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Coronavirus Pandemic

A roller-coaster moment for a disabled couple who lost savings

indian five hundred rupee notes on wooden table

Imagine going from a moment of joy to pain and back again in just a matter of days. Living in the remote village of Erode in Kerala, India, K Somu and his wife Palaniammal, both in their fifties, went through a roller-coaster of emotions recently.

Struggling to get by during the lockdown, the couple were relieved to discover savings worth INR 24,000 from the sale of a cow five years ago. Some, who are blind, and Palaniammal, who has a physical disability, earn a living by selling incense sticks and camphor in the locality.

However, during the lockdown, they were unable to go out and sell their products. Their savings too, had run out.

“So, our joy knew no bounds when my wife and I found our savings of Rs 24,000 from the sale of our cow five years ago,” Somu was quoted as saying in a news report.

This came as a blessing as the duo approached the bank only to discover that the currency notes that they had stashed and forgotten about were no longer valid and had been discontinued.

The two were distraught as the bank expressed its helplessness in accepting the currency notes that were banned by the Indian government in 2016.

But taking note of the media reports, Erode Collector C Kathiravan decided to donate to the couple Rs 25,000 from his salary, to enable them to tide over these difficult times.

The news is being shared across social media as a gesture of compassion by a senior official, but it also indicates the struggles that persons with disabilities are undergoing due to the ongoing pandemic.

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