My name is Subbiah V.
I live alone as my wife and daughter are stuck in India due to the lockdown. I don’t consider myself to be vulnerable.
My initial reaction when the lockdown was imposed? Prior to the lockdown itself I personally wanted the shutdown and was looking forward to it as I work in retail. I saw the numbers of visitors going down and I was scared. I work in a large shopping mall and I thought it’s better to close, but couldn’t stop because I wanted to still get paid.
Then the government issued the order and my employer said to go home on full pay. I just kept thinking, what’s going to happen if I lose my job? The fear was there but as the weeks unfolded, we got more clarity. I moved jobs so I couldn’t get furlough as I was not eligible. But my employers are great and have really looked after me, so I am grateful.
The recent crisis affected me personally and I am finding some things difficult to do as a result. The lockdown started on 23 March and that was my last day on the Tube. I just go out for food and cycling, but now it’s been over a month and I’m feeling the pain of being alone.
My mental health is affecting me. It is definitely an issue and the biggest problem many are facing. You can say it’s dangerous being alone. The biggest pain is wanting normality to return. It is tough to be alone without human contact, even at the shops people don’t smile or talk.
My community has reacted well to the crisis. Trust me, bit by bit, the volunteering system has become something absolutely wonderful. There is now a real sense of togetherness.
I have given out leaflets and collected prescriptions for people, and made deliveries for local residents. Others have been super helpful and receptive. I could see so much willing and satisfaction. It has given me the opportunity to meet and chat with people I wouldn’t normally talk to, and also pay back to my community.
Now my neighbours ask each other if they need help with anything. I’m an Indian Brit living in London for 20 years, I can tell you that racism still exists, however this virus has shown that no matter who you are, we have to help each other. It has brought the community together which has been absolutely wonderful to see in this trying time.
I’m proud of the Borough I live in and thank the council for taking all the necessary steps in this crisis. As a volunteer I can see the positive impact this is having on local residents in this time of need and I am grateful.
My elderly neighbour Sylvie is in her 90s and has lung issues so is self isolating at the moment. My 11 year old daughter loves her and calls her nan. I ask if she needs anything, but thankfully she’s alright at the moment.
I’m getting frustrated and am worrying about the future economy. I know life will not be the same and we will have to adapt.
I keep calling my family in India. My family is currently living in Chennai, which is a really big city that has been greatly affected. I am concerned that the people don’t listen and don’t stay home. I am getting my family to order online and stay in rather than having to go out to the shops. My daughter is aware of the situation and keeping updated and so tells me to be careful all the time.
In terms of the social distancing measures, my work and life have been greatly affected. I am coping relatively well but am starting to struggle now as it’s been over 35 days of this new reality. I have not gone to work. I’ve been home and my employers have been very supportive. They even emailed to check in and confirm I’m ok. They said they are sending a parcel with PPE for when we open again.
In retail we will slowly go back to work. The social distancing is worrying me now, how will it work on the tube? I’m sure we will all come out of it even if I don’t know how it’s going to be. We will come out of it. We will find a way.
The small things you do, people react to. So I have learned that we have to give and take and that’s how we help. And that’s how someone should help. I know that society will do its best.
If I had a platform, I would absolutely thank the public for sticking to the rules and the government for updating us and doing a wonderful job. It shows they are working and reacting and now also to the NHS workers and the essential workers.
To each and every person working at the back, keeping things going, don’t get frustrated, and hold on, most of the hard work has been done. Stay together and let’s get this done.