Mamta Kol has been eating chapati and salt at least two or three times a week ever since her husband lost his job two years ago following the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. The 32-year-old mother of two weighs only 40 kg and often misses her menstrual period due to weakness.
Though community health workers who visit Kol’s village Kothar in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh have told her to include milk and fruits in her diet, she continues to eat the bare minimum – leftovers after feeding her husband and their two sons aged 10 and seven.
“I find it tragically hilarious that these workers ask me to drink milk and eat fruit every day,” said Kol. “There were days when my family had to sleep on an empty stomach.”
Her husband Ramchandra Kol used to work at a factory that made plastic sacks in Ahmedabad. In March 2020, when a nationwide lockdown was announced, Ramchandra’s factory stopped operations and he had to walk for seven days to get back home to his village. More than two years later, though normalcy has been restored, Ramchandra does not dare go back. He now works for daily wages at construction sites in the area.