Last month, Sharana undertook a week-long mental health assessment of our women under the Social Entrepreneurship Programme.

photo taken in August 2020

Predictably, uncertainty, lack of income, domestic violence, haze on the academic year for children were among the prime causes of anxiety, but Parameshwari told us that the bombardment of unfiltered continuous coverage of the pandemic on television disturbed her the most, to the extent that when her flower shop opposite a temple shut, she could not get herself to think or act because of fear, anxiety and confusing signals the media was hurling at her. Fortunately though it was also on television that she finally heard a sensible person disseminate correct information about the virus and separate concern from fear, and caution from paranoia.

That’s when Parameshwari decided to get a grip and started to take orders for garlands from relatives and around her neighbourhood. Her income halved but it was better than nothing. Parameshwari’s daughter is a beneficiary of Sharana’s Back to School programme and is pursuing a Diploma course in Nursing. She is the one who set the necessary safety protocols so that her parents could procure flowers from the wholesale market early in the morning and continue her business in safety and hygiene.

photo taken in January 2020- pre-covid

Today the temples have reopened but sales are yet to pick up to pre Covid levels as regular Pooja and Archana aren’t performed. Parameshwari continues to take orders from private parties and has recently even undertaken the delivery of garlands for a wedding. She’s spared domestic distress as her husband is a gentle supportive man. This last sentence isn’t banal nor inane because increase is domestic violence was very real fallout of the lockdown that we must all acknowledge.

-penned by Mrs. Alo Pal, board member.