A mother of three and an ex-Navy officer's wife, Manju Ojha sits through the nights making masks for Mumbaikars.
“Ever since the spike in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, there have been strict rules of wearing masks for anybody out in public places. In fact, they say that you should wear masks even while travelling in your own vehicles. And in areas like Colaba, where I stay, there’s a shortage of ready-made masks available in stores or pharmacies,” says Manju Ojha, a member of the Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA).
Wanting to help out in these dire times, the proactive lady volunteered to stitch masks for free soon after it was announced by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that it’s mandatory for anybody in public places to wear a 3 ply mask or cloth mask.
Talking to The Better India (TBI), Ojha’s son, Anjanish Kumar (24) Third Navigating Officer of the Merchant Navy says, “My mother has the spirit of a warrior. The moment she got 10 metres of cloth from NWWA for the masks, she stitched about 200 of them in 24 hours. She would only get up for her meals or to use the washroom.”
Passion For Work
While Ojha lives in Mumbai currently, she’s lived in various cities over the years as her husband worked in the Indian Navy and retired earlier this year.
However, she never let go of her passion to stay active and productive. Ojha worked as a tailoring teacher with the NWWA, teaching the wives of the navy personnel wherever her husband got posted.
Hailing from a town called Gopalganj in Bihar, Ojha is quite an altruist. “She’s one of the most selfless people I know in life. As soon as the corona outbreak happened in India, my mom started looking for ways to help the society. She’s a member of NWWA, which is an institution run by the wives of naval officers. She willingly took up the task of making masks,” informs her son.
A graduate, who had a full-blown teaching career in the late 80s, Ojha gave it all up eventually to look after her three kids after marriage.
Helping in Times of COVID-19
Once Ojha swung into action, she stopped counting the hours in her will to make masks for people’s safety. Her dedication and prompt action made NWWA sanction another 10 metres of cloth to her, soon after. She gladly burned the midnight oil while making the next set of 200 masks as well. Ojha has another set in the pipeline; and doesn’t mind the hours of incessant hard-work one bit.
“It makes me very happy to know that the masks are being distributed on the war ships, the naval officers’ offices, Colaba police station, the local market and inside our community complex,” smiles Ojha.
Her strong mettle is what binds them together as a family, says her son. And Ojha is using the same indomitable spirit to help people in her own little way during trying times like these.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)