"Sale is not good enough; do not disturb me," said Nurunnahar, a flower seller, to her two-and-a-half-year-old son Osman Gani when the boy wanted to have an ice-cream.
Her other son, 20-day-old Omar Farooq, was sleeping on a small quilt in front of her. Nurunnahar was making a garland of Bakul flower (Mimusops elengi), keeping an eye on her two children in front of the Parliament in the capital.
The money she had managed to save before the coronavirus pandemic has already been spent. Now, she has to start selling flowers on the street again to make ends meet.
Nurunnahar has been selling flowers for two years in Dhanmondi 32 area, which is now closed due to the pandemic. Now she sits in front of the Parliament building for business.
She makes garlands of Bakul flower, and her two daughters Fatema and Sumaiya sell those and roses around the Parliament. She stopped selling flowers when the general holidays started in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
Her husband, a rickshaw-puller, also had to stop working. They had to spend their savings in April and May to run the family. Then they left the house in Rayer Bazar they had rented for Tk3,500 and went to their village home in Barishal. They returned to
Dhaka after spending two months there and brought some money they had borrowed.
As everything reopened gradually, Nurunnahar has now returned to her old profession. She said she wanted to start working a bit later as her fourth child was only 20 days old.
"But because of the impacts of the pandemic, I had to return to work. I had no choice," she said.
The family had to go through many financial crises in the last few months, and there is no way to sit idle now. Nurunnahar said they had faced a lot of troubles in the previous months. "But we did not die. God has saved us."
After giving birth to four children, the 22-year-old started suffering from anaemia, but there is no scope for her to take good food or rest. It is not possible to run the family of six members with the income of just one person, she said.
"That is why I had to return to work holding a 20-day-old baby in my lap. The money I earn by selling flowers helps meet some family expenditures."
She has rented a new house in Rayer Bazar. This time, the rent is Tk3,000.
"We live in a small room. As it is congested, it is difficult to move properly. Ten families have to share three bathrooms and a kitchen."
After pulling a rickshaw from morning till noon, Nurunnahar's husband Azizul Islam picks Bakul flowers from different areas. He buys 100 roses from Shahbagh. Nurunnahar comes in front of the Parliament with her four children around 5pm every day.
After selling flowers till 10pm, she returns home. And she waits for the next day.
Although everything has opened now, the pandemic has heavily affected her sales. She used to sell flowers worth Tk700-800 a day before the pandemic. Now, her sales have come down to Tk300-400.
"People have moved to villages. Now, very few people buy flowers," said Nurunnahar.