Indians reach out with helping hands as COVID spirals

Tue 04 May 2021 at 17:40 Corona

NNA - Even the darkest cloud, it is said, has a silver lining. And because most oft-quoted cliches are rooted in reality, myriad acts of kindness, be it home-cooked meals for the ill or arranging an oxygen cylinder, are shining through India’s gravest health emergency.

As India reports upwards of 3.5 lakh fresh Covid cases a day, people infected and isolated find that succour is close at hand sometimes neighbours and other times a faceless name on social media reaching out to help in any which way. Just so they can, without any motive in mind.

From people offering to run errands and home kitchens delivering meals to organisations and individuals stepping in to supply oxygen cylinders, oximeters and the like, the goodness runs like an undercurrent through the tragic times.

And so, realising that entire families are in quarantine in many homes in her city and there is no one to cook nourishing meals for them, Chennai’s Rama Parthasarathy opened up her kitchen on April 14, Tamil New Year Day. The 61-year-old dishes out healthy preparations all vegetarian and sends the food through portals like Dunzo or Porter for a nominal fee.  

The inspiration for Rama’s Kitchen, she said, came when her son Aravindh’s friend asked if she could food to the home quarantined as they are not in a position to cook at home.

The story is replicated in umpteen localities across the length and breadth of the country from Chennai to Chandigarh. Lists of home kitchens and thali meals, sometimes at a nominal price and other times free, have been circulating on WhatsApp groups, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Community kitchens have opened up in gated communities. In many places, including Mumbai and Gurgaon, neighbours have set up a roster system to ensure that all quarantined families in their complexes are provided food.

Help comes in many shapes and sizes. Gopi’s e-rickshaw in Lucknow is one of them. With cases rising in the Uttar Pradesh capital, the 45-year-old hasn’t been getting much business but is busy helping those in Shivaji Nagar locality. He gets milk, newspapers and vegetables for those who can’t move out from their homes, and often medicines and even X-Ray reports and the like.

Raja and Shakeel, who run a cycle shop in Lucknow, are also doing their bit, helping people in Sarojinidevi Dharamshala lane with their daily errands. Sometimes, they also go to the nearest post office and banks either to withdraw or deposit money or update the passbook of residents in their area.

They have a kindred spirit in Noida-based activist Kiran Verma who earlier this month posted on Twitter and Facebook that he owned “a humble Maruti Suzuki Esteem in good condition and completely sanitised”.

“If any person, (willing to #DonateBlood or plasma) is finding it difficult to travel around NCR for blood donation. OR don’t have access to good food, I promise to drop you safe (with a smiling face) at a blood bank or provide food at your doorstep,” said the founder of blood donation initiative ‘Simply Blood’.

“The motivation is simply that these are very difficult times and I just wanted to encourage more people to come forward and show that we all are together in this tough time,” he told PTI earlier this month.—Press Trust of India 





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