by Tara Hebbar and Diya Barmecha
The lockdown and pandemic have proved to be disastrous for those who require to be outside in order to make a living. Due to the fact that their work cannot be taken to the realm of zoom calls, they have no money coming in, even for basic necessities. Many of them have families to support and several mouths to feed, and whatever money that they saved up, would not be sufficient to cover all the costs. Buying electronics and investing in a stable WiFi connection adds an even heavier burden on their expenses. Though humans as a race are believed to be selfish, we have observed help for the affected, pouring in from everywhere. Even those who aren’t in the most financially secure situations themselves have been helping others. Here are some inspiring stories that truly portray true kindness that a human can exhibit.
During the ripe season of lockdown, education was a large concern for those who didn’t have access to any electronics or couldn’t possibly afford the same. Kuldeep Kumar is a man who brutally faced this issue. A victim of this conflict. Kuldeep lives in Himachal Pradesh and was forced to sell his beloved cow in order to purchase a smartphone. So that his two children could make the move to an online education platform. The cow was his only source of income, without which there would be no money flow. Selling the cow was the last resort after he had knocked on the doors of several banks and money lenders, only to have been sent back empty handed.
“With the switch from classroom teaching to online education, teachers are putting pressure on us that if you want to pursue education for your children, you have to buy a device. With no means of getting a smartphone with our meagre means, we finally decided to sell our cow,”
Kuldeep Kumar reported. This act of sacrifice on the part of Kuldeep Kumar, caught attention and went viral. His heart-rending story gained traction and several people offered to be of assistance. Amongst these kind people, was famous actor Sonu Sood. After inquiring about his details and upon receiving them, he transferred money into the bank account of Kuldeep. Sonu Sood has provided a happy ending to many disastrous stories during the lockdown and has rightly earned his name of “reel life villain and real-life hero.” He has done so much, for so many. Some of his angelic acts include, Arranging Buses for Migrant Laborers, Shakti Annadanam initiative, Ramzan Kits, Arranging Chartered Flights, gifting tractor to a farmer, Offering Job to Hyderabad techie, Helping During Cyclone Nisarga, Bringing Back 4000 Students Struck In Kyrgyzstan and the list goes on. He is the paragon of using fame and money wisely, and in the pursuit of helping those who aren’t as fortunate. He has used his outreach to help so many people in times where they were deemed helpless.
Shantabai Pawar is the woman that has proven that age is just a number. Her dedication along with her vigilance is what got her through a financial crisis. Living in Hadapsar she says that the lockdown has, “been a very difficult period for us.” For them, the lockdown was a cover to the bottle of any source of income. All she possessed was herself and orphan children she had taken in. For them she went onto the streets and displayed her martial arts skills by waving two sticks around in order to get some money. Her efforts were recognized when film actors reposted a video of her and one actor, by the name of Ritesh Deshmukh even gave her the name, “warrior aaji ”(translates to warrior grandmother). He also helped her get ration from others after recognizing her good will and spirit. Her granddaughter mentioned that the video had helped the family gain cash. As an eight year old, she had learned this skill from her father. Even after getting recognition she goes to the streets and tries to scrounge as much money as she can to help her children. Another Bollywood actor, Sonu Sood who has helped people in his own way said that he would like to open a “small training school with her where she can train women of our country with some self defense techniques.” This 85-year-old woman walks to the street with her two sticks and a mask and waves it around for a living. The lockdown has gotten us to stay in our houses to stay safe but she needed to go onto the streets to earn a living. Warrior aaji is an inspiration to many.
As shown in both the above stories, we as a race have the ability to look out for each other. How much ever the philosophy of “survival of the fittest” is promoted, we have proven to empathize with those who aren’t as fortunate as some are. Even though at times we ourselves might not be having the easiest time, we help others like a woman called Sheetal who lives in Dharavi has done. Being affected by the pandemic, her and her family along with Art of Living volunteers help distribute rations among people next to them. There are many such stories in every community. How much ever we consider the virus an evil, it has not only made us grateful for what we have but also shown us that help can be received when in need. It has brought all of us far closer together than everyday life ever could.