Help often comes from the most unexpected avenues, and during the recent Mumbai monsoon deluge, it arrived through the internet.
On Monday, July 1, when the early hour showers continued to flood the city till the evening, everyday life had come to a standstill.
Navigating through the flooded streets and dodging the treacherous rains, several Mumbaikars faced quite the struggle.
However, various residents began a noble chain of helping those stuck in the rain. The initiative was started on social media under different hashtags like #RainHost and #RainDost, which involved Mumbaikers opening their homes to complete strangers, as an act of selfless humanity.
Mehul Gohil, a resident of Vile Parle, was among the first ones to do so.
Extending a helping hand, he tweeted that anybody in need of help while stuck in the rains can reach out to him.
Writing that he was situated in Ville Parle, he also stated that his home was open to anyone in need.
— Mehul Gohil (@mehulgohil) July 1, 2019
A gesture as this not only received an overwhelming appreciation but also inspired many more to follow suit.
Another individual with the handle @NatellaPuncakes tweeted:
— ProcrastiNatu (@NatellaPuncakes) July 2, 2019
A friend in need is a friend indeed
Speaking to The Better India, Mehul says that the idea was rooted in an experience of personal struggle.
“In 2005, during the Mumbai floods, I was stuck on the road along with my bike. I was in a very helpless situation with neck-deep in water, in search of some help, any help at all. I somehow managed to get home and help another man whose car was stuck in the water. Even though this happened 14 years ago, the day is fresh in my memory and continues to make me realise the importance of helping others, especially during adversity,” he shares.
Adding that situations like these can bring the worst, and yet the best out of people, he says that he is glad that a gesture as small as this has grown into a movement.
“A Rain Host is not just a person who provides a roof over your head during adversity, but someone who will genuinely help you when in need, just like a true friend. Something as great as this should not be an unusual phenomenon, but a mass movement!” says Mehul.
Not just for people but for furry friends as well
While natural adversities as this cause a great deal of anxiety and problem for citizens, it is a bigger challenge for stray animals.
Mehul makes sure that not just people but stray cats and dogs are also welcome at his home.
“During rains, these animals are the worst hit as they don’t have a place or shelter to go to. A lot of housing societies or buildings shun them or even beat them up when they try to take shelter, which is pathetic and extremely sad. But, as an individual, I can do my bit while informing and motivating others to do the same. Also, at my home where I already have two pet dogs, I follow a policy of animals first, always!” he adds.
His efforts have received wide appreciation from across the country, with several coming forward to help raise funds for the initiative as well.
Currently, he plans to increase the impact of the movement by organising a Rain Host Meet.
He is just one among the many who are behind the trending hashtags that have saved and helped many in the city. Although a simple gesture, it is a standing example of how, when we please can genuinely make a tremendous difference, no matter the circumstances!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)