Rada Chinna Ramoji
Rada Chinna Ramoji
"Sometimes he worked 16 hours per day"
Throughout the past year, Rada Chinna Ramoji often told his wife Rada Sujatha that they were missing people because of Covid-19. - In January, there was a shortage of manpower and he started working 12-hour shifts, sometimes as much as 16-hours. He was always awake, says Mrs. Rada Sujatha. He often talked to his wife about how hard his job as a cleaner was. He talked about the lack of sleep, and how bad it hurts to have to get up for so long - but he was healthy. Sometime between January 24 and 25, Ramoji died. - I was told that he died of a heart attack in his sleep in the morning, says the widow Rada Sujatha.
Told to the journalistic platform Blankspot
In 2020 Rada Chinna Ramoji kept telling his wife how short staffed they were at his job in Qatar, thanks to Covid-19. He cleaned for a cleaned at a private company in Doha and made $206 per month and was supposed to work eight hours per day. The shortage was so pressing that by January 2021, everyone who was healthy and able, had to work longer shifts.
“He started working 12-hour days, sometimes he even worked 16 hours per day,” says his widow, Rada Sujatha. “He was always awake.”
The widow speaks on the smart phone her children, 12 and 16, are using for schooling because of Covid-19. They live in a village in the Jagtial district of Telangana. Outside the rain is pouring down.
Some time between January 24 and 25, Ramoji died. He left a mourning family and a debt of $200. He was 41 and healthy.
“I was told that he had died of a heart attack in his sleep,” the widow says. “He was working when he started having chest pains, then he started screaming. An ambulance came and took him to the hospital. He didn’t survive.”
Rada Chinna Ramoji’s remains were flown to Hyderabad with Qatar Airways in January 2020. His family says that he was completely healthy. A man who didn’t have any underlying conditions or was otherwise in poor health.
Before he left as a migrant worker, Rada Chinna Ramoji worked as a day laborer in the fields back home. He never made enough to make ends meet, so he followed friends and neighbors to Qatar.
“The first journey was in 2014,” the widow says. “He didn’t come home for three years, no matter what holiday was celebrated. Instead he kept working to make his $250, month after month.”
For seven years he worked for the same employer and the same pay. He had hoped to get raise in 2021, the toughest of all years. He often spoke with his wife about how hard the work was, the lack of sleep, the physical pain caused by standing up so many hours, when he was constantly ordered to work over time because of his senior status.“He called me every morning at 7 am,” the widow says. “His biggest fear was that our children would grow up like us. He did everything so they could get an education and lead a better life. It was for their sake he got up every morning.”
Rada Sujatha is working as a beedi, rolling tobacco, making a little over $13 per month. She is eligible for another $26 from the state, because of the health risk, handling tobacco.
To pay for the funeral and the children’s schooling, she recently took out a $700 loan on top of the $130 her husband had borrowed earlier.
“I can’t pay it back, the interest is accruing too fast,” she says. “Our financial situation is awful.”