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"I never thought the 2020 lockdown would affect me this way. I remember, I used to go to college and coaching classes, and try to earn my pocket money from here and there. But because of the lockdown, everything came to an end and my dreams were shattered," said Shibojit Dey from Kolkata, who was forced to drop out of college due to financial problems and family responsibilities.
It's been over two years since India announced its first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. For many, things are slowly getting back to normal, but for some, the effect of the lockdown is something that can't be undone.
I met one such person from my hometown Kolkata. Shibojit Dey, 22, was enrolled in Sir Gurudas Mahavidyalaya in Kolkata where he was pursuing B.Com. But as the pandemic happened, his life took a different turn.
"Before the lockdown, I was leading a very normal life. But a time came when our financial condition began to deteriorate and my family was under extreme pressure. My father owned a grocery store and our business came to a halt due to the lockdown. The responsibility to run the family fell on my shoulders."Shibojit Dey
He further added, "As I realised that the situation in my home was getting worse, I had to make a tough decision of leaving my studies midway."
Dropped Out of College
The double burden of family responsibility and inadequate finances forced Dey to drop out of college when he was in his second year.
"I had so many dreams of completing my graduation and getting a job, but none of that happened. I lost touch with all my college friends as well."Shibojit Dey
Initially, Dey started working as a labourer at a stone factory. He told me he didn’t get enough money there but continued doing it for his family. After that, he started working as a mineral water distributor.
"The income that came from the water distribution work wasn't enough. I was under a lot of pressure at home. I thought that I would try and continue my studies. We were having online exams then, but when it was time to pay the examination fee, I did not have enough money to do so. I started to focus on my work. I regret not fighting for my education," said Dey.
‘I Wish I Could Have Completed My Education'
What added more to Dey's responsibilities is that his elder sister's marriage got arranged during the same time. Lack of adequate finances forced him to take a loan.
"I was paying the EMIs (Equated Monthly Installments) and the loan while looking after my family’s daily expenses. Times were tough, money was less, and there were a lot of differences at home."Shibojit Dey
But somehow, he did it all. Dey has successfully paid most of the EMIs and also the loan he took for his sister's wedding. But deep down he regrets not being able to complete his graduation. He added, "I still think of my studies sometimes. All I think of is how nice it would have been if I could complete my education."
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)