Bhubaneswar: Not only normal life has come to a grinding halt, it seems that hopes and dreams have also shattered into pieces after hitting the wall of COVID-19 pandemic. With economic activity coming to a standstill, hardly any sector or industry seems to have been spared let alone cinema and theatre.

A portrait of such smudged dreams is an Odia album & Jatra actress, Pratibha Maharana aka Rinki. After becoming jobless, Rinki has swapped her stage for the footpaths of Bhubaneswar where she sells fruits to win bread for her family. Rinki has worked in several music albums and is a known face in the Jatra (theatre) industry.

“My family will starve if I do not work, which is why I am selling fruits here. My father is an elderly person, my mother is suffering from paralysis and I have a younger brother who is studying in class 7. I am the sole bread earner in my family and I have to feed them as well as manage other expenses on medicines and my brother’s education” said Rinki.

Explaining the plight of the theatre & cinema artistes, Rinki highlighted that several actors from the theatre industry had met Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and had sought financial help for artistes like us, but we have not received any help from the government till now.

“I have no ration card or any other pension to survive & sustain my family in a city like Bhubaneswar. Theatre was the only source of my income. I do not feel ashamed of selling fruits on the streets and I'm proud that despite being a woman I can do anything to support my family,” she added.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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