A paralytic father and a mother who has been rendered jobless due to COVID-19 lockdown has forced promising Nagpur-based distance runner Prajakta Godbole to fight extreme hunger with fear of unknown -- from where will the next meal be arranged.
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The 24-year-old Prajakta, who resides with her parents in a Siraspeth slum in Nagpur, represented Indian Universities in the 5000m race at the World University Games in Italy in 2019. She clocked 18:23.92 and could not qualify for the final round.
She finished second in the Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Half Marathon earlier this year with a timing of 1:33:05 in 21.097 km.
Her father Vilas Godbole earlier worked as a security guard but met with an accident and is paralysed now. Prajakta's mother Aruna used to work as a cook at a catering service, earning Rs 5000 to 6000 a month.
The meagre amount Prajakta's mother earned was the only source of income in a family of three. But due to the lockdown, the marriages are not happening and Prajakta and her parents have been facing the stark reality of how they will get the two square meals a day.
"We are now surviving on help provided by people from nearby areas. They gave us rice, dal and other things. So, we are having something to eat in the next two-three days but I don't know what will happen after that. This lockdown has been a cruel thing for us," a distraught Prajakta told PTI
"I am not even thinking of training rather I don't know how will I survive in this situation. Life is very harsh for us. The lockdown has brought ruin to us," she added.
He mother Aruna said she has all the time been thinking when this lockdown will be lifted and she would be able to start her work.
"We are a very poor family but at least we could survive with the money I used to get from my job. I used to get Rs 5000 to 6000 from joining a catering service but I can't do it now. There is no income and we are penniless. We don't know how long we will survive from others' help," she said.
Prajakta said she does not know what to do in these circumstances and whom to approach as they belong to a poor family.
"I don't know what to do, my parents cannot do anything. We can just pray that this lockdown comes to an end. We are just waiting for that," she said.
She said she has also not sought help from any athletics officials in the district or in the state.