At the end of 2019, Dnyaneshwar Pandurang Bangar (25) was getting rather worried. For the past ten months since February, when he gave up one job to look for another, he had had no luck. By March, it got much worse. The country went into lockdown, and so did he. He had no income, his small savings were running out and he was trapped at home in Kalamboli, a suburb of Navi Mumbai.
However, in June, things got distinctly better and today he can say he is much better off than he was last year at this time. And it was the pandemic that helped.
Bangar is a laboratory technician with specialisation in Pathology. He had a Diploma from the Mahatma Gandhi Mission (MGM) College of Engineering and Technology in Navi Mumbai’s Kamothe area. After graduation in 2017, after three years of study, he got a job with the same institution.
In February 2019, he decided to try for a better paying job in the same field, so he resigned from MGM. It was much harder than he expected, and once the lockdown took pace, he was in great financial distress.
At least, before the lockdown, he could fall back on his talent as a lavani dancer. For Dnyaneshwar is a very good, award-winning professional dancer as well, having performed from the age of 11 years. Among his many awards are two from the Satara Lavani Ouraskar (2012) and the Ratnagiri Lavani Jugalbandi, Competition (2016). Plus there were many more at various levels. Once the lockdown took place, this avenue of income also shut down.
In June 2020, he got a break, when he was asked to fill a leave vacancy at the Belapur branch of MGM, with a 30 percent increase in his salary. . Rutuja Kadam met with him to bring readers of Spice Enquirer his story.
How did you feel when you finally got a job again, and that too during the lockdown?
I was, very frankly in Seventh Heaven. I did not have even a penny to spend by June, and now I can say that slowly my life is getting back on track. The other hospital staff took a leave of absence from their jobs and I was offered a vacancy which I gladly accepted. I’m glad and proud to have this opportunity again.
So, dance and laboratory work is a strange combination. How did you start your career in dance and then decide upon becoming a pathology lab technologist? Why didn’t you just build your career in dance?
You know, I started dancing when I was about 11 years old. From childhood I considered myself weak in studies. Then my sister took a nursing course from MGM. After I finished by 12th Standard in 2014,was able to get admission in the same institution, partly thanks to her. I had no idea what I was doing at the time but my lectures with Dr. Kiran Mali and Dr.J.S. Bhosale interestingly explained every therapy. I became interested in every lecture and my curiosity to know more and more grew from there. Dancing is my passion but today, I have a responsibility to serve people as well. I have now spent almost six years in study and working, so it is not worth giving it up to concentrate upon dancing alone. I cannot waste my education and my efforts.
Ever wonder how you would have managed an income if you did not have the talent to dance?
Nowadays, we look with pity at people who don’t have any degree or other qualification, but I remember when I was a child (8 and 9 nines) in Kalamboli, there were Neem trees and Taro leaf plants in front of my house. My elder sister and I would sell these items in the market. Then, when I was in Std 10, my family was under financial stress, so I started working in a footwear kiosk on the side of the road. My income there was around Rs.1,400 to Rs. 1,500. I have seen even those who have a degree in education work at jobs like cleaning and sweeping in hospital, banks and posh places. I can also do anything to provide my family with a good life. There is no shame in doing such things to earn enough money.
Everyone knows my talent in the hospital! My working colleagues and senior staff members are very cooperative, coordinating my work schedule a lot. If I have an evening dance show, I will take the morning shift and my co-worker will take the evening shift, thus we exchange our schedules. I do not take public holidays or even compensatory leave without reason. Now I’m working under Dr.Ujwala Maheshwari. She is very supportive and understanding.
At the time of lockdown did you have any savings? How did you manage your home?
I had a small amount in my bank at the time of the lockdown, but that amount was mot enough to survive. Mainly we got groceries from the government ration shop at a very cheap price. Rice uder Rs 15! Then I contacted a trusted charity and they looked upon my background as a dancer and provided us with daily grocery needs. I never take money from people, but close friends were very kind and helpful with loans. And so we managed.
What else are you interested in, besides dancing and your job?
Basically, a lot of things. I am a multi tasker by nature. When I get free time, I do public- speaking, teach dance to deaf and dumb children, do social work, and make social awareness videos. My life is simple for me but interesting for others so I entertain them through social networks and performing my talent.