This article has been published in partnership with Castrol India
What happens when more than a billion people in a country are asked to stay at home to practise ‘social distancing’? India has been witnessing this time of distress over the past few weeks — with loss of jobs, loss of livelihoods, loss of homes, loss of access to food and so much more for lakhs of people.
However, in these troubled times, there has been something extremely overwhelming that the country has witnessed – the response of citizens from all quarters of society. A response that showed people putting humanity before all else to help out and fight their crisis in their own ways.
From raising funds for the underprivileged, arranging for daily essentials for the elderly, setting up virtual classes for kids, helping people with mental health issues manoeuvre these times and more — people are setting unique examples of compassion without stepping out of their homes and while maintaining social distance.
A Wrong Call Gone Right
Take for instance Aarti Madhusudan, a Chennai resident who is ensuring that migrant labourers and daily wage earners do not starve.
Her work began on 1 April with a wrong number from a labourer stuck almost 300 kilometres away in Hosur.
“The person on the other side spoke in a desperate voice. He told me that he got my number as a government helpline number and that he is a labourer from Jharkhand. He hadn’t eaten in two days and didn’t know what to do. Though surprised at the call, the tremor in his voice made me take a call for action,” Aarti told The Better India (TBI).
The anonymous calls continued and Aarti decided to help them with food essentials. She banked on her social media presence and asked people to help the workers. It has been less than a week and she has already supplied food to more than 217 labourers in and around Chennai.
Farmers to the Rescue
Likewise, around 40 families of wage earners are able to have a square meal, thanks to the generous efforts of Yadhu S Babu, a resident of Anakkara village in Kerala’s Idukki district.
The 25-year-old farmer donated the entire organic produce of his 1.5-acre plot to the families who are gravely affected by the lockdown.
Aarti and Yadhu’s prompt actions are now feeding workers, who otherwise would have starved for days.
As a means to applaud and appreciate such efforts, Castrol Activ recently launched a consumer awareness campaign called #HangUpyourkeys. Apart from thanking the essential services and the unsung heroes like Aarti and Yadhu, the campaign appeals to people to stay at home. The message puts emphasis on how individuals are helping other people and communities even while staying indoors.
Stepping Out Only In Emergencies
Another such example of people helping out in such ways is that of Ganesh Bhat, a resident of Devprayag of Tehri district, Uttarakhand, who is seen driving in his car every day. But why?
With emergency services not active nowadays, the 32-year-old is using his car as an ambulance to ferry people (on average, four people a day) with health problems to nearby hospitals or clinics.
In a similar move, a Facebook community called ‘Caremongering India’ is going out of its way to help senior citizens, who stay alone and are unable to go out for food essentials.
Started by Bengaluru-based Mahita Nagaraj, members of the group are sending groceries and medicines to the elderly, children, pregnant women and new mothers.
Over time, the number of volunteers has touched 500 and the initiative was expanded to other cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Noida and states including Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha.
While the protocol of social distancing is making a significant difference to flatten the curve, it is also disrupting our day-to-day lives.
In such a scenario, channelling your inner humanity toward such compassionate acts will only make all our lives easier, and that’s the message that Castrol is spreading with this inspiring campaign.