ me in her place. The amount they are offering is allowing me to survive”.

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