Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Deepavali in a scrap yard

G Bootheswaran works at a scrap company in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur. This year marks his eighth Deepavali celebration away from his family in Chennai, India, as the Covid-19 pandemic increases his workload and keeps country borders closed.

Other News

Churchill mosque painting sold by Angelina Jolie smashes record

The painting of a Marrakech mosque at sunset is a piece of both political and Hollywood history.

Over half of Malaysians struggling to meet expenses with current income, survey shows

A similar number say they are dipping into their savings to make ends meet.

1,555 kes baru Covid-19 dikesan hari ini

Kes aktif dengan kebolehjangkitan pula kini berjumlah 25,542.

Hospital swasta sedia peroleh vaksin dari sumber lain

Hospital swasta boleh digerakkan untuk melengkapkan usaha kerajaan dalam memastikan majoriti penduduk mendapat vaksin.

New cases inch lower to 1,555

2,528 recoveries, six more deaths.

It’s hard and heavy work, and Bootheswaran often works alone as local workers have been reluctant to come on-site since Covid-19 was detected in the country earlier this year.

He spends his days going through piles of waste, separating paper, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, aluminium tins, and old wires which need to be categorised before being sold to third parties for recycling.

Bootheswaran works from dawn until dusk, sometimes continuing late into the evening.

It’s often lonely for Bootheswaran, who has not seen his family in eight years. At work, he finds happiness and companionship in the dogs who roam the yard.

He will spend Deepavali alone again this year, but he still performs his daily rituals in the humble shack where he lives.

His phone is his one line of communication with his loved ones in India. At night after work, he lies on the floor and listens as his wife updates him on their three children.

Bootheswaran gets up bright and early on Deepavali morning and changes his normal T-shirt for one he keeps for special events. Even though he is alone and far from home, he looks forward to celebrating the occasion.

For breakfast, he can do little better than the plain water he has every day.

Before leaving, he pauses to greet his dogs.

Mindful of the occasion, he also performs his prayers and rituals.

Dressed up in his best, and with the face mask that has become an obligatory part of everyone’s wardrobe, he leaves his small shack.

His happiest moments are spent greeting his friends and exchanging Deepavali wishes.

While he celebrates Deepavali alone this year, there is always hope that he will one day be able to reunite with his family and friends.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Dawn after Deepavali, Indians awake to choking smog in northern cities

After the festival angry residents complained on social media of breathing difficulties and stinging eyes.

Deepavali, community and Amma Asha Devi

Discrimination tarnishes the chance for many to celebrate anything.

Agong, Permaisuri ucap selamat menyambut Deepavali

Ucapan tersebut disampaikan menerusi satu hantaran di akaun Facebook Istana Negara.

Jangan lupa SOP ketika sambut Deepavali, pesan PM

Meskipun negara masih bergelut dengan pandemik Covid-19 Deepavali tetap disambut dengan meriah esok.

3 orang satu kenderaan dibenarkan, kata menteri

Keputusan itu berkuat kuasa serta-merta dengan syarat penumpang dan pemandu itu dari rumah yang sama.