Hope is like the faint ray of light that helps us keep faith in our dark moments. We all need hope to survive in our lives . So when the year 2020 came to an end , many tried to anticipate that may be we will enter a new phase of healing as we were in the midst of a pandemic. But hope has to be coupled with reasoning and scientific temper when it comes to saving precious human lives. Just when we thought that the death toll was coming down, the nation was suddenly attacked by the deadlier second wave.
The spike in positive cases during the second wave was so sudden that it almost crippled the entire medical fraternity across the nation. There were not enough hospital beds, no oxygen and medicines but yes there were new variants to complicate the scenario . There was chaos, anxiety and stress on every one’s face. some families were completely wiped out when they lost they lost their battle to this deadly disease. The newly wed became a widow, the new born became an orphan , the old parents had to see the dead body of their young ones and the there was darkness all around. The dance of death was wreaking havoc and the SOS signals started flooding the social media platforms. Even doctors started sharing the helpless situation in which they were trying to save lives. Every night funeral pyres blazed not only dead bodies but also burned unfulfilled aspirations, desires and precious lives that could have been prevented by timely supply of proper medical facilities. The crematoriums and burial grounds were unable to handle the rising number of deaths and were functioning round the clock. It was heart wrenching to witness the devastating images .The catastrophe treated everyone be it poor or rich equally, when despite having money or high level connections absolutely nothing helped .
The surge took everyone by surprise and there was a sense of deep helplessness . In such situation, some find it comfortable to sit behind their screens and post hateful, sarcastic posts about blaming the machinery, creating trolling content and criticizing anything that comes there way. Of course the Government had lacunae as they could not foresee the upcoming wave that was to hit us, they were at fault for not placing orders for the vaccines on a timely basis as was being done by many countries and we can keep going on and on .
But as citizens if we have the right to criticize the machinery , it is also our duty as citizens to do our duty and help our countrymen in whatever little capabilities we can !So today, I have a real story where the mental agility of an individual helped him sideline every hurdle and reach out to the needy. We have with us today such a brave heart who was so moved by the deplorable situation around him that he decided that he had to act. Not all heroes wear a cap and not all want recognition for what they do.
I came across such a personality recently and I present before you a real life story which is very inspiring . We have with us Mr. Manish Singh , a resident of the beautiful city of Chandigarh, who had the courage to hear the voice of his own conscience. When the state of Punjab & Delhi were seeing their peak number of deaths, this young champion thought of taking things into his hands. I came across him while I saw this interesting campaign on Instagram that was being self organized by a few young gentlemen .
When I got in touch with him and enquired what was this all about, I slowly understood that Mr. Manish had been spearheading the campaign almost singlehandedly. His sheer passion & dedication to be able to help fellow brethren moved me. When I asked him, what was the need to get involved personally in the atmosphere of risk, he was quick to reply that,” How can I sit quietly without doing anything? I just could not ignore the voices that cried for help and it all started when I got a desperate call on my mobile to help attain someone’s mother in the hospital where she was all alone as her children were out of the country. I immediately visited her and I can never forget the emotion in her eyes when she saw me. She smiled faintly and something inside me moved. Unfortunately , we could not save her and she was cremated without any of her family member near her. At that moment I realized, how lonely people were & how lucky we were with our near ones. But I decided then that , I had to do something for such cases .”
In such situations, when majority would make up a plan to avoid involvement, Manish displayed immense courage to visit the hospital ward among rising number of cases and attended the patient on his own. What was interesting to know for me was that his entire campaign was self funded. When asked about the motivation behind the drive, he remarked that ” to be born privileged might have been my fate but if this privilege can not be used for upliftment of the needy then I can not sleep in peace.“
I had the honor to have a small rendezvous with Mr. Manish Singh ( Image below) . Please scroll down below to find out what an individual could do in times of distress, only if he wanted to.
1) Please tell us something about yourself.
Ans- I am Manish Singh, a physicist by profession, who is trying to decipher the language of atoms in my official capabilities . I belong to the city of Chandigarh. I am an avid reader with a special inclination towards legal studies and its impact on making a just society. I am politically passionate but above all I am a person who loves to live life in the truest sense possible and simple things like a hot cup of coffee or a cuddle from my pets or a simple meal at the time of hunger, the splash of rains, the beauty of written words , the smile on an infant’s face give me immense solace and happiness.
2) I came across this interesting drive that you conducted on Instagram. Can you please tell us what it is all about?
Ans- This drive was meant to organize aid towards serving the critical patients who were in dire need of medical aid . With the help of social media we could reach a wider spectrum of affected people. Our primary aim was to serve the local concerned people as much as possible. we created a close knit link with hospitals , local shopkeepers and security guards of the buildings. The chain of information was collected from the security guards and the essential commodities were sourced from the local shopkeepers.
We had also done this kind of initiative last year where the focus was to cater to the migrant labourers. This year, the drive was on a larger scale and we focused on serving patients and prevent loss of precious human lives.
First day we got about 18 orders regarding requirement of food packets. Next day onwards the demand began to rise continuously and we as a team tried to fulfill those.
3) What exactly triggered you to start this endeavor? Was it anything personal or any specific sentiment that made you take this step? Tell us little in detail about what you exactly did.
Ans- Personally I believe, there is no need of any trigger to indulge in anything like this. Only if we have the capability to feel the pain of others and can empathize with their suffering, we will find a way to serve the ones who need help.
We started with fulfilling the need of dry ration initially to families who needed them the most. I and my friends basically hail from farming background. Hence procurement of wheat flour, rice and pulses was easier and these essentials were segregated into packets of 4 kg each. We added milk powder, salt, sugar & dozen of bananas along with it .
Our experience from the last year helped us in executing this drive more effectively. I can say that this was a team effort and would not have been a success without my friends who basically were on the field where as I focused on handling the SOS signals that flooded my screens. We planned to do it only for a week but this drive got extended up to 15 days. We were glad that within this short span of time we covered 253 families and could be of use to the needy.
4) It’s easy to complain and people do that all the time. What as per you takes it in one to think different and get up and actually do something?
Ans-To answer this question I can say that we are a product of the choices that we make in life. Being privileged may be destiny, but using privilege to help others is a choice. We sometimes have many things that others do not have and yet we look unhappy. Being a normal human being, I too tend to complain but then a reminder to myself helps me to look at ways by which I can reach out and help.
5) What has been your learning during this particular initiative?
Ans –This initiative has made my belief stronger that nothing is costlier than human life. And we are shaped by our thoughts. I consider myself a life long learner . Sometimes I seek people, sometimes I subconsciously attract them & often I learn simply by observing others. Sometimes they may be completely unaware that I am learning from them yet I bow down to them deeply in gratitude.
6) Share some of the moments that have made an everlasting indelible mark in your thought process and may have changed something in you?
Ans- The unfortunate & sad demise of a parent at minor age impacts a lot. I was about 8 years old when I lost my dad. Since then I have seen my mother work very hard & invest in my education. She has been my inspiration and I salute her never say die zeal and resilience to face any adversity that life has thrown at her. So, it has been my mother who has been efficiently playing the dual role of both the parents for me since my childhood. This somewhere has always shaped my viewpoint of understanding life and the world at large.
She has been a constant motivator and till today she encourages me to add more feathers in my hat and achieve more in life especially in the field of education. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today ! It’s solely her upbringing that has helped me become the man I have become , & it feels great to be able to make an impact in other’s life.
7) So, you say it is self-funded. Did you ever feel the need to advertise or associate your name to draw some attention as generally people tend to do so? Share your thoughts.
Ans- Again I would like to put emphasis on the fact that me & my friends did this drive without loosing anything & I do believe that most of the people can do the same. When you compare the joy and blessings of the families that one receives while carrying on such activities, you realize that you only gain and not loose anything at the end . I think getting personal attention was never our motto . The only objective was to reach out to maximum people and cater to their basic needs. However, getting appreciation from others in the what’s app groups played a major role to boost our morale . I think, our grateful moment was when our drive was trusted upon and a large number of families shared the information of our drive in other groups. There is nothing bigger than gaining trust and being able to deliver!
8) What were the difficulties that you had to face during this operation and how did you overcome it. Was there ever a situation where group members could not agree to any point? How did you take it forward then?
Ans-Difficulties arose in beginning due to the restrictions imposed due to spike in Covid cases, the rising severity of the disease itself and the fear of getting caught by infection. We made a detailed plan where we used two cars for the delivery by dividing city into different zones and earmarked them as A, B, C, & D zones , after which we carried out with complete precautions. We took extra care and decided to leave the packet of food items on the door front, post which the families were informed over phone to collect those packets. I and my close friend Mandeep managed orders, packaging of delivery items and we made sure to choose the shortest routes to reach the families in the minimum time possible.
Rest of the field work was done by my team who worked on a rotational basis. To be honest not a single member of my team ever denied to conduct this drive . They loved the planning & idea behind this drive & all I can say is that I am really very proud of my team.
9) In this pandemic, Man has started fearing another Man. Did it not scare you to go out into the hospital and actually help? What is it that kept you going?
Ans– Any situation seems scary from far but when you go through it yourself you have the only option of braving it all. My own relatives and close ones were admitted in different hospitals during this time and I can not forget the SpO2 crisis that we went through. Somehow we managed to arrange oxygen for our own family members. But I can say that when I was able to arrange oxygen for even some of the critical patients whom I did not know at all, the satisfaction that I felt was something I can not describe in words and I am very humbled to have been able to do it.
Kudos to the health workers ! The way they were dealing with this crisis with least available infrastructure ,which I have personally witnessed, is really commendable .With the help of health workers we managed to collect prescriptions and arrange medication for the patients from different corners of the city. Due to hoarding & stocking of essential medicines it was hard to fulfil the demands. I, then decided to deal with this issue and created a web contact with several pharmacies to get the availability status in advance which also helped me to cover SOS demands within a shorter span of time .
10) What message do you have for the over burdened health workers that you met during this drive? You can also choose to tell us their story with us that you personally felt.
Ans- Health workers are next to God or any Supreme Power that exists ! What more can we ask from them while they performed their best with the minimal available infrastructure. With huge overhauling in medical infrastructure they sailed our boat without asking any favor in return. The kind of stress, anxiety that the doctors went through was beyond any one’s imagination. They personally lost close ones yet they kept their oath and tried their best to save lives . I personally feel as a nation, we must invest in making a robust healthcare network which is currently being overlooked.
11) What message do you have for the youth of this country? What role as per you can they play in such tragic times.
Ans- Having conducted this drive I have realized that we , the youth can contribute to society in this kind of situation by first realizing the fact that we can make a difference. The focus should be serving the local needs and one should keep the nearby people in mind and effort has to be made to cater to their needs both physical and mental
12) Any thoughts on the Political scenario. You can choose to answer this in your own capabilities.
Ans- I do not think I am authorized to comment over this in detail. But the sudden spike in Covid cases proved that when the entire machinery failed in predicting and efficiently handling this phase, the light of humanity kept glowing brighter and it was strangers helping and willing to stand for each other. So till the time such collective fellow feeling exists, we as a community can manage any unforeseen disasters. Till there is such hope, we will win is what I believe personally.
13) Dealing with such cases might have been mind numbing for you. How did you take care of your mental health?
Ans- Yes, sometimes it gets difficult, when you are surrounded by such grief. But, I have always been inspired by people who might not have much in life but possess a big heart. Hence I can say that I draw my strength from them all the time.
14) What stand did your family have when you wanted to initiate this drive?
Ans – I do not think that any of this would have been executed without my mother’s encouragement. Her most generous gift is giving all her time & self to me. I can say that it is because of her that I relate with the pain of others easily as I have always witnessed her compassionate persona and that has impacted me a lot!
15) What message that you have for people who want to help but cannot self-finance such initiatives? Share your points.
Ans- If one wants to help, then more than money, the will power to do so ,helps. Giving free counselling sessions and helping spread right messages needs no monetary investment during such a calamity. During this drive we as a team organized free counselling with the help of physicians, physiotherapists as well as several students from different backgrounds to spread awareness .
16) Do you intend to repeat such activities, if need be, in future?
Ans- While conducting this drive , I came in touch with many such groups which were performing in isolated clusters. If there would be any such scenario, which I pray never happens, I am determined to take things on a bigger scale and try and collaborate with such groups which will help in having a better impact.
17)Apart from all this drive, how would you describe yourself. We would love to know about your hobbies or your favorite reads that might have inspired you to take this path of serving the needy?
Ans – I am a person who loves reality and when I take on anything, I dedicate myself to that cause without worrying much about the result. It is never easy but I always try to stay grounded to my roots . The early childhood learning of ‘ Seva Bhav’ to fellow brethren has always strongly impacted me and it feels my heart with immense joy and satisfaction when I am able to positively contribute to any cause. As a person I honor and value true relationships in my life. Lastly I can say that I bow my head to the super power to enable me to help whenever possible, draw inspiration from my mother who is the guiding light in my life, feel blessed to be surrounded by friends who understand me and aspire to live a life that I can be proud of myself .
He can be reached at below mentioned SM handles :
I was touched by the authentic passion of this young gentleman and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. May his tribe grow in number who have the strong mental agility to stand out as a beacon of hope in times of darkness.
1-This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter where I have featured a real life personality who has been able to contribute positively to the society.
2-This post is also for United we stand campaign.
3-This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.’