As the second wave of coronavirus grips India, the distress and suffering unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic have failed to take a toll on one thing in the country - human kindness.
A thought for others, concern for strangers, and a passion to make a difference, however small, in the fight against this pandemic has brought forth several examples providing a sense of hope amidst the grim situation.
'Oxygen Man' of Mumbai's Malad Sells Car to Buy O2 Cylinders
Shahnawaz Sheikh lives in the Mumbai suburb of Malad. He has been working to help make the supply of oxygen available to COVID patients.
As the Indian media reported how the 31-year-old sold his Ford Endeavour SUV to donate oxygen cylinders to hospitals and COVID patients, it triggered a wave of reactions from as many 50,000 netizens on Facebook.
Sheikh has also set up a mini control room that runs day and night to facilitate and coordinate with people in need. The team is getting about 500 such distress calls every day, reported India Today.
He has been working passionately to supply oxygen since last year after his friend's wife died for want of oxygen while being rushed to the hospital. After selling his car, Sheikh managed to raise nearly $29,000 with which he procured about 160 oxygen cylinders. He has so far helped nearly 4,000 people with free oxygen cylinders. The emptied cylinders are taken back, refilled, and used again for the ever-increasing amount patients.
A man who sold his SUV at 22 lack and bought oxygen cylinders for saving life well as humanity.#Shahnawaz_Sheikh The oxygen man of Mumbai.— Syed Shadab-ul-Haque(شاداب)🏹 (@syedshadabul) April 22, 2021
The entire nation Salute you Bhai.@syed9422 @Andaleef_ @syed__tasneem @NehaBhagat_jk pic.twitter.com/vMNlMUdIZ1
Food Angels - Delivering in Time of Need
An NGO called Guru-ka-Langar Eye Hospital in Punjab state's capital Chandigarh, is giving 24-hour assistance to COVID-19 patients under home quarantine.
H.S. Sabharwal, Secretary of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sewa Society that runs the hospital, told Sputnik that initiatives are being taken to help COVID-19-hit families and patients. "Till now we were running free meals for people but now we are also giving out oxygen cylinders, pulse meters and oxygen concentration machines as well".
Gurudwaras across the cities are also delivering free food to families in quarantine due to COVID-19.
"Our phone is never silent these days. There are so many families that are at home depending on cooked food as they are quarantined and cannot procure meals themselves", Jangveer Singh, a volunteer at a Gurudwara in Chandigarh told Sputnik.
In Delhi, the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee has offered to convert langar halls, huge areas where hundreds of people partake community meals, into makeshift COVID hospitals. Five Gurudwara under DSGMC are providing home delivery of free meals to infected families.
Businessman in Mumbai Provides Vanity Vans to Cops on Covid-19 Duty
Amidst restrictions in the city, Mumbai-based businessman Ketan Rawal is trying to make life a little easier for the policemen who are deployed at different places around the city.
India Today quoted Rawal as saying, "They are frontline workers. I feel very sad when I see women police officials do not even get to use the washroom. They have to stand in the summer's heat for several hours. Therefore, I have decided to provide all vanity vans free of cost to police officials".
"I provide vanity vans to Bollywood superstars including Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Rohit Shetty, and many more. I have maximum vanity vans in Bollywood. I am looking at providing them all to cops. It is the time to help each other", he was quoted as saying by the news site.
The Maharashtra government has imposed several restrictions to contain the spread of the virus and a heavy deployment of police has been done throughout Mumbai to enforce COVID protocols.
Excellent gesture 👏— Nigel D'Souza (@Nigel__DSouza) April 23, 2021
Mumbai Police on COVID-19 duty get vanity vans🚨
Ketan Rawal who owns these vanity vans is providing 8 vans to Mumbai Police so they can take some breather handling the crisis amid scorching heat 🔆
This is the spirit of My India 🙇♂️ pic.twitter.com/8knHVvm35i
Throwing out a Lifeline
With the pandemic sweeping through the nation, getting oxygen for the needy has become a real struggle for the man on the street. Jumping in to fill this need are several religious and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across the cities.
In Gurugram (Gurgaon), adjacent to Delhi, a team of people is working for the Hemkunt Foundation that is giving free oxygen to people in the city.
10:26pm: We are still distributing truck loads of Oxygen Cylinders in Gurgaon and will continue to do so throughout the night to critical #covid_19 patients— Hemkunt Foundation (@Hemkunt_Fdn) April 20, 2021
Your small donation can help us reach out to more peoplehttps://t.co/cj1axUN1xh#COVID19India #CovidIndiaInfo pic.twitter.com/94Laui7xbn
In Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad, a Gurudwara, Sikh's place of worship, has started an "Oxygen Langar".
As soon as a distress call is made, a car equipped with an oxygen cylinder is sent to a patient until a hospital bed is acquired, local media reported.
In a good move, amid rising coronavirus cases in Ghaziabad, a Gurudwara in Indirapuram has come forward with a unique initiative to help COVID-19 patients.— #NahiChahiyeKhalistan (@NoKhalistan1) April 23, 2021
The operators in Gurudwara have started 'Oxygen Langar'.#CoronavirusPandemic #COVIDEmergency2021 #COVID19India #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/DgzezNdo9U