Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Where tears are hard to fight back and fears abound

- Hemendra Chaturvedi hemendra.chaturvedi@htlive.com

Agra brothers lose both parents within five days; grandparen­ts deal with the enormity of the responsibi­lity that has fallen on them, need aid from the government

AGRA : Destiny shattered the world of two Agra brothers, aged 13 and seven, as they lost their parents to Covid-19 within five days in May. The younger of the two boys is finding it especially hard to come to terms with the loss. It has become difficult for him to reside in the same house in the village where his parents lived as their memories haunt him and the tears are impossible to fight back. Helplessne­ss is writ large on the face of the 71-year-old grandfathe­r as he deals with the enormity of the responsibi­lity of bringing up the two boys at Gudhi Rampuri Chandrasai­ni village in Bah tehsil of Agra district. His wife, 69, is a cancer patient and he underlines the need for government aid for the boys.

The younger child, aged seven years, is a student of class 5 and the elder, aged 13 years, is a student of class 9 at a school in a nearby village.

“I will leave no stone unturned to have my grandsons educated although there are financial constraint­s. Both my son and daughter-in-law were earning before they breathed their last,” says the grandfathe­r.

Till Covid turned their world upside down, all of them had been staying together.

“I lost my son and daughterin-law within a span of five days because of Covid-19. I have little choice but to live for my grandsons now,” he says.

The grandfathe­r is employed as a security man in Delhi, but visits his village from time to time. He has no land to his name, nor any pension. He worked in the private sector all his life.

“My daughter-in-law aged 37 was a shiksha mitra (para teacher). She died after being infected by the coronaviru­s on May 10 despite receiving treatment at a hospital in Agra,” he says. “Within a span of five days, I also lost my son, aged 41, to Covid. He was employed with a constructi­on company. With his death, my grandsons lost both their parents and the responsibi­lity of raising them has fallen on me,” he says.

“I have to go to Delhi for work. My grandsons are taken care of by my wife, who is a cancer patient,” he says.

“A sub divisional magistrate was in the village recently and talked to me. But we are yet to get any financial aid from the government. Till then, I have to carry out the responsibi­lity of taking care of my grandsons so that they do not feel orphaned,” he says. “However, we need government help as both my wife and I are old. We may not live long enough to see my grandsons settled. The government should ensure government job for my grandsons (when they grow up),” he says.

I lost my son and daughter-in-law within a span of five days because of Covid-19. I have little choice but to live for my grandsons now

GRANDFATHE­R, 71-year-old

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