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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

A virus stole Diwali, but professionals are not complaining

Ahmedabad-based Pitaliya says since it will be a simple family celebration at home, she’s okay with coming to work and getting the extra bonus

For the first time in her working life, Pushti Pitaliya, an HR recruiter with export company Shalin Overseas, will be working on Diwali. She’s glad, since she won’t be the only one doing so. While people were given a choice to take the day off, Pitaliya and her colleagues decided to do a half-day on Saturday.

“Since the pandemic started, the business was down. Now that workload has started increasing, we all thought of chipping in, as it would be good for the company as well. Everyone is excited as it’s a new experience," says Pitaliya, who joined the company last month. With most festivals this year, celebrations for Diwali will also be low key. Ahmedabad-based Pitaliya says since it will be a simple family celebration at home, she’s okay with coming to work and getting the extra bonus. “It will be good for the family too (financially)," she says.

With businesses affected across sectors, some working professionals are not averse to the idea of working during festivals this year because they want to make up for the “lost time". People across industries are choosing to take on more work on what is traditionally perceived as a holiday, a time meant to be spent with family and friends.

For the past three years, Pawan Singh, floor captain at Delhi’s Fig & Maple restaurant, has been working on Diwali. The kitchen staff and servers work in shifts so that each can enjoy at least some time with their family on the festival day. This year, Singh will only get time late in the evening because of an extra workload. “During the lockdown, the industry was hit very badly. We still have not reached where we once were. A lot of our staff has not been able to return because there isn’t enough work. So now I handle more than I used to before," says Singh.

A little extra cash on Diwali is always welcome, but some believe the benefits are longer lasting than a festival bonus. Suparna Mondal works as a beautician in Kolkata and is registered with services platform Urban Company. She’s planning to work through the weekend. The demand for her services has picked up during the festive season and she’s more than happy to cater to as many customers as possible.

“It is a little difficult at times. But when they need me I go; it creates a good relation. It may lead to clients asking specifically for my services the next time. I am building my loyal customer base by just being available when they need the service," she explains.

Unlike the hospitality sector, the logistics sector did quite well during the pandemic, and continues to do so.

Sachin Naik, team leader of delivery boys and operations manager at Mumbai-based Ease Your Life, says to ensure everyone gets to spend time with family, half the team will be working on Diwali, and the other half the next day. “Unlike previous Diwalis, not many are stepping out much. So, they are using our service to send sweets, gifts and other things to people," says Naik, who has been working as a delivery person for past five years.

Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice president of HR consultancy TeamLease, says there is a definite shrinkage in per capita income across levels on average, which will impact how the workforce approaches Diwali. “The need to save for a bad day or an uncertain future will be at the back of their mind. Hence, the primary intent would be to maximize the opportunities available. For that if one has to forego holidays and do extra hours there will be a greater propensity to do so," she says.

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