A quick self-introduction — I’m a recent Corona survivor with a recent negative report. I reside in Delhi which has been quite infamous for oxygen supplies and high corona reporting. It might sound exaggerated, but Delhi isn’t anything less than Wuhan of 2020.
Prologue — The Covid experience
It was a few days after the Indian festival Holi when I got the fever. For the next 2–3 days my family speculated that it was just a regular fever, but it was actually the 3rd day when even my mom got a fever and the entire family got afraid of the newborn virus. Since my mother was quite aged and had a history of pre-existing ailments, we thought of not taking any risk and planned to get both of us checked the very next day. We were lucky enough to have got the testing team at our doorstep as the situation turned grey in the next few days. The entire day we planned and executed our room isolation procedures. We gathered all our essentials and stepped into one of our washrooms attached bedrooms, which later turned into nothing less than a prison of its kind.
The loss of smell and taste were accompanied by a lot of body ache and numerous sleepless nights. The drug schedule was our new alarm and to-do activity for the day. The worst was knowing that your family is just that side of the door, still being unable to see them. My mobile calls became the only way of requesting something. The entire day was eaten up by calls from family and friends suggesting us what to do and what not to do. Most of them gave the emotional strength one could need in tough times, I was really blessed to have them. More to the pain, my thinking and my ideology indeed changed when I got this.
After nearly 18–19 days, we celebrated our independence not only from Corona, but also from loneliness, lack of sleep, fear of health deterioration, and family absence. My pet couldn’t leave my mom and me even for a single second of his sight. However, our happiness of independence was actually a very short-lived one. A lockdown was declared in our city by now. So the prison was broken just to enter into a new restricted zone :).
Chapter 1— Negativity, the downfall of humanity
Soon after recovering from covid, we became wary of our surroundings, society, and, most importantly, the news, Whatsapp messages, Whatsapp Status, and other such things. However, it didn’t take me more than a day to notice two major changes in people, particularly Indians. The first was that we were very angry with what our government and authorities were doing the entire time, and the second was that where was our humanity? What made me mad was that the people were talking more about the former one way more than the latter one.
HUMANITY — as the dictionary tells us it means “the quality of being humane”, was less discussed and the short comings of government were more discussed.
Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify that I’m not endorsing any political party here, but rather questioning how low we’ve all fallen.
Here are some stories I must recall/write which support my argument about my belief in the loss of humanity in Indians particularly:
- The traumatizing incident — One of my old colleagues, now 28 years, had both her parents critical. She circulated her number for any prospective help, but all we got was people sending her porn and nude messages on her WhatsApp. REALLY!!! are we justifying that one party is better than the other?
- My father received a widely circulated video depicting a male nurse, who should be labeled a murderer, killing a patient while wearing a mask. Not a while later I heard this news of an organs transplant scam. Since no postpartum was done in the covid scenario, some used this as an opportunity. REALLY!!! are we justifying that one party is better than the other?
- Again a very personal experience. In a group of old friends, dad of one of the friend were actually struggling from corona and was hospitalized and two of the other group participants were actually enforcing all the others that the current government is a big flop and we should not elect them again, basically they also saw this as an opportunity to politicize. They even forgot to mention/ask the health of the dad of their friend. REALLY!!! are we justifying that one party is better than the other?
I’ve plenty more to tell, but I believe you’ll understand what I’m trying to address here. Was this really a time to crib, criticize and be opportunist about it. Earning money, satisfying your lust, or maybe making your party popular. I was astounded to learn how low all of us so-called literates had descended.
Final Chapter — The Status, Silver lining in the cloud.
All of the above hopelessness and anger I told was brimming in me and needed a way out. I had two choices, crib everything like most of the people were doing or be the torch bearer in my circle and try to break this chain of negativity and educate people about covid. I was looking for spark to ignite the fuel in me. Unlike every other status which talked about a failed government or mourning relatives or may be just cribbing each other, there was the one special status which read — “Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean God is not working.”. Right there it was, my Yin (frustration) met it’s Yang.
The status was actually put up by a lady, a big big thank you to you if you’re reading this.
Day D minus 7, THE FOUNDATION: I began to consider how I could assist people who were suffering as a result of anything, particularly in this covid world. First, I started with a virtual thing: myself and four other like-minded people formed a group of volunteers who circulated leads to the needy. Unlike other groups/volunteers in society, our group just thought why not go a step ahead and verify the leads before sharing them. Now, within no time our group was flooded by tons and tons of data. We thought of floating our request for more volunteers through different social platforms, and you will not believe our limit of 257 Whatsapp members was filled in less than 24 hours. Does this sound like a ripple effect to you? I personally received and worked on many requests and let me tell you, whenever we helped someone all they gave us back were tons of blessings. The entire Whatsapp volunteer community echoed the same feeling. The blessings, though virtual were our motivation and fuel to our thoughts.
Day D0: It was exactly the 7th day of the foundation of our Whatsapp group when my fire of bringing the change was not over. This time I thought of getting the blessings directly from the eyes of beneficiaries. I discussed with my dad the idea of distributing some essential items for the needy. My dad and my family were generous enough that they not only said Yes to the idea but also started working on the list of items we would actually distribute. At first, we thought of distributing raw food items which included but were not limited to flour, rice, dals, spices, sugar, tea, masalas, soap, detergent packets, and some disposable masks. As a strategy, my family thought of procuring the items from small shops, which were the forgotten ones in the lockdown period. We traveled from villages to villages to procure items and by the end of our first day, we had 30 odd big packets, each costing around INR 970, to be distributed the next day. Our house looked and smelled nothing less than an FMCG godown.
Day D1: The day came in when we wore those double masks, picked up our hand sanitizers and the 30 bags, and went out to help the underprivileged. At first, we went to a manual rickshaw stand because we thought these were the people who were drastically affected by the lockdown. Our 30 pack assignment was over in less than a quarter-hour. Not just the rickshaw pullers but all the needy people we went by on the route, we made sure we offered them the packets. We didn’t come back empty-handed, we were loaded by thousands and thousands of blessings and we captured quite a lot of happily crying eyes. To all the beneficiaries we assured we were sent by God, but they had their own opinion and blessed us. On our way back we also gathered materials for another 30 packets for the next day.
Day D2: Me and my family again went out to distribute the packets and were just thinking about the finances we could just afford. Also, since I needed some time off from my office timings, I thought of telling what we were doing to one of my close colleagues and my manager. They asked me if I needed any help, I was polite enough to tell them that I needed nothing but if they wanted to help and get some blessings they could donate some amount for the cause. I went ahead and did my chores, distributing food, gathering blessings, managing my masks :P, procuring food items. When I came back in a couple of hours, I logged in to my systems and I was flooded by 10s of messages from colleagues appreciating my family’s efforts. In the process of welcoming each of them back, they all asked me for my UPI ID to offer financial help. By the evening I had more than 50,000 INR donated just by my colleagues. Does this sound like a ripple effect to you?
Day D3: Today, as I’m writing this. My account has more than INR 1,50,000 and the contributors not just include my colleagues, my friends, or the volunteers in the WhatsApp group but also friends of friends, relatives of volunteers, basically, the ones who before this day knew my name. Something that started with just INR 25,000 is now INR 2,00,000 strong and still counting. Does this sound like a ripple effect to you? We’re still going strong and have a target of distributing 30 packets each day and also we’ve inducted some medical supplies as well, such as washable masks, used and donated oximeters, and thermometers.
Glass hour filled or glass half empty — you tell yourself. Times such as this can be an opportunity for some to earn more, but for some it can be an opportunity to bring a change in themselves and others. For some, it can be a good time to propagate their political beliefs and for some, it can be a good time to strengthen humanity’s belief in others. Some will see that it is us who change society, some will say that the current administration is to be blamed for this. With this, I leave it to you, what is and was more dangerous the politicians or us. Ask yourself, can just your vote bring out a change or you yourself be involved in something. Look around you and if you find some abusing someone in these tough, don’t wait and give them a tough time.
PS: Stay home, stay safe. None of the party leaders will come to help you, irrespective of how many votes you gather for them.
Special thanks to The Whatsapp status girl, my first contributor my roommate my forever friend (you know it bro), my crazy colleague, my manager, my family, my didi, and nonetheless — the almighty.