Struck by tragedy, but no time to grieve

After losing husband to COVID, woman struggling to repay car loan and raise toddler

Bhavani got married to Thadaka Hari Babu on November 22, 2007 in her hometown, Parigi, near Vikarabad. They couldn’t be happier as they moved to Hyderabad soon after in search of work. Over time, the couple bought a Toyota Etios Liva on EMI which Hari Babu deployed for a ride-hailing app. Nearly 12 years after marriage, after a pilgrimage to Tirupati, they were blessed with a child, Girija. Things appeared to go swimmingly well for the family — until April 22, 2021. That day, Hari Babu began sweating and had a mild cough. The family panicked and he went for a COVID test.

The pandemic scenario was beginning to change in Telangana in the final week of April. On April 22, Telangana reported 6,206 positive cases with 29 deaths. The caseload was surging and labs conducting the tests took between 24 and 36 hours to share the results. Three days after the test, Hari Babu learnt that he had tested positive for COVID-19, the couple went to a clinic near Nagole and returned home with medicines prescribed by the doctor.

“He was feeling better, the cough had subsided. But on April 28, after breakfast, he started sweating and had a little cough. My mother-in-law started crying. My panicked brothers arranged a bed at Gandhi Hospital. My husband became breathless by the time we reached the hospital. At 3.45 p.m. as he was being wheeled in for admission, he died,” says Bhavani.

“My world collapsed at that moment,” says Bhavani, cradling her two-year-old daughter.

“We paid EMI of ₹13,700 without a break for the past three years. Now 32 EMIs are pending and one cheque has already bounced. The bank charged ₹2,000 for that default,” says Bhavani, who has pledged her 5.5 tolas of gold jewellery to repay the EMIs and manage the household. “The South India Bank where we had a joint account asked me to start another account by depositing ₹2,500 to transfer the gold loan money,” says Bhavani, who now keeps scrolling through the couple’s photographs. Her mother’s loan of ₹2 lakh served as seed money to buy the car that Hari Babu drove.

“We live in a rented house. The rent is ₹6,000. If I can repay the car loan, I will sell it and start a kirana store,” says Bhavani, who has been a homemaker all her life. “I cannot go back to my native place Parigi as it has too many memories of my husband. I have to live here for my daughter,” she adds.

Crime Today News | Hyderabad


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