This is the story of a migrant who moved from third world country (in eyes of world) to one of world’s most developed country and I have tried to narrate story through his mind and words.
Me Mohan born in a small town of State of Gujarat India where the life is surrounded by farms small hills a small river where 9 months of 12 months there is no water. I studied in a small school in our own native language Gujarati and from standard 5th we used to learn English. I was not a bright student and I was more interested in playing pranks on teachers and fellow student then with books. My parents were working hard in farms to feed the family of 7 (we are 3 brothers and 2 sisters, and I was middle child). My uneducated parents used to tell me study hard and make future instead of living a hard life like them. I thought they did not enjoy their childhood, so they don’t want me to enjoy my childhood.
I completed my school at passing marks and then done diploma in civil in nearby Government College. During college days also I was roaming around, spending the hard-earned money of my parents on food, cloths and smoke. I was enjoying the life of young village boy who had not seen the town life. For a moment I was not thinking how my parents were managing my college fee and my monthly allowance. For them their own child was becoming a graduate and going to be a babu so his life become a good life.
After college (again clearing at passing mark) I faced the reality of hard life as not able to get any job and my family was expecting now support from me. I was seeing stars and dark clouds in middle of hot day. I looked for a job at every option I could have think of, but my result was walking 2 steps ahead of me wherever I go. Finally, I got a job of store clerk in construction company and the pay was so lousy and long working hours. When I got my first salary, I was so thrilled and when I put that money into my parents hand their eyes were sparking with happiness and pride. I was working without heart and as usual because of my age my parents made me married to a simple village girl. I could not afford to bring her to town so every weekend I used to go back and spend the new married life moments. Day by day I was cursing myself for not studying hard. I was keep looking for options to improve my life and then I met an agent who used to take huge amount of money and arrange for a job in Singapore (first time I heard that there is a country like that). I had not enough money so with selfishness I convinced my wife and sold her gold ornaments to move to Singapore for a job.
I got my work permit (I did not know what it was till I landed Singapore) and my agent came to pick me up. I was so thrilled to in a foreign country with lots of high-rise buildings, so may white skin people and everywhere cleanliness. I felt this must be heaven which I had studied in school and my parents used to tell me when I was child. I reached to my new home which was hostel and there were 1000 of foreign workers from different countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar. It was totally a new experience for me to live with different people and in small neat clean room. Slowly my new life started, and I started gaining new experience and everyday evening I used to stand in small balcony and missed my family and my wife (it is irony of life that after marriage you miss your wife more than your parents). First time I went to little India and it was a new experience for me as thousand of migrant workers were there and I felt like I was in a new town of India. First time I sent the money through money transfer and I was thrilled that how easy it was. I used to call my parents once a week and to my wife daily. She was happy that I am earning now money in foreign country, but we are so far from each other.
After 2 years of hard work I got a chance to visit my home and I shopped for everyone as such no tomorrow. When I reached my home there was a festival in my home and I was treated like a hero. I stayed for more than 3 weeks as per my leave entitlement and I was so happy to spend time with my parents and my lovely wife. Me and my wife dreamed that if I get more money by hard work and if Singapore Government allow then I will call her so she can stay with me and we can live the real life of husband and wife.
I came back in January 2020 and suddenly a new virus spread from China to various part of Asia and Singapore got its first case. As a dumb worker I never understand what this virus is but slowly everybody started talking about it. In bus and train everyone started keeping distance from each other as human avoid another human. I was scared but I was sure that Singapore Government is handling everything clearly. By March 2020 the virus spread in India and slowly one by one country got lockdown. It was so difficult to understand for uneducated person like me that how virus can come all the way from China to whole world and how suddenly people are dying.
Our movement had been restricted and one fine morning when I was getting ready for work our hostel suddenly buzzing with activities. We have been informed that our hostel got 5 positive case and to safeguard life of ours as well as other people of Singapore we must remain in our room only. The food and other day to day required items will be provided by Government. There was medical test for each of us and I was feeling like to run away and go to my family who was also in lockdown. Each moment of my day I was remembering the golden moments with my family and the happiness I had with my wife. I am wondering everyday whether I will be alive whether I will able to see my aging parents whether I will again able to hold my wife in my arms. We don’t have any choice other than staying within room and we have been provided free WIFI, so I used to watch movies and keep talking to my family in India. How lucky I am that I am in Singapore where I have been paid my salary though I am in lockdown. There is a money transfer facility in our hostel (specially arrange by Singapore Government) so I can send some money to my family so they can survive.
The life has taken a big turn, and everyone is living with hope that tomorrow will be a new day and the virus will be killed by nature and we all will live normal human life. We all are scared in hostel and Government is keep helping us with all day to day life. The minister come and visit us and explain us that you are not been prisoned but this is for your own safety and I feel so good that I am in safe hands.
The Sun is going to shine again and there will be happiness everywhere. We will back to our hard-working life, I will able to meet my wife and parents soon. I have promised myself that I will be cleaner and follow hygiene, which is now mandatory, but it should be essential in my life. I should wear fresh wash cloths and take shower regularly. I should wash my hands regularly with soap and I should respect others as in this crisis time everyone is coming out to help us as we don’t have family with us.
I Mohan salute the health workers, the security staff and Government of Singapore to protect me and 1000 of migrant workers who has left their families behind for betterment of the life of their families. Without the hard work of healthcare workers and determination of Government the life could be different
12th July 2020