“Coronavirus is Earth’s vaccine. We’re the virus.” This tweet by Thomas Schulz, a product designer at Fast.co refers to the drop in air and water pollution and wildlife returning to cities during the COVID-19 pandemic, received nearly 296,000 likes and more than 71,000 retweets. Add to that the stories of people emptying supermarket shelves and arguing over packets of pasta, pushing us into believing that we may after all be the ‘virus’.
At the same time the coronavirus pandemic has taught us the importance of rebuilding human relationships with each other and nature. As actor Richa Chadda, in an online interview with a daily expressed that the epidemic has brought out the worst as well as the best in people—so many individuals are going out of their way to provide for animals and human beings. Even with the fear of the unknown looming large, there are acts of kindness that shouldn’t go unnoticed. “The problem is not people,” as a Twitter user put it.
Take Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who has taken it upon himself to help
and feed the hungry. After opening up his hotel in Mumbai to accommodate
medical workers and providing meals to underprivileged, the Happy New Year
actor pledged to deliver meals to 25,000 migrants in Bhiwandi during the holy
month of Ramzan. Recently, he sponsored travel and meal kits for 350 migrant
workers to go from Maharashtra to Karnataka. After arranging around 10 buses from
Thane (Maharashtra) for Gulbarga (Karnataka), he now hopes to send more to
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Like Sood, there are several good Samaritans who have come
to the fore, bringing out the best of humanity. Scroll down below for more heart-warming
The lockdown has left several senior citizens, who live
alone and do not have vehicles, feeling helpless as many of them are unable to
get essential supplies. Bengaluru’s Aishwarya S, an IT professional, rose to
the occasion by bicycling around delivering items to old people and offering to
drop in for a chat if they feel lonely. Having an aged mother living alone in
Chennai, she decided to help anyone with elderly parents in Bengaluru by
offering to check on them.
Despite businesses suffering, Kamalathal, from Tamil Nadu, who
is fondly known as Idli Amma, continues serving idlis for only Re 1. Her story
had gone viral last year, and now she’s back, refusing to hike prices to ensure
those in need can buy a meal. Her efforts were recognised by Indian Michelin
Star Chef, Vikas Khanna, and former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif, who tweeted
Like many from the informal sector, vegetable vendors have
been feeling the heat with customers stuck at home and supplies halted. Reason
why Janmoni Gogoi, a 20-year-old from a village in Assam, started sell
vegetables door-to-door on her cycle to support her ailing parents. News
reports said Gogoi had to drop out of school two years back due to financial
constraints and took to selling vegetables to sustain herself and her family. On
hearing about her plight, Assam police gifted her a moped.
As we continue to depend on police for help, they continue
to be out there risking. As a ‘thank you’ gesture, Lokamani, a 62-year-old from
Andhra Pradesh’s Thuni of East Godavari district, who herself sustains on only Rs
3,000, offers cold drinks to the cops. In a video that went viral, police asked
her why she was taking unnecessary trouble in the hot sun. She replied that
police are working for people and her gesture was too small before them.
In another gesture, Kabeer, a three-year-old from Mumbai recently donated Rs 50,000 to police. Reports said the toddler earned money by selling cupcakes he baked at home – yes, the toddler baked them himself. In a video tweeted by Mumbai Police, he is called an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Journalist Rana Ayyub, a recent recipient of McGill Medal
for journalistic courage, has been helping 16,000 families with food and relief
material. Through her work, she has reached out to needy families from Mumbai
and Greater Mumbai, Sangli, Gadchiroli, Kurkheda, Bhamragarh, Aheri and few
villages in Vidarbha. Coming to the aid of Solapur’s farmers, her volunteers
procured around 20,000 litres of milk, which was distributed to the needy. As
of May 9, 2020, her team distributed 80,000 kg rice, 50,000 kg dal, 100,000 kg
flour, and 50,0000 litres oil among other essentials.