The cruel spell of the pandemic has wrecked families and shattered lives across the State, and the country at large, leaving shadows of uncertainty and despair for those who survived.
The trails of the misery unfolds in a small village in the interiors of Balasore district where the pandemic not only robbed a seven year old girl of her childhood, but put the burden of parenting her one and half month old infant brother at this tender age.
OTV caught up with the little fairy Krishna in a small hut at Nimatpur village in Bhogarai block while she was nursing her infant brother and trying to put him to sleep by swaying a hammock. She gently pushes the hammock, tied to the ceiling of the verandah, careful enough her little brother does not topple over.
Little Krishna takes care of her 45-day-old brother.
"I am raising my brother with utmost care. I feed him cow milk and lactogen. I am living with my grandfather, uncle and aunty and they are all good," said Krishna with an innocent smile on her face.
Just a few months ago, life looked very different for Krishna and her family. Krishna was busy in her online studies and spent time with her parents at home oblivious of the devastation caused by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic outside.
Her mother, Smita Panda worked as a staff nurse at Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre in Cuttack, while father, Kamalesh Panda, was an employee at the headquarters of East Coast Railways in Bhubaneswar.
Krishna was happy as her mother was nine-months pregnant and she eagerly waited for a play buddy to arrive.
However, the world came crashing down for the seven-year-old girl after she lost her parents to Covid-19 in a span of just two months.
At first, Smita was tested positive for Coronavirus infection in April and admitted to a designated Covid hospital in Cuttack for treatment. Smita delivered the baby boy after seven days of admission to the hospital. Though the newborn tested negative for Covid-19 post delivery, Smita succumbed to the virus after seven days of delivery on May 2.
Subsequently, Kamalesh also tested positive for the virus last month and lost his battle for life while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bhubaneswar on June 9.
After losing both her parents, Krishna and her newborn brother were taken into care by her uncle's family who is looking after the two now.
"I am a daily wager and live a hand to mouth existence. I cannot leave the two children of my brother to their own and have brought them home. If the State Government or district administration extends them support, it will secure their future," appealed deceased Kamalesh's brother, Debasish Panda.
The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated numerous families orphaning many children across the country as well as State. This is one such incident in Odisha and the devastation caused by the virus to families would be felt long after the pandemic is over.