Mala* is a 35 year old seamstress. Her husband has a complicated medical history and has now partially lost his sight. He used to be the main breadwinner, but can no longer go to work. Their three daughters are studying at a government school in Kotte and since last year when education went online, it has been a struggle.
The family have only one mobile phone between them and spend money they do not have on data cards. The girls have to take turns to attend online classes. This causes constant disagreements and is a source of much tension. With their income drying up, the family decided to rent out their small flat and shift to an even smaller place so that they could pocket the difference. So they moved from Thalangama to Obeysekerapura.
But the demand for Mala’s expertise in this new neighbourhood is non-existent. No one in Obeysekerapura is attending weddings or going to a party. Everyone is just trying to survive. To make matters worse, their house in Thalangama has had no takers.
Now, in desperation, unable to pay their rent or find a tenant, the family have decided to move back to their own home. Meanwhile, her husband’s condition continues to worsen.
*Name changed to protect identity.