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Hit by coronavirus, actor sells fruits for a living in Odisha

Hit by coronavirus, actor sells fruits for a living in Odisha
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Hit by coronavirus, actor sells fruits for a living in Odisha

Highlights

Puri When she went on stage, the audience went into raptures at her power-packed performance

Puri: Puri When she went on stage, the audience went into raptures at her power-packed performance. But Pratibha Maharana, better known by her stage name 'Rinki', has an altogether different stage to perform on these days. The popular jatra (a moving theatre form highly popular in Odisha and West Bengal) actor now has a new stage: the streets of Bhubaneswar. Instead of dreams, she now sells fruits for a living after the Corona crisis forced jatra companies to close shop. Instead of rapturous viewers, she now addresses customers. She has discarded the greasepaint and ornate jatra costumes for jeans and T-shirt, according to Outlook report.

When Rinki ruled the stage, she could have never imagined that she would have to sit on the streets selling fruits one day. But with ailing parents and a younger sibling to look after, the sole bread earner of the family had little choice. "My family would starve if I don't earn. Besides, my mother is paralytic and needs regular medicines. My father too is unable to work after an accident. I also have to look after the education of my younger brother, who is a Class VII student," says the actor, her voice choking with emotion.

She neither has a ration card nor any pension to fall back on and thus had little choice but to foray into unfamiliar territory. She says she makes around Rs 500 a day: not exactly a fortune but just about enough to take care of the bare essentials like food and medicines. The pain in her voice at having to do something she has never done before is unmistakable. But Rinki is not ashamed of what she is doing to make ends meet. "I am proud that I am able to look after my family in these difficult times despite being a woman," says the actor who has also performed in a host of popular music albums.

Rinki rues the fact that the state government has failed to provide succour to artistes and others in the entertainment industry rendered jobless by the Corona crisis. "A delegation of jatra and cinema actors had met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik some weeks ago and requested him for help to sustain themselves during these tough times. But no help has come yet," she says. But she is all praise for Sabyasachi Mishra, the Good Samaritan film actor who has made it a mission to come to the aid of those hit by COVID 19. Sabyasachi, she says, has given her ration for two months, besides some money, which has eased the burden on her for the time being.

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