As another week of quarantine passes by, many of us sit in the comfort of our homes, with a hot meal in front of us, grumbling about the boredom that seems unconquerable. Meanwhile, in different parts of the city, under different roofs, people face more formidable foes: Isolation and Hunger. One month of working with Project Mumbai helped me realise this. My family is blessed with everything it needs, while right across the street, there are people struggling to survive.
It was the shock of this disequilibrium that fuelled my resolve to make a difference in the lives of those who needed support. Arvind Choksey, an 80-year-old man who was quarantined alone after travelling back from the United States, happened to be one of these people. He had recently lost his wife, and his son lives in the U.S. I knew he was alone. I also knew that coming into contact with him was a risk, since he had just travelled. But I believe that god helps those who try to help others. Armed with my faith, a face-mask and a pair of gloves, I delivered home-cooked meals to his doorstep until my partners and I found a more permanent solution; now, the members of his society are taking turns to send him meals until the end of the lockdown.
This was not some conceptual ‘good deed’ for me, it was personal; I met Mr. Choksey myself, there is a face to the name. I even know his food preferences. It warmed my heart knowing I helped him… but this was one man, one apartment, one corner of the city. Another such corner, Kandivali, to be specific, was home to a Wada Pav vendor and his family. About a month and a half ago, his wife had given birth to twins. Not long after that day, the couple lost one of their children. It seems impossible that the blow of this terrible tragedy can be worsened; it seems too cruel that parents would have to bear the brunt of a financial burden while mourning the loss of their child. But when COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire, the street-food industry is unlikely to be booming, and the cost of the medical attention the infant required was too much for the family. It was in this state, raw with grief, that I found the family. The moment I heard they lost a baby, and their savings, I knew I had to do something to help—I bought and delivered the groceries they needed as soon as I could, and as I looked at the pictures of their family that they had sent me, I was overwhelmed.
As I looked through the photos with tears in my eyes, I knew that this is what humanity means: helping those who need it when you are in a position to help. I have been trying to do just that for the last 6 years, and I have resolved to continue trying until my last day.