Posted by Vineet Saraiwala, Mumbai
There are moments when a stranger becomes your angel. Here are two rare stories from a stranger who is serving Mumbaikars with his tenacity and contagious energy. Whether it is getting the basic necessities of food and medicine, or providing emergency healthcare support to non-VIP citizens, he has walked the walk.
He miraculously arranged an ambulance in 15 minutes for a fellow being, and, when no hospital was taking a “COVID-19 + On-dialysis” patient, he became the super hero without a cloak.
There is no greater sense of living than giving our own “gift” to this world. When many Indians are failing fellow Indians, it is small stories like this which filter through the sufferings, to establish the belief that humanity might be on the ventilator, but is nevertheless alive.
Finding a hospital
“I am Brijesh Yadav. If I don’t get to a hospital for dialysis of my father who is COVID-19 positive, he will die. The count of dialysis facilities has shrunk drastically because of the pandemic. And the hospitals which are doing dialysis, simply refuse, as it doubles their troubles. My entire family is in quarantine and I am alone taking care of my sick father. Please share this message. Please help!”
The stranger got into action. He was on line since 2 am in the night. After multiple rejections, we managed to get a willing hospital. We reached the hospital but were told that the dialysis machine had got contaminated. We then needed to swiftly move my father to another hospital. It was a mix of destiny, prayers, chance, love and the stranger’s network of connections, which were all scrambling to save him. We got the dialysis done in the morning at another hospital. My father is hearty now.
I want to thank everybody who saved my father’s life.
Who killed my brother?
My brother is breathless for 3 hours and no ambulances are willing to ferry him because of COVID-19 fears. Feeling helpless, I dialled a number which was shared by someone. The receiver on the other line managed to find a vehicle in 15 minutes.
The hospital was refusing to admit him and the stranger again did some magic. Unfortunately, my brother died in this bureaucracy and delay in reaching the hospital. After my brother’s death, the stranger again helped me with the post death red tape. I had never dealt with such things before.
In the crematorium, something moved within me. I texted “Thank you” to the stranger. Who knows? It might be my brother’s parting wish to appreciate this fading humanity.
The stranger finally opens up
“An 80 year old lady needed a caretaker because she was struggling to cope alone. I requested my former maid to join immediately. Thankfully she did.”
“I never get into the number game – that I have helped ‘x’ individuals and impacted ‘y’ lives. For me, it is a way of living. When I created this “citizen volunteer group” two years back, we all had come together to serve. Doctors, trustees, income tax officers, CEOs and like-minded citizens, all in solidarity to give their own gift to the world.”
Here I salute the stranger who is known to me by his first name, Marzy. We exchange SOS requests on WhatsApp. He refused to share his photo. And when I stalked his WhatsApp DP (Display Picture), I found this:
I would say that pandemic has left us with no choice. Either we can follow the transactional way of living or be like #LiveToGive – the stranger’s collective group.
Closing with some lines from an essay Gift of Strawberries that reverberates in my mind. “We can choose. If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become.”
Cover image : meditationonlongisland.org
Story images and video : Author
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