Survival Instincts by Robic Upadhayay

Photo: Robic Upadhayay/

SURVIVAL INSTINCT: It is the second week of the Kathmandu-wide lockdown and I have made it a routine to out for groceries at 7 AM. As I walk my neighbourhood, I notice that the number of shops selling daily essentials has increased considerably. The government allows daily essential shops like vegetables and groceries to open for a limited number of hours every morning, usually, between 7 – 9:15 AM, so many businesses are diversifying what they sell so they can open during those times to keep afloat.

They used to be shoe stores, sunglasses shops, hair salons, laundries and mobile repair shops. The shopkeepers have put a big bed sheet to cover what they used to sell earlier and have set up shop outside. Most are selling fresh produce. “We have to continue to pay rents for our shops, whether we can sell or not,” says Shakuntala Chaurasiya in Kilagal, “We won’t have anything to eat if we don’t do alternative business.” Another elderly vendor, Maya Tamang agrees, “People rarely have enough money to eat these, we have to do something to survive.”

Photos and Text: Robic Upadhyay @aerawbic

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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