Photographed by Hameeda Khatun, Uzma Khatun, Samreen, Nazia.
“Stay at home, stay safe. Just chill out at home, everyone told us,” murmur many young women in long distance phone calls, voice notes and Whatsapp messages, tenuous lines keeping us together during lockdown.
But when all the family members are stuck at home, 24 x 7, who gets to rest and who has to do all the work?
To explore this seemingly simple binary, Lucknow based Sadbhavna Trust organized a weeklong photography competition for women and girls in local neighbourhoods, and asked them to go, look, see – kaun kaam pe, kaun aaraam pe.
This Life in Six curates a week in the life of Muslim girls in Lucknow mohallas during the Covid 19 pandemic led lockdown.
“Sometimes they want tea, sometimes food…God knows what all they want all the time!” Huma Firdaus
“You have to keep cleaning up again and again. You don’t get a moment to yourself.” Neelam Nishad
“There is no question of rest!! The men now stay at home the whole day!” Huma Firdaus
“Whenever they ask, you have to get up and make tea for them. That is besides cooking all their meals. There is a mound of dirty dishes piled up as well.” Neelam Nishad
“If someone asks for anything to eat or drink, it’s the women and the girls in the house who have to be at everyone’s beck and call. Why can’t they ask the men to do some housework also? Or why don’t the men themselves offer to help?” Sabiha
“Earlier, after wrapping up cooking, we would step out for a bit, meet our neighbours. But now, all that has stopped. We can’t even meet our friends anymore.” Huma Firdaus
“When we put up this post on Facebook about ‘Work or Rest’, everyone agreed that it is the women and girls who have to do all the housework.” Shazia
“You don’t have time to sleep, nor do you get to use the mobile. One can’t even talk to friends anymore.” Neelam Nishad
“The whole day one is working round the clock and yet we say, ‘It’s all right’. What the hell, how is it all right?!” Sabiha
“We can’t go up to the terrace, can’t even stand at the door. The whole day is spent in the kitchen. How morning turns to evening turns to night, I don’t even come to know anymore.” Huma Firdaus
“Sometimes I feel that COVID 19 has robbed all us of our humanity not only in public sphere, but also within our own homes.” Sabiha