It was already dark when I heard about the delivery. As I saw the message and registered that a cancer patient in Malad needs his medicines delivered to him, I could almost instantly sense the worry I knew he was feeling. What if he needed it tonight? What if the delay led to something worse?
With these questions in my mind, I knew I wanted to help this man as soon as possible… even if it meant dropping the medicines off at Malad at midnight. But the pharmacy had closed for the day, and I was assured the situation was not urgent. So I went to bed, knowing it would be a restless night’s sleep.
Two of my friends, Janak and Rahul, helped me ensure the medicines reach the patient as soon as possible. It became a three-way transaction: I picked the package up from Dadar, dropped it off at Khar, from where Janak took it to Oshiwara so that Rahul could deliver it to Malad.
But while the medicines were making their way through Mumbai, I found my thoughts wandering to the patient, imagining their concern at the uncertainty and frustration at the helplessness they feel. I would not be meeting him; I would not be there when the worry lines finally relax on his face. So I did the next best thing, and called him. I assured him that help was on its way, and that he would receive his medicines in a very short time. I know how important it is to be in direct contact with these patients—to remind them they can ask for everything they need when they are so often shy to do so themselves, to assure them that they are not alone. These small reassurances are especially important when working with senior citizens—the relief in their voices on the other end of the line is palpable.
In these restless times, I would have thought that helping others would bring me some sense of peace. But it didn’t. Every time I witness the suffering, sadness overcomes me. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can make a difference in the lives of others in these troubling times, but I am acutely aware that I am but a grain of sand in the grander scheme of things. Some days I have three deliveries, some days only one, but every day I go to bed wishing I could do more. But time, resources, and the law impose their own restrictions.
And then there’s the inevitably worried family. My husband is scared for me, understandably so, and my parents don’t even know about the work I do. It is not that I am extraordinarily courageous—I am just armed with an unwavering faith. In myself. In some higher power—the universe, some might say. But faith only works if it is total and complete, leaving no room for fear.
Of course, that does not mean I do not take precautions. I do everything I can to stay safe, and I leave the rest to the universe, to govern this give-and-take of the souls. Because there is always a connection, some debt or relationship from a different life. Either way, all I know is that although our physical beings are governed by laws, our spirits aren’t. And my spirit wants to help.